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Client Education

July 4th: People Have Fun… Pets Have Fears

By | Client Education

The 4th of July can be very stressful for many pets. Some become so terrorized by the loud noises and the fireworks they panic and run away from home.

In fact, July 5th is one of the busiest days of the year for animal shelters. But while many escaped pets end up there, many others are injured, killed, or lost for good.

Include Protecting Your Pet as Part of Your Holiday Planning

  • Keep your pets inside on the 4th and don’t leave them home alone.
  • Secure the house against escapes:
    • Close all doors and windows
    • Put the pet in a “safe room” to decrease noise from the outside.
    • Use TV or music to help cover the firework noise
  • Distract your pet with toys and food puzzles
  • Try calming apparel such as Thundershirts, ear muffs, and caps
  • Consider Pheromone sprays that give the pet a feeling of well-being…
    Feliway for cats and Adaptil for dogs are available at pet stores.

Plan Ahead for the Likelihood Your Pet Does Escape

  • Before July 4, microchip your pet and have their collar and tags on.
  • Make sure the chip is registered and the contact information is up to date.
  • Take current pictures of your pet. They may be needed for posters, emails and faxes.
  • Immediately contact local animal control units, shelters, rescue groups and veterinarians.
  • Discuss desensitizing and counterconditioning your pet with your veterinarian.

What About Drugs?

  • In some cases, your veterinarian can prescribe drug therapy that may help.
  • Sedatives, tranquilizers, anti-anxiety, and other drugs have been used.
  • Don’t wait until July 3 to ask about them.
  • Drug therapy is not always successful and may need time to evaluate.
  • Drug therapy is most effective when used in combination with other recommendations.

Ten Things the Arizona Bark Scorpion Won’t Tell You

By | Client Education

#1

Scorpions are arthropods like spiders. Arizona has over 30 species of scorpions but only the small, pale yellow, bark scorpion is considered life-threatening.

#2

Baby scorpions are more venomous and deadly, than adults because they can’t yet control how much venom they inject. Male bark scorpions are slightly bigger than the females, about 3” long.

#3

In over 40 years of keeping records, no human deaths have been reported but the bark scorpion’s sting can produce severe pain and swelling, numbness, breathing difficulties, muscle twitching and spasms, and even convulsions.

#4

Arizona bark scorpions glow in the dark under a black light so hunt for them at night. During the day they hide in walls, under stones, or in and around tree bark, from where they get their name.

#5

They love crickets, but also eat spiders, centipedes, and other scorpions. Bark scorpions can go without eating for more than six months.

#6

Spraying for scorpions doesn’t help much because short of a direct hit, most pesticides don’t affect them. Keeping their food source out of your house will.

#7

Only bark scorpions can climb vertical surfaces like walls, drapes, the side of your house or up your leg. They can also cling to the underside of rocks.

#8

Attention Pet Owners! Here are common signs of a bark scorpion sting:

  • Localized pain and swelling
  • Yelping, licking, limping, head shaking, rubbing, etc.
  • Trouble swallowing
  • Breathing difficulties
  • Trouble urinating or defecating
  • Drooling or vomiting
  • Abnormal behavior

#9

If you see or suspect that your pet has been stung by a scorpion, call your veterinarian immediately.

Most animals recover within four hours without a problem, but some can have a more severe reaction affecting the heart, lungs and nervous system. Scorpion venom can kill small pets such as puppies, kittens, hamsters, and guinea pigs.

#10

Reduce your chances for a scorpion encounter:

  • Switch your outdoor lights from white bulbs to yellow. Yellow light doesn’t attract as many bugs.
  • Check your weather-stripping. If a business card can fit underneath, a scorpion can slip through.
  • Clear away, or move, woodpiles that are stacked up near the house.
  • Don’t leave wet towels on the ground around a pool or spa. Scorpions like the moisture.
  • If you’re gardening or digging around ornamental bark, wear gloves and keep your eyes open.
dog with swollen mouth

Snakes Got You Rattled?

By | Client Education

Did you know that out of the 15 species of rattlesnakes native to the United States 11 can be found in Arizona, more than any other state in the country? Some people can spend their entire lives here and never see even one, others swear they practically trip over rattlesnakes everywhere they go. During the summer, snakes, like people and pets, avoid the blistering heat of midday, and are more active in the early morning or early evening, so it’s wise to be vigilant at those times.

Rattlesnake bites usually involve dogs. Often, the bite occurs on the face, as the dog is inquisitive about, or aggressive towards, the snake. It is not uncommon for the dog to lose an eye. Snakebites can take a heavy toll not just on a pet’s health but also an owner’s wallet. Antivenin is very expensive and sometimes a bitten animal needs more than one vial.

A rattlesnake vaccine is now available, and like a tetanus shot, acts as a preventative, building up antibodies prior to an attack. After an exam to make sure the pet is healthy, the vaccine is administered by injection in two doses, one month apart. Booster shots are scheduled depending on the area’s “rattlesnake season.” Because antivenin is so costly and can have adverse effects, the vaccine is becoming a popular option for pet owners.

If a vaccinated pet is bitten, antivenin may still be recommended because there is no way of judging the amount or potency of the venom received, or how many antibodies have had a chance to build up. What the vaccine does best is give the pet a fighting chance that the snakebite won’t be fatal.

But the best treatment is prevention. Check your yard for snakes. If you and your dog are out walking, don’t let your pet run ahead of you where he might “sniff out” a snake hiding in a crevice or under a rock. If your pet does get bitten, seek out medical help as soon as possible. A snakebite is always a medical emergency. While some dogs are fearful of snakes and will back off, others just can’t stay away from that rattler. For those dogs who are “repeat offenders” there are “snake-proofing” classes that can be effective in training curious canines to keep their distance. Remember an ounce of prevention is worth an ounce of antivenin.


For more information on rattlesnake vaccine, antivenin and snakeproofing classes for dogs call Johnson Ranch Animal Clinic, 480-987-4555.

french bulldog riding in car

Desert Dangers: Cool Pools and Hot Spots

By | Behavior, Client Education
  • Do you have a pool…and a pet? Many pets love the water but even good swimmers may be bad at finding their way out so teach them where the steps are.
  • Dogs love to go for rides in the car but with this heat, if you can’t take the pet into the store with you, leave him at home.
  • Never, ever leave pets in the car, not even with the windows open.
  • Even your own yard and neighborhood has dangers.
  • Many pets get cactus spines stuck on their muzzles and elsewhere. Extracting them can be a lengthy, painful process so teach your pet to avoid them.
  • Adjust your pet’s exercise routine just as you adjust yours. Walk your dog very early in the morning or at sunset or later.
  • Remember, hot pavement hurts their paws just as it would your bare feet.

If you leave your pet outside, which is not recommended, make sure the animal has a shaded area as well as plenty of water in a dish that will not tip over easily leaving him with nothing to drink on a hot day.


And remember the best cure for the Summertime Blues is . . . October!

poodle playing in dirt

Desert Dangers: Scorpions and Spiders

By | Client Education
  • Scorpion stings or spider bites may cause a swelling at the site and some distress.
  • They usually require no special medical attention.
  • Watch pets for the first few hours in case they exhibit a bad reaction.
  • Sometimes Benadryl is helpful in reducing symptoms.
  • Use one milligram per one pound of pet as a guideline for dosage.

If you leave your pet outside, which is not recommended, make sure the animal has a shaded area as well as plenty of water in a dish that will not tip over easily leaving him with nothing to drink on a hot day.


And remember the best cure for the Summertime Blues is . . . October!

dog running with ball in desert

Desert Dangers: Toxic Toads

By | Client Education
  • The large toads you see during monsoon season are Sonoran Desert toads.
  • They excrete a substance through a gland behind the eye that acts as a neurotoxin.
  • Dogs that put these toads in their mouths can exhibit neurological symptoms including difficulty walking, seizures and paralysis.
  • Teach your dog to avoid toads.
  • If he grabs one, flush his mouth with a garden hose. Aim the spray sideways to wash the toxin out, not down the throat.
  • Most dogs do recover but the toxin can be life threatening.
  • If the condition worsens, see a vet.
  • A toad in a water bowl can also make the dog ill, so keep bowls clean.

If you leave your pet outside, which is not recommended, make sure the animal has a shaded area as well as plenty of water in a dish that will not tip over easily leaving him with nothing to drink on a hot day.


And remember the best cure for the Summertime Blues is . . . October!

beagle puppy laying in gravol

Desert Dangers

By | Client Education

In addition to all the usual trouble pets can get into, Arizona summers bring a host of unique situations that can make life dangerous for our furry, four footed friends.

During the warm weather pets can:

Have a Run-in with a Rattlesnake

  • During the summer, rattlesnakes are out and about when you and your pet are. Prime times are early mornings, late afternoons, and early evenings.
  • Don’t let dogs get ahead on walks and explore places where snakes can hide.
  • If your pet is bitten, get to a veterinarian right away.
  • A vial of rattlesnake antivenin is very expensive so prevention is preferred.
  • If your dog can’t stay away from snakes consider the rattlesnake vaccine or snake-proofing your pet through a variety of snake-avoidance techniques.

Tangle with a Toad

  • The large toads you see during monsoon season are Sonoran Desert toads. They excrete a substance through a gland behind the eye that acts as a neurotoxin.
  • Dogs that put these toads in their mouths can exhibit neurological symptoms including difficulty walking, seizures and paralysis.
  • Teach your dog to avoid toads.
  • If he has gotten hold of one, flush his mouth out with a garden hose. Aim the spray sideways to wash the toxin out of the mouth, not down the throat.
  • Most dogs do recover but the toxin can be life threatening.
  • If the condition worsens, see a veterinarian.
  • A toad sitting in a dog’s water bowl can also make the dog ill, so keep bowls clean.

Scuffle with a Scorpion or Spider.

  • Scorpion stings or spider bites may cause a swelling at the site and some distress.
  • They usually require no special medical attention.
  • Watch pets for the first few hours in case they exhibit a bad reaction.
  • Sometimes Benadryl is helpful in reducing symptoms. Use one milligram per one pound of pet as a guideline for dosage.

Get Into Cool Pools and Hot Spots

  • Do you have a pool . . . and a pet? Many pets love the water but even good swimmers may be bad at finding their way out so teach them where the steps are.
  • Dogs love to go for rides in the car but with this heat, if you can’t take the pet into the store with you, leave him at home.
  • Never, ever leave pets in the car, not even with the windows open.
  • Even your own yard and neighborhood has dangers.
  • Many pets get cactus spines stuck on their muzzles and elsewhere. Extracting them can be a lengthy, painful process so teach your pet to avoid them.
  • Adjust your pet’s exercise routine just as you adjust yours.
  • Walk your dog very early in the morning or at sunset or later.
  • Remember, hot pavement hurts their paws just as it would your bare feet.

If you leave your pet outside, which is not recommended, make sure the animal has a shaded area as well as plenty of water in a dish that will not tip over easily leaving him with nothing to drink on a hot day.

And remember the best cure for the Summertime Blues is . . . October!

fireworks

July 4th – People Have Fun – Pets Have Fears

By | Behavior, Client Education, News/ Events

The 4th of July can be very stressful for many pets. Some become so terrorized by the loud noises and the fireworks they panic and run away from home.  In fact, July 5th is one of the busiest days of the year for animal shelters.  But while many escaped pets end up there, many others are injured, killed or lost for good.


Include protecting your pet as part of your holiday planning

– Keep your pets inside on the 4th and don’t leave them home alone

– Secure the house against escapes.

– Close all doors and windows

– Put the pet in a “safe room” to decrease noise from the outside.

– Use TV or music to help cover the firework noise

– Distract your pet with toys and food puzzles

– Try calming apparel such as Thundershirts, ear muffs and caps

– Consider Pheromone sprays that give the pet a feeling of well-being…   Feliway for cats and Adaptil for dogs are available at pet stores.

 

Plan ahead for the likelihood your pet does escape

– Before July 4, Microchip your pet and have their collar and tags on

– Make sure the chip is registered and the contact information is up to date

.
- Take current pictures of your pet.  They may be needed for posters, emails and faxes

– Immediately contact local animal control units, shelters, rescue groups and veterinarians

– Discuss desensitizing and counterconditioning your pet with your veterinarian

 

What about drugs?

– In some cases, your veterinarian can prescribe drug therapy that may help.

– Sedatives, tranquilizers, anti-anxiety and other drugs have been used.

– However, the drug therapy approach is not always predictable or successful.

– When used alone, drug therapy often fails.

– Drug therapy more effective when used in combination with other recommendations.

Close up image of chihuaha face

Why Your Dog Smells Better Than You

By | Behavior, Client Education

A dog’s sense of smell is about 1,000 to 10,000,000 times more sensitive than a human’s (depending on the breed). While you have about 5 million scent glands, a dog, depending on the breed, has anywhere from 125 million to 300 million making your dog’s sense of smell 10,000 to 100,000 times better than yours. And the part of a dog’s brain that is used to analyze smells is, proportionally speaking, 40 times greater than a human’s.

Dogs’ noses function quite differently from ours. When we inhale, we smell and breathe through the same airways within our nose. When dogs inhale, a fold of tissue just inside their nostril helps to separate these two functions.

Dogs also have a second olfactory capability, due to the Jacobson’s organ, an organ not found in human. Also called the vomeronasal organ, it’s located in the bottom of a dog’s nasal passage and picks up a variety of pheromones, the chemicals unique to each animal species that signal mating readiness and other sex-related details.

So how good is a dog’s sense of smell? If we used the sense of sight as an analogy, it means that what you can see 1/3 of a mile away, your dog could see 3,000 miles away.

We might notice a teaspoon of sugar in our cup of coffee- A dog can detect that teaspoon of sugar in a million gallons of water. Or one rotten apple in two million barrels.

Face of a tan and white dog with a cute nose.

Cute face, cute nose! At Johnson Ranch Animal Clinic.

A drug sniffing dog detected 35 pounds of marijuana that was packed in a plastic container and submerged in a gas tank filled with gasoline.

A cancer-sniffing dog kept returning to a spot on a patient’s skin that doctors had declared cancer-free. A subsequent biopsy confirmed there was melanoma in a small fraction of the cells.

What does this super sense of smell mean for your family dog’s behavior?

It’s why male dogs that have not been neutered can pick up a scent and follow their nose to the receptive female that might be nowhere in the neighborhood.

It’s why your dog knows there’s a treat sitting on a table that is too high up for him to ever be able to see it.

It’s why the local fire hydrant and/or tree, acts as Fido’s Facebook- letting all the dogs know who’s been by.

Yellow fire hydrant.

Facebook for Dogs in San Tan Valley, waiting for someone to come along and “post” on its time line.

 

 

Have a question about your pet or its behavior?  Contact us at Johnson Ranch Animal Clinic by texting or calling  480-987-4555

Male veterinarian vaccinating small dog in vet clinic

If You Lose Your Pet Will He Lose His Life?

By | Client Education, Products / Reviews

 Don’t Skip the Chip.

You do everything for your pet to be happy and healthy at home

  •  get the right food
  •  keep up with their vaccinations
  •  provide a soft bed
  • lots of toys
  • and plenty of love from the family.

But what if they leave home, get lost or wander away? How will they get back?

A brown dog casts a sad look from behind a wire gate at Animal Control.

A lost pet at Pinal County Animal Control.

            “One in three pets will get lost during their lifetime.” 

The best chance of having your furry friend return depends on something as small as a grain of rice… a microchip placed under the skin.

Microchips provide positive proof of ownership and can be used on a variety of pets including birds, reptiles and horses. People who own very valuable animals often have them microchipped for monetary reasons. But the most important reason for your family pet to be chipped really is a matter of life and death. If your pet gets lost and is picked up by Animal Control or is turned into a city pound he may only have a certain number of days at that facility before he could be euthanized. However, that won’t happen if a microchip is detected. Instead, efforts will be made to identify and contact his owner.

A microchip is being inserted into the back of a white dog between the shoulder blades.

A microchip is easily inserted into a pet. Just like giving a vaccine.

How Is the Chip Inserted?

The procedure is simple. A veterinarian injects the microchip beneath the surface of your pet’s skin between the shoulder blades. Similar to a routine vaccination, the process takes only a few seconds. No anesthetic is required. The microchip itself has no internal energy source and will last the life of your pet. It is read by passing a microchip scanner over the pet’s shoulder blades. The scanner will emit an audible “beep” when it detects the chip and your pet’s unique ID code will show up on the scanner’s screen. Encryption features prevent duplication or cloning of the identification code. The chip is not affected by x-rays or MRIs and cannot be readily removed. But the microchip is just the first part of bringing your pet home. If your pet is microchipped but not yet registered he is not protected.

 

 

            ” 42% of microchipped pets are not registered in a pet recovery service.”

Why is Microchip Registration Important?

Enrolling in the registry services offered by microchip companies such as AVID and HomeAgain, and keeping the information in the registry up-to-date is important so you can be reached quickly when your lost pet is found. Almost all veterinarians and animal shelters across the country are equipped with scanners that can read your pet’s microchip. When your lost pet is taken to an animal shelter or veterinary clinic, they will scan your pet for a microchip and will read its unique code. This code is stored with your pet’s profile and linked to your contact information in a national pet recovery database. This is the number used to identify the pet and retrieve your contact information, which is used to contact you and reunite you with your pet. So register your pet and keep your pet’s profile current if addresses, phone numbers and alternate contacts have changed. When pet owners forget to register their pet’s microchip and the pet’s owner can’t be found, shelters have to make difficult decisions regarding the fate of the animal.

Also see Microchipping Your Dog and Microchipping Your Cat.

Call Santanvalleyvets at Johnson Ranch Animal Clinic (or Text us at the same number)  at 480-987-4555

Contact Us

270 East Hunt Hwy, Ste. #4
San Tan Valley, AZ 85143
480-987-4555