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San Tan Valley

National “Check the Chip” Day at Johnson Ranch Animal Clinic

By | News/ Events

Wednesday. August 15 is “National Check the Chip” Day, when pet owners are encouraged to check and update the contact information registered with their pet’s microchip.

Microchips are the reason “Lost Dog” and “Lost Cat” stories can have happy endings even if the pet has been missing for months or found a thousand mile from home

Veterinarians and staff at Johnson Ranch Animal Clinic can scan any pet’s microchip; tell the owner what data is on the chip; and if needed, provide them with information on how to update their pet’s microchip registration if they have moved or changed phone numbers.

Sometimes, we find chips pet owners did not even know were there. How does this happen?

  • When the current owner acquired the pet, the breeder, animal control unit, rescue group, pet shop or humane society failed to inform them that they had implanted a chip.
  • The animal control unit, rescue group, humane society or pet shop never scanned the animal so did not know that the pet was already microchipped.
  • When the pet was previously scanned, a Universal Scanner was not used so the chip was missed because it did not register.
  • The person scanning the pet previously did not check for a migrated chip.
  • The implanted chip may be bad and no longer working.
  • The previous owner did not tell the new owner that the pet had a microchip.

Sometimes our staff does not find a microchip in a pet that is supposed to have one. This can happen if the chip was never implanted or implanted improperly and came out.

Even if you have paper work showing your pet was microchipped, someone could have made a mistake. Did you witness the chip being implanted? Did you see the chip scanned after it was implanted, to verify that it is indeed in your pet?

If you say your pet has a chip but our universal scanner does not pick it up, we can take an x-ray. If they are there, microchips will show up very clearly on x-rays.

So on August 15, bring your pet to Johnson Ranch Animal Clinic at 270 E. Hunt Hwy, Ste. 4. That’s in the plaza on the corner of Bella Vista and Hunt Highway.

The staff will check for a microchip or help owners scan the pet themselves. There’s no charge and it just takes a few minutes. Pets will get treats while “chip” style refreshments will be available to their owners.

To learn more about microchips and Check the Chip Day, call Johnson Ranch Animal Clinic at 480-987-4555 or visit the AVMA’s website at www.avma.org/CheckTheChip.

Long haired chihuaha tilting head

What’s Barking Up Your Pet’s Family Tree – Doggy DNA

By | Client Education

Veterinarians always get the pets no one else wants. That’s how we ended up with Foxy, a little brown dog that looked like she was put together from spare critter parts. She had large, feathered ears like a Papillion and a beautiful, long, brown and tan coat. Her golden eyes were almost coyote-like while her reddish nose was sort of “piggy-looking” and her agile, lithe, eight-pound frame resembled a weasel.

But inquiring minds want to know, so we administered a canine heritage DNA test. It identified 38 breeds of dogs, from Afghan hound to Whippet, using a simple swab from the dog’s mouth.

Beyond simply satisfying curious dog owners, DNA testing also serves an important medical purpose. Since certain diseases seem to be more prevalent in some breeds, once the breed makeup is known, both the owner and the veterinarian can watch for signs of those diseases and become pro-active to prevent them.

When the results came back for 8-pound Foxy, it was no surprise that she was part Chihuahua, but I refused to believe she had a 70-pound Samoyed for a grandparent with a touch of beagle as well.

We tried again when a more sophisticated test became available. This one identified more than 130 AKC recognized breeds that may be present in mixed breed dogs.

Those results were even more startling. In addition to 8-pound Foxy having chihuahua, poodle and sheltie in her lineage, it also found traces of Irish wolfhound.

I called the geneticist who explained, “The test determines what’s in your dog, not what your dog is. Sometimes what’s in the genes may not show up as physical manifestations of that particular breed.”

So, if you decide to test the D-N-A of your D-O-G, be forewarned. Often what you see is not what you’re going to get.

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.
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!

cat kneading cushion

Why Do Cats Knead?

By | Behavior

This instinctual behavior is left over from kittenhood when cats knead on the mother to stimulate the production of milk.

In adult cats it can be a sign of contentment, a form of stretching, or a way to get attention.

Kneading might also just feel good to the cat.


Does kitty need a checkup, vaccine, or spay? Come see us about it . . .



Make an Appointment


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

Sidewinder rattlesnake from San Tan Valley Area

Who’s Your Favorite Snake?

By | Client Education, News/ Events

These 6 contestants were collected in the San Tan Valley and Superstition Mountain area.

In honor of World Snake Day, vote for your favorite on our Facebook page.

A. “Go-fer Broke” Gopher Snake

Tan and brown blotched snake.

The Gopher Snake (also called a Bull Snake) is not venomous, but is often confused with a rattlesnake.

-Large and heavy-bodied, the gopher snake typically reaches 4 feet in length

-Because of its similar body markings and behavior when threatened (hissing, tail shaking and strike –posturing) it is frequently mistaken for a rattlesnake

-But a tapered tail, the absence of a rattle, the lack of a facial pit, and the round pupils all distinguish the gopher snake from the rattlesnake.

-A good climber, the gopher snake is active mainly during the day, except in extreme heat.

-.A constrictor, its prey is mostly mammals, although birds and their eggs are also eaten.

B. “Diamond Dave” Diamondback

Diamondback Rattlesnake, coiled and ready strike.

Diamondback Rattlesnake, coiled and ready to strike. Most commonly encountered rattlesnake in San Tan Valley.

-The Western diamondback rattlesnake ranging from 3-5 feet long, is a heavy-bodied snake with a triangular shaped head and two dark diagonal lines on each side of its face running from the eyes to its jaws.

-Its venom is actually a toxic saliva: a mixture of enzymes that destroys blood or paralyzes nerves.

-Western diamondbacks are pit vipers which means that they have a heat sensing pit behind each nostril that can detect differences in temperature as little as a fraction of a degree apart. The heat given off by an animal is detected by the snake helping it to determine predator from prey.

-Mice, rats, rabbits, gophers, ground dwelling birds, lizards and other small animals make up the diet of this snake. But diamondbacks also have many predators such as eagles, hawks, roadrunners, king snakes, coyotes, bobcats and fox.

-During the heat of the day diamondbacks will remain coiled in the shade of shrubs or rocks, while in winter, they retreat into caves or similar places to hibernate.

-Its rattle is made up of keratin (the same protein hair and fingernails are made of) and a new segment is added each time a rattlesnake sheds

-Male rattlesnakes engage in ritualistic combats during the spring mating season presumably to determine the sexual fitness of a male.

C. “Carol” Coral Snake

Beautiful red, black and pale yellow banded coral snake.

Beautiful red, black and yellow banded coral snake. Very secretive and rarely seen.

-The Arizona coral snake is a slender, small snake reaching only 13 to 21 inches.

-It is a brightly colored snake with broad alternating bands of red and black separated by narrower bands of bright white or yellow which completely encircle the body

-A secretive snake, it usually emerges after sundown, feeding primarily on blind and black-headed snakes. Occasionally it eats lizards or other small, smooth-scaled snakes.

-While its venom is similar to that of the cobra, because it is small with small front fixed fangs the venom does not pose as much danger to humans as that of rattlesnakes.

-Many people use a rhyme to identify a coral snake-“red on yellow kill a fellow, red on black venom lack”

D. “Longnose Rose” Longnose snake

Black and yellow banded snake with some red highlights.

Longnose Snake has a banded appearance like many other snakes in our area. It is nonvenomous.

-This slender snake varies considerably in pattern and coloring, reaching lengths of slightly over 3 feet.

-It is sometimes confused with the venomous coral snake because of its similar color banding pattern but can be distinguished by its long nose and banding that does not completely encircle it body.

-When disturbed, the longnose snake writhes and twists its body, vibrates its tail, and defecates feces and blood from its anal opening.

-An excellent burrower if the soil is sandy, it can also retreat under rocks or into rock crevices or rodent burrows,

-Active primarily at night, it feeds on lizards, lizard eggs, small snakes, small mammals, and birds.

E. “Sid” Sidewinder

The sidewinder's brown, black and tan blends in well with the desert floor.

The sidewinder coloration blends in well with its sandy surroundings. It can be a “feisty” rattlesnake.

-This small rattlesnake about 2 feet long can be tan, cream, or light gray with a dark stripe extending from the eye to above the corner of the mouth. Its coloring often matches the soil or sand on which the snake lives.

-During mild spring days it is out and about but seeks shelter in underground burrows during the hot summer months, only coming out at night

-In sandy areas this snake often coils partially buried in the sand, with only its head exposed.

-Its name is derived from its distinctive method of moving sideways with its body winding through an “S” shaped curve leaving distinctive parallel J-shaped tracks in the sand.

-As with other “pit-vipers” the sidewinder uses the heat sensing pits on each side of the face between the eye and nostril to detect warm-blooded predators and prey. –

An ambush hunter, the sidewinder coils and waits for unsuspecting lizards, mice, birds, and snakes to wander within striking distance.

F. “Lionel” Lyre Snake

The grayish banded lyre snake has a pattern on top of its head that resembles the musical instrument.

The lyre snake is named for the pattern on the top of its head that resembles the musical instrument. While mildly venomous, it does not pose a serious threat to pets.

– Named for the V-shaped marking on its head that looks like the musical instrument

-This mildly venomous, rear-fanged snake is about 4 feet in length

-Lives in rocks, crevices and fissures -Feeds primarily on lizards, but also eats birds and bats.

-Primarily nocturnal, it is seldom active during the day.

-When alarmed, the lyre snake will raise up, shake its tail, hiss, and strike, biting the intruder if not left alone. This behavior, sometimes causes the lyre snake to be mistaken for a rattlesnake.

 

 

Do you know what to do if a rattlesnake bites your pet?

Bonnie’s Parents knew exactly what to do.

Questions??  Call or TEXT us at 480-987-4555.

Your San Tan Valley Vets at       Johnson Ranch Animal Clinic.

Clinic cat Joe is prepared with his fire extinguisher by his side

Is Your Pet a Pyromaniac?

By | Client Education, News/ Events

 

Well, maybe not intentionally, but

almost 1,000 household fires are caused by pets each year.

How does this happen? Take a walk through your home and consider all the potential fire hazards just waiting to become an inferno.

  •      Lit candles, fireplaces, BBQs
  •      Plug in deodorizers
  •      Stove top burners (especially flat glass)
  •      Electrical cords

Can your pet reach candles and topple them so they set something else on fire?

Clinic cat Joe practically has his nose in the electrical outlet.

Joe’s curiosity draws him to the electrical outlet.

Will your pet chew on electrical cords or drag them so they cause something hot to fall?

Is there food cooking enticing your pet to jump up on the stove?

The solution:

Repair, replace or remove these possible dangers and then…

  • Don‘t leave pets unattended near an open flame
  • Have pets microchipped so they can be returned if they escape during a fire
  • Train pets to come when called
  • Know their hiding places
  • Post window stickers to let people know there are pets in the house

Consider the likely scenarios when and how a fire could occur in your home- daytime, at night, when people are home and when no one is home. Every family should prepare for these eventualities with drills and an escape plan which should include the family’s pets. For more ideas on keeping your pets safe from fire visit the National Fire Protection Association’s pet web page.

 

QUESTIONS??

 Contact your San Tan Valley Veterinarians at Johnson Ranch Animal Clinic   480-987-4555.  You can call or text us at this number!

 

Gold and brown Bengal cat

The Bengal- Looks Like a Wild Cat Acts Like a Pussycat

By | Breed of the Week, Client Education

The Bengal is a strikingly beautiful and unique house cat, whose sleek, muscular body and spotted coat evoke visions of a leopard ancestor, but its temperament is completely domesticated

The result of selective breeding Bengals were first bred in 1963 by crossing an Asian Leopard Cat with a domestic breed, such as an Abyssinian, American Shorthair, Burmese, or Egyptian Mau.  The goal was to create a confident, healthy, and friendly cat with a highly contrasted and vividly marked coat.

Not the cat for everyone, or for first-time cat owners, Bengals are extremely intelligent, curious and active. Don’t get a Bengal if you want a sedate, sweet, gentle lap cat. They demand a lot of interaction so if you’re gone all day get two of them or don’t get one.

A bored Bengal can take things apart and open cupboards and drawers to see what’s inside

Bengals love their people and crave for attention from them. Most co-exist nicely with other pets, including dogs but are best suited to homes with older children

A gold and brown Bengal cat.

A beautiful Bengal cat at Johnson Ranch Animal Clinic.

Constantly on the move, they love climbing to high places, so give them tall cat trees and window perches where they can bird-watch.

They also like water and may want to join you in the shower or bathtub.

Challenge their brains by teaching them tricks and games and providing them with interactive toys or puzzles that reward them with treats.

Easy to care for with weekly brushing, the Bengal’s short, luxurious, soft coat comes in many colors, from golden, rust, brown and orange to sand, buff and ivory.

They are the only domestic cat with rosettes like the markings on Leopards, Jaguars and Ocelots.

The iridescent sheen makes their coat look as if it has been sprinkled with glitter, giving it a unique golden or pearly glitter effect that is found in no other breed

 

Adult Males typically weigh 9-12 pounds, females between 7-10

Their lifespan averages 10-15 years

Bengal cats are so sought after, that a British woman paid over $50,000 for her Bengal cat in 1990

 

 

Questions??   Call or text us at 480-987-4555      Johnson Ranch Animal Clinic

 

 

Contact Us

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