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Can Dogs Have Seasonal Allergies? Signs and Treatment

Can Dogs Have Seasonal Allergies? Signs and Treatment

At Continental Animal Wellness Center in Flagstaff, Arizona, we field questions from dog owners every day about dog behavior, diet, and health. Sometimes, pet parents are surprised by our answers. 

For instance, did you know that your dog can smell your feelings? Or that a study at the University of San Diego California claims dogs can experience jealousy? 

Sometimes, our answers aren’t just surprising, but humbling. After all, once you learn that the average dog can understand approximately 150 words, you quickly realize that your dog understands you much better than you understand him. 

Over the years, we’ve found that one answer that consistently surprises new pet owners is our response to “do dogs get seasonal allergies?” The answer is: YES. While most pet parents have friends or family members with seasonal allergies, they may never have cared for a pet who suffers from allergies before.  

When your dog is uncomfortable, your goal is always to find out what’s causing it and do everything you can to eliminate it. You shouldn’t attempt to diagnose and treat allergies on your own, though. 

If you suspect your dog is experiencing seasonal allergies, you should schedule an appointment with your veterinarian. They’ll conduct an examination and talk to you about your dog’s symptoms before suggesting tests to rule out other conditions that can share overlapping symptoms. 

What Are Allergies in Dogs? 

Like humans, dogs can develop an allergic response to different types of food or ingredients. Some dogs can develop seasonal allergies to substances in their environments, like dust, pollen, and grass, too. 

Dog seasonal allergies are just like the seasonal allergies humans experience. Though the substances that trigger an allergic response aren’t generally harmful to people or pets, some dogs’ immune systems respond to them as though they are.

Seasonal allergy symptoms in dogs tend to overlap with symptoms of other conditions, as well. This can make diagnosing your dog with allergies challenging. If your pet is displaying any new symptoms, you should schedule a visit with your vet before attempting any dog seasonal allergies home remedies. Since your dog can’t tell you what’s wrong, though, it can be helpful to learn its signs, symptoms, and common causes. 

What Dog Breeds are Most at Risk?

After asking “can dogs get seasonal allergies,” the second question most dog owners have is, “what dog breeds are most likely to have allergies?” 

Although any dog can develop seasonal and environmental allergies, some breeds are predisposed to them. Dozens of dog breeds share the (unfortunate) genetic disposition to allergies, including: 

  • American Pit Bull Terriers
  • Beagles
  • Boxers
  • Bulldogs
  • Bull Terriers
  • Cocker Spaniels
  • German Shepherds
  • Golden Retrievers
  • Labrador Retrievers
  • Pugs

Regardless of whether your dog’s allergies are due to a genetic predisposition, you should talk with your vet about how their breed affects their allergy treatment and prevention. For example, pugs, bulldogs, and other breeds with prominent skin folds benefit from having their faces and necks wiped down daily. This daily cleaning routine helps to keep them clean, reduces the risks of skin infections, and can remove traces of any environmental triggers such as pollen or grass that they may have encountered during the day. 

Symptoms of Seasonal Allergies in Dogs

Just like humans, dogs can be allergic to any number of environmental substances. Some of the most common seasonal allergies that affect dogs are: 

  • Grass
  • Pollen
  • Mold
  • Fungi
  • Fleas
  • Dust

A dog’s allergy triggers will also be influenced by where he lives. The immune system can only develop an allergic response to a substance it has encountered before. The more frequently the allergen is encountered, the more opportunities there are for the immune system to mount an (over) reaction to it. Because of the way allergies develop, dogs can develop allergies at any age to any substance, even one they’ve encountered in the past without any problem. 

Though the symptoms of dog allergies can also be caused by other health issues, it’s useful to understand how your dog might respond to seasonal allergies. The majority of environmental allergies in dogs presents with skin and ears:

  • Itchy, flaky, or red skin
  • Hair loss
  • Itching
  • Ear infections
  • Head shaking or ear scratching
  • Smelly ears or ears that appear dirty

Other symptoms to look out for that might indicate your dog has seasonal allergies are: 

  • Watery eyes
  • Sneezing
  • Runny nose
  • Paw licking

Every dog will respond differently, and they won’t all show their discomfort in the same way, so you should always never try to diagnose your dog without a visit to your vet. 

How to Treat Allergies in Dogs

Unfortunately, there is no cure for dog seasonal allergies, but you can treat your dog’s symptoms to reduce or eliminate their discomfort. Once your vet has diagnosed your dog with allergies and run tests to identify their allergy triggers, they’ll develop a treatment plan that may include a combination of prescription and over-the-counter medications along with environmental or behavioral changes. 

Seasonal Allergy Medicine for Dogs

Unlike humans, histamines don’t tend to play a big role in dog allergies which is why over-the-counter antihistamines such as Claritin and Benadryl almost never work. Human allergy medications may sometimes be recommended as last resort medication in order to hold your dog over until their vet appointment. However, the dosage for dogs is not the same as it is for humans, and not all dogs are good candidates for some formulations. You should never provide any human medications to your dog without consulting with your vet first. 

If your dog’s allergies are severe or they are suffering from secondary infections, as well, your vet may prescribe a course of Apoquel, Cytopoint, Prednisone, and sometimes Cyclosporine. 

Other Dog Seasonal Allergies Treatment

Frequent bathing with an oatmeal-based soap or other allergy-safe cleanser may help give your dog some relief and remove airborne allergens from his skin and coat. You can also make some changes to your dog’s environment to help them avoid known allergen triggers. This may include changing your walking routine (pollen levels are typically highest early in the morning and in the late afternoon), upgrading your home’s air filters, and regularly washing your dog’s bedding and other washable surfaces in hot water. 

Conclusion

While there’s no cure for allergies and you can’t prevent your dog from having them, you can help alleviate the discomfort caused by your dog’s seasonal allergy symptoms. The first step in getting dog seasonal allergies under control is paying a visit to your veterinarian. 

At Continental Animal Wellness Center in Flagstaff, Arizona, we provide compassionate and comprehensive pet care that incorporates behavioral health practices and traditional medicine. Our mission is to always provide excellent customer care to pets and their people, and ensure we educate and partner with owners so they can take an active role in their pet’s wellness. If you suspect seasonal allergies are behind your dog’s symptoms or have questions about dog seasonal allergy medication and treatment, contact us today to talk to a member of our team or schedule a visit. 

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9 Diet & Nutrition Tips to Keep Your Pet Healthy

9 Diet & Nutrition Tips to Keep Your Pet Healthy

The bond between people and their pets is undeniable. When you adopt pets, they become a part of your family, and you want to do everything you can to keep them happy and healthy. 

You know diet plays a significant role in your health and wellbeing, and the same is true of your pet. If your dog or cat eats a diet lacking the necessary nutrients, the deficiency will reveal itself in noticeable ways. 

At Continental Animal Wellness Center, we know pet parents want to provide their furry family members with a safe and nutritionally appropriate diet. Still, it can often feel like a daunting task. In the United States, pet owners collectively spend more than $31 billion on pet food each year. The sheer variety of available options alongside conflicting messages about pet nutrition can make it challenging to know what diet is best for your pet’s health. So, we have assembled this guide to help pet parents like you cut through the confusion and make informed decisions about your pet’s diet plan. 

Tip 1: Feed your pet a balanced diet that meets AAFCO standards

The Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO) establishes guidelines for nutritional requirements, standard ingredient definitions, feeding trials, laboratory nutritional analysis, and product labels for pet foods. Pet foods that meet or exceed AAFCO nutritional adequacy standards will include a statement on its packaging stating whether the food contains essential nutrients, how this was determined, and for which life stage. 

When you’re shopping for pet food, you should look for the AAFCO statement on the label to ensure the product is complete and balanced for your pet and their life stage. If your pet has additional dietary needs determined by their breed, lifestyle, or health concerns, you should discuss these with your veterinarian before making any changes to their diet. 

Tip 2: Avoid raw food diets

Though raw food diets for cats and dogs have gained popularity in recent years, the CDC, FDA, and many veterinarians caution against it. The risks of feeding your pet a raw diet are well documented, and there is no evidence a raw diet for pets has benefits to outweigh these risks. Raw pet food, even those sold commercially, has been found to contain germs like listeria and salmonella, which can cause you, your pets, and your family to get sick. Raw diets are also unlikely to provide your pet with the complete and balanced nutrition they need, which can cause other health problems both now and in the future. If you have further questions regarding raw food diets, please consult with your veterinarian or a veterinary nutritionist. 

Tip 3: If you plan on feeding your pet home-cooked meals, consult with a veterinary nutritionist first  

Commercial pet foods are designed and tested to ensure your pet gets the right amount of nutrients for their developmental needs. Many pet owners who wish to cook their own pet food underestimate how challenging it can be to achieve the right balance of protein, fats, carbohydrates, vitamins, and minerals that their pet needs to stay healthy. 

Certain pets should never be fed home-cooked diets, including cats and most dogs under 12 months old, pregnant or nursing pets, overweight pets, and any pet with ongoing or unaddressed allergies or health concerns.  If you plan to provide a home-cooked diet for any other pet, it is vital that you do so in consultation with a veterinary nutritionist who can evaluate your recipes and recommend changes or supplements. 

Tip 4: Unless your veterinarian feels it is medically necessary, avoiding feeding dogs a grain-free diet

Though grain-free diets for dogs have frequently popped up on store shelves, you should avoid feeding your dog a grain-free diet except under the direction and care of your vet. An FDA investigation into 515 dogs diagnosed with dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM) found 90% of them were fed a grain-free diet. Some breeds are genetically predisposed to DCM, but veterinary cardiologists have noted an increase in DCM diagnoses in breeds without a genetic predisposition. If your veterinarian feels a grain-free diet is appropriate for your dog based on other health factors, they should monitor them closely for signs of DCM. 

Tip 5: Pick a protein and stick with it 

We humans may believe variety is the spice of life, but that is not the case for our pets. If you change your pet’s food frequently, you could inadvertently risk their health. Frequent food changes can upset their GI tract and lead to vomiting and diarrhea. Anytime you introduce a new ingredient to your pet, you should do so slowly by incorporating it into their typical diet and closely observing for any health or behavioral changes. Furthermore, if your pet is eating without showing any signs of allergies or intolerance, there really is not any reason to introduce new foods. Many pet parents wrongly believe they can reduce allergies in their pets by exposing them to a variety of proteins. Unfortunately, the opposite is true–the more proteins your pet is exposed to, the more likely they are to develop an allergy. If you plan to transition your pet from one protein to another, talk to your veterinarian first to understand how to do so safely.

Tip 6: Establish a twice-daily feeding schedule

Failing to establish a healthy meal routine is one of the most common mistakes pet owners make. If food is always available, pets who graze throughout the day tend to overeat, which could lead to obesity. Pets who are fed only once per day may develop bilious vomiting syndrome, which occurs when stomach inactivity aggravates the bile reflex, causing bile to enter the stomach. Once bile enters the stomach, your pet may vomit or, if they don’t, they may develop gastric reflux.  

A twice-per-day feeding schedule is ideal in most situations, though some pets may benefit from smaller portions spread across more feedings. If you are unsure what schedule is best for your pet, talk to your vet. 

Tip 7: Do not feed your pets table scraps 

It can be hard to resist those pleading puppy dog eyes, but when your pet is begging for a taste of your family’s dinner, the best thing you can do for them is refuse. When you feed your pet table scraps or other human food, they can easily exceed their daily intake needs, leading to weight gain. In addition, many human foods can cause stomach upset or allergic reactions, and some may even be toxic. If you are snacking on a healthy treat, such as green beans or carrots, it is okay to share a few bite-sized pieces with your dog. For all other human foods, resist the urge to give in to your pet’s pleading. 

Tip 8: Don’t give your dog hard bones 

Few things seem more natural than a dog with a bone. What many dog parents don’t know, however, is that hard bones can cause serious injury. The FDA cautions pet owners against giving bones to dogs, citing instances of injuries to dog’s teeth, tongues, and mouths. Bones can also splinter, causing pieces to get stuck in a dog’s digestive tract and requiring surgery to remove. Though you will find no shortage of bones, hooves, and other hard treats for dogs lining the aisles of your pet store, you should follow the fingernail test before giving your dog a bone–if it’s too hard to indent with your fingernail, it’s too hard for your dog to chew.

Tip 9: Annual dental cleaning beginning around 3 years of age

Most pet parents know their dogs and cats need to visit the vet each year for an annual check-up, but some are surprised to learn they should bring them in for annual dental cleaning, as well. Though your vet will talk to you about when your pet should have its first dental cleaning, most pets should begin having annual dental cleanings by the time they turn 3 years old. Regular at-home cleanings along with annual dental cleanings keep plaque, tartar, and bacteria at bay. This, in turn, protects your pet from tooth loss, gum disease, and even heart and kidney problems that can develop as they age. 

Conclusion

We know you want to keep your pet healthy and happy, and we are here to provide the expert care and advice you need along the way. At Continental Animal Wellness Center in Flagstaff, Arizona, we focus on the health and overall well-being of every pet who visits us. Our practice combines behavioral health with traditional medicine at our state-of-the-art animal wellness facility, where we provide your pet with compassionate and comprehensive care. Whether you have questions about your pet’s diet or need to schedule your annual wellness exam, our caring team is here and happy to help – contact us today. 

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Can Pets Have Food Allergies Too? Yes, They Can!

Can Pets Have Food Allergies

At Continental Animal Wellness Center in Flagstaff, Arizona, we know that your pets are an important part of your family.

When you adopt a pet, you are not only inviting a new family member into your heart and home but accepting the responsibility to provide for their health and wellbeing. We all know that when your dog or cat starts showing signs of discomfort, your top priority is to find the source and eliminate it. While many pet parents are familiar with allergies, some are surprised to learn that dogs and cats can suffer from allergies, as well.

Like humans, dogs and cats can develop an allergic response to substances in their environment, such as dust, fleas, pollen, and mold. But did you know that both dogs and cats can also develop food allergies?

Food allergy symptoms often overlap with symptoms of other conditions. So, if your pet is displaying new symptoms that you believe could be triggered by something they are eating, your first call should always be to your veterinarian. However, understanding the signs, causes, and treatment of food allergies can help you gather valuable information to share with your vet so she can make an informed diagnosis and create a treatment plan for your furry family members.

Allergy Symptoms in Cats and Dogs

Though some cats and dogs experience respiratory symptoms such as runny nose, watery eyes, and coughing in response to allergens, many symptoms of allergies in dogs and cats are seen on the skin. If your pet shows any of these symptoms or behaviors, she may be suffering from a food allergy:

  • Itching and skin inflammation that presents year-round
  • Over-grooming, wounds, hot spots, or hair loss
  • Recurrent infections of the skin or ears (or both)
  • Frequent licking of the paws, flanks, or groin
  • Skin rashes or hives

Some animals with food allergies will also experience gastrointestinal distress, such as flatulence, vomiting, and diarrhea. If your pet is experiencing any of these symptoms, or any other new behaviors, you should schedule a consultation with your veterinarian.

Caring for a Dog with Food Allergies

Just like humans, dogs can develop allergies at any time, even if they’ve never had an allergic reaction before. The longer your pet is exposed to an allergen, the more intense their allergic responses can be. So, it is crucial to identify and eliminate your dog’s allergens as soon as you notice signs of discomfort. While allergies can never be cured, you can eliminate the symptoms by removing the allergen from their diet.

Your vet will want to conduct a complete examination to rule out other conditions. They may also order skin and blood tests, though there is not one definitive food allergy test. If your vet suspects a food allergy, they will likely ask you to conduct a food trial that typically lasts 6-8 weeks, though more time may be needed depending on your dog’s diet and symptoms.

  • How common are food allergies in dogs?

Among dogs with allergies, approximately 10% are food-related. When your dog develops a food allergy, its immune system “overreacts” and produces antibodies in response to the offending ingredient.

  • What are the common signs of a food allergy in dogs?

Dogs with food allergies may experience itchy skin, rashes, chronic ear infections, vomiting, diarrhea, and more. Often, pet owners notice their dog constantly licks or scratches one part of their body, such as the paws or groin. Some dogs may develop skin infections in their neck or ears that do not respond well to treatment or return as soon as the treatment is stopped. If your dog frequently rubs their neck, head, or ears against carpet or furniture, or you notice skin irritation or hot spots, these may be signs of a food allergy.

Your dog may also display gastrointestinal symptoms after eating an allergen. Repeated vomiting, belching, excessive gas, unusually frequent bowel movements, and diarrhea may all be food allergy symptoms.

  • What could trigger a food allergy in my dog?

Though some breeds are pre-disposed to allergies, food allergies can develop at any age in every breed. Dogs can develop food allergies, even if they have been on the same diet for a long period of time. Any food can cause an allergic reaction in dogs, but some of the most common dog allergies are triggered by chicken, beef, salmon, dairy products, eggs, lamb, and soy. 

The best pet food for dogs with skin allergies and other allergic reactions will depend on your dog’s allergy triggers and other factors that influence their nutritional needs. Your vet will work with you to develop a diet that is appropriate for your dog.

Caring for a Cat with Food Allergies

If you suspect your cat has food allergies, you may be tempted to scour the pet store for allergy-free pet food brands. However, you should always consult with your veterinarian before making changes to your cat’s diet.

Your vet will first want to examine your cat to rule out other conditions. If no other cause of your cat’s symptoms is found, a trial diet will help identify the allergens that trigger your cat’s response. Your vet will then work with you to develop a diet plan that provides complete nutrition for your cat while avoiding their allergy triggers.

  • How common are food allergies in cats?

Among cats with allergies, food allergies are the third most common type of allergy. Just as in dogs (and humans), cats with food allergies have an immune system overreaction in response to an allergen, which triggers the development of antibodies.

  • What are the common signs of a food allergy in cats?

Cats experiencing allergies in response to food may display a range of symptoms, varying from one cat to the next. 

Excessive grooming can be a sign that your cat is experiencing skin itchiness or inflammation. You may also notice reddened skin or hair loss on a cat with food allergies. Chronic ear and anal gland infections can also be a sign of food allergies in cats, and some cats may exhibit symptoms of gastrointestinal distress, such as vomiting and diarrhea.

  • What could trigger a food allergy in my cat?

Many cats with food allergies develop them between the ages of two and six, but cats of any age are susceptible. Cats and dogs can only form an allergy when they have been previously exposed to the allergen, and their immune response can become more severe with repeated and sustained exposure. Though any ingredient may cause an allergic reaction, some common culprits behind cat food allergies are beef, milk, lamb, wheat, corn, egg, chicken, tuna, and salmon.

Compassionate Veterinary Care for Your Pets

If you suspect your pet’s food is causing them discomfort, it can be tempting to head straight to the pet store to stock up on food for pets with allergies. However, if your dog or cat has a pet food allergy, switching their diet can make it more difficult for your vet to diagnose your pet and pinpoint the offending ingredients.

Many diseases and conditions can mimic the symptoms of pet food allergies, so it is essential to contact your veterinarian before making any diet changes. In most instances, your vet will want to see your pet in the office so they can thoroughly investigate your pet’s symptoms and check for bacterial infections, parasites, fungal infections, and other conditions with overlapping symptoms.

At Continental Animal Wellness Center in Flagstaff, Arizona, we provide compassionate, wellness-oriented care for every pet who visits our practice. Our holistic and comprehensive approach to veterinary care incorporates wellness planning to enhance your pet’s quality of life. If your dog or cat is exhibiting food allergy symptoms, our veterinary technicians and board-certified veterinarians will examine your pet and perform tests to rule out other conditions. If your pet’s symptoms indicate food allergies are behind them, we will work with you to identify the foods that trigger your pet’s symptoms and develop an allergy-free pet food diet plan to alleviate the symptoms and return your pet to a high quality of life.

Conclusion

There is no cure for food allergies. However, with ongoing dietary control and support, the prognosis for dogs and cats with food allergies is typically quite good.

At Continental Animal Wellness Center in Flagstaff, AZ, we incorporate traditional medicine and behavioral health practices to provide compassionate, comprehensive care that promotes the health and wellbeing of all our patients. We know how concerning it can be when your family pet is not feeling its best, so we make it our mission to provide excellent customer service and straightforward, consistent communication with our patients’ owners so you understand your pet’s needs and can act as an informed partner in developing their care plan. If you have questions about your pet’s symptoms or suspect food allergies are behind them, contact us today to talk to a member of our staff and schedule an appointment. 

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Can dogs have diabetes? Here’s all you need to know.

While you’re likely to know someone with diabetes, if you’re like some pet owners, you may be surprised to learn that diabetes can be present in pets, as well. Just like humans, dogs and cats can develop diabetes mellitus in one of two forms:

Type I Diabetes: This type of diabetes, also known as insulin-deficient diabetes, is present when a pet cannot produce or does not produce enough insulin.

Type II Diabetes: Type II Diabetes, or insulin-resistant diabetes, in dogs occurs when a dog’s body makes insulin, but either doesn’t produce enough of it or has an insensitivity or resistance to insulin.

At Continental Animal Wellness Center in Flagstaff, AZ, we know you want your dog to lead a happy and healthy life. As the only animal wellness center in the area, the health and wellbeing of every animal we treat is our focus. We’ve put together this guide to provide you with more information about the signs and symptoms of diabetes in dogs, as well as the types of treatments available.

Are you concerned that your dog is exhibiting symptoms of diabetes? Please contact your veterinarian to schedule a visit and discuss your concerns. While you may find the content in this article helpful, it is not a replacement for veterinary care and treatment. 

What is Diabetes in Dogs?

Nearly all dogs with diabetes present with Type I Diabetes. Though rare, dogs can develop Type II diabetes. Though the type identifies the cause and determines how to treat diabetes in dogs, the effects on your dog’s body are the same.

When a dog suffers from diabetes, excess sugar builds up in their blood where the cells that need it cannot access it. Starved of the fuel they need for specific organ cells and muscle cells to function, a dog’s body will begin to break down fats and protein in the body, while high glucose levels in the bloodstream cause damage throughout the body to nerves, blood vessels, and organs.

Upon learning that their dog has diabetes, many owners are interested to know what causes diabetes in dogs and wonder if it can be cured. While there is no cure for diabetes in dogs or any other animal, this chronic condition can be managed successfully. Though it isn’t always possible to pinpoint the cause when a dog develops diabetes, some common factors are present more frequently in dogs with diabetes:

Genetic predisposition: Dogs with diabetes may have affected relatives, just as humans do.

Breed: Certain breeds seem to be predisposed to developing diabetes, including (but not limited to):

  • Beagles
  • Miniature Schnauzers
  • Keeshonds
  • Pulis
  • Miniature Pinschers
  • Samoyeds
  • Cairn Terriers
  • Dachshunds
  • Poodles

Medical conditions: Dogs diagnosed with certain medical conditions may be at a higher risk of developing diabetes. The conditions most commonly associated with canine diabetes are:

  • Cushing’s disease
  • Obesity
  • Pancreatitis

Sex: Female dogs may develop temporary insulin resistance while pregnant or in heat. 

Symptoms of Diabetes in Dogs?

What are the signs of diabetes in dogs? All dogs are different, so their symptoms will vary. Early on in their dog’s disease, owners may notice some of these signs, which can be early symptoms of diabetes:

  • Increased or excessive thirst
  • Increased urination
  • Increased appetite
  • weight loss or weight gain

As a dog’s disease advances, they may experience more pronounced symptoms, including:

  • Decreased or lack of appetite
  • Decreased or lack of energy
  • Depressed demeanor or other changes in attitude
  • Vomiting

If diabetes isn’t diagnosed and treated until late in the disease’s development, dogs may experience significant health threats, including:

  • Seizures
  • Urinary tract infections
  • Cataracts
  • Kidney failure
  • Ketoacidosis

Diabetes Diagnosis in Dogs

Diabetes can develop at any age, but it presents mainly in dogs aged five or older. Though some breeds appear predisposed to diabetes, mixed-breed dogs develop diabetes at or close to the same rate as pure-breed dogs. If you’re concerned that your companion is showing symptoms of diabetes or is exhibiting other behavioral changes, you should schedule a visit with your veterinarian for a thorough examination. The sooner a dog is diagnosed and begins treatment, the better.

You should expect your vet to take a thorough medical history at your appointment. Since your dog can’t speak up for himself, your observations are the second-best thing, so be sure to provide as many details as you can. Since dogs may mask signs of pain or distress, any new or different behavior may be relevant and help your vet understand the complete picture.

If your vet suspects diabetes, she will discuss your dog’s symptoms with you and order a series of standard tests for diabetes in dogs. Typically, testing for diabetes in dogs includes running a urinalysis, complete blood count, and chemistry. These may reveal a high concentration of glucose in your dog’s blood and urine, electrolyte imbalances, or high liver enzyme levels may also be present. Your veterinarian may also suggest abdominal x-rays or ultrasounds if they suspect kidney stones or other abnormalities. 

Treatment of Diabetes in Dogs

Treatment for dogs with diabetes varies depending on the type of diabetes and any other health conditions or concerns present in your dog. A treatment plan for canine diabetes will include a combination of changes in diet and exercise alongside medications.

Medication: Just as humans with diabetes require daily shots of insulin, your dog may also need daily insulin shots. Though many owners experience some initial apprehension upon hearing this, most find that it’s not as difficult or painful for their dogs (or themselves) as they had feared. Your vet will help you learn how to inject your dog correctly, so it becomes a fast and straightforward part of your daily routine.

Exercise: Diabetic dogs require moderate but consistent exercise routines to avoid peaks and valleys in their glucose levels, so your vet will discuss your current exercise regimen and any changes necessary with you.

Diet: Diabetic dogs need to eat a diet of high-quality protein, typically with low-fat content and a balance of fiber and complex carbohydrates that help moderate glucose absorption. Your vet will discuss the type of food that’s best for your dog and may prescribe a prescription diet.

Monitoring: Your vet will discuss any signs or symptoms you should be on the lookout for and develop a home monitoring plan to test your dog’s glucose levels at home, and she may also instruct you to keep a ketones-testing kit on hand for at-home urine testing. 

Conclusion

When you adopt a dog into your family, you open yourself up to a whole new world of tail-wagging good times and plenty of tenderness too. Our dogs bring so much joy and affection into our lives, so it’s only natural that we can be quick to worry when we notice changes in their behavior. Sometimes, the new behavior is nothing to fret about. Other times, though, minor changes can be symptoms of a more significant underlying problem. When you notice a change in your pet’s behavior or activities, your first call should always be to your veterinarian.

While you may worry when your dog is diagnosed with diabetes, there’s no need to panic. With early detection and a supportive care team, most diabetic dogs go on to live happy, normal lives with their favorite humans.

Do you have questions or concerns about your dog’s health or symptoms? The caring and experienced team at Continental Animal Wellness Center is here to help. At Continental Animal Wellness Center, we focus on the health and wellbeing of all our pet patients, incorporating traditional medicine and behavioral health into our compassionate and comprehensive care plans. Contact us today to schedule a visit for your dog or puppy. 

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All you Need to Know About Parvo Season in Northern AZ

Owning a dog is an incredibly rewarding experience. Although we wish dogs were always healthy and happy, unfortunately, just like humans they can get sick or hurt or catch a disease. Every new puppy owner or dog owner’s worst nightmare is the parvovirus. Parvo in dogs can come on quickly and be fatal. The good news is that parvovirus in dogs is preventable. It’s important to be aware of parvo symptoms and treatment in case your puppy catches it.

At Continental Animal Wellness Center in Flagstaff, Arizona we recommend puppies get the parvo vaccine starting at 8 weeks of age. This is the number one way to prevent parvo in puppies.

The most important tool you have for preventing parvovirus in your dog is to understand it. Learn exactly what the parvovirus is, how dogs can become infected with the virus, symptoms, and parvo treatment below. 

What Is Parvo (Canine Parvovirus)? 

So what exactly is the parvovirus? The parvovirus, otherwise known as the CPV, is a highly contagious virus found mostly in puppies and young dogs. It is an infectious gastrointestinal (GI) illness that can be deadly without treatment. What makes the disease so dangerous is how easily and quickly it can be spread.

Although there are two strains of canine parvovirus, the same disease is caused by both and the same vaccine will give protection against both. The disease first appeared in dogs in 1978, not that long ago. It has generated a great deal of public interest because of the severity of the disease and how rapidly it spreads.

How Do Dogs Get Parvo?

Parvovirus can be spread in a few different ways. Either by direct contact with an infected dog or through feces. Once the virus is ingested, it is carried to the intestine where it invades the intestinal wall and will cause inflammation. Often before an infected dog has started displaying any sign of infection, he can start shedding the virus. The dog will continue to shed the virus while he is sick and for up to 10 days after he has recovered. Because of this, accurate diagnosis and quarantine are incredibly essential for the health of all dogs involved.

The parvovirus can survive indoors at normal room temperature for at least two months. It is resistant to many commonly used cleaners and disinfectants. One of the few disinfectants known to kill the virus is bleach. A solution of 3/4 cup of chlorine bleach in one gallon of water will disinfect contaminated items such as food and water bowls. Although there are disinfectants that claim to kill the canine parvovirus, they are not effective. It must be chlorine bleach. Even more alarming is that the parvovirus can survive for months, and even years, outdoors if it is protected from direct sunlight. This is why hospital quarantine of the infected dog and proper cleanup of the environment is especially important.

Symptoms of Parvo in Dogs 

Young puppies less than 5 months of age are usually the most affected so it’s important to contact us at Continental Animal Wellness Center in Flagstaff, AZ right away if you have a puppy that is exhibiting the two main symptoms which are severe vomiting and diarrhea. Often, diarrhea will have a very strong smell and may contain lots of mucus. It’s also possible diarrhea may or may not contain blood.

However, parvo can affect dogs of all ages so if you see these signs in an older, unvaccinated dog it will be important to get your dog tested for parvovirus immediately. Other symptoms can include depression and marked listlessness as well as a loss of appetite. If your dog displays any or all of the symptoms below it is important to contact us. even if your dog tests negative for parvo, exhibiting any of the following symptoms could be a sign of a different illness that needs to be treated:

  • Severe, bloody diarrhea
  • Vomiting
  • Dehydration
  • Fever
  • Listlessness
  • Weight loss
  • Weakness
  • Depression

How To Treat Parvo in Canines

The best thing you can do if you suspect your dog has parvovirus is to bring him to the vet. Parvo treatment cost can vary depending on the severity of the case. The first step will be to get your dog tested and then quarantined if that is necessary. We will provide your dog with the supportive fluids, nutrition, and medications needed. In many parvo cases where supportive care is started promptly, we are able to save their lives..

The first step towards preventing the spread of this highly contagious disease is understanding it. Make sure your puppy gets vaccinated, starting at 6-8 weeks. We offer a puppy package that includes the DAPP vaccine. If your puppy hasn’t been vaccinated yet be sure to keep them in a safe environment. As much as you want to bring the puppy with you everywhere, it’s important for their safety that they stay in a safe environment until they’ve had all their vaccines. Training classes and daycare can wait!

Conclusion

When you have questions about your furry family members, the caring and experienced team at Continental Animal Wellness Center in Flagstaff, Arizona, are here to help. Our practice focuses on our pet patients’ health and wellbeing, incorporating behavioral health and traditional medicine to provide comprehensive and compassionate care. Our state-of-the-art animal wellness facility in Flagstaff, Arizona, is equipped for complete animal care, from vaccinations and routine wellness checks to behavior consultations, sick visits, and more. Contact us today to schedule a visit for your dog or puppy.

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DIY Home Pet Care For Cats

DIY Home Care For Cats

Do I need to bathe my cat? What should I feed my kitten? My cat is scratching the mirror…is that normal

Whether you’re living with a new kitten or have shared your home with cats for years, cat behavior can raise a lot of questions. At Continental Animal Wellness Center in Flagstaff, Arizona, we’ve heard them all and are always happy to share our answers: 

  • Do you need to bathe your cat: Maybe! 
  • What should I feed my kitten: Quality kitten food. 
  • Is that…normal? As normal as a cat can be. 

This article addresses common questions, such as those above, about cat diets, health, fitness, and grooming. Keep reading for detailed answers to questions about DIY home pet care for cats to keep them happy, healthy, and safe.

Feline Health and Fitness

When you adopt a kitten, it’s hard to imagine that tiny bundle of energy turning into a lazy loafer. However, many cats without opportunities to exercise will do just that. So how do you give your cat a workout? It’s simple: play with them! 

In the wild, cats exercise every day while hunting their meals. Creating opportunities for your pet cat to practice her hunting instincts is all you need to give your cat a workout. Buy cat toys of various sizes and textures so she can exercise her instincts to stalk, chase, pluck, and rake her “prey.” Wand toys, laser pointers, and small toy balls can all get your cat moving and keep her activity levels healthy. 

Cat training also contributes to your cat’s overall well-being. While most new puppy parents expect to engage in training, some new cat parents are unsure how to train a kitten. Cats are just as trainable as dogs, though they require a different approach. You might be surprised by all the tricks your cat is capable of! 

Finally, take a look around your house and try to see it from your cat’s perspective. Is your home set up to allow your cat to eat, explore, and use the bathroom safely and comfortably? 

  • Cats are not pack animals, and most will feel most comfortable eating away from other pets. If you have dogs in the house, in particular, try to provide your cat a safe place to eat, either in a separate room from the dogs or in an elevated position. 
  • Scratching and climbing are instinctive behaviors in cats. Cat condos, climbing toys, and scratching posts provide enrichment for indoor cats and give them an outlet for these feline instincts. 
  • To minimize the potential for soiling or territorial behavior, you should always have one more litter box than you have cats. If you have one cat, your home should have two litter boxes; for two cats, you should have three litter boxes, etc.  

DIY Cat Grooming

Cats are most comfortable in familiar places, so car rides and trips to the groomer can be stressful. Luckily, you can complete most cat grooming from the comfort of home.

Bathing your cat

Cats are fastidious groomers and do a good job keeping their skin and coat clean. Some cat breeds don’t require regular baths, but hairless and some long-haired breeds need regular bathing. Senior cats and those with skin conditions may also need targeted cleaning. Your vet will help you determine your cat’s needs and the best schedule and methods for bathing her. 

Cleaning your cat’s ears

If your cat recently had ear mites, an infection, or another medical issue, your vet may prescribe an at-home ear cleaning regimen and solution. Your cat’s condition will determine the frequency and method of cleaning, which your vet will discuss with you. Cats with otherwise healthy ears do not need at-home ear cleaning. 

Brushing your cat’s teeth

Many cat parents are surprised to learn they should be brushing their cat’s teeth daily to prevent periodontal disease. It’s best to acclimate a cat to tooth brushing when they’re kittens, but even older cats can get used to the process detailed below. 

  1. Lay your cat on a flat surface on her side, or hold her in your lap. 
  2. Gently pull back your cat’s lips. 
  3. Using a toothbrush and paste designed and approved for cats, concentrate brushing on the canine teeth and large cheek teeth until your cat accepts the activity. 
  4. Once your cat tolerates toothbrushing, begin including all her teeth, brushing for approximately thirty seconds on each side. 

Clipping your cat’s nails

Indoor cats need regular nail trimming to keep their nails comfortable and conditioned. Most cats benefit from monthly nail trimming, though your vet can help you identify the ideal schedule for your cat. If you’re new to trimming cats’ nails, ask your vet if they recommend specific tools and to show you how to hold and safely trim your cat’s nails before you try it at home.

DIY Cat Diets Treats and Food

Veterinarians typically endorse cat diets that favor canned or moist food over dry food, though a mix of canned and dry food may be appropriate if suggested by your vet. Your cat also needs access to fresh, clean water at all times. Home-cooked cat diets, raw food diets, grain-free diets, and other niche feeding approaches touted by internet “experts” are rarely recommended or endorsed by vets. Unfortunately, many well-meaning pet owners unknowingly cause harm by feeding their pets homemade diets from unknown or untested sources. 

Good quality cat food is vital to your cat’s health. Cats are carnivores and evolved to get their daily nutrients from animal products. A cat’s prey is dissimilar from many of the animal products consumed by humans, however. Quality cat food, formulated to fulfill cat’s unique nutritional requirements, combines precise amounts of protein, vitamins, minerals, and fatty and amino acids. 

Healthy cat food is also optimized for each feline life stage. Kitten food formulas contain higher amounts of protein and specific vitamins, minerals, and amino acids, which are necessary during the first year of life. Food formulated for adult cats, senior cats, pregnant and lactating cats, and cats with health conditions meet cats’ unique daily needs at other life stages. 

Food allergies are the third most common allergies among cats, and some of the most common cat allergies are beef, lamb, and soy. Before you make any changes to your pet’s diet, you should always discuss it with your veterinarian. They can also help you choose healthy cat treats and snacks for your cat for supplementary feedings or training rewards. 

Conclusion

While many cats get used to being groomed and will tolerate if not enjoy some grooming activities, others are less agreeable. If your at-home cat grooming attempts have failed and you’re ready to bring in a professional groomer, don’t search “cat grooming near me” just yet. First, talk to your vet and ask if they can recommend someone.  Similarly, your vet should be your first (and, usually, only) source for questions about your cat’s diet, fitness, and overall health. 

 At Continental Animal Wellness Center in Flagstaff, Arizona, we provide comprehensive and compassionate care focused on your cat’s overall health and wellness. Our state-of-the-art facility is equipped for complete care, including routine wellness visits and vaccinations, sick visits, diagnostics, and surgery. Contact us today to schedule a visit with one of our experienced vets for your cat or kitten. 

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DIY Home Pet Care For Dogs

DIY Home Pet Care For Dogs

Whether you’re a first-time adopter or a long-time dog parent, life with a dog comes with lots of fun and affection, not to mention a few surprises. At Continental Animal Wellness Center in Flagstaff, Arizona, we know your dog’s health and happiness are your top priority. That’s why we’re always happy to help pet parents find answers to their canine concerns. 

When it comes to concerns or questions about your pet’s health, your first call should always be to your veterinarian. However, with a bit of knowledge and advice, many pet care basics can happen right in your home. Whether you’re trying to solve a puzzling puppy training predicament or crate training conundrum, keep reading for useful DIY home pet care tips.

Canine Health and Fitness

During their first year of life, puppies make canine fitness seem like it’ll take care of itself. Even energetic puppies benefit from a regular exercise routine, though. Exercise helps dogs burn off energy and keep fit while stimulating their minds. At any age, a bored dog is more likely to seek out novel experiences (like shoes to chew on, garbage to dig through, and mail carriers to bark at) than a dog who enjoys regular age- and breed-appropriate exercise. 

Exercising your dog is easy and fun for both of you. You can work out with your dog by walking or running together, hiking, playing fetch, or swimming at a nearby (pet-friendly) beach. Many obedience dog training exercises, such as retrieving, also provide energy-burning and mind-stimulating opportunities. 

When inclement weather keeps your pup indoors, you can still find plenty of ways to get him the exercise he needs. Running up and down stairs, on a treadmill, or setting up a game of hide-and-seek with healthy treats or a favorite toy can all provide physical and mental stimulation. If you’re crate training your dog, you can work on basic commands like “place,” “stay,” and “come” to give your dog some mental stimulation and reward his progress with energy-burning games of tug, fetch, or chase.

How much exercise does your dog need?

In general, puppies benefit from several short exercise sessions throughout the day instead of one or two longer walks or play sessions. Exercise requirements for adult dogs vary widely by breed. High-energy breeds like Giant Schnauzers and Golden Retrievers have different exercise needs and abilities than French Bulldogs or Bologneses, for example.

Senior dogs may develop arthritis or other conditions that require modifications to their regular exercise routines to avoid discomfort or injury. Talk to your vet about your dog’s exercise needs and limitations. Even young, high-energy breeds may need their humans to put the breaks on play sessions if they have underlying health concerns exacerbated by over-exertion.

DIY Dog Grooming

Dog grooming does more than keep your pup looking his best—it also helps keep him healthy. Regular bathing and frequent brushing can help identify signs of fleas, ticks, cuts, scrapes, and other possible sources of infection that could cause illness or other complications. 

If you’re a new dog owner, some dog grooming tasks, like nail trimming and tooth brushing, can seem intimidating. Before firing off a search for “dog grooming near me,” you should know most dog grooming is easily accomplished at home, even if it means getting within drooling distance of your Cane Corso’s canine teeth. 

Most dogs will tolerate at-home bathing, brushing, and other routine tasks that keep them clean and comfortable–and some will even love it! Though your dog’s breed, age, and activity levels will all contribute to their necessary grooming schedule, the sample schedule below offers a basic outline of what to expect: 

Daily

Protect your dog’s teeth and gums by brushing them daily. Brushing your dog’s teeth is easier than you might expect. Learn how here if you’ve never done it before. 

Weekly

Weekly brushing reduces shedding and keeps your dog clean in between baths. Some double-coated and seasonally-shedding breeds require more frequent brushing. 

Monthly

Your dog’s breed and activity levels will influence how often you need to trim their nails. In general, plan to trim your dog’s nails monthly and adjust your schedule as needed. 

Most flea and tick preventatives require monthly re-application. If you’re not sure when to re-apply your dog’s flea and tick protection, review the label instructions or talk to your vet so you can keep your dog protected year-round. 

Your dog’s breed and other factors will determine how often, if ever, you need to clean his ears. If your dog is a frequent swimmer or has a history of ear infections, your vet may recommend monthly ear cleanings in between visits. You can learn the right way to clean your dog’s ears here

No matter the frequency, it’s important you only use products specifically designed for canine ear cleaning. All at-home solutions, including vinegar, baby wipes, and even water, should be avoided, as they often do more harm than help. 

Quarterly

Unless your vet instructs otherwise, most dog breeds require routine bathing only a few times per year. 

Yearly

Schedule your dog’s annual wellness exam, vaccinations, and dental cleaning. 

DIY Dog Diets Treats and Food

Healthy dog food

Dog diets contain nutrients from a mix of meat, grains, fruits, and vegetables. Dogs and puppies need a well-balanced diet of quality dog food designed to meet their nutritional needs. You should feed your dog a diet appropriate for their life stage and breed size. For example, healthy dog food for an adult Akita will differ significantly from a Maltese puppy’s healthy diet. 

Quality commercial kibble and canned dog food contain all the ingredients your dog needs to stay healthy. Some pet owners express an interest in feeding a home-cooked or raw diet. Unless your veterinarian recommends and oversees a home-cooked diet plan, commercially-prepared dog food is likely the safest and healthiest adult dog food.

  • At best, home-cooked diets are expensive and labor-intensive without providing health benefits to dogs. 
  • At worst, they are inadequately nutritious and can lead to adverse health outcomes with potentially devastating consequences for their dogs. 
  • Home-cooked diets are never appropriate for puppies, pregnant or nursing dogs, or overweight adult and senior dogs. 
  • Raw food diets are unsafe for you and your dog and are never recommended regardless of whether they’re prepared at home or commercially.  

Healthy dog treats

Healthy dog treats, whether store-bought or homemade, shouldn’t make up more than 10% of your dog’s daily food intake. Most owners find their dogs are happy to snack on many commercially-available dog treats. The Veterinary Oral Health Council (VOHC) maintains a regularly-updated list of VOHC-accepted products for dogs you can use to help shop for healthy treats. 

Still, many wish to prepare homemade dog treats, whether to allergens and sensitivities or to make use of available ingredients in the home. An easy DIY dog treat your vet will likely approve of is dehydrated fruit and vegetables. Dehydrated fruits and vegetables are tasty and chewy, making them appealing, healthy, low-calorie snacks for dogs. 

Common dog allergies

Cleaning products, chemicals, environmental factors, and even food can all trigger dog allergies. Dogs can develop allergies at any time, even if they’ve never shown signs of it before. Chronic ear infections, vomiting, diarrhea, and itchy or rashy skin may all be symptoms of an allergic reaction. 

Your vet can help identify potential allergens in your dog’s environment and suggest a course of treatment to help with symptoms. She may also recommend and oversee an elimination diet to identify food allergies or sensitivities. While any food can cause an allergic response, common dog allergies include:  

  • Chicken
  • Beef
  • Salmon
  • Dairy products 
  • Eggs
  • Lamb 
  • Soy

Conclusion

When you have questions about your furry family members, the caring and experienced team at Continental Animal Wellness Center in Flagstaff, Arizona, are here to help. Our practice focuses on our pet patients’ health and wellbeing, incorporating behavioral health and traditional medicine to provide comprehensive and compassionate care. Our state-of-the-art animal wellness facility in Flagstaff, Arizona, is equipped for complete animal care, from vaccinations and routine wellness checks to behavior consultations, sick visits, and more.  Contact us today to schedule a visit for your dog or puppy. 

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Flagstaff, Arizona’s Animal Wellness Center

Group Photo of all the clinic staff

Your pet’s health and wellbeing is our number one priority. At Continental Animal Wellness Center, we are proud to be Flagstaff’s Animal Wellness Center. We serve both large and small animals – ranging from dogs and cats, all the way up to horses, goats, sheep, and more! We are here for the life of your pet, starting with that initial visit when they are young or new to your family, to the crucial senior wellness exams to keep them a healthy and active member of your family. In addition to routine preventative care and sick or injured exams (including emergencies), we are also Flagstaff’s go-to facility for other modalities, such as surgery, radiology, and oncology. Our experienced veterinarians and staff are here to support you and your pet, for the life of your furry family member!

Routine Preventative Care in Flagstaff, AZ

Just like humans need a general physician and routine yearly preventative checkup, our pets need a veterinarian and a yearly physical exam too. As soon as a new animal joins your family, you will need to schedule an appointment with one of our veterinarians to assess your pet’s current health and design a wellness plan. Our wellness plan will be tailored to your needs as a family, focusing on the health and wellbeing of your animal. We strongly believe in the importance of preventative care for pets because it promotes early diagnosis and treatment of conditions or diseases, which will ultimately help avoid or reduce your pet’s suffering and pain, enhance their quality of life, and extend their life expectancy. Your pet’s wellness plan may include:

  • Annual Physical Exams with Routine Blood Work
  • Vaccination Schedule 
  • Dental Care Advice and Procedures
  • Nutrition Advice or Protocols 
  • Exercise Advice 
  • Behavioral Training Advice
  • Parasite Testing and Treatment
  • And More! 

Wellness and Sick Exams in Flagstaff, AZ

There is nothing more stressful for a pet parent than watching your beloved pet suffer through an illness. Animals cannot talk to you and tell you what is wrong, so you need a trusted veterinarian to help diagnose and treat your family member. At Continental Animal Wellness Center, our skilled veterinarians have the expertise to help treat many illnesses that your pet may face in order to get your pet back to health as soon as possible. What happens during a sick pet exam? It depends on what symptoms your pet is displaying and what our veterinarians discover during the physical examination. Our veterinarian will ask you questions about your pet’s health history and current illness symptoms, and also examine your pets’ overall body condition to include:

  • Eyes, Ears, Nose
  • Mouth and Digestive System
  • Nervous System
  • Lymph Nodes
  • Heart and Circulatory System
  • Respiratory system
  • Abdomen 
  • Skin and Coat
  • Joints, Bones, and Muscles 
  • Urinary and Reproductive System

Bloodwork, imaging, and other testing may be recommended by your veterinarian, depending on the initial physical examination and their discussion with you as the pet owner.

Behavior Consultations in Flagstaff, AZ

As a comprehensive pet wellness center, another service we offer is pet behavioral consultations.  We specialize in behavior issues such as:

  • Aggression: towards other dogs, pets, children etc. 
  • Fear: phobias including thunderstorms and general anxieties.
  • Inappropriate elimination: house soiling, marking, submissive/excitement urination.
  • Separation anxiety
  • Compulsive and repetitive behaviors: circling, tail chasing, excessive grooming, excessive barking, etc.
  • Senior disorders: nocturnal restlessness, cognitive dysfunction, and other anxieties
  • Preventative behavior issues: fear, anxieties, or aggression when introducing new pets or family members such as children.

 

Depending on our veterinarians’ assessment and your goals as the pet owner, we may offer suggestions for supplemental or pharmaceutical therapy, or recommend behavior modification with local Flagstaff trainers. 

Surgery in Flagstaff, AZ

We offer many different surgical options for pets, but the one surgical procedure we recommend to all dog and cat owners is to spay or neuter your pet. Spaying or neutering your pet helps control the pet homelessness crisis which results in many healthy dogs and cats being euthanized each year because there simply are not enough homes for them. Additionally, there are medical and behavioral benefits to spaying or neutering, including cancer prevention, especially mammary cancer in females, and prevention of roaming away from your home in search for a mate or undesirable territorial behaviors. At Continental Animal Wellness Center, our veterinarians are experienced in spaying and neutering small animals of all sizes and ages. We understand that no surgical procedure is minor from a pet owner’s perspective, but it is a routine procedure for us at Continental Animal Wellness Center, and we are here to answer any questions you may have. 

Orthopedic Surgery in Flagstaff, AZ

Hopefully your pet will never need surgery other than being spayed or neutered, but as with human beings, life happens and sometimes your pet will need other surgical procedures, including orthopedic surgery.  At our facility, we have a surgical suite for soft tissue and orthopedic surgeries that is equipped with both a CO2 surgical laser to minimize surgical bleeding and decrease pain. We also have cold laser therapy to aid in the healing of surgical incisions by decreasing inflammation and increasing blood flow to the surgical site. Our veterinarians have experience in a wide range of soft tissue and orthopedic procedures, so your pet will be in good hands.

Digital Radiology and Ultrasonography in Flagstaff, AZ

At Continental Animal Wellness Center, we offer digital radiology and ultrasonography services. Digital radiographs can give us information on bone and joint disease, abdominal organ size and displacement, and heart/lung evaluation. We also perform full-mouth dental radiographs when your pet is undergoing a dental cleaning in order to evaluate the health of your pet’s teeth at the root level. We offer ultrasonography to further evaluate abdominal organ architecture if your pet is exhibiting organ disease. We have a relationship with a board certified radiologist who can interpret our radiographs and provide valuable insight for the care of your pet. Let us know if you suspect your pet might need our radiology or ultrasonography services and we would be happy to help you! 

Oncology Care in Flagstaff, AZ

Learning that your pet is suffering from cancer can be very scary for you as the owner of your beloved friend. At Continental Animal Wellness Center, we offer oncology consultations and evaluations in order to suggest the best therapy for your pet by providing information about your options and assisting you in choosing the right treatment protocol for your family member. We are here to answer any questions you have about cancer in your pet and what to expect during and after treatments. 

Diagnostics in Flagstaff, AZ

As part of an illness or injury exam, your veterinarian may order diagnostics testing, including fecal analysis, bloodwork, and urinalysis. We offer bloodwork diagnostics in our clinic laboratory, as well as sending samples to an outside reference laboratory. Used in conjunction with our radiology and ultrasonography services, we can get a better understanding of what may be causing your pet’s illness or injury and create a wellness plan to get them back to optimum health. 

End of Life

The most dreaded and heartbreaking time for a pet owner is when faced with end of life decisions for their pet. We want our pets to live forever, but we also don’t want them to suffer. End of life services are tough for everyone, including our veterinarians and staff, but it is a service we offer to help support you and your pet during the most difficult, painful, and tragic time. At Continental Animal Wellness Center, we offer caring and compassionate relief either in our office or in the privacy and comfort of your home. 

Questions? Contact Us To Learn More!

Have you been searching for a “pet wellness clinic near me”? Look no further than Continental Animal Wellness Center. We are Flagstaff, Arizona’s go-to veterinary wellness center. We do it all! From that initial health visit when you first bring home your new companion, to routine annual checkups, surgeries, and more!  We are a family-oriented veterinary clinic and would love to welcome you and your new pet into our family. Contact us today to schedule an appointment with one of our experienced and caring veterinarians. We have a host of online client forms and information on how to prepare yourself and your pet for your appointment or medical procedure here, which may answer some of your frequently asked questions. You are always welcome to call or email us and we will happily answer any questions you have!

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Spaying or Neutering Your Pet

Happy May everyone! Check out our latest video on benefits of spaying or neutering your cat or dog!

Hey everyone, it’s Remi again at Continental Animal Wellness Center, and welcome back to another one of our video blogs. Today we’re talking about puppies and kittens, and we’re talking about exactly what they need, which is vaccines and their spay and neuter, so let’s tune in with Dr. Dobbin to see what she has to say:

Spaying and Neutering in Flagstaff, Arizona

Hi, I’m Dr. Dobbin at Continental Animal Wellness Center and spring is in the air, which basically means puppies and kittens everywhere, so I feel like this would be a good time to talk a little bit about spaying and neutering of our pets.

Health Benefits of Spaying or Neutering

So there are quite a few health benefits to early spaying and neutering. By early spaying and neutering I mean at or around five months of age. Here are just a few examples:

  • If you spay an animal before their first heat, you virtually eliminate the risk of breast cancer.
  • If you spay an animal at any age, you eliminate the risk of pyometra, which is an infection of the uterus and often ends up as a surgical emergency.
  • Early neutering of our pets can decrease prostate disease as well as some testosterone-driven behavior such as being bit by another animal and/or hit by a car.
  • Any animal – cat/dog male/female – there have been some studies that show sterilized animals actually live, on average, longer than they’re intact counterparts.

So now let’s shift gears to something else:

Overpopulation & Spaying or Neutering

Every 11 seconds in the United States in a shelter, a cat or a dog is euthanized. That amounts to about 10,000 a day. Up to 50% of litters are accidental and/or unwanted so, in theory, by early spaying and neutering, you would prevent a lot of that euthanasia due to overpopulation.

It should also be mentioned that gestation of parturition, aka pregnancy and delivery, has its own complications as well.

When to Spay or Neuter:

So now you’ve kind of heard the two main benefits that I feel strongly about, so the question is when do I spay or neuter? And that is a very good question, and if you do a lot of research, do your homework, you will be very confused because there really is no perfect 100 percent of the time right answer to that question. For the two reasons I mentioned as well as from a surgeon’s perspective, early spaying and neutering equals smaller incision, less anesthesia time, therefore faster recovery. So health benefits, over-population and surgery, in and of itself, is the reason that here at Continental, we do recommend the early spay neuter which, once again, is a door around five months of age.

Ultimately, the decision is yours. I just encourage you to include your veterinarian in on your discussion, and if you’ve recently adopted any cute puppies or kittens, bring them on down to see us and check out our awesome puppy and kitten package.

Vaccinations

Many of us know that our puppies need vaccines but what do they need, how many do they need and what are they even being vaccinated for?

Let’s talk exactly about that:

What vaccines do our puppies need?

Well, first of all, let’s start by setting up the very first appointment when our puppy is six to eight weeks of age. At that time, that’s when they’re gonna get the very first vaccine.

Vaccination Schedule

That first vaccine is the DA2PP vaccine. What that vaccine is is actually a lot of vaccines all-in-one, and it stands for the distemper virus, adenovirus, parainfluenza virus and the parvovirus. Distemper parvo is pretty common in Flagstaff so that’s why it’s so important to get those two on board first so your pet has at least some protection and some immunity against distemper and parvo right off the bat. So that’s why, once again, at six to eight weeks we’re gonna come in and get that first vaccine. After that, every three to four weeks, we’re going to come in for another booster of that vaccine until about four months of age. Then we’re gonna get our final one-year vaccine and that’s gonna be the final distemper parvo combo vaccine and then our final one-year rabies vaccine.

Now, when they come in a year later for the next vaccine after that, then we can get three-year vaccines, but as puppies we still don’t have that full immunity yet. We’re still growing, so that’s why we want to booster vaccines so that we can get that full immunity and they can be fully protected.

So one misconception that a lot of people have is they’re gonna get all these puppy vaccines and then they have that one-year vaccine, they’re gonna come back in and they’re gonna get a three year vaccine and then they’re done. Their puppy’s vaccinated and good for life. Well actually, no.

So, over time, that immunity actually decreases and your dog needs to be revaccinated so we recommend after all these puppy vaccines, your dog is going to need to come back every three years for the rest of his lifetime to keep up this immunity. So that’s why it’s so important that not only are we bringing in your puppy, but also your older dogs as well to make sure that we’re always keeping up with our vaccines so we’re always protective against these viruses.

The Bordetella Vaccine

Now, on top of these two vaccines, there’s one more vaccine that I wanted to mention that’s really important to vaccinate for as well and that’s gonna be the bordetella vaccine. Bordetella is a component of kennel cough. Kennel cough is a terrible cough or hack that your pet can get and, just like a common cold for us, it can be passed by touching noses when dogs are sniffing each other or by sharing dog bowls or things like that. So any dog that’s going into boarding, grooming, or dog parks, or even just hanging out downtown or going into your local Petsmart or Petco, they can pick up kennel cough there. So we also recommend vaccinating for bordetella, and that one is vaccinated once a year or, if you’re going into kenneling, every six months.

So those are our three main vaccines that we vaccinate for here in Flagstaff. That’s the kennel cough, which is bordetella, that distemper parvo and rabies.

Caring for Your New Pet in Flagstaff

Caring for a new pet can be a lot of work! Spaying or Neutering and vaccinations are just two of the first things you should do to keep your cat or dog healthy and happy. If you have any questions, call us or contact us to schedule an appointment.