Sunday, August 31, 2014

September Calendar Boy- Wylie


Rescued        May 2012
Wylie was three years old when he was surrendered by his owner to Arizona Golden Retriever Connection.  He appeared to have lived a happy life until his family moved out of state, and “couldn’t take Wylie along.”  Like Logan, our “Mr. January”, Wylie had no forewarning that his life was about to change.  Unlike Logan, Wylie had a much more difficult time transitioning to the change.   
Wylie was described by his previous owner as a sweet gentle,  and calm dog who should be placed in a family with other dogs or children.  However, within a couple of days of his surrender, Wylie became stressed.  It was quickly apparent that Wylie had issues with being touched, especially around his head, and he did not have much in the way of obedience training.  In addition, Wylie seemed to be uncomfortable around other dogs and did not seem to like children.  At this point, he was one confused and unhappy Golden.  Then, to make matters even more difficult, Wylie’s foster family were going on vacation and Wylie needed to be boarded.  For a dog already stressed, this was not a good situation.  But once again, the AZGRC angels found a foster home that would be perfect for Wylie.  
Kelly, an animal lover, had recently purchased her first home and was excited about fostering a rescue dog.  When she learned about Wylie, Kelly was ready for the challenge.  She offered the quiet, safe environment that Wylie needed to begin healing.  Over the next several weeks, Kelly worked with an animal behaviorist to give Wylie consistency and structure and to rebuild his confidence and trust.  By August, Wylie had not only rediscovered his Golden personality, he had worked his way into Kelly’s heart.  Wylie was officially adopted and Kelly was now his forever Mom.
Today, Wylie gets to go to doggy daycare when mom is at work and loves to play with the other dogs.  He is also attending agility classes.  In October, Wylie met Kelly’s year-and-a-half-old nephew and loved him.  Wylie followed the toddler around and tried to share toys.  As Kelly says “Wylie is not only kiddo-approved but I think he actually enjoys munchkins!”  Way to go, Wylie!

Saturday, August 30, 2014

AZGRC's 2015 Calendar PreSale

AZGRC's 2015 Calendar PreSale
Begins Tuesday, September 2nd

Get your sneak peak at the new AZGRC 2015 calendar. Be the first one on your block. Your furry friends want to know who the top models are. No need for the red carpet, just order and we will deliver! Lights, action, popcorn! So get ready to snuggle on the couch (with your best furry friends) and order NOW! (9/2/2014)  

AZGRC's 2015 Calendar PreSale
Begins Tuesday, September 2nd

Friday, August 22, 2014

Canine Bladder Infections: Part II by Nancy Kay, DVM

Canine Bladder Infections: Part II by Nancy Kay, DVM

In the first article of this series you were introduced to the causes of canine bladder infections and their associated symptoms. This article will help you understand how canine bladder infections are accurately diagnosed. The process always begins with testing a urine sample.
Collection of urine samples for testing
If a bladder infection is suspected, testing the urine will be one of the first steps your veterinarian takes. There are a few different ways to collect urine from a dog.
“free catch” sample involves catching some urine in a container as the dog urinates. The presence of bacteria in a free catch sample is nonspecific, meaning the bacteria might have originated anywhere en route to the collection container, including the bladder, urethra, vulva, prostate gland, and even the hair around the opening of the penis or vulva. In other words, bacteria found in a free catch sample may not be all that meaningful. Other possible downsides to collecting free catch urine samples are a wet hand and suspicious looks from the neighbors.
Urine can also be collected via catheterization. A plastic or rubber catheter is inserted into the end of the urethra and advanced forward into the urinary bladder. Once in the bladder, urine is withdrawn through the catheter. There are a few drawbacks to this sampling method. Most dogs experience some discomfort with the process. Additionally, it is tricky business finding the opening to the urethra in female dogs. And because the catheter comes in contact with the urethra and reproductive structures (vagina, penis, prostate gland) before reaching the bladder, one cannot be certain as to the origin of bacteria found in the urine sample.
The preferred method of urine collection is a technique called cystocentesis. This involves introducing a small needle directly into the urinary bladder. Urine is collected into a syringe attached to the needle. Other than the stress associated with restraint, there is typically no more discomfort for the dog than would be associated with a vaccination. The beauty of a cystocentesis sample is that, if bacteria are detected, one can be certain they were living in the bladder.
Diagnosis of infection
A bladder infection is definitively diagnosed when bacteria are identified within a urine sample that has been collected via cystocentesis. Supporting evidence of infection includes the presence of red blood cells and excessive white blood cells and/or protein within the urine. Keep in mind, these ancillary abnormalities can occur with a variety of urinary tract diseases other than infection.
Bacteria in the urine can be documented by two tests: urinalysis and urine culture. The combination of the two is always ideal. A urinalysis measures urine concentration and pH, screens for red blood cells, white blood cells and protein, and involves viewing the urine sample under the microscope. While this test is relatively reliable, it can produce false negative results particularly if the urine sample sits for several hours prior to testing (certainly the case when samples are sent to a commercial laboratory rather than tested in house). Over time, the bacteria have a way of disappearing from view. Additionally, if the urine sample is dilute (more water than sludge), small numbers of bacteria can readily be missed during the microscopic evaluation.
The gold standard method for documentation of bacterial infection is a urine culture. Urine is inoculated onto agar and incubated for 48 to 72 hours. This way, the growth of bacteria can be documented, and identification and sensitivity testing can be performed. These tests clarify the species of bacteria growing as well as which antibiotics the bugs are sensitive to. This is super important information, particularly when treating dogs with recurrent bladder infections.
Part III of this series will discuss the treatment of bladder infections with special attention given to those dogs who are “repeat offenders”. Please stay tuned!

Sending best wishes to you and your four-legged family members for abundant good health,
Nancy Kay, DVM

Monday, August 11, 2014

Check the Chip Day August 15th

Hey!! Have you ever been lost and had to ask for directions? Well if we get lost.....we want to make sure that we get back to our home. We were  rescued and micro-chipped by AZGRC. If we get lost, the vet can scan us and find our owner. But wait...what if mom moves then what happens. Just like mom changes her address to get her mail, she also needs to notify the micro chip company that she has moved.  So lets make sure all of our friends can get back home. Here are some good ideas!  Next time you go to the vet, make sure you are scanned to see if the chip is there and working. 
August 15th is "Check the Chip Day". Here are some things your owner can do to make sure they can always find you if your lost. 

  • If your pet has a microchip, contact the microchip registry to verify that all of your contact information on file is current and accurate. 
  • If your pet has a microchip that has never been registered, get the paperwork squared away right away.
  • If your pet does not have a microchip, schedule an appointment with your vet or shelter to have one placed as soon as possible.
So...get your mom or dad to check your chip!! It is hot on the streets and you do not want to end up behind bars and lost!!

Friday, August 8, 2014

Canine Bladder Infections Part 1

Canine Bladder Infections: Part I by Nancy Kay, DVM
“Rocky” – Photo CreditShirley Zindler
If you’ve lived your life with dogs, chances are you’ve cared for one with a bladder infection. The normal urinary bladder is sterile, meaning devoid of bacteria. Infection occurs when bacteria find their way into the bladder and set up housekeeping. Bacterial cystitis (medical-speak for a bladder infection) is a super common diagnosis in the canine world. The term urinary tract infection (UTI) is often used synonymously with bacterial cystitis. Technically speaking, a UTI can mean infection anywhere within the urinary tract, and is not specific to the bladder.
Bacterial cystitis occurs most commonly in female dogs. This is attributed to the fact that compared to males, female dogs have a shorter urethra, the conduit through which urine flows from the bladder to the outside world. With only a short distance to travel in female dogs, bacteria have an easier time migrating from the skin surface up into the urinary bladder. There is no breed predisposition for bladder infections. However, small breed dogs are more susceptible to some of the underlying causes of infection described below.
Causes of infection
While not always easy or even possible to diagnose the cause of infection, there are several underlying issues that make it easier for bacteria to colonize and thrive within the urinary bladder. Anything that disrupts the normal architecture of the urinary tract or reproductive tract (the two are anatomically connected) predisposes to infection. Examples include:
  • Stones within the urinary tract
  • Tumors or polyps within the urinary or reproductive tracts
  • Foreign body within the urinary or reproductive tracts
  • Anatomical birth defects within the urinary or reproductive tracts
  • Prostate gland or testicular disease
  • Vaginal, vulvar, or uterine disease
Urine that is less concentrated (more dilute) than normal creates an environment that is bacteria-friendly. So, it‘s not unusual for bacterial cystitis to accompany diseases associated with increased thirst and increased urine volume, such as kidney failure, liver disease, some hormonal imbalances. Bladder infections occur commonly in dogs with diabetes mellitus, a hormonal imbalance that creates dilute urine. The sugar in the urine of diabetic dogs creates an ideal growth media in which bacterial organisms thrive.
Suppression of the immune system caused by disease or medication promotes bladder infections. Prednisone, a commonly prescribed anti-inflammatory medication, causes urine dilution along with immunosuppression. Not surprisingly, approximately one third of female dogs receiving prednisone develop spontaneous bladder infections.
Symptoms of infection
If ever you’ve experienced a bladder infection you know just how miserable the symptoms can be. Dogs vary a great deal in terms of how dramatically they show evidence of a bladder infection. Some exhibit every symptom in the book while others demonstrate none whatsoever. Additionally, symptoms can arise abruptly or gradually. Every dog reads the textbook a little bit differently!
Symptoms most commonly observed in association with canine bladder infections include:
  • Straining to urinate
  • Urination in inappropriate places
  • Increased frequency of urination
  • Blood within the urine
  • An unusual odor to the urine
  • Urine leakage
  • Increased thirst
  • Excessive licking at the penis or vulva
It is unusual for plain and simple bladder infections to cause lethargy, loss of appetite, or fever. Such “systemic” symptoms, in conjunction with documentation of bacteria within the urinary bladder, create suspicion for infection elsewhere within the urinary or reproductive tracts (kidneys, prostate gland, uterus).
It’s important to remember that dogs are creatures of habit, and any change in habit is a big red flag beckoning you to take notice. Filling the water bowl more than usual? Is your girl squatting more frequently than normal on her morning walks? Is she waking you up in the middle of the night to go outside to urinate? Has your well house-trained dog begun urinating in the house? All such symptoms are worthy of medical attention. For your dog’s sake, please don’t blame urinary issues on negative behavior before first ruling out an underlying medical issue.
Stay tuned for Canine Bladder Infections: Parts II and III. These articles will discuss diagnostic testing and treatment.
Has your dog ever had a bladder infection? If so, what symptoms did you observe?
If you would like to respond publicly, please visit
Sending best wishes to you and your four-legged family members,
Dr. Nancy Kay

Thursday, July 31, 2014

August Calendar Girl Franny

Rescued        August 2008
Franny, along with her daughter, Sonoma were strays picked up by the local animal shelter after they were found wandering the streets on a hot summer day.  Franny was about seven years old and Sonoma about two.  Both Goldens had no licenses, were not spayed, and both tested positive for Valley Fever.  Franny also had ear infections and a cut on her tail and leg.  After being in the shelter for several days and no one coming to claim them, the dogs faced an uncertain future.  Franny, the older of the two dogs most likely would have been on the euthanasia list. 
That’s when Arizona Golden Retriever Connection came to the rescue.  Soon Franny and Sonoma were safely in the home of legendary AZGRC fosters Kara and Bob, along with their canine “Healing Triangle” of Chelsea, Coco Chanel and Ben.  Exhausted and frightened, Franny and Sonoma received the medical attention they needed along with lots of love, patience and understanding.  
Like with other rescued pairs, AZGRC looked for a forever family that would want to keep the girls together: for awhile, it appeared that the right family had been found.  Young Sonoma was very happy to have children to play with, and enjoyed the company of her new canine sister, 10-year-old Latte.  However, Franny seemed to feel differently.   After a couple of months, Franny’s family was concerned that Franny was a “runner” and would get out and be hit by a car.  Unlike Sonoma, Franny was not fond of Latte.  Perhaps Franny knew there could be only one “mother Golden” in the family.  So, in her own way, Franny made it known that her search for a forever home was not over. 
Soon after Franny returned to Bob and Kara, their friend Cindy’s mother passed away suddenly.  When Cindy returned from her mother’s funeral, Bob and Kara picked up Cindy at the airport, along with Cindy’s Labrador Hey Joe.  Franny came along as well.  During the ride home, Franny stayed close to Cindy.  Somehow Franny recognized this was her forever mom and it didn’t take long for Cindy to know it as well. 
Five years later, Franny is a happy, healthy senior Golden.  She loves to visit her foster mom and dad, but is happiest when mom is by her side. For Cindy, “Franny has brought joy and love to my home. She played a vital role in guiding me during my deepest grief. Franny has become famous at my workplace on dog day, where people flock to my desk to give her attention and to shake paws.  Although her face is white now, she remains as playful as ever. She loves flopping on her back and rolling in the grass and lying on the top step of swimming pools to cool her belly. I can’t imagine life without my Franny.”
It is sometimes almost mystical how the “rescuers” are led by the “rescued” to their forever homes.  Perhaps it’s just a lucky coincidence and perhaps it’s something more that placed Franny and Sonoma with the families where they truly belonged.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Monsoons are here!

During the summer months, the dry heat sometimes turns to monsoons. These storms are dangerous to humans and our furry friends.
Many of our furry's have separation anxiety and problems with thunderstorms. Here are some great ideas from another Golden Rescue Group.

Please remember to ALWAYS talk with your vet before using these remedies. They may interact with other medications/treatments your pet is using. 

Melatonin – Available at most stores in the vitamin aisle. Give 3 milligrams which is usually one tablet on days a storm is forecasted.
Pheromones – A DAPS (Dog Appeasing Pheromone) collar looks like an old fashion flea collar, but gives off the pheromones a mother dog gives off to soothe her puppies. The collar lasts for a month and can be worn continuously. Use with plug in diffusers for extra support. has them at a reasonable price.
Wrapping – Like swaddling a baby to soothe and calm. A couple of companies that make shirts just for dogs are ( which is now available at PETCO)
and Both offer a money back guarantee so you can’t go wrong.
Homeopathy – Aconitum Nappellus (Aconite) or Phosphorous PHUS 30C which is available in health food stores or online, is a natural compound used for fear of thunder or loud noises. Drop 3 to 5 pellets down the back of your dog’s throat (do not touch the pellets with your hand) every fifteen minutes until you start to see results. Then stop. You can resume giving the pellets if your dog starts to get agitated again. Practitioners of homeopathy point out that a remedy either will work or not, but it will not harm the dog or cause side effects.
Flower Essences – Rescue Remedy, Calming Essence or Five Flower Formula often help and certainly won’t hurt. If these combo essences don’t work, try Mimulus, which works for “fear of known things” and Rock Rose, which works for terror and panic.
If you’re home when a storm is approaching, administer a dose before and during the storm. If you see that your golden is still agitated or depressed after the storm, give the remedy again. If you try the Mimulus, for example, and notice a slight improvement, for the next storm try Mimulus again along with Rescue Remedy or Calming Essence. If you don’t see results with these two remedies, try Aspen or Star of Bethlehem.
Give one drop every five pounds of body weight; 20 lbs. and over – 4 drops for the first twenty pounds plus one drop for every additional ten pounds (example: 75 lb. Dog = 10 drops each dosage).
Put drops in your pets water all summer long or give drops in the mouth before or during a storm. I buy my flower essences from
Safe Place – Create a safe place for your dog to go when it storms – a closet, a bathroom with no windows, a crate covered with a quilt. However, DO NOT close your dog in a crate or room as they may injure themselves trying to get out. When they are afraid they are not thinking clearly.
Music Therapy – Play harp music. Research shows it slows the heart rate, lowers blood pressure and decreases the level of stress hormones in the blood. Apparently the vibrations are soothing as even deaf dogs can benefit. You should play for at least 20 minutes, but not continuously.
Nutraceuticals -are products isolated or purified from foods that is demonstrated to have a physiological benefit or provide protection against chronic disease. Two FDA approved ones for dogs are Anxitane (L-theanine) and Zylkene (casein) available from most vets, but cheaper if purchased on Amazon.
Pharmacological Medications – if all else fails talk with your vet. There are drugs that can help dogs with severe fear. Clomipramine (Clomicalm) has been approved by the FDA to treat separation anxiety in dogs and may help. This is closely related to amitriptyline, a drug that has had beneficial results on thunder-phobic dogs. Both drugs work to correct the balance of the level of chemicals called neurotransmitters in the brain. Unfortunately, some drugs do have side effects and to get the fullest benefit, thunder-phobic dogs must take anti-anxiety medications from the beginning of the stormy season and extending through the season’s Bear in mind that most drugs do not help a dog recover from his or her fear of the storm.

Please share what works best for your pets!!