Friday, August 18, 2017

How Will Our Animals Respond to the Eclipse?

How Will Our Animals Respond
to the Eclipse? by Nancy Kay, DVM

I’m mighty lucky in that a short hike to a clearing in the woods adjoining my property will place me in the zone of totality (I simply love this expression) for the upcoming eclipse. And the best part is, I suspect that other than my husband and me, only deer, birds, bears, coyotes, turkeys, bobcats, and other wildlife know about this clearing.

True confession- I’m really not a big fan of astronomy. Nonetheless, the experience of delving into darkness at 2:30 in the afternoon sounds pretty darned exciting. I just read an Annie Dillard essay called “Total Eclipse” in which she treats the reader to this fabulous line- “Seeing a partial eclipse bears the same relation to seeing a total eclipse as kissing a man does to marrying him.” Her essay, and this metaphor, in particular, has amped up my eclipse excitement exponentially!
And then there is the anticipation of what I will see immediately following the eclipse. Will nocturnal animals be out and about, lured from their nests, dens, and burrows by the midday darkness? Perhaps on our return hike from the woods, we’ll be treated to the sight of a skunk, or raccoon, or owl. How cool would that be!
I’ve heard some people express concern about how their pets and livestock will fare during the eclipse. I’ve received questions such as, “Should I keep the dogs and cats inside?” and “Should I put a fly mask on my horse?” In terms of eye protection, I’ve been providing reassurance that there is no need to worry. Just as is true for any other day, there’s nothing about the eclipse that will compel our animals to look directly at the sun. Dogs, cats, pigs, horses, goats, chickens, etc. simply don’t stargaze, moon gaze or sun gaze.
What I don’t know for sure is if the eclipse will elicit any behavioral changes in our critters. Might they experience anxiety, curiosity, fear, or confusion? I suspect some will, particularly those who reside at the anxious end of the behavioral spectrum (I live with one of these). I predict that, for the vast majority of our furry and feathered family members, the eclipse will be nothing more than a “yawn” moment.
If an eclipse-related animal behavior has piqued your curiosity, I encourage you to check out the theiNaturalist app. The California Academy of Sciences invites you and other citizen scientists to use this app to record and submit what your animal does during the eclipse. Your data will become part of a project called Life Responds.
I hope you manage to enjoy the eclipse wherever you are and please tell me about any interesting animal responses you observe!

As always for specific questions, about your pet, please ask your own vet.  AZGRC

Wednesday, July 19, 2017


Preventing Summertime Dehydrationby Nancy Kay, DVM

Some of us take the phrase, “dog days of summer” quite literally- we want to go everywhere accompanied by our beloved dogs! Know that the heat of summer has the potential to be hazardous to your dog’s health. Without significant forethought and planning to accommodate higher temperatures, it’s easy for even the healthiest of dogs to become dehydrated, and dehydration can be a precursor to deadly heatstroke.
What exactly is dehydration?
Dehydration refers to a shortage of water within the body. Do you know that approximately 80% of your dog’s body mass is comprised of water? Not only is water a component of what flows within blood vessels (arteries and veins), water is also an essential component within cells and the tissues surrounding them. Given its ubiquitous nature, it’s easy to understand why having an adequate amount of water within the body is essential for maintaining normal blood pressure, circulation, and bodily functions.
Causes of dehydration
Dehydration results when too little water is consumed in relationship to the amount lost from the body. For example, a dog who is sick with vomiting or diarrhea and doesn’t feel good enough to drink lots of water to make up for these fluid losses can readily become dehydrated. Kidney failure can cause dehydration because the damaged kidneys produce abundant urine regardless of how little water is consumed.
Summertime heat promotes dehydration, particularly when a dog isn’t interested in or doesn’t have access to drinking lots of water. Think about the tennis ball obsessed dog who doesn’t like to interrupt a good game of fetch in order to gulp down some water. Whereas this may not be a problem in cooler temperatures, water loss associated with heavy summertime panting can quickly result in a fluid deficit.
Detecting dehydration
Dehydration causes a variety of symptoms and dogs may demonstrate from one to all of them. Symptoms include: lethargy, weakness, labored breathing, elevated heart rate, and dry and sticky feeling gums (normal gums are slick and smooth to the touch). If you suspect your dog may be suffering from dehydration, do your best to find some shade or an air conditioned environment and encourage drinking. If the symptoms don’t improve within a short time period (five minutes at most), it’s time to seek out emergency veterinary care.
Preventing dehydration
Here are some pointers to keep your favorite fido well hydrated this summer:

·       Exercise your dog early in the early morning or evening hours to avoid the most intense heat of the day.

·       Be sure to take along water and a water bowl (one that is familiar to your dog) wherever you go. Don’t rely on natural water sources being available.

·       Allow for plenty of rest and water breaks during play activity and exercise. Your dog may not know his or her limits and will continue to enthusiastically chase the Frisbee long after it’s time to slow down.

·       Provide water access frequently. When out in the heat, be sure to provide a water stop (for you and your dog) at least once every 15 to 20 minutes.

·       If your dog is preoccupied with something else (other dogs, a tennis ball, etc) or too excited to drink, best to cut your outing short for the sake of preventing dehydration.

·       As much as you love for your dog to go where you go, be reminded that, when temperatures are soaring, your dog’s well being may best served by being left at home.

What precautions do you take with your dog during the summer months?

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Do Not Fear the 4th

Some other things you can do are:

·        Keep all your pets inside and make sure the doors and windows are closed.
·        All your furry friends should be micro-chipped and have the collar with ID on.
·        This might be a good time for a frosty treat or a kong treat to keep them        occupied…or even better a new toy!
·        You may check with your vet if these things do not work and there may be medication to help calm your furry friend during this time.

If your pet is already microchipped, double check that all of your contact information filed with the microchip registry is current.

  • Keep an updated photo of your dog. 

     These are also good ideas for the Arizona monsoon season….lightning and thunder can also be very troubling. There are many lost and runaway dogs in the shelters the day after July 4th. Remember stay safe and beg for Frosty Paws!!  

    Monday, June 19, 2017

    A Banner Year for Heartworm Disease

    If ever there was a year to be vigilant about heartworm prevention, this is it. The number of dogs and cats diagnosed with heartworm disease within the United States is expected to increase this year because of above-average precipitation and temperatures, ideal conditions for the propagation of mosquitoes that transmit heartworms to our pets.
    The nonprofit organization, Companion Animal Parasite Council (CAPC), tracks trends for various infectious diseases within the United States including heartworm disease, Lyme disease, anaplasmosis, and ehrlichiosis. A CAPC announcement released earlier this year states, “Given the ongoing trend toward above average temperatures and rainfall, CAPC is forecasting high levels of heartworm disease activity in 2017 for most of the country, with an especially active year for the Western United States.”
    Geography of heartworm disease
    According to an American Heartworm Society survey, the number of cases of heartworm disease seen per veterinary clinic was 22 percent higher in 2016 than in 2013.  The five states with the highest incidence of heartworm infections in 2016 were, in order, Mississippi, Louisiana, Arkansas, Texas, and Tennessee.
    The CAPC is predicting more heartworm disease this year in the lower Mississippi Valley as well as in the Rockies and westward. The incidence is also expected to be higher than usual in the Upper Midwest, the Ohio River Valley, New England, and the Atlantic Coast States. Interestingly, the CAPC predicts that West Texas, from Amarillo to Laredo is expected to have no increase and may have a decline in heartworm disease cases. (Texas readers, please do not take this is an invitation to back off on giving heartworm prevention!)
    What this means for you and your pets
    Don’t get caught with your pants down when it comes to giving heartworm prevention medication to your dogs and cats. Heartworm infection is a “poster disease” for the old adage, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” Treatment of heartworm disease is risky, pricey, and quite miserable for both pet and pet caretaker. And, the animal who isn’t treated for heartworm disease experiences some pretty darned awful symptoms along with a significantly decreased life expectancy.
    There used to be areas within the United States considered to be “safe zones” where heartworm disease didn’t exist and prevention wasn’t necessary. This is no longer the case. Heartworm disease has been diagnosed in all 50 states.
    If you aren’t already giving heartworm prevention medication to your dog or cat, consult with your veterinarian right away to get the ball rolling. The first thing your pet will need is a heartworm test to make sure that infection hasn’t already occurred. Keep in mind that animals typically show no symptoms of this disease for the first six months or more following infection.
    If you’ve been giving preventive medication to your pet, but not on a regular basis, it’s time to create a reminder system that results in better compliance. Talk with your veterinarian about whether or not heartworm testing is warranted to make sure that a heartworm-carrying mosquito didn’t sneak up on your pet during a lapse in medication.
    The American Heartworm Society website provides a great resource should you want to learn more about heartworm disease.
    Have you ever treated a pet for heartworm disease? If so, how did it go?

    by Nancy Kay, DVM

    Wednesday, June 7, 2017

    Excessive Heat Warning

    Seriously---way to hot to be outside. Tell your human--Only go for walks early in the morning or late at night. 
    Drink lots of water and treats.
    Rest- rest-rest
    Look for a pool. Tell you human to buy you a play pool.
    Do not stay in a car by yourself--way too hot!
    Wear booties on your feet if you are not walking on the grass.
    More information at

    Sunday, May 7, 2017

    Heat Warning for Dogs

    We all love spending the long, sunny days of summer outdoors with our furry companions, but being overeager in hot weather can spell danger. To prevent your pet from overheating, take these simple precautions provided by ASPCA experts:
    ·         Visit the vet for a spring or early-summer checkup. Make sure your pets get tested for heartworm if they aren’t on year-round preventative medication.
    ·         Pets can get dehydrated quickly, so give them plenty of fresh, clean water when it’s hot or humid outdoors. Make sure your pets have a shady place to get out of the sun, be careful not to over-exercise them, and keep them indoors when it’s extremely hot.
    ·         Know the symptoms of overheating in pets, which include excessive panting or difficulty breathing, increased heart and respiratory rate, drooling, mild weakness, stupor or even collapse. Symptoms can also include seizures, bloody diarrhea and vomit along with an elevated body temperature of over 104 degrees.
    ·         Animals with flat faces, like Pugs and Persian cats, are more susceptible to heat stroke since they cannot pant as effectively. These pets, along with the elderly, the overweight, and those with heart or lung diseases, should be kept cool in air-conditioned rooms as much as possible.
    ·         Never leave your animals alone in a parked vehicle. Not only can it lead to fatal heat stroke, it is illegal in several states!
    ·         Do not leave pets unsupervised around a pool—not all dogs are good swimmers. Introduce your pets to water gradually and make sure they wear flotation devices when on boats. Rinse your dog off after swimming to remove chlorine or salt from his fur, and try to keep your dog from drinking pool water, which contains chlorine and other chemicals.
    ·         Open unscreened windows pose a real danger to pets, who often fall out of them. Keep all unscreened windows or doors in your home closed, and make sure adjustable screens are tightly secured.
    ·         Feel free to trim longer hair on your dog, but never shave your dog: The layers of dogs’ coats protect them from overheating and sunburn. Brushing cats more often than usual can prevent problems caused by excessive heat. And be sure that any sunscreen or insect repellent product you use on your pets is labeled specifically for use on animals.
    ·         When the temperature is very high, don’t let your dog linger on hot asphalt. Being so close to the ground, your pooch’s body can heat up quickly, and sensitive paw pads can burn. Keep walks during these times to a minimum.
    ·         Commonly used rodenticides and lawn and garden insecticides can be harmful to cats and dogs if ingested, so keep them out of reach. Keep citronella candles, tiki torch products and insect coils of out pets’ reach as well. Call your veterinarian or the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center at (888) 426-4435 if you suspect your animal has ingested a poisonous substance.
    ·         Remember that food and drink commonly found at barbeques can be poisonous to pets. Keep alcoholic beverages away from pets, as they can cause intoxication, depression and comas. Similarly, remember that the snacks enjoyed by your human friends should not be a treat for your pet; any change of diet, even for one meal, may give your dog or cat severe digestive ailments. Avoid raisins, grapes, onions, chocolate and products with the sweetener xylitol. Please visit our People Foods to Avoid Feeding Your Pets page for more information.

    ·         Please leave pets at home when you head out to Fourth of July celebrations, and never use fireworks around pets. Exposure to lit fireworks can potentially result in severe burns or trauma, and even unused fireworks can contain hazardous materials. Many pets are also fearful of loud noises and can become lost, scared or disoriented, so it’s best to keep your little guys safe from the noise in a quiet, sheltered and escape-proof area of your home. Be prepared in the event that your pet does escape by downloading the ASPCA Mobile App. You’ll receive a personalized missing pet recovery kit, including step-by-step instructions on how to search for a lost animal in a variety of circumstances.
    For more information on having a fun, safe summer with your pet, please visit

    Sunday, April 2, 2017

    Golden Gathering at Tax Day Celebration

    Duck & Decanter

    Tax Day Celebration

    Saturday, April 15th

    11:00 AM - 1:00 PM

    Duck & Decanter
    1651 E. Camelback Rd
    Phoenix, AZ  85016

    Enjoying lunch on the patio at Duck & Decanter
    or sharing a glass of wine with AZGRC members
    and their four legged kids has become one of our
    favorite Spring traditions for many years.
    Don't miss out on the fun and laughter – and great food too.  
    Come hang out, relax and enjoy the afternoon with us!
    Please R.S.V.P. to by Friday, April 14th
    with "Tax Day" in the subject line so we can get an
    approximate head count and reserve tables.

    We hope to see you there!