Wednesday, April 22, 2015

What you need to know about Midwest Canine Flu

Midwest Canine Influenza Outbreak: A New Virus Within the United States by Nancy Kay, DVM

Photo Credit: Steven Turville
If you keep tabs on dog-related news, you’re probably already aware of the recent outbreak of canine influenza in the Midwest. Chicago appears to be at the epicenter of the epidemic.
The first dogs affected by this virus were observed in mid-March of this year. Since then, more than 1,000 known cases have been reported in and around Chicago, and there have even been a few deaths.
New virus within the United States
Until a week ago, the virus responsible for this canine influenza outbreak was thought to be H398, a strain of Influenza A that has been present in the United States for some time. Cornell University (thumbs up to my alma mater) recently reported that scientists there have isolated a brand new influenza virus from affected dogs in the Midwest. This virus, referred to as H3N2, is closely related to strains of influenza affecting dog populations in South Korea and China. H3N2 is now making its debut appearance within the United States. How the virus was introduced here is anyone’s guess.
Dogs living within the United States have no natural protection against H3N2 because their immune systems have never been exposed to it before. For this reason, it will remain highly contagious until canine populations develop immunity, either through natural infection or vaccination.
The contagious stage of canine influenza begins a few days before symptoms arise. In other words, the healthy-appearing pup at the dog park or doggie daycare center may be on the verge of developing viral symptoms. Spread of the disease occurs via respiratory secretions (discharge from nose, mouth, and eyes). Both dogs and cats are susceptible to the H3N2 virus. It is not transmissible to humans.
The symptoms most commonly associated with influenza virus include: high fever, loss of appetite, coughing, nasal discharge, and lethargy. In the best-case scenario, an infected dog may show only mild symptoms or none at all. Worst-case scenario, pneumonia may develop. Pneumonia was the likely cause of death in five dogs who have reportedly succumbed to this disease.
Many infectious bacterial and viral diseases are capable of producing the symptoms described above. Knowing that H3N2 is the culprit requires specialized testing performed on a mouth or nose swab. Cornell reports that the development of a blood test capable of diagnosing this disease is in the works.
Treatment of influenza ideally involves supportive and symptomatic care until the dog’s immune system wins the battle against the virus (requires approximately two weeks for most dogs). Therapy may include supplemental fluids, special diets to entice appetite, anti-inflammatory medications, and cough suppressants. Antibiotics may be prescribed to prevent secondary bacterial infection.
If evidence of pneumonia is present, much more intensive therapy is indicated and may include hospitalization for intravenous fluids and antibiotics, supplemental oxygen, and 24-hour monitoring by a veterinarian.
At this time, it is not known if the vaccine currently available to prevent H3N8 is also protective against the newer H3N2 strain. There may be some cross over protection, but just how much is uncertain. I suspect that updated information about the effectiveness of the current vaccine and/or development of a new vaccine will be forthcoming in the near future. For now, I recommend discussing use of the current influenza vaccine with your veterinarian.
If you live in or around Chicago, or if you learn that influenza cases are beginning to pop up in your neck of the woods, know that the very best protection involves keeping your dog away from popular, public, canine venues such as dog parks, boarding kennels, grooming parlors, pet stores, and doggie daycare facilities.
Please know that there is no cause for panic. The vast majority of dogs affected by this new strain of influenza fully recover. Talk with your veterinarian about the incidence of canine influenza in your locale to help determine the level of concern for your dogs.

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Your Special Golden April Calendar

Meet Angel the April Calendar 
For some dogs, the journey to a forever home is a long one, with lots of false starts and wrong turns.  Angel was one of those dogs.  She came to Arizona Golden Retriever Connection with lots of energy, a loving heart, and very little expectations.  But AZGRC, along with foster Mom Shirley and foster Dad Walt were determined that Angel would indeed find her forever home.  After all, maybe the third (or was it the fourth or fifth time) would be the charm!
Just a few miles away from Angel’s foster home, an eleven-year-old Golden named Sunny had recently crossed the Rainbow Bridge, leaving her grieving mom Kathy without a dog to care for. Since Kathy’s previous Golden was a rescue, she knew how wonderful it is to give a home to an unwanted dog.  When Kathy heard about Angel, she thought this just might be the Golden for her.  She arranged for a meeting.
“When my foster mom took me to my new home, I liked it right away.  There was a nice backyard and I saw lots of birds.  There was a hole in one of the doors, and it had a flap that let me go outside and come back inside whenever I pleased.  Best of all there was a basket of toys, just for me!  The lady who greeted me was very nice and sure seemed to like me.  I hope I can stay for a very long time, maybe even forever.”
Angel and Kathy have now been together for several months.  Angel loves her walks and enjoys watching the birds in the backyard.  Kathy loves having the companionship of another happy Golden.  It seems that at long last, Angel is truly home.
Easter is April 5th

Your Golden may want to eat your Easter Candy and chocolate.
Chocolate and Easter plants can be dangerous to their sensitive stomachs. 

Saturday, April 11, 2015

1651 East Camelback Rd, Phoenix
11 - 1 PM

R.S.V.P. by 4/10

April 15th TAX Day


Show Your Pet's Smile in AZGRC's 2016 Calendar
2015 Golden Friends Page
For Details

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Does your Golden like the Camera?


2015 Goldens Friends Calendar pageFor almost every year since 2001, Arizona Golden Retriever Connection has published an annual calendar to showcase the wonderful, amazing Goldens that we have been blessed to rescue; and to celebrate the passion, commitment, and energy of our members, volunteers, supporters, and veterinary partners.  The proceeds from our Calendar fundraisers have helped us to provide every one of our rescued dogs with a full veterinary check-up, vaccinations, micro-chips, and spaying/neutering surgeries.  
2015 Golden Friends calendar pageYou can help us continue to provide the best veterinary care possible for our rescued dogs by purchasing a space in our 2016 calendar to showcase your pet, alongside our other “Golden Friends” sponsors.  Pets of all kinds and from all backgrounds are welcome. 
Thanks to the unbelievable generosity, time, and talents of our members and volunteers, our calendar is produced at a minimal cost to our organization.  Therefore, AZGRC can channel over 98% of all calendar proceeds directly to the 2015 Golden Friends Calendar pagemedical expenses associated with rescuing our dogs.
So send in your pet photo(s) today!  We want to light up our 2016 calendar with Golden Smiles!
For a $20 donationyou can be a part of this great fundraiser and showcase your Golden in a snapshot (photo requirements below) on our 2016 Golden Friends pages.  
Reserve your pet's spot on our Golden Friends pages today!

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Hello March and Remembering Mr March 2015


Rescued        JANUARY 2012
“My name in Morgan, and I hate everyone because everyone hates me.  Some humans put a noose around my neck and then locked me in a cage.  I stay outside and growl if anyone comes near me.  My ear hurts really bad and I cough a lot, but nobody cares.  There are two ladies I think could be nice.  They gave me some cheese and meat.  I don’t snarl at them.  They are quiet, and I feel calm with them.  Maybe not everybody hates me.  Maybe I do have some friends.”
Some dogs when rescued are sick in body, some in sprit.  Some are just scared and don’t know what to expect next.  Morgan was all three.  Scheduled for euthanasia, Morgan was considered too aggressive for public adoption. He was very thin, had badly infected ears and a terrible cough. Here was a dog who had lost all his spirit and had no hope left inside him.  However, when the AZGRC volunteers entered his cage, Morgan was nervous but somehow recognized that help had come at last.  Over the next three months, Morgan’s foster dad showed him that not everyone in the world was bad.  Morgan slowly became more content and less afraid.  He started to reach out for attention and show signs of playfulness.  A thousand miles away, two former AZGRC Board members saw Morgan’s photo on the AZGRC website.
Mike and Tim are Golden Retriever lovers and animal rescue advocates who now live in Texas.  They believe that a dog badly in need of love and care is the best kind of dog to own.  When they saw Morgan’s photo on the AZGRC website and heard his story, they had to meet him.  So Morgan took a long car ride to Dallas, Texas in hopes of finding his forever home.
Morgan tells us what happened.  When I met my new dads, Mike and Tim, I liked them right away.  I was very scared at first, but they told me they would take care of me and love me.  They were quiet and petted me very gently.  When they took me to my new home, I found I could go for long walks and even visit other animals like a horse and llama.  My dads feed me lots of good food and play with me a lot.  They take me for long rides in the car, and it is so much fun!  I still get scared, but my Dads love me and I love them.  I know I can count on them to keep me safe.  My foster Dad was right.  The world can be a good place and even dogs like me can find a forever home.     
Morgan spent two wonderful years with Mike and Tim.  He took long rides in the car, loved his walks in the country, and even enjoyed the company of his Golden Retriever neighbors.  Sadly, Morgan journeyed across the Rainbow Bridge in May 2014.  Even though the 2015 calendar had not yet gone to print, there was never a thought to replace “Mr. March”. Mike and Tim would not want it any other way.  They believe that animal rescue is about saving the “unsavable”.  Morgan was such a rescue.  But before he crossed the Bridge, Morgan had found a place to call home and a love that would never fail him.  In the end, that’s what matters most.

Show Your Pet's Smile in AZGRC's 2016 Calendar

Click Here

Tuesday, February 17, 2015


a snake

If you frequently hike or otherwise enjoy the great outdoors with your pet, please take care to prevent painful encounters with snakes. Bites occur most often in between March and October when snakes are most active. Here in Arizona, they are already out and on the trails. According to the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center (APCC), a snake bite is always considered an emergency—a venomous snake bite can be fatal if not treated immediately, and even a bite from a nonvenomous snake can be dangerous for your pets.
The APCC would like to offer the following tips for snake bite safety around pets:
Avoid chance encounters with snakes:
  • Keep your yard tidy by clearing away undergrowth, toys and tools that make great hiding places for snakes.
  • Keep walkways clear of brush, flowers and shrubs.
  • Clean up any spilled food, fruit or bird seed, which can attract rodents—and therefore snakes—to your yard.
  • When walking your pet, keep him on a leash.
  • Steer your pet clear of long grasses, bushes and rocks.
  • Snakes can strike across a distance equal to about half their body length. If you see a snake, head back the way you came.
  • Familiarize yourself with snakes who are common in your area. In the event of a bite, identifying the type of snake may help with your pet's treatment.
Recognize snake bite symptoms:
  • Local or general swelling
  • Bleeding
  • Intense pain
  • Low blood pressure
  • Dead tissue around the wound
  • Shortness of breath
  • Weakness
  • Renal failure
What to do if you think your pet's been bitten:
  • Remember to stay calm.
  • Keep your pet calm, too, by limiting his activity.
  • If your pet was bitten on the neck, remove his collar.
  • If possible, keep the location of the bite below heart level.
  • Seek veterinary care for your pet immediately.
  • Treatment options such as cold packs, ice, tourniquets, alcohol, bleeding the wound and trying to suck out venom should not be attempted in place of getting your pet to the vet—they may just waste precious time.
  • Always keep your personal safety in mind and do not try to catch or kill a snake yourself.
  • Even if you think a snake is dead, never handle him. Some dead snakes are capable of inflicting a bite by muscle contractions.
  • Know where the closest Emergency Vet is.

Sunday, February 1, 2015

Meet Mr Jack Valentine- AKA Mr February

My name is Jack; I am the luckiest Golden Retriever. One day I was on the hot streets of Arizona, and the next I was in jail with a group of yappy unhappy dogs. People looked at me and saw that I had TICKS and just moved on by. Then these really nice people came and took me and my TICKS out of jail.
That was my first day of freedom and TICKS. Now I have the life. First I had to convince my furry family that I was a cool dude, and then I had to work on my mom and dad. This was supposed to be a short stay but I wormed my way into their family and now they all love me. I even love my crazy sister Marley!
I have taught my mom and dad how to catch tennis balls. Everyone thinks the families make the decision of who to adopt, but it is really us smart dogs!

Guess what? It is almost Valentine Day, so I need to work on Dad to make me some yummy cookies!

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Here is some great information to share. Here, at AZGRC, we like to keep current on dog health information. This information is from Dr  Nancy Kay. There is a new way to sterilize your male dog. Most of our adoptable dogs come already altered. This is just another possibility for the future. If you have further questions, please speak with your own vet. 

Zeuterin: Chemical Sterilization of Male Dogs by Nancy Kay, DVM
Photo Credit: Shirley Zindler
I first wrote about Zeuterin, a product used to chemically sterilize male dogs, a couple of years ago. At the time, Zeuterin was still undergoing studies for FDA approval. Ark Sciences, the manufacturer of Zeuterin, received that approval in early 2014, and, since then, the use of this product has rapidly accelerated within the United States.
I recently completed the specific training required for veterinarians to purchase and use Zeuterin. My training began with an online instructional webinar. Next, I completed a wet lab during which I Zeutered three dogs under the watchful eye of a certified trainer. I had the good fortune of doing so with certified trainer, Dr. Laureen Bartfield. She is the director of SNAP-NC (Spay Neuter Assistance Program of North Carolina), and has Zeutered hundreds if not thousands of dogs.
The Zeutering process
From start to finish, Zeutering each dog required no more than 10 to 15 minutes. Keep in mind, things would have been easily twice as quick had I not been learning the procedure for the first time. Here’s how the Zeutering worked:
Step one: Each dog received a thorough physical examination to make sure there were no problems that would interfere with a good outcome. For example, if a dog had significant skin irritation around the scrotum, he would have been disqualified from being Zeutered that day.
Step two: Each dog was sedated to very lightly anesthetized. The goal was to sedate to the point that the dog was willing to lie on his back without struggling. We used a sedation drug called dexmedetomidine, the effects of which were readily reversed by another drug immediately following the procedure.
Step three: Using calipers, the size of each testicle was measured in order to determine and draw up the exact volume of Zeuterin needed for each testicle into two separate syringes.
Step four: Using a slow, steady technique, the appropriate volume of Zeuterin was injected into the center of each testicle. Pain receptors within the testicles respond primarily to changes in pressure, so the key to keeping the dogs comfortable was injecting the Zeuterin very slowly.
Step five: A green “Z” was tattooed within the skin adjacent to the sheath (just in front of the scrotum). Given that the testicles remain, this tattoo announces to the world that the dog has indeed been neutered.
Step six: The dogs were sent home within a couple of hours of being Zeutered. They received an injection of pain medication along with a few days worth of oral pain medication to be given at home. This is a standard recommendation for dogs who have been Zeutered. There is no need for a follow up visit unless concerns arise. Clients were advised that their dog would have some scrotal swelling for the first few days. They were also told that their dogs would not be 100% sterile until 30 days following Zeutering.
Impressions of Zeutering
Following my first hands on experience with Zeuterin, here are my impressions:
  1. The Zeutering process is precise, but easy to learn.
  2. Zeutering is a quick process.
  3. Zeutering is a safe process.
  4. The Zeutering process appears to be pain-free.
  5. Recovery from Zeutering is rapid.
  6. Zeuterin provides a safe and effective means to neuter male dogs.
Stay tuned for Zeuterin: Part II in which I will compare Zeutering to conventional surgical neutering.
Would you consider Zeuterin for your dog?