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?
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Sending best wishes to you and your four-legged family members,
Dr. Nancy Kay