Monthly Archives

July 2018

Car Temperature

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Cars heat up quickly, even when parked in shade. Don’t leave your pets in parked cars!
Here’s How Quickly Hot Cars Can Become Deadly for Dogs
On a hot day, the temperature inside a vehicle can quickly rise to dangerous levels for pets left inside — even for ‘just a minute.’ According to the American Veterinary Medical Association’s website, on a 70°F day, the inside of a vehicle can reach almost 100°F in 20 minutes.

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Rattlesnake Safety

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From early spring to mid fall, rattlesnakes are out of hibernation and are a more common sight in Colorado. The most common rattlesnake seen along the Front Range is the prairie rattlesnake, preferring rocky canyons and open prairies that contain small mammal burrows for it to hide in. However, when we build our homes on the edge of wildlife areas, encounters with humans and our pets become more and more frequent.
This Blue Sky patient was hiking with her owner along Devil’s Backbone when she wandered off trail for just a second. Then her owner heard her yelp – what could have happened? It was thought to have been just a bug bite until her neck started swelling. Her owner rushed her to Blue Sky where she was treated for shock and had antivenin (antivenom) administered. Soon, her breathing and the swelling improved and after several hours of close monitoring, she was able to go home the same day with her owner.
Tips for Rattlesnake Bite Prevention for Pets:
– Keep your dogs on a short leash and stick to trails (this is the law in natural areas). Off-trail hiking can stir up snakes.
– Don’t let your pet dig under rocks and/ or logs or explore holes. These are perfect hiding places for snakes.
– Stay vigilant and keep control of your pet at all times.
– Don’t let your pet examine “road kill” snakes. Dead rattlesnakes can still have muscle contractions after death and may still pose a threat – some have been known to “bite” even after they’re dead.
So What Do You Do If Your Pet Has Been Bitten?
– Do NOT attempt to kill or capture the snake.
– Do NOT allow your pet to move about freely.
– Do NOT cut over the fang marks and attempt to drain the venom.
– Do NOT manipulate the bite area more than necessary. Instead, immobilize the area (if it can be done safely), trying to keep it at or below the level of the heart.
– Do NOT apply a tourniquet or apply ice to the bite area!
– Do NOT administer any medication to your pet without a veterinarian’s authorization!
– Seek emergency veterinarian attention immediately!
Snakebites are a serious, complex problem that are best treated by your veterinarian. If your pet is bitten by a snake, the best thing to do is assume the bite is venomous and seek veterinary attention immediately.

Stress Colitis

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Let’s talk about diarrhea! If you’re a pet owner, you’ve likely experienced a time when your animal companion exhibited this delightful ailment. Diarrhea is one of the most common reasons we see pets outside of their normal wellness exams. While there are many different causes of diarrhea, the most frequent cause we find is called “stress colitis.” You might also hear us call it “bacterial overgrowth” or “clostridial overgrowth.”

What causes stress colitis?
In short, stress colitis is caused by an imbalance of the bacteria residing in the gut. Every healthy GI tract should have a normal, flourishing population of different types of bacteria that help us with the absorption of nutrients. When these various colonies of bacteria become imbalanced, we can see diarrhea. One type of bacteria in particular, called Clostridium, is a common culprit for overgrowth and edging out other types of bacteria to cause diarrhea.

What causes this bacterial imbalance?
Truthfully, we don’t always know. However, there’s a high correlation of the diarrhea happening during times of STRESS (ie. while animals are boarding, after fireworks holidays, when guests are staying in the house, home construction projects, traveling, etc.) or with DIETARY INDISCRETION (ie. getting into trash, chewing on dead/rotting wildlife, eating half a pan of casserole, discovering the joy of hunting birds and small rodents, etc.)

What might you see from your pet when they have stress colitis?
Obviously, you’ll see diarrhea, which doesn’t need describing. And occasionally, the diarrhea can have blood in it. The good news is that, aside from the diarrhea, your pet usually feels just fine, with normal energy and appetite. Occasionally, animals are more sensitive to this, and might show more clinical signs like vomiting, decreased appetite and lethargy, but this is less common.

How do we diagnose this?
Your pet’s clinical signs and history are an important part of diagnosis. However, we can’t definitively diagnose this as the problem without a stool sample. Once you’ve done the dirty job of collecting a small fecal sample, we look at the contents under a microscope and check for clostridium and other cellular/bacterial abnormalities. This test is called a fecal cytology. Sometimes, we’ll also run a fecal flotation to ensure there are no GI parasites that could be contributing to the diarrhea.

How do we treat?
Fortunately, clostridial overgrowth usually responds very nicely to a course of antibiotics, probiotics and bland diet. Bland diets can be boiled chicken and rice or GI sensitivity diets (ie. Royal Canin GI low fat or Hill’s i/d).

Can I do anything to prevent this?
We wish there was an easy answer. Taking your dog for a long walk while the repairman is in the house or stopping your dog from chewing on the week-old deer carcass can be a good start, but it’s not a guarantee of prevention. If your pet seems to have clostridial overgrowth quite frequently, trying GI sensitivity diets and/or probiotics long term can be a helpful option. It’s also important to rule out other possible causes of diarrhea.

Here’s a quick Q/A regarding stress colitis:

Is this contagious? No. It’s your own animal’s GI bacteria and won’t be infectious to other animals or humans.

Can my pet get it more than once? Yes.

Can I keep antibiotics on hand to treat as needed? No. We don’t want to contribute to antibiotic resistance by using antibiotics intermittently. We’ll treat clostridial overgrowth as it happens with appropriate antibacterial protocols that prevent bacterial antibiotic resistance.

Can I keep probiotics on hand to treat as needed? Absolutely! Many dogs are on probiotics long term and this can be helpful in decreasing the frequency of GI upset.