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Microchipping – an easy way to help keep your pet safe!

At Blue Sky, we have seen countless pets reunited with their owners due to these little lifesavers. We had a cat who was scanned at a shelter in a neighboring state who was returned to her owner in Loveland after a long absence! We get stray dogs in frequently and can return them to their owners with a quick phone call if the are chipped.

Microchips are tiny – about the size of a grain of rice. They are injected right under the skin on the back between the shoulder blades – it not anymore painful than getting a shot. They are also inexpensive running around $50.

The chip can be scanned by any veterinary clinic or animal shelter. A unique chip number is linked to the owners phone number and information. Make sure you pet is microchipped today!

Walking for Weight Loss

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Walking for Weight Loss

Walks are a great time to bond with our dogs. Walks are also an important form of exercise for maintaining a healthy weight for our pets. It’s important to remember that walking for leisure looks a little different than walking for weight loss. Here are some helpful tips from Dr. Ernie Ward (with the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention) on how to pick up the pace and get your pet in shape!

Get the right equipment
A head halter or harness is preferable to a collar, as these leads do not put pressure on the trachea (windpipe) of your pet when walking. A 4-6 foot leash (no retractable leashes!).

Set the right pace
“Draw your leash close – generally within two to three feet of your body – to your left or away-from-the street side and set off at a pace you feel comfortable sustaining. This should be about a fifteen minute per mile pace for most small dogs. It should feel like a brisk walk and you should break into a light sweat. The key is to keep it up! Don’t stop. Don’t look down at your dog when they inevitably want to stop and smell something or mark a hydrant. Continue staring straight ahead, tighten the leash (don’t jerk) and give a command such as “Come” or “Here” if their attention begins to stray. It is important that your dog understands that walking for exercising is different than a casual, relaxed outing. Head halters are a great tool for training dogs to heel during a fast walk and retain their attention. If they sit or refuse to walk, you may have to return home and try again another time. I have yet to encounter a dog that didn’t take readily to aerobic walking after a little training.”

Set time goals
Start with 30 minute walks for a minimum of 5 days a week. A sample schedule looks like this:
Week 1 – 30 min total (10 min brisk then 20 min casual pace)
Week 2 – 30 min total (15 min brisk then 15 min casual pace
Week 3 – 30 min total (20 min brisk then 10 min casual pace)
Week 4 – 35-40 min total (30 min brisk then 5-10 min casual pace)
Week 5+ – 35-60 minutes total (Try to do two 20-30 min walks per day: 15-25 min brisk then 5 min casual pace

Monthly weight checks
Weigh your pet at the clinic monthly to track progress and adjust goal weights as needed.

Please make sure to check with your veterinarian before starting a walking program if you have any concerns about underlying conditions (like heart disease or arthritis).

Overall, you’ll be surprised with the physical and mental health benefits of consistent walks for both you and your pup!

Adapted from the full article here:…/walking-the-dog-tips-for…


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 Batteries can be very dangerous when ingested or chewed by pets. When a battery is punctured or swallowed, the alkaline or acidic material can leak out and cause corrosive injury to the mouth and other body tissues. The most common types of batteries ingested or chewed on by dogs are alkaline dry cell batteries (e.g., 9-volt, D, C, AA, AAA) or button/disc batteries. Disc-shaped batteries or lithium batteries can also be dangerous and can cause tissue injury.

If a battery is swallowed or punctured, carefully flush the mouth with tepid water. Dogs that ingest batteries should not be made to vomit, as the corrosive contents of the battery can cause further damage to the esophagus. Immediate veterinary attention is required after initial flushing of the mouth. Ulcers in the mouth may not be seen for hours after battery puncture or ingestion. Batteries can also lodge in the stomach or intestines and burn and damage those tissues. X-rays can quickly identify the presence of batteries internally.

If you pet has punctured or swallowed a battery, call your veterinarian immediately!

Ear infections

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 Ear infections! So common, but so frustrating! Ear infections are the second most common problem we veterinarians see in dogs (after dental disease which gets first place).

Why do dogs get ear infections? They have LOOONNNGGG outer ear canals. This is the area between the ear opening and the ear drum. It is a dark, warm, moist area – perfect for yeast and bacteria to grow. (In the ear model in the picture, this is the whole long tube of vertical canal and then where it turns to horizontal canal right up to the ear drum).

Some underlying medical issues like allergies can increase the risk of ear infections. Allergies can cause the skin lining the inside of the ear canal to get inflamed, red and swollen making it even easier for yeast or bacteria to move in and take over.
Ear infections can be hard to treat because we are treating an area we can’t see or reach. Also, the swollen ear canal starts to close off and then it is even harder to get medicine where we need it. So, it is very important when you are prescribed medicine to put in ear dog’s ear to make sure you put in enough that it will run down and fill the whole canal, not just treat near the opening of the ear.

We have a variety of medications that may be used in your dog, cleaners, ointments, and sometimes medications by mouth are used depending on the type of infection (bacteria or yeast) and the amount of internal swelling. We also have some new extended release treatments that can be applied at the clinic and can last for weeks.

It is important to recheck ears after treating because often the upper canal is healthy, but yeast or bacteria is still hiding in the deep part of the ear canal. In that case, treatment needs to be continued for a longer period of time. Needing repeated treatment is common for ear infections.

So, if your dog’s ears smell bad, are red, or if they are shaking their head or seem uncomfortable – get them in so we can get them feeling better!

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.

If you would like to read more, check out this website:




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.

Device to assist Blind Dogs

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This Teaching Tuesday is brought to you by sweet Liska.
Liska is shown here wearing her Muffin’s Halo, which is a device designed to help blind dogs get around safely. 

Image may contain: grass, dog, outdoor and nature
Liska unfortunately went blind due to her cataracts, but then had an additional complication of developing glaucoma. We initially tried to

manage her glaucoma medically with eye drops, however, she did not respond as we had hoped.
Glaucoma is a very painful condition and in order to alleviate her pain Dr. Zubricky performed a bilateral enucleation (Removal of the eyes).

Liska is no longer in pain and with the help of her Muffin’s Halo and her buds, Brutus and Heidi she is doing wonderfully and getting around

with ease.
Having a blind dog can be a challenge and very confusing for our furry friends, especially when they are in unfamiliar locations. The Muffin’s

Halo is a way to provide blind dogs the assistance they need to get around safely without bumping into things with their face.

If you have a blind dog that needs some additional assistance Liska encourages everyone to give this wonderful product a try!

Pet First Aid Kits

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Summer is nearly here and we have Pet First Aid Kits for purchase!

They include: Vetwrap, gauze, tape, Telfa pads, bandage scissors, thermometer, Neosporin, and gloves,

and dosing charts.

The dosing charts are for over the counter medications for allergic reactions and diarrhea.

If you are traveling, or even just heading out for a hike, get your first aid kit today!

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