May is National Pet Month

Child playing veterinarian

May is National Pet Month and the staff at Downtown Animal Care Center wanted to take a moment to talk about essential veterinary care for your furry friends. Often customers come to us with a new pet and ask what basic care is essential to keep their pet happy and healthy?


Basic Care

Just like their human counterparts, pets need nutritious food, clean water, a shelter to protect them from the elements and regular veterinary care. It is essential that your pet sees a veterinarian at least once a year for a wellness check and more frequently if there are ongoing health concerns. Like humans, animals can suffer from a wide variety of chronic conditions such as diabetes, thyroid disease and bone and joint problems. Seeing a veterinarian on a regular basis helps your vet identify and treat any issues early, potentially saving your money and even your pet’s life. Downtown Animal Care Center has an experienced veterinary staff to treat your pet and give you peace of mind that your pet is receiving the best care possible.

Spay and Neuter
We urge all pet owners to spay and neuter their pets. Pets that are not spayed or neutered are more prone to serious illnesses, behavioral problems and getting lost, not to mention overpopulating the area with poor, unwanted animals. D.A.C.C. offers affordable spay neuter services by appointment. Please ask your veterinarian when your new pet should be spayed or neutered.

 

Vaccinations

Both cats and dogs need regular vaccinations to protect them from a wide variety of illnesses like: theParvovirus, Feline Leukemia, Distemper and Rabies. For puppies, kittens or adult pets with an unknown history, it is important to ask your vet how many vaccines are needed to completely protect your pet. It is also crucial to make sure that your pet receives regular booster shots to maintain protection. Downtown Animal Care Center offers a convenient walk-in vaccination clinic on Sundays from 10a.m. -3 p.m. Regular vaccinations are also offered during regular business hours by appointment.
Hygiene

Pets need regular brushing, bathing, and dental care. Pet owners can do this at home, taking care to look for hidden bugs, cuts or skin irritation while brushing or bathing, or they can use a grooming service that can care for your pet and also provide nail trims. Dental care is also critical for helping pets avoid serious health problems that result from periodontal disease.
Diet

With the help of their vet, pet owners should identify the appropriate diet for their pet to maintain proper health, strong clean teeth and a shiny coat. You should avoid feeding your pet human food because that can lead to health problems such as skin issues and obesity in your pet. Also, changing your pet’s water daily prevents bacterial or algae growth that can make your pet ill.
Parasites
Tapeworms, heartworms, fleas and ticks are just a few parasites that can seriously endanger your pet’s health. We recommend monthly application of preventative flea, tick and heartworm medications that protect pets and their families from these nuisances. You pet will needed to be tested prior to receiving a prescription, and will need to be retested either annually or biannually depending on the number of months of the year the preventative is prescribed. Ask your vet which is the best for your pet.

Following this care guide will help your pets live longer, happier lives, but it is just a start. Partnering with a Veterinarian that you trust is equally important. We invite all pet owners in the area to call us at 303-595-3561 with any questions or to make an appointment. We are conveniently located in Downtown Denver and are open 7 days a week to meet your needs.

 

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Protecting your dog from The Canine Parvovirus

 

puppy playing

This is one virus you DON’T want your dog to pick up.
Canine parvovirus (CPV) is a nasty, highly contagious illness, spread from dog to dog by direct or indirect contact with feces. That means that your dog can get CPV from either eating an infected dog’s poop or simply sniffing an infected dog’s hindquarters! It can be especially hard on puppies who haven’t yet been vaccinated because their immune systems haven’t yet fully developed.
CPV can affect all dog breeds, though for some reason some breeds it affects some breeds more than others, such as:
• Rottweilers
• Doberman Pinschers
• Pit bull breeds
• Labrador Retrievers
• German Shepherds
• English Springer Spaniels
Symptoms
CPV shows up in two forms: intestinal and, more rarely, cardiac. Symptoms of the intestinal form of CPV include:
• Extreme vomiting
• Severe diarrhea, often containing mucus or blood
• Anorexia
• Lethargy
• High fever or, sometimes, a low body temperature (hypothermia)
• Severe abdominal pain
Because the intestinal form of CPV results in fluid losses and because the affected intestines do not nutrients and proteins properly, he’ll weaken, lose weight and become dehydrated pretty quickly.
The cardiac form of CPV tends to attack very young puppies, causing cardiovascular and respiratory failure and, unfortunately, often leads to death.

Diagnosis
Every minute counts when it comes to diagnosis! If your dog is exhibiting one or more of the symptoms listed above, seek emergency veterinary care as soon as possible.
CPV is an aggressive illness and dogs tend to deteriorate soon after becoming infected. If CPV is suspected, your veterinarian will first perform a physical exam and then follow up with other tests to figure out the cause of your pooch’s discomfort. Such tests include:
• A complete blood cell count (CBC) to rule out blood related conditions; a low white blood cell count is usually seen with CPV infection
• Chemistry tests to screen for kidney, liver, and pancreatic disease as well as to check sugar levels
• Fecal test to detect the presence of CPV and rule out intestinal parasites
• Urinalysis
• Abdominal imaging, through x-ray or ultrasound, to look for intestinal obstruction, enlarged lymph nodes, and excess fluids in the intestines
Treatment
CPV’s pretty rough on dogs and pretty much always requires hospitalization for 24-hour care and monitoring. Left untreated, dogs with the virus are likely to die. However, since it’s a viral infection, there’s no cure for CPV. This means that your veterinarian will treat and support your dog and help them weather the infection.
Treatment is aimed towards managing your dog’s dehydration and electrolyte imbalances, and includes:
• IV fluid therapy
• Nutritional therapy
• Medications to control vomiting, diarrhea, and nausea
• In severe cases, blood plasma transfusions.
• Pain medications
In addition, antibiotics are often prescribed to prevent bacterial infections, which can take advantage of your dog’s weakened state and often prove to be fatal. In general, dogs shouldn’t eat or drink until symptoms have subsided, and fluid support is usually needed for several days. Your veterinarian will discuss the best course of action to get your dog back to his normal, happy, healthy self as soon as possible.
Management
CPV can be brutal on dogs, but survival rate is relatively optimistic, though it’s lower for puppies.
While recovering from CPV, your dog will have a weakened immune system for a while and could be at risk for other illnesses. Fortunately, there are ways in which you can boost your dog’s immune system and keep him safe from illness.

Options include:
• A healthy and balanced diet that is easily digestible
• Make sure your dog is fully vaccinated against other illnesses

Every dog and every case is different, so your veterinarian will help you formulate an effective management plan to get your furry friend back to strength.
For some time after recovery, your dog will remain contagious and should be kept away from other dogs. You’ll have to isolate your dog from other dogs, even – and especially – your own. And though recovery from CPV makes dogs mostly immune from getting the virus again, future immunity isn’t guaranteed and vaccination is generally recommended.
Besides taking care of your dog, you’ll need to spend some time disinfecting your dog’s toys, crates, kennels, and toys. People can carry the virus on their hands and clothes so be sure to wash thoroughly after being around a sick dog.

Remember, CPV can live in the environment for at least a year, according to the American Veterinary Medical Association, so make sure to speak with your veterinarian about vaccination and any lingering danger of infection in your house and yard.

Prevention
The number one way to prevent CPV is vaccination. Puppies should be vaccinated starting at a young age, and usually the vaccinations should be applied in a staggered manner as directed by your veterinarian. Again, for each dog it’s different. Your veterinarian will provide the best recommendations for keeping your dog safe from CPV.

If you have any questions or concerns, you should call us at 303-595-3561 to schedule an appointment with one of our veterinarians. Remember time is critical if it is after our normal office hours please take your dog to the nearest veterinary hospital for treatment.

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The Dangers of Marijuana and Your Pet

Dangers of Marijuana Poisoning for Your Pet.Pot and your pet do not mix

Just because dogs are often referred to as man’s best friend, that doesn’t mean that you should share your bud with your pup.

Since the legalization of marijuana in November, Downtown Animal Care Center has seen an increase in the number of marijuana related visits to the clinic, and with the start of recreational pot sales on January 1st we thought it was important to talk about the dangers of marijuana.

Marijuana poisoning is often a result of your dog inhaling marijuana smoke, eating foods made from cannabis (edibles) or simply eating the pot plant.  Sometimes, an irresponsible owner thinks it is funny to blow a little smoke in their pet’s face, not knowing the serious consequences.  Other times a dog may find their owners “stash” and eat it.

Signs of marijuana poisoning often include glassy-eyes, dilated pupils, and the more severe cases include vomiting, stumbling and agitation or excitement.  The most severe symptoms include increase heart rate, tremors, seizures and possibly death. The symptoms often appear within 30 – 60 minutes after ingestion. If you suspect that your dog has ingested any amount of marijuana, please seek attention right away.

Your veterinarian will recommend treatment based on the amount of marijuana that was ingested or how recent the ingestion was.  Treatment for marijuana poisoning can include charcoal to induce vomiting, IV fluids, anti-vomiting medication, and oxygen; and in severe cases your pet may need a ventilator/respirator to assist with breathing. Prompt veterinarian attention is critical to a positive outcome for your pet.

For more information on marijuana poisoning or if you have other concerns about your pet, please call Downtown Animal Care Center at (303) 595-3561 or send us an email at info@downtownanimalcarecenter.com to schedule an appointment with one of our veterinarians. And remember that by keeping marijuana and all toxic substances out of the reach of your pet you can prevent a dangerous situation.

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Celebrate the Holiday Season with a Donation to DACF

 

                  Your year-end gift to Downtown Animal Care Foundation can help save animals like Logan.

 

Katie and Logan A Love Story

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Meet Logan

For almost 10 years, #283 only knew the inside of a crate at the puppy mill. For his owners, he was little more than a cash machine. He wasn’t allowed to run in the yard, bask in the sunshine, or curl up against someone’s warm toes on a cold winter day.  Instead, He spent his days and nights in a cold dirty cage, a number among hundreds of other dogs.

Meet Katie

A life- long animal lover, a veterinary technician, and a Rescue Ranger with the Downtown  Animal Care Foundation, Katie volunteers with D.A. C. F. because she feels a calling to help animals in need.

 A Love Connection

On February 10th, Katie and another Rescue Ranger began loading crates and preparing for the 14-hour drive to the puppy mill auction. Little did Katie know on that cool February day that her life would soon be changed forever! Instead, Katie and her fellow Rescue Ranger had one thing on their minds when they headed off to Missouri; they wondered how they could rescue as many animals as possible when cash and space was short.

When they arrived at the auction, Katie felt the familiar feeling of both dread and hope. Dread- because she didn’t know what the condition the poor creatures that were about to be presented would be in, and hope because with any luck the Rescue Rangers would be able to save a few of these poor souls and help them begin a life of freedom.

Knowing that they didn’t have enough cash to compete with other breeders, they decided to focus on rescuing the animals that looked like they were the most in need of veterinary care and were animals others didn’t want and that would likely be dumped or killed if not rescued.

The auction began and with the bright lights, cool draft and the noise of the crowd, most of the animals that were brought up on the bidding table were cold, and frightened.  The Rescue Rangers took their place near the front, and crossed their fingers.  They watched as each dog was brought out and sold to the highest bidder.

Then it happened – #283 was brought up to the front.  He was old, shaking and looked lost. Because of his age and his condition he didn’t get many bids. Katie and the other Ranger were able to successfully bid on #283 and win.  When Katie first picked him up, it was love at first sight- at least for Katie and probably for Logan too, although he was too scared to notice how much this stranger would change his life and how much he would change hers. That day the Rescue Rangers were able to save 3 sweet souls from a place many of us have only seen in our nightmares – the puppy mill.  Days that were filled with loneliness, filth and darkness would soon be filled with sunshine, freedom and lots of love.

 Logan now spends his days living a life any pup would dream of. He lives with a family that loves him and makes his wellbeing a priority. He also gets to travel with Katie on Rescue Ranger missions as the Rescue Rangers mascot.

 For hundreds of animals in need each year, The Downtown Animal Care Foundation represents hope, care, and a love.  From providing matching emergency care grants for low-income residents living in Colorado to our Rescue Ranger program that accepts neglected and unwanted animals and finds loving forever homes, D.A.C.F. is often the last chance for animals that have no other options.

 Your donation today can help D.A.C.F programs continue provide hope to sick, unwanted and neglected animals in Colorado.

 Will you give today to help other animals like Logan

Thank you for your consideration, and we hope you have a wonderful Holiday Season!

Donations to the Downtown Animal Care Foundation are tax deductible:

Tax ID #20-5465585
http://www.downtownanimalcarefoundation.org

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Halloween Safety Tips

Halloween Safety Tips from Downtown Animal Care CenterHere are some tips to keep your pet safe this Halloween.

  • Any kind of chocolate, particularly baking and dark, can be fatal for cats and dogs. Do not under any circumstances feed your pet trick-or-treat candies; they are NOT meant for animals and could lead to chocolate poisoning. Symptoms of chocolate poisoning include vomiting, diarrhea, rapid breathing, increased heart rate and seizures.
  • Candy can also contain the artificial sweetener xylitol which has the potential to be very poisonous to dogs; even small amounts can cause a sudden drop in sugar, which can lead to seizures and lack of coordination.  If you suspect that your pet is experiencing chocolate or xylitol poisoning, contact your veterinarian immediately. If it is after business hours take your pet to the nearest veterinary hospital.
  • Never leave your pet unattended. Mischievous kids and pranksters may tease, injure or even kill pets on Halloween. Be a responsible pet owner and make sure that your pet is in a safe area or with you if out in the neighborhood.
  • When picking pet costumes, make sure they are comfortable and easy to breathe in. Many animals are not used to walking around in costumes or clothes, so exercising a little common sense can go a long way.
  • Take special care to keep pets away from the door; the constant opening and closing and people yelling loudly or asking for candy, could upset your pet. Dogs in particular are territorial and may get anxious, growling and snarling at innocent trick-or-treaters. Putting your pet in a secure room or area, will help ease anxiety and help prevent them from escaping.
  • The likelihood of your cat or dog running away out of sheer excitement should be taken into consideration. Having a secure collar and identification and a microchip can increase the chance of your pet being safely returned, in case it gets lost.

If you do find yourself in the unfortunate situation of having to get your pet treated, know that Downtown Animal Care Center can take care of all of your pet’s veterinary needs.

If you have specific questions or concerns, your veterinarian can give you additional tips for general well-being of your pet or other preventive measures. To make an appointment with one of our veterinarians, call us at 303-595-3561 We take appointments 6 days a week to meet your scheduling needs.

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An Ounce of Prevention- Understanding Pet Obesity

October is Pet Obesity Month -Downtown Animal Care Center

A love of animals is an inborn genetic trait that most people can easily relate to. When caring and providing for a pet, one often has to go to great lengths to ensure their pets are in the best of health and in good physical shape. A common health risk plaguing many animals is obesity.

Obesity is generally defined as excess body fat or simply unneeded body weight that has the ability to adversely affect health and subsequently, having a negative impact on quality of life and general well-being. Much like their human owners, pets are often considered obese if they are overweight by 20% to 25% of a healthy or ideal body weight.

Pet owners need to take pet obesity very seriously as it can affect an animal’s sense of well-being causing unwanted suffering, and can ultimately can lead to serious medical conditions that can shorten your pet’s life. These medical conditions include:

  • joint issues
  • heart disease
  • diabetes
  • high blood pressure
  • cancers
  • respiratory distress

In addition, obesity may very well affect an animal’s ability to behave normally – everyday physical activities, such as walking, running, climbing and walking stairs becomes much more difficult with additional weight.

What Causes Obesity?

The primary suspects here are certain medical conditions, overeating and the lack of physical activity.

A lot of pets spend time in a crate or the house, safely tucked away while their owner is at work.  For many pets the short walk that is received at night when their owner returns does not provide enough physical activity.  Combine this with an overabundance of treats and the pounds begin to add on.

In addition to lack of physical activity and over eating, certain medical conditions such as hypothyroidism can also lead to your pet’s weight gain.

Prevention and Treatment

Consult Your Vet

Pet obesity is not only debilitating for your poor animal, but can also place a burden on the owner’s shoulders. Luckily, certain preventive measures can be taken to assure your pet is taken care of.

If you suspect that your pet may have a weight problem, we suggest that you schedule a wellness exam with your veterinarian. At your appointment, your veterinarian will assess your pet for any medical conditions that may be causing unexplained weight gain.  If there does not appear to be any medical issues, then your veterinarian will work with you to develop a treatment plan that includes a slow and gradual long-term weight loss plan. From medication, to modified diet and increase physical activity, whatever the treatment plan is, all members of the household should be involved in making any recommended changes.

 Food and Nutrition

Keeping a journal to track your pet’s calorie consumption can sometimes help determine how much your pet is really eating. This would include feedings, table scraps, and any treats your pet receives on a daily basis. Tracking for a week can give you a total to compare to your veterinarian’s caloric recommendation.

We are often asked what type of food is best for a pet.  When your pet is obese it is best to speak with your veterinarian or veterinary technician to see what type of diet they recommend. Sometimes they will recommend that your pet be on a special weight management formula of dog or cat food other times they will recommend that you simply reduce the amount of food and treats given daily. Your veterinarian can also make food recommendations specific to any of your pet’s other needs such as skin conditions and allergies.

Prevention

Like the old saying goes –an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure- preventing pet obesity is a lot easier then treating.  Helping your pet stay fit is often as easy as getting regular wellness checks, monitoring what your pet is eating, and increasing the amount of exercise your pet gets.  Exercise can include any physical activity you’re your pet enjoys such as; walking, running, fetching, swimming,  or playing with other animals.

It is up to you to see to it, that your pet only eats when it needs to and that it enjoys and adheres to a healthy and active lifestyle. Who knows, you may very well end up burning a few calories and have lots of fun in the process, which is nothing to complain about!

Remember if you ever have questions or concerns about your pet’s health, Downtown Animal Care Center, conveniently located in Downtown Denver, has caring and compassionate veterinarians on staff that can answer any of your questions. To make an appointment simply call (303) 595-3561 or email us at info@downtownanimalcarecenter.com.

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Preventing Parvo – by Dr. Jason Cordeiro

As printed in the July 2013 Issue of Mile High Dog

Dr. Cordeiro provides surgical procedures, primarily sterilizations, at Downtown Animal Care Center and at monthly spay and neuter clinics in underprivileged areas worldwide. He also operates an in-home euthanasia practice called One Last Gift. For more information, please visit www.1lastgiftsite.com.

golden Retriever

Canine parvovirus—commonly referred to as Parvo—is by far the leading killer of unvaccinated puppies between the ages of 6–20 weeks. Canine Parvo first emerged in 1978 as a widespread epidemic that killed thousands of dogs, most of them puppies. In the early 1980s, a vaccine was developed and the mortality rate dropped dramatically, although the timing of giving the puppy vaccinations is crucial.

It is believed that the feline parvovirus, more commonly referred to as Panleukopenia, probably mutated, creating the canine parvovirus. Feline Parvo is equally devastating in cats and just as easily preventable by early vaccination.

Parvovirus is perhaps the most durable of all viruses. It can survive entire winters outside and requires a bleach solution (currently recommended at a 1:32 dilution with water) or a flame to be killed with any certainty. Similar to many forms of chemotherapy, parvo attacks and destroys rapidly-dividing cells. The virus most often targets the enterocytes— cells lining the intestines—and the immature white blood cells in bone marrow. A perfect storm ensues for the development of severe systemic infections. This is caused by the movement of bacteria from the intestines into the bloodstream because of the loss of the normal intestinal defenses and the loss of a functional immune system to fight off the resulting infection.

Parvo is transmitted via the fecal-oral route. Susceptible puppies are exposed, often times indirectly from an owner’s shoes or another animal’s coat. As such, it is extremely important to keep unvaccinated puppies away from areas of high exposure where they could be ex- posed to dog poop. This means no dog parks, open spaces, dog daycares, pet stores, common areas in apartment or condo complexes, etc.

The parvovirus vaccine is administered in three doses, so a puppy who has only received one or two of the three required rounds of vaccine is not yet adequately protected.

Typically, puppies who have contracted the virus will start to show symptoms 4–5 days after exposure. Symptoms include lethargy, vomiting, profuse diarrhea and high fever.  An in-office test of a fecal sample can provide a diagnosis within minutes and an aggressive treatment regimen will be required.

Maternal antibodies transmitted from a mother to her puppies via milk start to wane at eight weeks making vaccination imperative to stimulate development of a puppy’s own immunity against parvo.  Though the necessary vaccination intervals for adult dogs have been debated in recent years, it is certain that the puppy vaccination series is easily the most important thing you can do for your puppy.

The recommended protocol is to vaccinate puppies at 8, 12 and 16 weeks. The vaccine is almost always given in combination with several other vaccines, most commonly distemper, parainfluenza and adenovirus. Distemper is another leading infectious killer of puppies, parainfluenza is a viral component in kennel cough and adenovirus is a form of hepatitis. When a puppy is older than 12–16 weeks, we give two vaccines, three to four weeks apart to establish proper immunity.

The worst memories I have from my years in emergency medicine were having to euthanize deathly-ill puppies who had contracted an entirely preventable disease. In fact, one of my own furkids came to me through such a situation. The mortality rate for puppies who develop a parvo infection is around 50 percent with treatment and nearly 100 percent without, depending on how quickly treatment is sought and the presence of any pre-existing disease.

Parvo infections occur at the base of the lining of the intestines, caus- ing the entire intestinal lining to slough off and pass in a bloody, fetid deluge of diarrhea. There is such a profuse odor that after seeing enough cases, some experienced veterinary professionals can almost diagnose parvo just from the smell of the diarrhea. Fluid loss from vomiting and diarrhea and the impact of secondary bacterial infections are the most common causes of death from parvo infections.

The three most important factors to ensure a long, healthy life for your pet are to vaccinate, spay or neuter, and provide regular dental cleanings and checkups. Parvovirus is a devastating infection that no pet should have to endure, so please vaccinate your puppies!

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