Animal Emergency & Specialty Care

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What Can You Do to Prepare Your Pet for Surgery?

pet surgeryPet surgery can be scary for owners, but preparing a pet for his or her upcoming surgery can help keep pet owners calm. AESC wants pet owners to know how to prepare their pets for surgery to put all parties at ease throughout the process.

What to Do Prior to the Surgery?

When you find out that your pet needs surgery, you will want to make sure you fully understand everything that is involved before the operation takes place. Your veterinary surgeon can explain the process and tell you everything that will be involved in that particular procedure.

Most surgical procedures will require some form of anesthesia. General anesthesia is best used on animals with an empty stomach, so your veterinarian will probably tell you to withhold food from your pet for at least 12 hours leading up to the pet surgery. The reason that veterinarians tell you to fast your dog or cat is because anesthesia decreases the swallowing reflex, which increases the risk of your pet vomiting during or after the procedure.

Your veterinarian will also be able to tell you whether or not your dog or cat can take existing medications before the surgery. Ask your veterinarian if you need to bring your pet’s medication to the appointment.

Before the surgery, you will want to know about any post-surgical restrictions that your pet will need so that you are prepared when the surgery is over. Some operations will require that pet be confined to a small room or pen to prevent too much movement. Your pet may also need additional bedding to stay comfortable during their recovery time.

The morning of the surgery, your vet may ask you to drop your pet off fairly early in the day regardless of the surgery time. During this time, your veterinarian may do a number of tests, such as a physical exam, a blood test, and x-rays. Your pet is likely to get an IV catheter and IV fluids. Veterinarians will also need to properly calculate the amount of anesthesia that will be required for the pet surgery. There may even be more things that your veterinarian wants to take care of before the surgery.

Be sure to leave a phone number that you will be available at before you leave the clinic the morning of the surgery. Your veterinarian may need to be able to reach you during the procedure, and they will want to call to let you know when you can pick up your pet.

Pre-Operative Veterinary Care

When your pet arrives at the veterinary clinic for surgery, the veterinarian will run any tests that they deem necessary, and then prepare your dog or cat for surgery. Sometimes, pets are given a sedative to calm them before the surgery. Often, the surgeon will need to shave a small patch of fur on one of your pet’s legs to place an IV and the surgery site will be shaved or trimmed, as well as sanitized. The veterinarian will place an IV catheter and then start anesthesia. A nurse will monitor your pet’s vitals throughout the surgery and recovery.

When your pet starts to wake up, veterinary nurses will stay with him or her to make sure that they are comforted and pain-free. Your pet will stay here while they wait to be picked up.

Post-Surgery Care

After surgery, your pet is taken into a dry, warm area where they are monitored while they recover from the anesthesia. You will be updated post-surgery, so you know how the surgery went and how your pet is recovering.

When you pick up your pet, a veterinarian will go over the post-operative home care with you again. In most cases, you won’t be required to stay home all day with your pet. It is likely that you will have to administer medications, as all pets are given pain medication and some an antibiotic if needed after surgery.

AESC, located in Parker, Colorado, has a staff of dedicated surgical professionals that would love to help your pet throughout the surgery process. Our team will give your pet exceptional care before, during, and after the surgery. We also offer an anesthesia recovery suite where your pet can recover comfortably from anesthetics while being accompanied and closely monitored by our experienced team. Call us today if your pet is in need of surgery at 720-842-5050.

Heatstroke in Pets: Everything You Need to Know

heatstroke in petsHot weather has arrived, and it is important that you know how to keep your pet safe despite the rising temperatures outside. With the high number of animals that suffer from heatstroke each year, AESC wants to take the opportunity to teach pet owners everything they need to know about heatstroke.

What is Heatstroke?

Heatstroke, also known as hyperthermia, occurs when the body’s core temperature rises above a level that is safe. Pets are at risk for heatstroke when they are outdoors in the summer for extended periods of time without a way to cool off. Since pets don’t have an efficient way to cool themselves as humans do with sweating, they are at an even greater risk of overheating and suffering from heatstroke. For pets, panting is the only means of expelling excess heating, aside from sweating, which can only take place around their paws and noses.

Humidity and confined spaces increase the risk of heatstroke occurring in pets.

Signs of Heatstroke

Heatstroke in pets can be characterized by a few symptoms including:

  • Excessive panting
  • Excessive salivation
  • Bluish-purple or bright red gums
  • High body temperature
  • Distress
  • Weakness
  • Dizziness
  • Vomiting or diarrhea
  • Shock

These symptoms are very serious. Should your pet’s body temperature rise above 104°F, they are experiencing hyperthermia and need to be cooled down. When temperatures rise above 106°F, cells in the body can become damaged. Without veterinary treatment, pets can die from severe heatstroke. You can check to see if your pet is suffering from heatstroke by taking its temperature.

Immediate Care for Heatstroke

If your pet is battling heatstroke, you need to attempt to drop your pet’s core temperature. To do this safely, you can move your pet into a cool area and wet him or her with cool (not cold) water. For very small dogs, it may be better to use lukewarm water. You can use a fan to move the air around to help cool your pet. Once your pet’s temperature is around 103°F, you can dry him or her off and head to the veterinarian for a checkup. You will also want to offer cool water for your pet to drink, but never force your pet to drink, especially if they are unconscious.

If you are cooling your pet at home, you should aim at getting them to the veterinary hospital within 90 minutes. If it is taking too long for your pet to cool off, get them wet and jump in the car. Time is crucial for heatstroke patients.

You don’t want to cool your pet too quickly, as this can cause even more problems for your pet. That’s why you shouldn’t submerge your pet in cold water or ice water.

There are times when you should skip cooling measures and just rush your pet to a veterinarian right away. For example, if your pet is vomiting, experiencing diarrhea, is bleeding or bruised, or is unable to get up or unresponsive, you should seek veterinary care immediately. If you don’t have a way to take your pet’s temperature or cool him or her off, it is best to head directly to a veterinary clinic.

Treatment for Pets with Heatstroke

If your pet is still hyperthermic when you arrive at the clinic, your ER veterinarian will work to cool your pet down to a safe temperature. Your pet might be given fluid to rehydrate and possibly oxygen. The veterinarian will monitor your pet for shock, respiratory distress, kidney failure, heart abnormalities, and other complications. The veterinarian will treat all of the problems that are present for your pet.

In the case of organ damage, there may be a lot of ongoing care for your pet, including antibiotics, blood pressure medications, and blood transfusions. Your veterinarian can provide you with all the information you need to keep your pet healthy. He or she will also inform you about your pet’s increased risk for future heatstroke as well.

Preventing Heatstroke

To prevent your pet from ever dealing with heatstroke, you can provide them with a shady spot and water when they are outside. Giving your pet a children’s pool of water to submerge in can also help stave off heatstroke. You never want to leave your pet outside in the heat for too long either. Monitor your pet’s activities outdoors to make sure that they stay cool enough.

If you are going to take your pet for a walk or hike, always bring water with you. It is important that you always try to keep your pet hydrated in the heat. If it is too hot, skip the walk. You will either want to walk your pet in the morning or the evening when the temperatures aren’t quite as high as they would be in the middle of the day.

You may have heard this a million times, but never leave a pet alone in a car on a hot day. Dogs and cats don’t have the ability to cool themselves in the same way that we do, and their core temperatures can rise to a dangerous level in just a few minutes. When kept in a car, even with the windows down or cracked, both the vehicle and dog can become extremely hot in a matter of just a few minutes. It is also not a good idea to leave your pet unattended in a car even with the air conditioner on.

Keep in mind that some breeds are more susceptible to heatstroke. Brachycephalic dog breeds, such as pugs, bulldogs, and boxers, are more prone to heatstroke than dogs with longer noses. Additionally, cats with short noses, such as Persians, are also more likely to suffer from heatstroke. Pets that are old, young, overweight, or those with airway conditions are also more likely to have problems with heatstroke.

If you live in the Denver, Colorado, area, heatstroke in pets can be a real concern. If you believe your pet has heatstroke, you should call us right away at 720-842-5050. Our emergency staff can help your pet get back to a healthy body temperature and treat heatstroke, and we are open 24/7.

How to Keep Your Pet Safe from Wild Animals

pet safetyWildlife and pets don’t always mix, and it is your job to keep pet safety in mind when your pet could encounter a wild animal. It can be difficult to foresee any issues with wildlife because typically pets aren’t in contact with wild animals. However, as winter fades to spring and summer, more and more wild animals will be out and about, and some of them find their way into backyards and neighborhoods. AESC wants you to be aware of the potential dangers your pet faces and how to keep your dog or cat safe.

Animals that Pose a Threat to Pets

Depending on where you live, you are likely to experience different threats to the safety of your pet. Here is a list of a few wild animals you should watch for to keep your pets safe:

Coyotes: Coyotes are a danger to animals, because they have sharp teeth and claws and are very territorial. Most coyote attacks occur at dawn or dusk; coyotes generally attack cats and small dogs as they roam around their own yards. It is important that you monitor your pets, as these attacks are often very serious and require surgery.

Since coyotes are a rabies reservoir species, an attack from a coyote could also put your pet at risk for rabies. If vaccinated, any pet that is attacked should receive a booster vaccine. Pets that haven’t been vaccinated should be vaccinated right away and quarantined for 120 days to allow for observation of illness.

Deer: Deer aren’t generally considered dangerous animals, but during rutting season, it isn’t uncommon for a buck to attack a family pet that gets just a little too close. Bucks can cause serious injuries to cats and dogs, so you should be aware of when your pet is most at risk. Deer come out at dusk and dawn, which makes these times the most dangerous for your pet.

Porcupines: A porcupine’s quills act like fishhook barbs that can puncture deep in the skin and muscle. Instead of working themselves out, quills tend to move inward and can eventually cause damage to internal organs. These quills also carry bacteria that can cause infection and abscesses. A frightened porcupine is quick to quill a pet.

Rattlesnakes: Rattlesnakes are known for the unique sound their tails make when the animal is stressed. As more rattlesnakes come out for the warm spring and summer months, your pet is more likely to encounter one of these venomous snakes. A rattlesnake’s venom requires the use of antivenin to treat the bite. While a dog is typically seen as a danger to a rattlesnake and is bitten in defense, cats are often seen as prey and receive more serious injuries.

Tips for Keeping Your Pet Safe

When it comes to pet safety around wild animals, you will probably deal with two different scenarios: home safety and walking safety. It is important that you are aware of the ways to keep your pet safe in both situations.

Home Safety

One of the biggest draws for wild animals is food. To keep your pet safe, the best thing you can do is make sure there is no trash in your yard and never leave food outdoors. Keep clutter out of your yard that would allow for wildlife to hide or live in. If you have noticed a lot of rodents in your home or yard, take care of the problem, as rodents can draw snakes and other predators into your yard.

While you probably consider your yard to be a safe place, monitor your pet while they are outside, especially at dusk and dawn. Wild animals can find ways to get into fenced yards and cause all kinds of problems, including injuries to your pets. It is best that you supervise your pet to be sure that nothing happens to them while they are in the yard.

Pet waste can also lead wild animals to your home. Be sure that you regularly clean your yard for animal waste to prevent wild animals from wandering into your yard.

For pet owners who want to let their animals play outdoors, you should at least have some kind of fence to keep animals out. While wild animals are often clever and can figure out how to get it if they really want to, fences are often enough of a deterrent.

If you ever see a wild animal in your yard that you are concerned about, call a professional animal removal service for help. The longer the animal has access to your yard, the more likely a dangerous situation will arise.

You should also always keep your pets up-to-date on vaccinations. One of the biggest threats that wild animals pose to your pet is rabies, so you will want to make sure that your pet can’t contract the disease if they do happen to get bitten by a wild animal.

Walking Safety

When you are walking your pet, you should keep them leashed and near you at all times. Allowing your pet to roam around not only puts them at risk for being hit by a vehicle but also for animal attacks—especially if you are near a wooded area. You should always try to stay calm and avoid running away from a wild animal. If a wild animal approaches you, you should face the animal and slowly back away.

Try to keep the animal from approaching by making a lot of noise and making yourself appear to be as big as possible. Stomp your feet, throw rocks or sticks at the animal, and shout. If you have a small animal, pick them up, so you don’t accidentally injure them during the retreat or allow for the animal to see them as the easier target.

If you see a wild animal, never approach it. Leave a path for the animal to escape and stay as far away as possible. Getting too close could cause the animal to become stressed and unpredictable. You should also avoid areas of thick vegetation where animals could be hiding.

Tips for Keeping Your Keeping Wildlife Safe

While your pet can easily be injured by wild animals, your dog or cat can also harm wild animals. Dogs and cats may want to hunt or play with wild animals, which can cause them to chase and either injure or kill small mammals, birds, and other wildlife. To keep wild animals safe from your pet, follow these steps:

  • Keep your pet leashed! Not only do leashes protect your pet, but they also protect other animals. Don’t let your pet approach, chase, attack, or play with wild animals as it is never a safe situation.
  • Stay calm and don’t let your pet run toward a wild animal.
  • Avoid areas known for wild animal sightings.

If your pet has been bitten by a wild animal, or you suspect that they have, bring them to a veterinarian right away. If you live in the Parker, Colorado, area, AESC’s team can provide care for your pet. Contact AESC for emergency care today at 720-842-5050 if your pet has been attacked or bitten by a wild animal. If you don’t have time to call, AESC encourages you to just bring your pet in as soon as possible.

Pets Can Receive Even Better Neurology Care at AESC with New Doctor and Equipment

IMG_6450A new veterinary neurologist has joined Animal Emergency and Special Center’s neurology team. Chelsie Estey, MSc, DVM, DACVIM (Neurology) started at AESC in Parker, Colorado in February.

Dr. Estey received her Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degree at the Atlantic Veterinary College and completed a small animal rotating internship at Georgia Veterinary Specialists. After her internship, Dr. Estey completed a neurology and neurosurgery residency at the Cornell University Hospital for Animals. Dr. Estey is a board-certified neurologist who practiced for several years in upstate New York prior to joining the team at AESC.

AESC is excited to have Dr. Estey as part of their team. Her clinical interests include seizures and congenital, infectious, and inflammatory brain diseases.

Dr. Estey will join Dr. Curtis Probst, DVM, DACVS, DACVIM (Neurology) on the neurology team. AESC’s neurology department is able to diagnose neurological disorders with an on-site 1.5 Tesla MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging) machine, CT scan, and radiography.

AESC’s neurologists routinely treat seizures, brain, and spinal cord tumors, encephalitis, intervertebral disc disease, head trauma, neuromuscular disease and disorders of the vestibular system, among many other conditions.

With advanced equipment, surgical procedures, and treatment options at their fingertips, the neurology team at AESC has been able to help many animals with a variety of neurological conditions.

If your pet is in need of neurological care, contact AESC at 720-842-5050 to set up an appointment with one of their experienced neurologists. AESC also offers a wide variety of services, including 24/7 emergency and critical care for animals in the event of a veterinary emergency. The ER is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year and provides compassionate veterinary care to animals in need, no matter what time it is.