Animal Emergency & Specialty Care


Common Respiratory Problems in Dogs

respiratory conditions in dogsBreathing and respiratory problems in dogs can be very scary to dog owners. When you notice that your dog is having difficulty breathing, it is important that you take them in to see a veterinarian. Unfortunately, not all respiratory conditions are easy to diagnose and treat, but visiting an internal medicine specialist at AESC Parker, can be very beneficial when it comes to helping your dog feel better.

Common Respiratory Problems

There are a number of different diseases and conditions that directly affect the lungs. In dogs, these diseases include:

  • Canine Distemper Virus: Distemper affects not only the respiratory system but also the nervous and gastrointestinal systems. This virus spreads quickly in areas where dogs are kept in close proximity to one another. Treatment options are limited in dogs with distemper. Vaccinations are available for distemper from your family veterinarian, however.
  • Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD): COPD is a long-term condition that causes inflammation in the pulmonary or respiratory system. It is irreversible and progresses slowly. It can also be called chronic bronchitis. While COPD can’t be cured, treatments can help manage the disease. Possible treatments include antibiotics, bronchodilators, and chest physiotherapy.
  • Kennel Cough: Kennel cough is a highly contagious illness that can be caused by either bacteria or a virus. It is called kennel cough because it quickly spreads through dogs when they are in close contact with one another, much like dogs in boarding facilities. Kennel cough is most common in middle to late summer. Antibiotics can help treat dogs who come down with kennel
  • Pneumonia: This lung infection causes inflammation of the lungs. The causes of pneumonia range from allergens, lungworms, bacteria, viruses, and aspirated food, fluids, or foreign bodies. Antibiotics can be used to treat pneumonia. Fluid therapy and chest percussion can also help dogs with pneumonia.
  • Lung Tumors: Lung tumors often are caused by tumors from other parts of the body such as the abdominal organ, bones, or skin. The most common tumor that originates in the lungs is pulmonary adenocarcinoma. Most of these tumors are malignant. Most often, pulmonary adenocarcinoma occurs in animals over the age of 11. In dogs, lung tumors are difficult to treat. Surgery can be a viable option, but if the tumor has spread, it may not be effective.
  • Colds and Flu: Much like humans, dogs can get colds and flu. The canine versions of these illnesses can have many of the same symptoms as they do in humans, and they can lead to much more serious illnesses if not treated. Most of the time, the immune system is strong enough that treatment isn’t warranted. However, dogs with severe symptoms may need supportive care such as fluids, antibiotics, and supplemental feedings.

Symptoms of Respiratory Problems

The most common signs of respiratory problems include:

  • Coughing
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Gagging after coughing
  • Nasal congestion
  • Exercise intolerance
  • Fainting
  • Wheezing
  • Blue gums

Depending on the condition, other symptoms may also be present. Lethargy, fever, lack of appetite, and numerous other systems may also be noticeable to pet owners.

Diagnosing and Treating Respiratory Problems

Some respiratory conditions can be diagnosed by a family veterinarian. However, they often require treatment from an internal medicine specialist like those at AESC Parker. Diagnosing these conditions may require x-rays and other tests. An internal medicine specialist can run all necessary tests to determine the cause of your dog’s lung problems.

Treatments are different for different respiratory conditions. Antibiotics can be helpful in some cases, but they won’t help all conditions. Respiratory and ventilatory therapies can help with lung problems. Ventilator treatments can also be helpful for a dog with breathing troubles.

Preventing Respiratory Problems

Not all respiratory problems can be prevented, but there are flu and kennel cough vaccines from your family veterinarian that can help prevent your dog from getting sick. Like human flu spots, there is always a possibility that your dog will get a strain that they weren’t vaccinated for, but often the vaccine is very effective in preventing illness.

In the case of some of these illnesses, the best thing you can do for your pet is just to watch for signs of illness. If you happen to notice any symptoms that appear to be respiratory conditions, contact your veterinarian right away.

If your dog has been diagnosed with a respiratory condition, call AESC Parker today at 720-842-5050. Our internal medicine team can work with you to come up with a treatment plan that will help your pet feel better. In some cases, these illnesses can’t be cured, but with proper treatment, your dog can feel much better. AESC Parker has helped dogs will all kinds of respiratory problems in the Denver, Colorado, area.

Guide to Canine Diabetes

canine diabetesDiabetes, which is also called diabetes mellitus, is a condition that occurs when your dog’s body can’t utilize glucose properly. Glucose is a kind of sugar that is used as the main energy source for the body’s cells. In a healthy dog, the amount of glucose in the blood is controlled by a hormone called insulin. Insulin is created by the pancreas.

The food your dog eats is processed by the body and turned into glucose in the intestines. The glucose is then absorbed into your dog’s bloodstream and further into the tissues and cells of the body. The insulin produced by the pancreas helps transfer the glucose into the cells. If your dog’s body doesn’t produce enough insulin or doesn’t use the insulin properly, glucose builds up in the blood causing hyperglycemia.

Hyperglycemia leads to the body’s cells being deprived of glucose, and your dog’s cells won’t have enough energy to function the way they should. During this state of metabolic starvation, the body starts to break down fat and muscle tissues, which become sugar in the liver. This process leads to weight loss.

Dogs can have one of two different kinds of diabetes. The first type is called insulin-deficiency diabetes, and it occurs when your dog’s body doesn’t produce enough insulin. Insulin-deficiency diabetes is often caused by a damaged or ill-functioning pancreas. The second kind is called insulin-resistant diabetes, which occurs when your dog’s pancreas produces some insulin, but your dog’s body isn’t using the insulin properly, and glucose doesn’t enter the cells as it should. Insulin-resistant diabetes is more common in obese and senior dogs.


Diabetes can be spotted with the following symptoms:

  • Weight loss, which can occur with a larger than normal appetite
  • Excessive thirst
  • Increased urination
  • Decreased appetite
  • Cloudy eyes
  • Chronic or recurring infections

Early diagnosis can lead to fewer complications with diabetes. If you start to see any of the symptoms of diabetes, it is important that you bring your pet in for an evaluation right away. A veterinary internist can easily diagnose diabetes.

While diabetes can affect dogs of any age, it primarily affects dogs between the ages of four and 14. Female dogs are more likely to be diagnosed with diabetes than their male counterparts. Certain dog breeds also seem to be predisposed to diabetes.


Diabetes is a condition that can develop at any time. There doesn’t have to be a specific cause. However, obesity is one of the biggest risk factors for diabetes. Age is also a risk factor because other diseases that aging pets develop can also lead to diabetes. Some of these conditions include heart disease, kidney disease, pancreatitis, urinary tract infections, skin infections, and overactivity of the adrenal gland.

Certain medications can also increase the risk of diabetes. Corticosteroids are known for increasing the risk of diabetes in dogs.


Even though diabetes can’t be cured, by working with a veterinary internist, you can help manage and treat the condition for your pet. After diagnosis, your veterinarian will give your dog an initial dose of insulin. They will also decide on a type and dosage for the insulin and show you how to administer the injections.

Treatments may need to be adjusted based on your dog’s response to the initial treatment regimen. Over time, your dog’s treatment may need to be adjusted based on the results of the monitoring you will need to do to keep your dog’s diabetes in check.

At-Home Diabetes Care

Dogs with diabetes will need a little extra care. First, there may be some lifestyle changes you need to make with your pet. Monitoring blood sugar levels will be incredibly important to ensure that you know if your dog’s blood sugar levels are normal, high, or low.

Additional lifestyle changes will include a high-fiber diet and appropriate exercise, which can be challenging for a dog with diabetes. Female dogs should also be spayed.

With diet changes, you will want to be consistent with timing, so insulin injections are on a routine schedule. Along with proper monitoring, these injections help keep your dog’s blood sugar levels in the normal range. When your dog’s blood sugar spikes too high or dips too low, they can become very ill. It is also important to follow your veterinarian’s insulin dosage precisely because insulin overdose and underdose can also lead to very severe symptoms such as tremors, seizures, and weakness.

If you believe that your dog has undiagnosed diabetes, contact AESC right away at 720-842-5050. Our internal medicine team can help diagnose and treat dogs with diabetes. If your diabetic dog is showing signs of insulin overdose, our 24-hour emergency clinic can help care for your dog during this critical time.

How to Care for a Pet After Surgery

post-surgery care for petsSurgery can be a stressful time for humans. When our pets need surgery, it is no different. Much like a human, pets need special post-surgery care. As a pet owner, a good deal of this care will fall into your lap, and it is best to be as prepared as possible if the need arises. AESC has some advice for owners of pets who are in need of a surgical procedure. Please keep in mind that these are general precautions and you should always follow your veterinarian’s discharge instructions if there are discrepancies.

Immediate Post-Surgery Care for Pets

Following a surgical procedure at AESC—major or minor—pets need specialized care. Immediately after the surgery, your dog or cat will be monitored by trained nurses and veterinary staff in our dedicated anesthesia recovery suite to make sure all vital signs are normal. If your pet is undergoing an out-patient surgery, your veterinarian will call to inform you that your pet is ready to go home. If your pet had a more complicated or serious procedure, then it is likely your veterinarian will call to update you on your pet’s status and the post-operative plan.

In some cases, you may not be able to visit right away. While uncommon, complications generally arise shortly after a surgical procedure, so giving your pet extra time to rest and heal before you visit could be best for them. Recovering pets are very closely monitored during this time period and beyond.

Before you take your dog or cat home from the hospital, you should ensure that you fully understand any home care instructions and that your home is set up to accommodate your recovering pet. You’ll want to set up a comfy, warm area where your pet can rest that has easy access to food and water.  Your pet will need to go outside on a leash for elimination purposes, or use a litterbox or potty pad in the confined area.   You might need to learn how to carry your pet or provide support if he or she needs to stand up. Additionally, you will be told when to return for a follow-up exam.

Post-Surgery Home Care for Pets

Even though your pet is awake, the effects of the anesthesia may still be noticeable. Your pet might be wobbly or unable to walk or stand properly. To prevent any injuries, it is best to keep your pet in a quiet, contained area. Rest is very important in this stage of recovery. It might be necessary to keep your pet contained to a small area for a few days to make sure that they aren’t moving around too much.

In fact, your vet may recommend keeping your pet in a crate for much of their recovery time. While this isn’t easy for you or your pet, it can be critical to proper recover. We don’t recommend leaving a toy or bone in the crate, especially unsupervised. Your pet will likely appreciate if you keep the crate in an area of your home where you and your family spend a lot of time.

During recovery, the only time pets should be allowed outside is for elimination purposes. When outside, they should be kept on a leash to ensure that they aren’t running around; this also gives you the opportunity to make sure that your pet is urinating and defecating normally. Often, pets will need to urinate more often than usual after a surgical procedure, especially if they were given fluids while in the hospital.

It is very likely that your pet will need medication during recovery. In most cases, pets are given pain relievers. These painkillers can affect your pet’s coordination, which is why you will need to restrict activity and keep your pet away from slippery surfaces and stairs. Your pet may also be given antibiotics to prevent infections. Generally, these medications need to be taken with food; therefore, make sure that your pet is eating normally.

Surgical sites will need to be closely monitored. Look out for signs of infection, which include heat, redness, swelling, pain, bruising, oozing, and odors. Prevent your pet from scratching or chewing at the wound or sutures with an Elizabethan collar, also called an e-collar. If anything looks out of the ordinary, call your veterinarian to see if your pet needs to be brought in for treatment.

Your doctor may instruct you to clean the wound or change the bandage at certain times. If there has been a drain put into the surgical site, you may also need to clean the drain. Your veterinarian can show you how to keep the wound and drain clean to prevent infection.

Follow-Up Appointment

Your pet will need to go back in for a follow-up examination with the veterinarian. During this visit, skin sutures or staples will be removed. Depending on the surgery performed, your pet may also need x-rays or other tests to make sure that everything is healing properly.

In some cases, physical therapy (or rehabilitation) may be necessary for adequate healing. There are numerous techniques that could be used to improve mobility for your pet. Physical therapy includes massage, hydrotherapy, neuromuscular electrical stimulation, and more. Every case is different where some pets may only need physical therapy for a few weeks while others may benefit from more.

AESC offers both surgical procedures and physical therapy for pets in need. If your primary veterinarian recommends a specialty center, get a referral or call us today at 720-842-5050. Our team is dedicated to helping pets get back on their feet.  Our rehabilitation therapist, Stevan Allen is also on-site for patients after a surgical procedure.

Keeping Your Pet Safe This Winter

winter safety for petsIn most parts of the United States, winter is a very cold time of year. While most owners know the dangers of hot weather, not everyone knows that the cold can be just as dangerous. AESC wants all pet owners in the area to understand the risks that winter weather can pose for our beloved pets.

Dangers of Cold Temperatures

Winter can be hard on everyone, and our pets are no exception. As temperatures drop, your pet becomes more at-risk for cold-weather related health problems such as frostbite and hypothermia. Both of these conditions are incredibly dangerous.

Frostbite is a condition in which skin and other tissues are damaged due to exposure to extremely cold temperatures. When temperatures drop below freezing, blood vessels located near the surface of the skin start to constrict, which reduces blood flow. The reduction in blood flow helps to preserve core body temperature by keeping blood in the core instead of in the limbs. In extremely low temperatures or when pets are exposed to cold temperatures for an extended period of time, blood flow to the limbs can be reduced to critically low levels, which can allow the tissues to freeze. Typically, frostbite occurs in body parts farthest away from the heart and in tissues with a lot of exposed surface area. Paws, ears, and the tail are often the most at-risk for frostbite in pets. In severe cases, amputation will be necessary.

Hypothermia occurs when body temperatures drop too low. In dogs and cats, the normal body temperature range is between 99.5 and 102.5°F. If body temperature dips too low, your pet will start to experience hypothermia. At this point, your pet is losing body heat faster than it can be replaced. Hypothermia can be fatal if it is not treated properly.

Often, these two conditions are intertwined. When that is the case, be sure to treat the hypothermia first, as it is affecting vital internal organs.

Signs of Frostbite and Hypothermia

While frostbite and hypothermia are both cold-related conditions, they have very different symptoms. Signs of frostbite in dogs and cats include:

  • Discoloration of affected skin—often pale, gray, or bluish
  • Pain in afflicted area
  • Swelling of affected area
  • Coldness of the area when touched
  • Blisters or skin ulcers
  • Blackened or dead skin

Frostbite symptoms may take a few days to show up, especially in areas that your pet doesn’t use much, such as the tip of the tail. In cases of severe frostbite, the affected areas can become necrotic or die, which not only looks bad, but it can also lead to infection.

Signs of hypothermia in pets include:

  • Shivering
  • Stiff muscles
  • Collapse
  • Pale or gray gums
  • Lethargy
  • Fixed and dilated pupils
  • Lack of coordination
  • Low respiratory rate
  • Low heart rate
  • Coma

When your pet’s body temperature drops to a certain level, it may be very difficult for them to recover. If you start to see signs of hypothermia, bring your pet in for treatment right away.

Treating Frostbite and Hypothermia

Treating these conditions as soon as possible is extremely important to the welfare of your pet. Both conditions can do irreversible damage if not properly treated in a timely manner. Frostbite and hypothermia can be very painful, but never give your pet any pain medication that isn’t prescribed by a veterinarian.

No matter what, it is best to bring your pet in to see a veterinarian for treatment, as some at-home methods to re-warm a hypothermic or frostbitten pet can actually do them harm. We recommend that you try to warm your pet up as you bring them into a hospital with warm towels or blankets. If you already have your pet warmed up, continue to keep them warm on the way. 24/7 emergency care hospitals like AESC have the equipment and expertise needed to rewarm your pet safely while also addressing any resulting internal or tissue damage and managing pain.

Preventing Frostbite and Hypothermia

The best way to prevent frostbite and hypothermia is to keep your pet from being outside in the cold for too long—especially if there is snow on the ground. Dogs that have short fur are more at-risk for frostbite and hypothermia.

Any pet that is sensitive to the cold, including small, older, and short-haired pets should be kept inside the home as much as possible. Only let your pet outside for short bathroom breaks if needed. Jackets and booties can help keep pets warm when they do need to go outside to help reduce heat loss in the cold, which is the best way to prevent hypothermia.

If you believe that your pet is experiencing either of these conditions, bring them in to see a veterinarian right away. For those of you in the Parker, Colorado, area, AESC’s emergency clinic is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week to treat all kinds of health issues including both frostbite and hypothermia in pets.

The Ultimate Guide to Holiday Pet Safety

holiday pet safetyThe holiday season is quickly approaching. With only a few weeks until Thanksgiving, Hanukkah, and Christmas, it is important that you are aware of the hidden dangers that may cause trouble for your pets this holiday season. AESC has all the information you need about the potential hazards of the holiday season.

Food Safety Tips

When we think of the holidays, we often think of all the great foods that we get to enjoy. If you and your family are in the habit of leaving food lying around during the holiday season, you may want to change your ways to keep your pets safe. Dogs and cats—especially cats, if you listen to proverbs—are curious creatures. Food smells good, so pets are likely to investigate. If you have a pet, keep food out of reach. For owners of cats and large dogs, this can be a bit challenging. You may want to consider keeping pets locked in another room when you have food sitting out.

If you are hosting guests, you may want to stress the importance of not feeding people food to the pets. Even a well-intentioned nibble could be dangerous if your pet is given the wrong scrap. Ask guests to pick up any dropped food as well.

Once your meals are complete, you should go ahead and clear away the food and get it put away. This gives your pet less of an opportunity to get into all the goodies you enjoyed. If you are leaving some goodies out to nibble on throughout the day, you should put them somewhere that your pet can’t access like the middle of the dining room table or on the counter as far away from the edge as possible.

You will also want to keep an eye on the trash cans. As food gets tossed out, your pet is likely to investigate. There might also be decorations and gift wrapping in the trash that could cause problems for your dog or cat. Use a trash can with a lid or take the trash out often to prevent your pets from getting into mischief and consuming something dangerous.

What Pets Can and Can’t Eat from Your Holiday Table

While it is easiest just to skip sharing holiday foods with your pets, there are a few food items that your pet can enjoy. We have created naughty and nice lists of the foods that you can and can’t share with your pets. While these snacks may be ok to share in your pet’s food area, we always recommend against feeding your pet at the table, as it rewards for bad behavior and is also what leads to pets to eating things they shouldn’t.

Foods that pets CAN eat:

  • Sweet potatoes and yams (without any marshmallows or brown sugar): Sweet potatoes are a good source of vitamins and minerals for pets. Make sure that you give your pet pieces that are easy for them to eat. Cooked and raw sweet potatoes are both safe for cats and dogs as long as they aren’t covered in butter, marshmallows, brown sugar, or nuts.
  • Cranberries: Cranberries and cranberry sauce are staples of the holiday season. Unsweetened versions can be shared with your pet in small amounts.
  • Carrots: Both raw and cooked plain carrots are good for your pet.
  • Green beans, peas, and other greens: Green vegetables contain all kinds of nutrients. As long as they are plain, they are great sharable foods for pets.
  • Potatoes: Plain cooked potatoes are also safe for pets to eat—just skip the butter, milk, and salt. Be sure to remember that while cooked potato is a healthy snack, raw potatoes are very toxic to pets and can even be fatal in large quantities.
  • Dog/cat treats: The best thing you can give your dog or cat over the holidays is a treat designed for their species. They’ll enjoy their treat, you won’t have to share, and danger will be avoided altogether!

While these foods are safe for pets, make sure you aren’t overindulging your pet. Big changes in diet can lead to gastrointestinal problems and make your pet feel crummy. A little here and there won’t hurt, but make sure you are keeping it to small amounts to avoid any problems.

Foods that pets CAN’T eat:

  • Chocolate: You probably know that dogs can’t have chocolate as it is toxic to them. Keep anything containing chocolate away from your pets during the holiday season.
  • Turkey or turkey skin: The amount of fat in turkey is too high for your pets.
  • Ham: Ham is very fatty and can lead to pancreatitis in dogs.
  • Yeast dough: Any dough that contains yeast can lead to gas and bloating problems for pets that can require a trip to the veterinarian.
  • Baked goods and sweets: Sweets can make your pet sick. Additionally, xylitol, a commonly used sweetener, is extremely dangerous for animals.
  • Bones: Cooked bones can splinter and lead to choking and other injuries.
  • Gravy: The high levels of fat and salt in gravy make it a bad treat for pets.
  • Alcohol: No amount of alcohol is safe for pets. Make sure drinks aren’t left unattended where your pet could reach them.
  • Onions: Onions and anything containing onions, including stuffing, can be dangerous for pets.
  • Grapes or raisins: Both grapes and raisins are incredibly dangerous for pets. Keep anything containing either away from your pets.
  • Nuts: Macadamia nuts and walnuts are toxic to pets. Avoid giving your pet any nuts during the holiday season.

Decoration and Celebration Safety Tips

Holiday decorations often seem harmless, but a lot of our favorite holiday decorations are very dangerous for pets. A few of the most common decorations that are harmful to pets include:

  • Christmas trees: Cats like to climb on things, and Christmas trees—both real and artificial—are likely to fall on top of your cat while they are climbing on it.
  • Christmas tree water additives: The water treatments used on Christmas trees contain chemicals that are toxic to pets. Keep your pet away from this water.
  • Tinsel and ribbon: Both of these items look like toys to our pets. If accidentally ingested, these items can lead to blockages in your pet’s digestive system.
  • Ornaments: Pets, especially cats, might attempt to play with ornaments on your Christmas tree. It is best to get plastic ornaments that won’t shatter if knocked off the tree. Additionally, make sure ornaments are out of reach or large enough that they can’t be swallowed.
  • Gift wrap: Try to keep gifts away from pets. Ingesting any part of the gift wrap can lead to an obstruction in your pet’s intestines. Additionally, there could be items in the gifts that cause problems for your pets. If you are putting food in a gift or stocking, make sure that you keep that gift out from under the tree where your pet could get into it.
  • Lights: The main risk with lights is electrical shock, but pets can also be burned by the cords if they chew on them. When you string lights in your home, yard, or on your tree, try to keep the cords off the ground.
  • Flowers and plants: Holly, mistletoe, and poinsettias are all toxic to dogs and cats. Additionally, amaryllis and lilies are also dangerous.
  • Candles: Candles are popular decorations for many holidays. A burning candle can start a fire when knocked over. It is best to keep your pets away from candles and make sure all candles are blown out completely before you leave your home. Additionally, the hot wax can burn your pet if they knock the candle onto themselves. To pet-proof your candles, use flameless alternatives.
  • Potpourri: Both dry and liquid potpourris can contain harmful ingredients for pets. In fact, potpourri can be toxic to dogs and cats, depending on the chemicals that it is made of. It is best to keep these out of your home or to keep them out of reach of your pets.

The holidays are a time for celebration. While some pets enjoy crowds, many don’t. If you are hosting a party, you may consider keeping your pet in a separate room during the festivities. This separation can prevent your pet from becoming too anxious, and it gives them a quiet space of their own to escape the commotion. In this room, you can place your pet’s bed, crate, toys, and even a treat or two to make them feel a little more comfortable.

If you aren’t going to keep your pet secluded, you at least need to give them the option to get away. This means leaving a door into a quiet room open for them. Additionally, you should alert your guests to be careful as they enter and exit your home. You wouldn’t want to spend the day searching the neighborhood for your frightened pet. It is also your responsibility to keep an eye on your pets throughout the coming and going to make sure that they don’t make a run for the door.

In preparation of the holidays, you should also make sure that your pet has proper identification. Get updated tags if needed. Additionally, this is a great time to get your pet microchipped. A microchip can help you get reunited with your pet in the event that your pet slips out the door.

For more information about holiday pet safety, contact AESC today at 720-842-5050. Our emergency care center is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week, including holidays. If your pet ingests something they shouldn’t or gets injured in any way, give us a call or come into the clinic for care.

Introducing New Specialty Veterinary Dentistry Service and Dentist and Oral Surgeon

Kevin HaggertyAESC now offers advanced veterinary dentistry and oral surgery services provided by a board-certified dentist and oral surgeon. These services complement the routine dental care provided by your family veterinarian. If your pet experiences an oral medical issue beyond the scope of your family veterinarian, he or she will refer you to a board-certified veterinary dental specialist like Kevin Haggerty, MVB, DAVDC.

Our Dental Services Now Include:

  • Dental and Maxillofacial Radiology
    • Digital Intraoral Radiographs (X-Ray)
  • Endodontics
    • Preserving Fractured Teeth (i.e. exposed pulp, diseased pulp, abscess)
    • Conventional Root Canal Treatment
    • Surgical Root Canal Treatment
    • Vital Pulpotomy
  • Oral Surgery
    • Extractions and Surgical Extractions
    • Difficult Surgical Extractions
    • Feline and Canine Tooth Resorption
    • Dentigerous Cyst Surgery
    • Oronasal Fistula Repair
    • Oral Tumor Surgical Resection and Management
    • Mandibulectomy and Maxillectomy
    • Traumatic & Congenital Cleft Palate Repair
    • Tongue (Lingual) Surgery
  • Oral and Maxillofacial Trauma
    • Mandibular and Maxillary Fracture Repair
    • Difficulty or Pain Opening and Closing the Mouth
    • Temporomandibular Joint Disorders and Luxation
    • Mandibular and Maxillary Soft Tissue Avulsion
  • Oral Medicine
    • Oral Pain
    • Feline Caudal Mucositis (Stomatitis)
    • Feline Tooth Resorption
    • Odontogenic and Malignant Oral Tumors
    • Canine Ulcerative Mucositis (Stomatitis)
    • Maxillofacial Swellings and Draining Tracts
    • Oral Manifestations of Systemic Disease
    • Regional Manifestations of Dental Disease
  • Orthodontics
    • Malocclusion Assessment
    • Interceptive Orthodontics
    • Interceptive/Selective Extractions of Deciduous and Permanent Teeth
    • Treatment for Traumatic and Painful Malocclusions
  • Periodontal Disease
    • Periodontal Cleaning and Prophylaxis
    • Subgingival Scaling, Root Planing, Curettage
    • Aggressive Periodontitis
    • Periodontal Flap Surgery
    • Gingivectomy/Gingivoplasty
    • Bone Augmentation
    • Guided Tissue Regeneration
  • Restorative Dentistry
    • Enamel Defects
    • Enamel Hypoplasia
    • Cavity Restoration
    • Composite Restoration
    • Prosthodontics (Metal Crowns)

Introducing Our New Board-Certified Dentist and Oral Surgeon, Kevin Haggerty, MVB, DAVDC

Dr. Kevin Haggerty is a native of Long Beach, New York. He attended Penn State University for his undergraduate degree and the University College Dublin (Ireland) College of Veterinary Medicine for his veterinary degree. He completed his dental residency at Animal Dental Clinic in Portland, Oregon.

He enjoys all aspects of veterinary dentistry and oral surgery with special clinical interests in oral and maxillofacial trauma surgery, oral and maxillofacial tumor surgery, palatal surgery, periodontal surgery, endodontic, restorative and prosthodontic treatment of injured teeth, and orthodontic treatment of maloccluding teeth.

In his free time, Dr. Haggerty enjoys spending time with his wife and three kids, playing the guitar, being active outside, and watching college sports.  

Scheduling an Appointment With Dr. Haggerty

If your family veterinarian has recommended that your pet see a dental specialist, Dr. Kevin Haggerty is now accepting new patients. You can give us a call at 720-842-5050 to schedule an appointment for your pet. Be sure to bring along your pet’s medical records to his or her first appointment, or have your family veterinarian fax them to us in advance. We’ll be sure to send back any medical updates to your veterinarian so that he or she will be aware of our findings and treatment recommendations.  

Referring Veterinarians

To learn more about Dr. Haggerty or to schedule a meet and greet with him at your clinic, contact our referral relationship manager Serena at


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.