Table of Contents

Morris Foundation for Animals Golden Retriever Research
University Animal Hospital Nominated for Small Business of the Year in Tempe!
Tempe Chamber of Commerce Finalist Award University Animal Hospital
University Animal Hospital Celebrating 50 Years of Accreditation 

Holiday Pet Hazards

As we approach the holidays, there are some pet hazards we wish to share with you:

Chocolate – Chocolate contains ingredients that can be toxic to pets. The darker the chocolate, the more dangerous it is. While dogs are the most susceptible, cats and other species may be affected, too. It is best to avoid letting any of your pets eat chocolate. If they have eaten chocolate and show signs of anxiety, agitation or vomiting, consult a veterinarian immediately.

Poinsettias and holly – These traditional holiday plants can cause mild irritation to a pet’s mouth and may cause minor drooling, decreased appetite or vomiting. Seek veterinary care if these signs progress.

Mistletoe – In small amounts, mistletoe can cause gastrointestinal irritation, possibly resulting in drooling, vomiting or diarrhea. Larger amounts could cause more severe harm. Consult veterinary care immediately if your pet has eaten any mistletoe.

Electrical cords – Pets can easily be electrocuted if they chew through holiday light cords, which are usually thin and not insulated. Respiratory distress is a sign of electrocution, as well as a burn mark across the lips or tongue. Consult veterinary care immediately if your pet has these signs.

Tinsel – While it makes a beautiful decoration, tinsel can be deadly to your pet if swallowed. It can easily cause an intestinal blockage and leakage of the consumed material into the abdomen. If you suspect your pet has eaten tinsel, and it has a loss of appetite, vomiting or diarrhea, seek veterinary care.

University Animal Hospital wishes everyone and their pet families a safe and happy holiday season and New Year!

Cats and dogs are increasingly developing diabetes

Many people may be unaware that, just like in humans, pets can develop diabetes. An animal may not be able to produce an adequate amount of insulin or their bodies may not be able to use the insulin in a normal way. The following information discusses the increase of diabetes in pets, some of the symptoms pets may have, and how to care for a pet with diabetes.

An Increase in Diabetes

There has been a dramatic increase in recent years in the number of pets being diagnosed with diabetes. It’s estimated that approximately one in 1200 cats will develop the disease while one in 200 dogs will be diagnosed with diabetes. Pets can suffer from both Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes. While some causes of diabetes are either genetic or caused by certain autoimmune diseases, just like in humans, diabetes is often preventable in pets as well. Obesity and a lack of exercise are the primary reasons pets will develop this condition. Interestingly, while both overweight dogs and cats are more susceptible to the disease, male cats are more likely to get diagnosed while female dogs are more likely to get diabetes.

Symptoms of Diabetes in Pets

There are several symptoms pets can have that may be an indication they have diabetes. A few of the more obvious signs that a dog or cat may have developed diabetes include excessive thirst as well as an increase in the amount of urination. Weight loss and lethargy may also be signs of diabetes in pets. A pet that has normally been very active and has increasingly become sedentary in a short amount of time may very well be suffering from a health condition. A few other symptoms a pet may also develop include unusually sweet-smelling breath or a urinary infection. If you notice that your pet is exhibiting any of these symptoms it’s time to make an appointment with your veterinarian.

Caring for Pets with Diabetes

Making sure a pet receives proper nutrition

and adequate exercise are the key components to keeping them as healthy as possible. You should have a daily exercise routine for your pet to follow that is compatible to the animal’s individual needs. Talk to your vet about providing a diet that provides all the necessary nutrients your pet may need but that is as low calorie as possible. Treatment options may include a high fiber diet or certain oral medications that can help stabilize glucose levels. Many pets may require insulin injections to adequately regulate blood glucose. This type of insulin treatment is usually based on weight. Spaying a female dog may reduce the chance of diabetes since hormones can affect blood sugar levels. The following are some recommendations that are specific to cats and dogs.

  • Dietary Tips for Cats – It’s recommended that carbohydrates be cut out of a cat’s diet as much as possible. Dry food is also not a good choice. High protein, moist food is often the best choice for a cat. It’s also

    recommended to give the cat insulin within an hour after eating to offset the rise in blood sugar from the food.

  • Dietary Tips for Dogs – It’s suggested that dogs eat a diet that has 30 to 40 percent of the calories from protein. A diet high in fiber may also help to fight the blood sugar fluctuations that occur after eating. Both cats and dogs that are diabetic should visit a veterinarian several times a year for checkups.

How to Identify and Address Cat Anxiety Disorder

Furry felines are a beloved member of the household. Cat owners know that cats, like people, have moods and can become irritated. Cats express stress in unexpected ways that can be easily misunderstood or overlooked. In addition, some symptoms mimic a medical condition that requires a veterinarian’s intervention. You need to know what to look for in order to help your cat feel safe and stay healthy.

Look for These Signs

Cats can develop upset stomachs and intestinal distress just like their human counterparts. Some of the results of cat anxiety can cause your feline friend to experience inflammation and changes to the frequency of his or her urination and bowel movements.

Cat anxiety symptoms include:

  • Increased frequency in urination
  • Painful urination
  • The possible presence of blood in the urine
  • Urinating or defecating outside of the litter box
  • Diarrhea

Bladder inflammation can result in a blockage that can be deadly when left untreated. Immediately bring your cat to your veterinarian anytime your cat is frequently going to the litter box to urinate, this is especially true for male cats.

Medication and sometimes a diet like Hills C/D Stress can help to calm the condition. This is an area where cat

anxiety disorder symptoms can resemble medical conditions such as arthritis, stomach upset or a bladder infection. A visit to the vet is strongly suggested.

General behaviors can change when cats are:

  • Over-grooming and developing bald spots
  • Excessively meowing or crying
  • Chewing or eating unusual items, such as cloth
  • Exhibiting restlessness, walking back and forth guarding the home
  • Demonstrating unusual withdrawal from the area and hiding under beds, closets or preferred nooks

Any changes in your cat’s behavior can be indications of illness. In order to rule out illness, a visit to your veterinarian is always the first step. Once your cat has been handed a clean bill of health, we can concentrate on eliminating stress factors that are causing the behavior.

Determine the Cause of Cat Anxiety

Document the symptoms and try to determine when the behaviors first began. Your veterinarian will inquire as to the start of the symptoms. Find the reason for the change in order to address the issue. Help your cat return to her calm and natural state.

Parasites and Physical Discomfort

Claws that are excessively long can cause pain. Overgrown nails are easy to resolve. Flea infestations are worse but can be addressed with the right flea-control program and by taking steps to remove any fleas from the home.

Environmental Triggers

Loud noise can frighten cats and cause them discomfort. They are particularly sensitive to changes in volume. Turn down the music and reduce the cat’s exposure to fireworks and thunderstorms. Reduce the amount of stimuli she receives when the noises are outside the home. Close any curtains, put the TV on at a minimal and provide hiding places until the event is over.

New environments can cause a change in behavior. A change in location while owners are traveling or have moved

into a new home may cause stress and

it may take time until your cat can feel secure in the new space. Medication may help in the interim.

Provide the Comfort She Needs

Cats benefit from a calm and stable home environment. Reward your cat immediately for good behavior and avoid yelling for misbehaving, as it will make the situation worse. If your cat seeks you out in times of distress, give love and compassion. Offer a variety of activities for “challenging play” –indoor cats need mental engagement. Your loving attention will help your cat to thrive.

Prolonged periods of stress can impact your cat’s health. Speak to Dr. Amber Naig, our staff behavior doctor at University Animal Hospital, or your veterinarian to determine the right approach to help your pet. You can email Dr. Naig at or call 480-968-9275 to make an appointment.

Beware of Candy Overload

The importance of pet safety at Halloween

Beware of candy overload:

Too much Halloween candy can be a problem. Especially true of chocolate and sugar free treats.

Everyone Stay Calm:

How anxious does your pet when the doorbell

rings? What I it rings 30 times and some very load and strangely dressed goblins are at the door. Keep your pet away from the commotion and sometimes a sedative may help.

Doggy Dress Up:

Be careful of dressing up your

pet. If you want to put a costume on “Fido” make sure it fits and does not hamper normal movements. Especially be cautious of any restrictions around the neck.


There is lots of commotion, doors opening and many people on the streets. Make sure if your pet gets out they have good identification and that their collar is on securely. A reflective collar would be a good idea.

Glow Sticks:

Used often to help keep our kids save as they walk the neighborhood. The contents can be irritating if bitten into.

Dog Anxiety Disorder: How It Happens and How to Fix It

Man’s best friend can be many things: loyal, lazy, affectionate, protective, kind, goofy, and, unfortunately, even anxious. Due to any number of external stressors, a dog’s mood can swing from calm and collected to anxious and uncomfortable in a matter of minutes. If this anxiety is regular and continues over long periods of time, it can be perilous to a pet’s health.

Put Fido at ease by identifying the cause of his dog anxiety disorder and remedying it.

Symptoms of Dog Anxiety

When humans are anxious, they display repetitious, nervous behaviors: nail biting, leg shaking, finger tapping, pacing, etc. Dogs act in similar patterns.

Examples of dog anxiety symptoms include:

  • Uncharacteristic aggression towards people and other animals
  • Eating poop
  • Urinating or pooping in areas where she is not allowed to do so, such as the carpet or her crate
  • Incessant barking
  • Gnawing on walls, rugs, furniture, or errant pieces of clothing
  • Pacing

Some people try to fix these anxious habits through punishment—don’t. That stress, combined with the fear

of misunderstanding you, will likely only make your dog’s anxiety worse.

Types of Dog Anxiety

No one dog is the same; the same goes for the causes of anxiety. Knowing how to identify the anxiety stressor is key to fixing the problem.

Travel Anxiety

New things—especially new things your dog doesn’t understand—are highly stressful for most dogs. Traveling, which often sees your pet put in a crate in a moving vehicle over an extended period of time, can be a peak form of this stress. The experience takes something familiar such as your pet hanging out in a crate and makes it unfamiliar. The crate is now moving!

In this environment, the dog is treated to a number of external stimuli that are distracting, confusing, and exciting, but now is unable to move to explore them.

 Separation Anxiety

Odds are, your dog loves you and depends on you for comfort, food, and entertainment. Seeing you is the highlight of the day. Unfortunately, this ceaseless love can come with a downside: separation anxiety.

When you leave to go to work or

the grocery store, your dog sits at the door whining for your return. Ideally, he or she will move on, but some dogs aren’t as skilled in that arena and develop separation anxiety.

Confinement Anxiety

Every animal has a fight or flight instinct—it’s a natural part of development. When a dog is coerced into a small space (such as a crate) over long periods of time, they lose access to both of those defense mechanisms. They’re trapped, unable to move much, and are likely scared.

Not having the ability to move, even in wholly peaceful environments, may cause your pet confinement anxiety.

Noise Anxiety

Loud, unexpected, and seemingly unknown noises such as thunderstorms, fireworks, and heavy machinery, can set a dog on edge. This is especially true if they occur over long periods of time. Your dog’s instinct is to go after the noise, run or hide.

Treating Dog


If your dog is experiencing anxiety, you can practice desensitization, foster a calming environment, and/or use medication.

To foster a calming environment, consider giving your dog a routine, a calm demeanor on your part, and relaxing massages in times of stress. You are their ultimate beacon of relaxation.

Get your dog used to stressors in small doses, and provide them with treats when they react well. This works particularly well for loud noises and confined spaces. For separation anxiety, leave your home with little fanfare multiple times, and reward them if you return and they are preoccupied elsewhere and have not done any damage.

When medication seems to be necessary, feel free to consult your veterinarian or our staff behavior doctor, Dr. Amber Naig to decide what kind of medication your dog needs. These can substantially boost the quality of your pet’s life and the relationship you have with your pet.

Tempe Chamber of Commerce Finalist Award University Animal Hospital

What an honor it was to attend the Tempe Chamber of Commerce Award Ceremony for the Business of Excellence Award! We certainly enjoyed the breakfast and listening to the other finalists, congratulations to Good Works Auto Repair for winning the award. Dr. Gus accepted the award for being a finalist. We love serving the Tempe community and are truly thankful to have been considered for the Business of Excellence Award.

University Animal Hospital Nominated for Small Business of the Year in Tempe!

What a great honor for University Animal Hospital to be nominated for the Tempe Chamber of Commerce, Small Business of the Year Business of Excellence Award! The winner of the award will be presented at the inaugural Beacon Awards on February 26th at the Embassay Suites in Tempe located at 4400 S. Rural Road. The breakfast event starts at 7:30am.


Morris Foundation for Animals Golden Retriever Research

Submitted by Thomas Gus on Tue, 01/13/2015 – 3:32pm

Hi, this is Dr. Jim Flegenheimer, veterinarian at University Animal Hospital in Tempe, AZ and I would like to tell you about a very exciting and wonderful study that is in progress for Golden Retrievers sponsored by the Morris Animal Foundation. It is a groundbreaking research project with the goal of preventing cancer and other diseases in dogs. Although only Golden Retrievers are being enrolled, this may provide the framework for research in other breeds, and at the least will improve the health of other breeds too. The study will identify the impact of genetic, nutritional, behavioral and environmental influences involved with certain diseases. The goal is to have 3,000 dogs involved in the study, of which presently just over 2,000 are currently registered. Cancer is the leading cause of death in dogs over 2 years of age and Golden Retrievers have a higher risk of developing cancer than most other breeds; therefore, they became the chosen breed.