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 

How to Spot the First Warning Signs of Feline Hyperthyroidism

What is Feline Hyperthyroidism?

The two thyroid glands in cats are responsible for the production of a number of hormones which regulate the metabolism and are involved in the function of all the body’s major organs. Healthy thyroids are therefore essential for the general health of your cat.

The condition known as hyperthyroidism occurs when one or both of the thyroid glands become too active, and produce excess amounts of a hormone called thyroxine (T4).

This is usually a treatable condition and diagnosis is typically uncomplicated with blood testing. If you suspect that your cat may be affected you should seek qualified veterinary advice as soon as possible.

What Kinds of Cat May Be Affected?

All breeds can suffer hyperthyroidism, but it is generally something which affects older animals.

Less then 10% of cases occur in cats of less than 10 years of age, and the average age for the onset of the condition is 12 years.

How Can I Tell if My Cat Has the Condition?

An over-active thyroid leads to an increased metabolic rate. Weight loss, increased vocalization, hyperactivity, increased appetite, vomiting and soft stool are characteristic early symptoms. But any of the body’s organs may be affected, and a wide range of symptoms can develop.

You may notice a rapid heart rate and changes in behavior such as restlessness or aggression.

Digestive disturbances such as vomiting, diarrhea and more frequent visits to the litter box are also sometimes apparent.

Less common symptoms may include breathing problems and muscular weakness.

How is Hyperthyroidism Diagnosed?

In some cases enlarged thyroid glands in the neck may be detectable to the touch of an examining vet, but the other symptoms of hyperthyroidism can be caused by a wide variety of other conditions.

The level of thyroid hormone in the blood is a key diagnostic measure. Thyroid levels sometimes fluctuate, so multiple blood tests may be required before a final diagnosis can be made.

In rare cases, where blood tests are inconclusive, diagnosis may be made by scanning the thyroid glands with specialized imaging technology.

What are the Treatment Options?

Hyperthyroidism can have serious health implications for your cat, including heart and kidney disease, so it is very important that the appropriate treatment is applied as soon as possible.


Orally administered drugs are often effective in reducing the blood levels of the thyroid hormones. The disadvantage of these medications is that the hormone levels will rise again if the treatment is discontinued, and affected cats must generally stay on the drugs for life.

Radioactive Iodine

A specialized treatment may be the administration of radioactive iodine. The compound travels through the bloodstream to destroy the thyroid tissue while allowing the thyroid glands to continue their normal hormone production.

This is a safe and effective procedure, but it has the disadvantage of requiring the cat to remain hospitalized for a period of time.

Find Out More

Hyperthroidism is a serious condition, but it generally responds very well to treatment, so if you are concerned that your cat may be suffering from thyroid problems, or have any questions about the information above, please call (480) 968-9275 or visit us at

Treating Tick Fever in Your Pet

Most pet owners realize that a tick bite can leave a pet with the debilitating effects of joint inflammation caused by Lyme Disease. But, few realize that another tick-borne illness, called tick fever, can also cause serious medical problems for pets. Tick fever, or Ehrlichiosis, is carried by ticks that is common to most parts of our nation. The organism is within the bacterial family rickettsia. This organism thrives and can multiply within the living cells of your pet.

There are two very common forms of the rickettsia organism – one is carried by the Brown Dog tick and is common to the West Coast and Eastern states – Ehrlichia canis. Another common form is transmitted by the Lone Star tick found mostly in the Eastern and South Central U.S – Ehrlichia ewingii.

The Center for Disease Control (CDC) offers helpful guidelines for avoiding tick-borne disease in both pets and humans, and also states that “dogs are very susceptible to tick bites and to some tick borne diseases. They may also bring ticks into your home. Talk to your veterinarian about the best tick prevention products for your dog.”

Which Pets Can Get Tick Fever?

While some ticks feed on a wide range of pets, Brown Dog tick and the Lone Star tick are found on dogs. Often these ticks will attach to your pet while walking in woodland areas, grassy meadows, or areas along river banks and streams. While these ticks may have a preference for canine blood, they will also bite and feed off humans and other animals.

These pests are three-host ticks. After one feeding they will usually drop from the host before they enter the next stage of development from egg to larvae, and finally as mature adults. It is not uncommon for a female tick to lay thousands of eggs on the surfaces they inhabit.

Symptoms and Treatment of Tick Fever

Your pet will likely go through three distinct phases of the tick fever illness. In the early, acute phase, your dog may have a low-grade fever, bruising, and joint pain. Following this phase the tick may lie dormant and your pet may not show any symptoms for many months. Finally, the dog will enter a chronic stage of illness, characterized by eye inflammation, lameness, tender abdomen, internal bleeding, and neurological issues.

Seek the medical help of your local veterinarian to treat tick fever in dogs. While diagnosis is difficult in the early stages of the disease, in the chronic phase a blood test to determine platelet count is performed. Also, consideration of your pet’s symptoms and possible environmental exposure to ticks can help in diagnosis and a treatment plan.

Depending on the severity of your dog’s symptoms, your veterinarian will seek different treatment options. Early phase treatments are very effective and may include antibiotics such as Doxycycline and Tetracycline. Within 2-3 days, your pet should be improving well.

Preventing Tick Infestation in Pets

  • The single most important step to preventing tick borne disease is preventing the tick from biting and transmitting the infection. New oral tick preventations are very effective in stopping this process and keeping your dog safe.
  • Treat your lawn and house with a tick treatment periodically. There are granules and sprays, along with natural options such as Diatomaceous Earth that are effective in ridding your home of fleas and ticks.
  • Spot check you pets periodically for ticks, especially after walking in wooded areas or parks. Remove any ticks you find on your dog’s skin.
  • Keep your home’s landscape groomed with short grass, trimmed bushes, and eliminate accumulated vegetation and debris from your yard

For further information on treatments for tick fever, contact University Animal Hospital.

Heat Awareness Tips

With the weather sitting pretty at a consistent triple digit temperature, we thought it would be a great time to discuss heat awareness tips. Here are the top three things to know this summer.

The Hot Asphalt

You wouldn’t walk barefoot on the hot asphalt during an Arizona summer. Neither should your dog. The sweltering temperatures are a danger to our animals, especially when it comes to ground temperatures. Asphalt temperatures can reach up to 170 degrees in the summer. An egg can be fried at 131 degrees. Does this open your eyes?

Take the test yourself before taking your dog for a walk. If you can’t keep the back of your hand on the pavement for longer than 10 seconds, then your dog should not be walking on it.  If you absolutely must take your dog out in the middle of the day, consider purchasing booties that will protect their paws from the hot asphalt.

Rethink the time you walk your pup in the summer. Wake up early, as temperatures right now are still nice in the wee morning hours. Or wait until the sun goes down.

Heat Stroke Prevention

Dog fur is effective in protecting them during the cold weather, but in the hot days, it works against them. Unlike humans who eliminate heat by sweating, dogs eliminate heat by panting. When panting is not enough to cool down their body, their temperature rises and could lead to multiple organ failure that can sometimes be fatal. For heat stroke signs, check out our past blog post.

During the summer, there are several things that you can do to keep your dog safe:

  • Give him access to clean fresh water at all times
  • If he will be outside, ensure he has access to complete shade
  • Walk your dog during the cooler times of the day, in the morning and as the sun goes down
  • Do not overdo exercise sessions or play sessions during the hot days

How Much Water Should My Pet Consume?

A good estimate for the amount of water your pets should drink is about 1 ounce per pound. So if you have a 10 pound dog or cat, they should be drinking roughly 10 ounces of water every day. (This is only around a cup.) Puppies and kittens may need more water than this, so it is important to consult a vet when you first bring home a new pet.

Two good ways to make sure your pets are properly hydrated are to first pull a little bit of their skin around their neck up. If it “snaps” back into place, this indicates adequate amounts of water. Another way is to look at their gums. Wet and saliva filled gums are a good sign of your pet being hydrated.

Cat Adoption Facts

It’s National Cat Adoption month, so we wanted to write a blog post dedicated to all the cat lovers out there. Recently, many adoption agencies have been waving the fees on cats since not many people are adopting at the shelters. We want to change that!

Here are some tips for you when you are adopting a cat…

Cats like a routine

Just like any human, we LOVE our daily routines. And cats love them too. They like knowing when and where things are happening. Coming to a new home from a shelter can be scary. Stick with your cat for a few weeks until they are comfortable in your home and backyard (if they wander). Give them space when you first pick up your new kitty so they can get to know you better.

Basic Shopping List

Before you bring your cat home, make sure you have the right items they need. Here are some of the most important to have right away:

  • Water and food bowls
  • Food (wet or dry)
  • Litter boxes and litter
  • Scratching post
  • Toys
  • Collar and identification tags

A vet visit

This is one of the most important things when adopting! When you bring a cat home from a shelter, it’s best to visit the vet as soon as you can. You want to make sure they have their first round of shots, if needed, and to do a regular check up on them, so you know exactly what type of cat you adopted. They may need special attention, of course, depending on the age as well.

Check out the video that we did last year with our friends at Lost Our Home Pet Rescue that will give you more information on what to expect when adopting a cat.

If you are considering adoption and it makes sense for your lifestyle, make sure to visit our friends at Lost Our Home Pet Rescue, located directly across the street from our animal hospital.


Pet Dental Care: How to Maintain Dental Health of Your Pets

Dental disease affects the general health and well-being of your pet. 80% of dogs and at least 70% of cats are said to suffer from dental diseases. Most of these diseases can be prevented by putting more effort into the dental care of your pets. If left untreated, these diseases could cause pain, discomfort and bad breath. Pet dentistry has become an important part of veterinary care.

At University Animal Hospital, we recognize the importance of pets’ oral and dental health. We believe that pets need just as much health care as we do. We believe in treating them with love and compassion like the family they are. Since 1962, we have been offering preventive pet care, surgery, dentistry, boarding and grooming.


Maintaining the Oral Hygiene of Pets

  • Regularly Brushing Their Teeth

Just as human beings brush their teeth daily, University Animal Hospital believes that pets need to have their teeth brushed daily too. Brushing helps to remove plaque. Dental kits for pets come with an appropriate double headed toothbrush and toothpaste. Only use the recommended pet toothpaste that does not contain fluoride. If you haven’t introduced your pet to brushing yet, start slowly and increase the number of brushing times as your pet starts to get used to it. To get your pet used to the brush, you can dip it into food that they like.

  • Veterinary Treatment

We suggest that pets be taken for regular dental examinations and treatment. The procedure for dental examination is a lot like ours. If your pet needs emergency treatment, you can bring them to the hospital as fast as you can or contact us on 480-968-9275. If, however, you just need to book an appointment, you can do so online. We will get back to you in 3 days. If after the three days you do not get a call to confirm your appointment, please call us. We offer a 10% discount on first-time clients.

  • Diet

There are certain types of food that are said to mechanically brush your pets’ teeth and get rid of tartar. If you visit us, we will offer suggestions for such foods depending on your pet. Also include foods that foster the development of healthy teeth and bones.


Kidney Feline Disease: Everything You Should Know

Your cat’s kidneys play a critical role in the body of your pet. The kidney regulates blood pressure, blood volume, blood sugar, secretes some of the essential hormones, regulates water composition in the blood, expels waste from the blood, and most importantly stimulates the bone marrow to secrete red blood cells.

The feline kidney disease can be described as a persistent loss of the kidney function over time. Although cats of any age can suffer from feline kidney diseases, the problem is common in older cats with at least a third of all older cats suffering from the disease.

The disease occurs slowly, and it may be too late to manage it by the time the symptoms become obvious. Here are the common symptoms, causes, and how you can control the feline kidney disease.

Symptoms of the Feline Kidney Disease

Typically, the kidneys can’t regenerate themselves, and once their tissues are damaged beyond repair, it means that they are gone forever. Symptoms of this disease will start to manifest once at least two-thirds of the kidney function has been lost and the remaining a third is struggling to accomplish certain functions in the body. Here are some of the common symptoms of feline kidney disease:

  • Increased thirst: cats with feline kidney disease are always thirsty since a lot of water is lost from their bodies in the form of dilute urine. The cat has to compensate for the lost water by drinking more water. However, it will reach a certain point when the pet is unable to drink enough water to replace what is lost.
  • Frequent urinating: Although most people tend to think that this is a sign the cat’s kidneys are working well, the opposite is true If you discover that your cat is urinating everywhere- even outside her litter box and where she sleeps, then keep in mind that it may be suffering from the kidney disease.
  • Poor appetite: metabolic changes that take place in the cat’s body as a result of kidney disease may make the pet feel bad enough to the point of losing appetite. Cats with this disease will portray lack of appetite for a prolonged period which shall lead to significant weight loss.
  • Tiredness: Dehydration may also make the cat feel bad and lose a lot of energy. With time, you will discover that the cat is no longer interested in activities that it used to enjoy earlier. It will also show signs of tiredness all the time.

How Can You Treat Feline Kidney Disease?

If your cat has been diagnosed with this disease, then you can manage it in three different ways namely:

  • Medication: The veterinarian may recommend certain medications and supplements that raise potassium levels, lower blood pressure, promote kidney function and also lowers phosphorous levels.
  • Diet: A veterinarian will also prescribe special diets that promote the cat’s kidney function while alleviating the biochemical abnormalities in the body which result in kidney failure. Canned food is highly recommended since it has a higher water content.

Contact the University Animal Hospital today for further information regarding the feline kidney disease.

Boarding Your Pet This Summer

Summer is here and I’m sure most of you have a plan to escape the Arizona heat at some point this season. If you are looking to board your pet this summer, we have some advice on making it the best experience you can for you and your pet. After all, going on vacation means unplugging and forgetting about your worries (and that includes your beloved animal).

Friends Who Board Together

Do you have a scared pup that needs the comfort of someone familiar? Find a best friend and board them together. We allow pets to be together in one kennel, being that they get along, of course. While your away, let your pet play with their best friend or maybe it’s even their brother/sister. We find that companion boarding is a great way for your pet to feel comfortable, while also having lots of fun.

Up To Date Vaccinations

Don’t wait until the last minute to know what your pet needs before bringing them to board. We have a few requirements for pets when they stay at University Animal Hospital and you can find all them by downloading the Boarding Requirements Form.  Knowing what you need beforehand will come in handy, as most vaccinations should be done at least one week before boarding your pet.

Visit the Facility

We strongly recommend a visit prior to the boarding drop off. Allow your pet to become acclimated with the smells, sounds and people at the boarding location. Opt for a tour and bring your pet along so you both can get the sense of comfort needed, especially if you are a first timer.

Treats Are Always a Good Idea

While we understand the desire to bring bedding and toys from home, we have learned that pets have little interest in personal items while they are boarding. So please refrain from bringing these items. But DO bring their favorite treat and we can give it to them during their stay. We also offer a Happy Hour kong or frozen Pupsicle.

These are just a few tips that are guaranteed to leave you and your pets happy. We also offer discounts if you stay over a certain amount of nights. So, if your summer vacation will be more than a week, check out what we can offer you. Visit for more information and to book your pets staycation.


Mother’s Day Gifts for the Dog Lover

Is someone in your life a major dog lover or pet lover in general? Then Mother’s Day is the most perfect time to celebrate them! You do not need a child in order to be a mother. Pet moms are equally as important, so let’s give them all the credit in the world! Here is a list of five different gifts perfect for the dog lovers in your life.

Pet Totes/Transportation

This may sound silly, but is so perfect since it is almost summer! This works best for smaller animals but you can find a pet carrying tote or stroller on Amazon or Ebay. It makes it easier to bring your dog with you and make sure they are not getting too friendly with any local trees. This is a better investment for animals that plan on staying small! In the summer, it eases some of the stress of carrying your dog when your hands are full! Hot asphalt, due to Arizona’s hot summers, can cause pain on your pet’s paws, so plan ahead and order a pet tote as your Plan B!

Framed Prints

This idea can win over anyone’s heart! Why? Who doesn’t love a framed picture of their animal?

You can order cheap, but quality prints from websites such as Artifact Uprising and have them delivered to your door. It is easy and has meaning! You can pick up frames from your local community store and voila, you are done!


This might be the ultimate Mother’s Day gift for your dog mom friend. This cube allows the mom to interact with her fur babies even when she is not home! This is every dog mom’s dream come true. This might be the pricer option, but so worth it. It will allow for you to keep tabs on the animal, speak to them, and even ignite a small lazer so you can play games with them, no matter where you are!

Look alike cookie cutters

Yes, this is real! You can send in a picture of your animal and they will create a custom cookie cutter with your pet’s name on it. There is no better way to wake up your friend on Mother’s Day and have dog shaped cookies or pancakes waiting for her. There are so many different pet friendly cookie recipes online too, so your animal can join in on all the fun.

Matching T-Shirts

Surprise her on Mother’s Day with matching shirts for her and her furry friend! There is no better way to celebrate a friendship. She can bring a little bit of her pet no matter where she goes when she wears this shirt.

What do you think? Are you going to use any of these ideas for Mother’s Day. Leave a comment on our Facebook page and let us know what your Mother’s Day plans are.

Boarder of the Month: Zodiac

Staff comments:

“Zodiac is a pony sized lap dog who loves his time in the play yards where he can soak up our love.”

“Zodiac is a really fun dog! He is very talkative and loves to lean on you and get pets and scratches”

“Zodiac is always so excited! He’s always smiling and he loves attention! He has the best Dane lean and he loves getting hugs.”

“He is a gentle giant who loves attention and hugs.”

“Zodiac always has love to give and loves getting it in return. He is super sweet and I know everyone loves when he comes to stay with us.”

“Zodiac is such a sweet boy! We all love when he comes to visit and we all love to give him lots of attention!”

“Zodiac is one of our largest boarders and such a cuddle bug! He never wants to leave your side and will love as much attention and scratches you can give. “

“Talk about a handsome dog! He has such great coloring and such a wonderful personality to go along with it. I love that I’ve been able to care for him over the years!”

“He is a great guy and we love when he visits.”

“Zodiac is a such a cool dude, he is always happy when I say hi to him.”

National Superhero Day

It is National Superhero Day and this is the perfect time to celebrate your pets! This day was created to help recognize the “superhero” in your life and to thank them for all that they do. Not only do humans need a mental health day with a pedicure or massage, pets need to be pampered too! After all, they do so much for us and are true superheroes!

Here are three ways to celebrate your pet’s superpowers.

Getting Active

Have a pool day! Bring your pet outside to enjoy the sun and let them take a dip in the water. Or take them for a walk and let them lead the way! A Superhero can’t go anywhere without his sidekick, so why not share this time together.

Toys and Family Time

Does your pet’s toy bin seem a little empty? Even though a few toys may be enough, pamper your animal with something new that you both can play with. Pets, like humans, love little gifts too!  These toys are sure to keep the Superhero happy.

Annual Checkups

The best way you can take care of your superhero pet is by bringing them in to see us! Annual check-ups are so important for your pet’s health to make sure they are up to “superhero” speed. Visit us online to schedule an appointment.

We hope you find some ways to celebrate National Superhero Day with your pet. After all, how else can you thank them for their unconditional love.