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 

Protecting Your Pet Dog or Cat With Timely Spaying or Neutering

Spaying and neutering your pets helps to reduce the vast overpopulation of dogs and cats across the United States. Because of the extreme problem of homeless pets, caused by overpopulation, every year millions of dogs and cats are euthanized. In addition to helping improve this awful situation, spaying and neutering offers a number of important medical benefits for dogs and cats. Here is some information for you to consider in making the decision to have your pet spayed or neutered.

Medical Benefits of Spaying and Neutering

Spaying or neutering young cats and dogs can help prevent severe medical problems as your pets age. Below are just some of the important health advantages for spayed and neutered pets:

  • Female dogs and cats tend to have healthier and longer life due to spaying.
  • Spaying helps prevent uterine infections.
  • Spaying prevents breast cancer (malignant breast tumors). These tumors affect approximately 50% of unspayed dogs and about 90% of unspayed cats. (Spaying prior to an animal’s first heat provides optimum protection from the disease).
  • Neutering your dog or cat can reduce the risk of later development of an enlarged prostate gland.
  • Neutering dogs and cats prevents testicular cancer.

Behavioral Benefits of Spaying and Neutering

There are also significant behavioral advantages from spaying and neutering. These benefits range from reducing stress for pet owners and making pet animals more manageable, to reducing safety risks for pets.

Female dogs and cats — Although the cycles for individual animal’s may vary, female cats typically go into 4-5 days of heat, every three weeks or so during their breeding season. Spaying removes the female cat’s or dog’s ovaries, which eliminates their cycles of heat. This change stops typical behaviors triggered by female pets’ breeding instincts, behaviors that pet owners may find frustrating and uncontrollable in unspayed female pets, for example:

  • To attract the attention of prospective mates, while in heat a female cat can be expected to wail loudly.
  • And, female cats urinate more frequently during heat. A cat in heat sometimes urinates in numerous spots in her immediate vicinity (such as the interior of your house).

Male dogs and cats — Male animals will relentlessly struggle to escape from home to pursue a female in heat. Neutering removes the testes from male pets, which diminishes their instinct to breed. This makes male dogs and cats less likely to roam, and avoids stress and frustration that pet owners often experience with behaviors of unneutered male pets, for example:

  • Escaped male dogs or cats running loose, in pursuit of a female in heat, are at high risk for injuries from auto accidents and fights with other males.
  • Unneutered pet dogs and cats are likely to mark their territory, which they do by spraying strong-smelling urine at numerous spots throughout your house and yard.
  • They are likely to mount other dogs, people, furniture and other objects.
  • Some aggression problems may be exhibited, which might be avoided by early neutering.

Misconceptions of Spaying and Neutering

These are a few misunderstandings that some people have about getting pets spayed or neutered:

  • Reduced intelligence — The spay and neuter procedures do not impact an animal’s intelligence, or their ability to learn, or to hunt, work, or play. In fact, improved behavior in pets after spaying or neutering can make them better companions.
  • Becoming obese — Neutering or spaying do not cause pets to gain excess weight. Your dog or cat will continue to be fit and healthy as long as you continue managing their food consumption and provide sufficient exercise.
  • Cure for all bad behavior — Neutering is not a remedy for all behavioral issues. Neutering your dog or cat reduces unwanted behaviors caused by previously higher testosterone levels, but:
    • Though neutering reduces testosterone, it does not completely eliminate it.
    • Neutering does not solve the problem of unwanted behaviors that your pet has learned or that have become habitual.
    • Behavioral changes after neutering depend mostly on your pet’s own personality and personal history, and his physiology.
  • Very expensive — Spaying and neutering pets are highly cost-effective. The costs of these procedures are very low, when compared to the costs of caring for a litter of growing puppies or kittens.

When to Spay or Neuter Your Pet

The most appropriate time to have your pet spayed or neutered normally depends on his or her age, breed, and general physical condition.

Dogs — Typically, dogs are neutered between ages 6-12 months. But, healthy puppies 8 weeks or older can be safely neutered. Older adult dogs, dogs with health problems, and overweight dogs are at slightly increased risk of post-surgical complications.

Cats — It is normally safe to spay or neuter kittens 12 weeks or older. It is recommended to have your cat spayed or neutered prior to age 5 months. A female cat can be spayed while she is in heat.

Ask your veterinarian to help you determine the best time to have your pet spayed or neutered.

Risks of Spaying and Neutering

Mating behaviors caused by pet’s reproductive hormones may be frustrating for many pet owners, however these hormones can be beneficial to your pet’s general health.

  • Removing testes or ovaries from pet animals eliminates hormones, which can increase risk of health problems like urinary incontinence and even some forms of cancer.
  • Also, sterilization by neutering and spaying are major veterinary surgical procedures. As in any surgery, there are associated anesthetic as well as surgical risks. However, the overall occurrence of complications in these procedures is very low.

Discuss the risks and benefits of spay and neuter sterilization with your veterinarian, so that you can make a fully informed decision about what is best for your pet.

University Animal Hospital

The University Animal Hospital is a full-scale veterinary facility for small animal care. We also offer a full-service boarding facility and complete grooming services. We understand that your pets are part of the family, just as our pets are part of our families. We treat your pet with the same caring and compassion that we have for our own pets. We have been serving our neighbors here in the East Valley area for more than 55 years. And, we look forward to providing life-long care to your pets.

Our highly experienced team of skilled professionals offers our region’s best quality of preventive veterinary care, advanced medical services, and surgery. We provide many important standard and specialty services, including:

Preventive Care

Spaying and Neutering

Teeth Cleaning

Laser Surgery



Digital x-ray



Orthopedic Surgery

Orthopedic Services


Laser Pain Therapy

Joint Therapy

Stem Cell


Ear Cropping



Health Certificates

Pet insurance

Payment plans

For More Information

For more information about the importance of spaying and neutering, or to make an appointment with a veterinarian, contact University Animal Hospital by calling 480-968-9275 or visit our website. We offer a 10% discount on your first visit for filling our new client form on line. (If you do not receive confirmation of your appointment made online within 3 days, call to ensure that we have received your appointment request). Do not use the online appointment request for an emergency or a sick pet; call or bring your pet directly to the hospital.

H2O for Pets

Living in a hot desert climate like Arizona, we all know the importance of drinking enough water and staying hydrated. Sometimes we may forget that our pets need just as much hydration as we do to stay happy and healthy. Keep reading to find out all you need to know about how much water your pets need and if they may be drinking too much water.

Monitoring your pets water intake is the first step to knowing if they need more water. Filling up the water bowl at the beginning of the day and then keeping an eye on it to see if it is empty or full will help you make a better decision about water intake.

It is important to let your dogs and cats have free reign of the water bowl. Restricting water intake because you are worried about accidents or messes is not good for your pet’s health. It is also important to be aware of other sources of water such as the toilet, pools or fish ponds as these sources may make your pet sick due to chemicals or bacteria in the water.

A good estimate for the amount of water your pets should drink is about 1 ounce per every 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.

There are, however, a few risks associated with the consumption of water. First, dehydration just like any human would get if they were not drinking enough water. Dogs with pancreatitis, parvovirus, or leptospirosis also tend to drink less or no water at all.

Other risk factors include drinking too much water. If you find that your pet is drinking excessive amounts of water, this could be a sign of a more serious problem, such as diabetes or bladder infections, and should be addressed by a vet as soon as possible.

Another risk that comes with over drinking water also known as psychogenic polydipsia or water intoxication. Signs of this include: loss of coordination, nausea, bloating and light colored gums.
We want to make sure to keep our pets hydrated especially after extreme exercise or days where it is extremely hot in Arizona! If you have any questions on the information provided or want to know more about your specific pets’ water intake, please make an appointment online or call us at (480) 968-9275

December Boarders of the Month: Tank and Rumi

Introducing the December boarders of the month….Tank and Rumi! Keep reading to find out more about them.

Staff comments:

“We’ve been able to watch these two boys grow up and it’s so great to see them play, snuggle, and mature. They are such great pups, it always a joy to have them board with us!”

“These brothers are a lot of energy but also gentle giants. Even though they look very similar they have different personalities but they are both great to have around.”

“Tank and Rumi are two big sweethearts! I love playing with them when they are here!”

“They always have so much love to give! Also very playful as soon as they get into the yard.”

“Tank and Rumi are amazing! They are so smart and sweet, the way they play together is adorable and everyone here is head over heels for them!”

“They are awesome boys and we love having them stay with us, we can’t wait to see them again soon!!”

“Tank and Rumi are two big lovable dogs! They love playing out in the yards and they love their pupsicles.”

“Tank and Rumi are fun to play with out in the yard, they are so smart and are great at catching their popsicle treats in the air.”

What is Kennel Cough?

As we come into the full holiday season, we see more and more pets in our boarding facilities. Along with all of these pets can sometimes come diseases we try to prevent at all costs. One of these is kennel cough, which we require a vaccination for before boarding.

Kennel cough, also known as canine infectious tracheobronchitis, is a respiratory disease that can be highly contagious but very treatable. It is most commonly transmitted in areas with high volumes of dogs like dog parks, boarding facilities or daycares. It can be transmitted multiple ways including; airborne droplets, touching noses or water/food bowls. Mostly it is important to be aware of this disease and get your pets vaccinated, but knowing what to look for is also important.

Symptoms of kennel cough are similar to that of a cold that a human would contract. These symptoms include a strong cough,  runny nose, fatigue or loss of appetite. Kennel cough is easily treatable, especial in adult dogs, but it is important to note that a cough is something that should be reported to a vet anytime because it could signal a more serious illness.

Treatments mostly include rest and isolation from other dogs to avoid spreading the infection. In some severe cases, we may prescribe an antibiotic to avoid worsening or other secondary infections. As always though, when a vaccine is available for a disease, we recommend your dog get it. This is especially important when dogs are exposed to high volumes of other dogs, and once again is required for our boarding facilities.

If you want to get your dog vaccinated, think they have kennel cough or want more information about exposing your dog to other dogs, please give us a call at (480) 686-9275 or visit us online to make an appointment.

Parvo Virus

In this video, Dr. Billie discusses the prevalence of Parvo Virus here in the Valley and what you can do to prevent/treat your dog if they contract this potentially fatal virus.

Construction at University

Please excuse our noise in the clinic as we add two BRAND NEW exam rooms for the 2018 year. We are continuously updating our facilities to offer the best and most up-to-date treatment for your pets. We can’t wait to reveal the new addition.

Holiday Hazards

Can you believe the holidays are here again? It seems like just yesterday we were ringing in 2017 and now it’s almost over. With the holidays comes a lot of hazards for our pets that we may not always be thinking of because of all the other things that are going on. So here we are as a friendly reminder to protect your pets from hazards that might bring them into the vet during this busy season.

Christmas Trees

Animals are curious creatures and a Christmas Tree is the most fascinating object of all. With lights and ornaments and even water for live trees, there are lots of areas an animal can get into that will cause serious problems. It is best to not allow your pets into the room with the tree at all, but if that isn’t possible, just be more aware. Don’t hang ornaments low on the tree where a dog or cat could pull them off and always watch for them chewing on lights or drinking water from the stand (if you have a real tree). The lights can cause serious electrocution and the water can be poisonous and cause serious internal problems.   


Things like tinsel, bows on packages or poinsettias can be extremely dangerous if ingested. It is important to keep these things off the ground or at levels where pets can’t easily reach them and potentially eat them.

Ice Melt

If you happen to be going somewhere cold, keep in mind that ice melt or ice salt, which is used to clear sidewalks or icy surfaces outside, can be potentially harmful if it is ingested by a dog or cat. Keep this in mind when you are walking them or playing outside. Especially for people from Arizona where we do not commonly use this stuff, it is easy to forget it is used in cooler climates.


Just like with Thanksgiving, the winter holiday season is time for rich and indulgent meals with family and friends. However, dogs and cats cannot handle the same types of foods that humans can. Even though we want to, it is important to remind family and friends to not feed the animals scraps from their plates. Rich foods and deserts are harsh on animals internal organs and can cause huge problems later on.


Hopefully this information has refreshed your brain so you can be more aware of the hazards in your home this holiday season. If your pet does get into some trouble, please give us a call at (480) 968-9275 and we would be happy to get them back to health as soon as possible.


Senior Pets


The entire month of November is dedicated to promoting senior pets. Often times people skip over senior pets at the shelters or adoptions sites because they think they are not as fun or well behaved. In this blog we will talk all about the benefits of a senior pet, and why November is such an important month for them.


Every November, the ASPCA promotes the adoption of senior pets from shelters and pounds. Typically a pet is considered to be a senior once they reach the age of seven. Of course this varies by size of the breed as often times larger dogs have shorter life spans. Senior pets are not always appealing to people because they think they will be too much maintenance or won’t be able to train the dog the way the family wants. While these things can sometimes be true, there is a place for a senior pet.


Senior pets have passed the puppy stage, the stage where everything gets destroyed and there are accidents all over the house. Senior pets also require much less attention and activity, as they are not able to move around as well anymore. We believe senior pets can be a perfect fit for a home with an elderly person or even a busier, working person who doesn’t want to be bothered with the training and initial high energy of a puppy.


One thing to consider if you are going to adopt a senior dog is the extra vet care. This is not to say that all senior pets will have expensive vet bills, but because of their age, we recommend more frequent visits to ensure everything’s running smoothly for them and more serious issues do not arise.


Many times, people think that age in pets is a disease and makes them less attractive, however this is not the case. Senior pets can provide just as much love and happiness to a family. If you are considering adding a new member to your family, consider a senior pet! If you have any questions about senior pets and if they would be a good fit for your family, please contact us at (480) 968-9275

Foods to Avoid Feeding Your Pet

Some common food items that are considered completely safe for humans can be toxic – and even lethal – to pets. While it is hard to resist slipping something from your dinner plate under the table to your furry companions, it’s wise to think twice about whether your dinner is going to unintentionally harm your animal. Unless certain food items are specifically recommended by a professional, play it safe and stick to pet-friendly snacks and food.

While not a full list, the following food items are considered toxic to pets. If you plan on providing your pet with “people food”, consider discussing safe options with your veterinarian first.


This one should probably go without saying, but pets should never be given any type of alcoholic beverage or food item. Alcohol can induce vomiting, diarrhea, breathing difficulty, depression of the central nervous system, coma, and, in the worst-case scenario, death in pets. Keep adult beverages out of the reach of your pets at all times.


Avocados are a staple in many health-conscious households, but parts of this fruit can actually be toxic to all other mammals. The skin and leaves contain persin, which can cause congestion, fluid build-up around the heart, and difficulty breathing. Dogs and cats are less susceptible to persin poisoning than birds and horses, for example, but it is still smart to play it safe. The actual avocado is harmless to pets, if you take special precautions to remove the skin and leaves thoroughly.

Caffeine and Chocolate

Both caffeine and chocolate contain methylxanthines, which can cause vomiting, diarrhea, dehydration, increased heart rate, seizures, and even death in pets. Overall, dark chocolate is more toxic than light chocolate. Baking chocolate is the most poisonous to pets, while white chocolate is the least.


This one often surprises pet owners, since cheese is commonly used as a special training treat. However, pets lack a substantial amount of lactase, the enzyme needed to break down milk and other dairy products. Because of this, those small bites of cheese can actually cause diarrhea and other digestive issues. Just like with people, dairy seems to affect certain pets worse than others.

Grapes and Raisins

It is unclear why grapes and raisins are highly poisonous to dogs, but they are known to cause kidney failure and death in certain canines. Ingesting grapes and raisins doesn’t seem to affect every dog, but in this scenario, it’s better to play it safe and save the grapes for yourself.

Macadamia Nuts

Macadamia nuts can cause depression, vomiting, tremors, ataxia, and weakness in dogs. Symptoms usually show up within 12 hours of ingestion and can last up to 48 hours. While most dogs recover on their own without specific treatment, it’s still best to keep these nuts stored in a safe place.

Onions and Garlic

Whether raw, cooked, dried, or powdered, onions and garlic are poisonous to dogs and cats. They can damage your pet’s red-blood cells, which decreases the flow of oxygen throughout the body. This can lead to anemia, which can then lead to long-term organ damage.


Xylitol is a sweetener found in many products, including sugar-free gum, candy, peanut butter, and even toothpaste. In dogs, the consumption of xylitol can be fatal. It is known to cause hypoglycemia and liver failure. Symptoms of xylitol poisoning in dogs include vomiting, lethargy, loss of coordination, and seizures. Liver failure can occur within days. Check the food label on all of your sugar-free items, and keep those with xylitol well out of the reach of your pets.

While this is not an exhaustive list of harmful people foods to pets, it does include some of the most fatal and most common toxic foods found in many households. If you suspect your pet has ingested any of the aforementioned foods, contact your veterinarian immediately.

Animal Shelter Appreciation Week

Animal Shelter Appreciation Week is a time to bring awareness to the hard, often unnoticed, work of our local animal shelters. Some might think that the only way to help an animal shelter is by adopting a pet. While this is helpful, this might not be the best option for some families. Whether your living situation doesn’t allow pets, or you cannot financially justify a pet at the moment, there are still ways to help.

Raise Money

Shelters are always in need of a helping hand, as they are usually at capacity or over-capacitated. Because of this, shelters are typically trying to expand their facilities, or in need of pet supplies. Get together with friends and family to set up a fundraising event to gather funds for your local shelter. Personal donations are always welcome at shelters and can remain anonymous for donation privacy.


Foster A Pet

For those people who can’t commit to adopting a pet forever, oftentimes shelters have a foster program in place. These programs allow for foster parents to open their homes to pets that are living in the shelter. This is usually done if the shelter is experiencing a large volume of animals. Sometimes it is a useful tool to help cats and dogs become used to living in a house before being adopted. To find out if your local shelter has a foster program, you can check their website or call them directly. The process entails filling out an application to ensure eligibility before allowing pets into a home.



One of the best ways to help an animal shelter is by volunteering your time. Animal shelters could always use help walking and playing with the animals, as well as cleaning kennels. Sometimes shelters have group opportunities available, so you and friends, families or even coworkers can get together to volunteer. This is also a great way to educate children on how animal shelters help homeless pets. Call your shelter to ask about availability of volunteer hours.


Donate Supplies

In the true holiday spirit, consider giving to your local shelter this week. Animal Shelters are most likely in need of supplies to help their organization running smoothly. Consider donating items like:

  • Pet food
  • Cat litter
  • Towels
  • Bedding
  • Leashes and collars
  • Treats and toys

Oftentimes shelters need items that help things to run as smooth as possible. This can include things like paper towels, rubber gloves, and hand sanitizer.


Spread the Word

Quite possibly the easiest way to help a local shelter is by spreading awareness. Let your friends and family know why shelters are important to keeping homeless pets alive and safe. Explain to them that there are different ways to get involved and help out, no matter your skill set or financial ability.


Animal Shelter Awareness Week is all about saying thank you to our local shelters. We can help by donating money or supplies, and especially our time. For those who are thinking of adding an addition to your family, the most important thing to remember is Adopt, don’t shop. If you have any questions about assisting local shelters in the area you can contact us on our website, or call 480-968.9275.