Our veterinarians are now fear free certified!! The team at Scottsdale Animal Healthcare works hard to ensure that you and your pet have a stress free and enjoyable visit. There are many aspects to a fear free vet visit and it starts at home.

Click here for more information on fear free homes and vet visits. 

Scottsdale Animal Healthcare 



The media is reporting an outbreak of Leptospirosis in the Phoenix area.  

Leptospirosis is a disease caused by infection with Leptospira bacteria.

These bacteria can be found worldwide in soil and water. Leptospirosis

is a zoonotic disease, which means it can be spread from animals to people.

Leptospirosis is more common in areas with a lot of moist soil and standing water.  Obviously Phoenix is a desert environment, but Leptospirosis does occur in Arizona where the soil remains moist for long periods or where there is standing water (like water bowls left outside).  Any area where the soil is very dry most of the time is generally safe from Leptospirosis.

Risk factors for leptospirosis:
Dogs are most commonly affected. (Leptospirosis in cats is rare and appears to be mild.)

Common risk factors for leptospirosis in dogs include:

  • exposure to or drinking from rivers, lakes/ponds, any standing water or outdoor water bowls.
  • roaming on rural properties (because of exposure to potentially infected wildlife, farm animals, or water sources);
  • exposure to wild animal or farm animal species, even if in the backyard; and contact with rodents or other dogs or coyotes.

Leptospirosis is primarily transmitted through the urine of rodents.  But, it can also be transmitted by a bite from an infected animal; by eating infected tissues or carcasses; and rarely, through breeding. It can also be passed through the placenta from the mother dog to the puppies.

Signs of Leptospirosis

The signs of leptospirosis in dogs vary:

  • Some infected dogs do not show any signs of illness
  • Some have a mild and transient illness and recover spontaneously
  • While others develop severe illness and death.
  • Signs may include fever, shivering, muscle tenderness, reluctance to move, increased thirst, changes in the frequency or amount of urination, dehydration, vomiting, diarrhea, loss of appetite, lethargy, jaundice (yellowing of the skin and mucous membranes), or painful inflammation within the eyes.
  • The disease can cause kidney failure with or without liver failure.
  • Dogs may occasionally develop severe lung disease and have difficulty breathing.
  • Leptospirosis can cause bleeding disorders, which can lead to blood-tinged vomit, urine, stool or saliva; nosebleeds; and pinpoint red spots (which may be visible on the gums and other mucous membranes or on light-colored skin).
  • Affected dogs can also develop swollen legs (from fluid accumulation) or accumulate excess fluid in their chest or abdomen.

Leptospirosis may be suspected based on the exposure history and signs shown by the dog, but many of these signs can also be seen with other diseases. In addition to a physical examination, a veterinarian may recommend a number of other tests such as blood tests, urine tests, x-rays, and an ultrasound examination.

Treatment and prevention
Leptospirosis is generally treated with antibiotics and supportive care. When treated early and aggressively, the chances for recovery are good but there is still a risk of permanent residual kidney or liver damage.

Currently available vaccines effectively prevent leptospirosis and protect dogs for 12 months. Annual vaccination is recommended for "at-risk" dogs.

"At-Risk" pets are dogs who:

  • Visit dog parks
  • Go to daycare
  • Are boarded at boarding facilities
  • Visit grooming salons
  • Walk on golf courses
  • Run along Arizona's canal system
  • Have water bowls outside where mice or raccoons could urinate in the bowls

All At-Risk dogs should be vaccinated.

Reducing your dog’s exposure to possible sources of the Leptospira bacteria certainly reduces its chances of infection:

  •  Avoid areas where the soil remains moist
  • Avoid allowing your pet to drink out of common water bowls at dog parks and elsewhere
  • Clean outdoor water bowls daily
  • Avoid areas where there is standing water (like golf course lakes or heavily irrigated soil).


Maricopa County Animal Care and Control has reported two cases of canine flu.

This could be the beginning of an outbreak as the flu in dogs is extremely contagious.

We recommend that all dog owners be aware and follow the news on how this report

plays out.

Dogs suffer the flu just like humans do. Signs include fever, coughing, sneezing, nasal discharge that becomes thick and greenish, loss of appetite, difficulty breathing and, of course, lethargy.

There is a vaccine for the dog flu and we carry it. If an outbreak does occur, we recommend that dog owners consider vaccinating all dogs who frequent dog parks, groomers and kennels. Also, all geriatric dogs should be vaccinated.

If you have any questions, please call us. 480-538-9000.


November is National Diabetes Awareness month and diabetes diagnoses are on the rise in cats and dogs. It is important to be able to recognize the signs and symptoms in your pets. Diabetes is manageable if it is diagnosed early enough. Here are some things to look out for: 

  • Change in appetite
  • Excessive thirst/urination 
  • Weight loss
  • Unusually sweet smelling or fruity breath
  • Lethargy
  • Urinary Tract Infections
  • Cloudy eyes

Click here for more information.