Fewer Animals in Albuquerque’s Animal Shelters

Great news! The number of cats and dogs going into the Albuquerque city animal shelters is the lowest it has been in years. It is nearly have of what is was a dozen years ago. We love to see pets staying safe in homes instead of homeless.

The decline in animals in the animal shelter seems to be due to pet owners being more responsible and doing things like:

The shelter says the number of adoptions remain steady, though the adoption rate is higher because there are fewer animals coming in, and that euthanasia is at a new low. That means more animals that are coming in are bing adopted instead of having to be put down. The Animal Welfare director said that they are only euthanizing animals that are sick or have behavioral issues. The Animal Welfare department has a animal behavior team that works with animals to get them into foster homes or enrichment programs so they can ultimately be adopted,

Albuquerque Vetco has had a commitment to our city’s animal community to help provide high quality, low cost dog and cat veterinary care so as a community we can keep our pets healthier, safer and in good homes. We are happy to be a part of the reason for this decrease in shelter animals.

Health Issues For Puppies: Prevention

When your puppy is around 12-to-16 weeks, talk to your vet about starting her on a heartworm preventive. Though there is no vaccine for this condition, it is preventable with regular medication. The name is descriptive — these worms lodge in the right side of the heart and the pulmonary arteries (that send blood to the lungs), though they can travel through the rest of the body and sometimes invade the liver and kidneys. The worms can grow to 14 inches long (ick!) and, if clumped together, block and injure organs. A new infection often causes no symptoms, though dogs in later stages of the disease may cough, become lethargic, lose their appetite or have difficulty breathing. Infected dogs may tire after mild exercise. Unlike most of the conditions listed here, which are passed by urine, feces, and other body fluids, heartworms are transmitted by mosquitoes. Therefore, diagnosis is made via a blood test and not a fecal exam. The FDA has more information about heartworm.

Kennel Cough
Also known as infectious tracheobronchitis, kennel cough results from inflammation of the upper airways. It can be caused by bacterial, viral, or other infections, such as Bordetella and canine parainfluenza, and often involves multiple infections simultaneously. Usually, the disease is mild, causing bouts of harsh, dry coughing; sometimes it’s severe enough to spur retching and gagging, along with a loss of appetite. In rare cases, it can be deadly. It is easily spread between dogs kept close together, which is why it passes quickly through kennels. Antibiotics are usually not necessary, except in severe, chronic cases. Cough suppressants can make a dog more comfortable.

Unlike most diseases on this list, Leptospirosis is caused by bacteria, and some dogs may show no symptoms at all. Leptospirosis can be found worldwide in soil and water. It is a zoonotic disease, meaning that it can be spread from animals to people. When symptoms do appear, they can include fever, vomiting, abdominal pain, diarrhea, loss of appetite, severe weakness and lethargy, stiffness, jaundice, muscle pain, infertility, kidney failure (with or without liver failure). Antibiotics are effective, and the sooner they are given, the better.

Lyme Disease
Unlike the famous “bull’s-eye” rash that people exposed to Lyme disease often spot, no such telltale symptom occurs in dogs. Lyme disease (or borreliosis) is an infectious, tick-borne disease caused by a type of bacteria called a spirochete. Transmitted via ticks, an infected dog often starts limping, his lymph nodes swell, his temperature rises, and he stops eating. The disease can affect his heart, kidney, and joints, among other things, or lead to neurological disorders if left untreated. If diagnosed quickly, a course of antibiotics is extremely helpful, though relapses can occur months or even years later.

Parvo is a highly contagious virus that affects all dogs, but unvaccinated dogs and puppies less than four months of age are at the most risk to contract it. The virus attacks the gastrointestinal system and creates a loss of appetite, vomiting, fever, and often severe, bloody diarrhea. Extreme dehydration can come on rapidly and kill a dog within 48-to-72 hours, so prompt veterinary attention is crucial. There is no cure, so keeping the dog hydrated and controlling the secondary symptoms can keep him going until his immune system beats the illness.

Rabies is a viral disease of mammals that invades the central nervous system, causing headache, anxiety, hallucinations, excessive drooling, fear of water, paralysis, and death. It is most often transmitted through the bite of a rabid animal. Treatment within hours of infection is essential, otherwise, death is highly likely. Most states require a rabies vaccination. Check with your vet about rabies vaccination laws in your area.

Of course, your veterinarian should weigh in and can always provide more information and guidance if needed on necessary and optional vaccinations.

Serious Problems From Fleas and Ticks

Fleas and ticks are one of the biggest concerns for pet owners.. Did you know that that concern is really valid because these little pests can do more than make them itch. They can make your fur baby really sick. 


Here are some diseases that can be cause by ticks:

Anaplasmosis. This bacterial infection can have symptoms that are very similar to Lyme disease:

  • fever
  • lack of energy.
  • stop eating
  • unable to stand or walk
  • nosebleeds or other bleeding problems.

Babesiosis. This is when parasites destroy your dog’s red blood cells. This is a dog disease as it has not been reported in the US in cats..

  • gums may be pale 
  • whites of their eyes may look yellow-orange
  • weakness
  • fever
  • weight loss


  • vomiting
  • nose bleeds
  • avoiding food

It can take 1 to 3 weeks for symptoms to appear but can be easily treated if caught early.


This disease can be deadly. It does not come from a tick bite, like the others, this one comes from eating an infected tick or eating something that has been infected by an infected tick.  Talk to your vet if your pet doesn’t want to stand or move, or seems to lack muscle strength.

Lyme disease.

People and dogs get Lyme from being bitten by an infected tick. It is highly infectious and often up to half the dog population in wooded areas will have it. Your cats are safe, as Lyme seems to leave them alone. Lyme can be difficult to diagnose as only 1 in 10 dogs will be symptomatic and require treatment. However, humans are not so lucky. So if your dog gets lyme, and is not symptamatic, you could catch it from your dog if a tick bites him and bites you.

  • fever
  • sluggishness
  • lameness t

These are just a few of the symptoms. 

Rocky Mountain spotted fever.

Rocky Mountain spotted fever is not limited to the Rocky Mountain area and can affect dogs and people but no other animals. 

  • coughing
  • diarrhea
  • vomiting
  • redness in the eyes
  • nosebleeds
  • blood in the urine or stool
  • problems standing or walking.


This comes from ticks that feed on bobcats.  If you have ever been out on the mesa then you know that New Mexico has bobcats! This is a disease that only affects cats. I know you dog people are saying, finally a cat disease! But take empathy because this one can be deadly to cats.

  • breathing problems
  • loss of appetite
  • jaundice (yellowing of the gums, eyes, skin)
  • coma



Your dog or cat can be allergic to fleas! They are allergic to the saliva of the flea, which gets on them when the flea drools…just kidding, fleas don’t drool. The saliva gets on them when the flea bites them. This can cause dermatitis.

  • red skin
  • scabby skin
  • inflamed skin
  • very itchy


Eating a flea can give your dog or cat tapeworms, or eating something that has tapeworm eggs on it. These nasty buggers live in your pets small intestine and eats what they eat, meaning they steels all the nutrients from what you feed your dog. Eventually your cat or dog will pass the tapeworm through their poop. Tapeworm can be passed on to people and make you very sick. Plus…gross!

Hair loss.

Flease can trigger allergies so bad that your pet gets hair loss. Also, even just a flea bite can damage the shaft of your pets hair causing hair loss. Ever see those mangey patchy rescue dogs? Fleas are a big contributing factor on why their coats are so patchy. 

Ticks and Fleas

Bartonella. This is also called cat scratch disease. It can infect both cats and dogs and spreads through fleas, ticks, sand flies, or cat scratches and bites.

  • fever
  • joint pain

The best treatment is prevention. Give your cat or dog a monthly Frontline Flea and Tick treatment to keep away the majority of all flea and tick issues. Also, always pay attention to your pets health and if you are concerned or see something out of the ordinary, bring them in to your Albuquerque veterinarian for a checkup

Remember, your pet can pick up fleas and ticks anywhere, from your backyard to the park to hiking, other animals, and even your human friends. No pet is immune, get them preventative treatment.