DON'T FORGET YOUR OLDER PETS NEED
PREVENTIVE CARE TOO!
Our practice sends
out reminders when it has been one year since your pets last vaccination
of physical examination. Owners often fail to realize the physical
examination is as important, of more important than the
vaccinations. Since species other than dogs and cats are not given
yearly vaccinations, some owners disregard these notices without fully
realizing the role the yearly examination plays in avoiding both serious
illness in their pet and unnecessary expense. For the smaller pets
such as rabbits, guinea pigs, hamsters, mice, rats, and similar species;
their lifespan is very short and aging is quite rapid. They
usually are not exposed to members of their own species that are outside
and consequently don't have the problem with contagious disease.
However, they may experience any of the other aging maladies of our dog
and cat pets. These include kidney disease, intestinal disease,
cardio-respiratory disease and others. A thorough examination can
detect these problems early and allow us to work with you to maximize both
their quality and quantity of life. birds and reptiles live much
longer, however they usually do not outwardly exhibit symptoms of disease
until condition is quite advanced and they are extremely ill. We
routinely recommend blood work to evaluate their internal organs and blood
cells in order to identify problems before the pet becomes seriously
ill. Whether your pet is a dog or cat or one of the other less
traditional pets, when you get your reminder please help us prevent
serious illness by bringing your pet in for their yearly examination.
Your aging pet should undergo an
annual geriatric screening and now is the ideal time to have this
performed before winter begins. This screening is a valuable tool
that allows for the early diagnosis of ailments and is key to your pet
living a long life
AGE TO BEGIN SCREENINGS
A general rule for cats is to begin screenings at
approximately 10 years of age. Dogs are a little more difficult
since the factors that influence the aging process (listed below) are also
different. To assist you, we've provided the following chart that is
based on weight. Please remember that pets (like people) don't
always fall into neat categories. Your pet may have specific needs
based on its medical history that must be taken into account.
Weight Age to begin screening
Up to 15 lbs.
9 to 11 years
15 to 50
lbs. 7 to 9 years
50 to 80
lbs. 6 to 8 years
4 to 6 years
FACTORS THAT INFLUENCE THE AGING PROCESS:
Genetic Background: Some pets are afflicted
with the same problems that tormented their parents. Some
problems are strongly related to the pet's breed.
Nutrition - Has the pet's diet been
well-balanced or did it consist mainly of leftovers?
Prior Health - Has the pet been healthy,
sickly or overweight?
Diseases - Does the animal suffer from cancer,
arthritis, kidney disease, etc.?
External Forces - Has the animal sustained an
injury? Is the pet infested with parasites?
A geriatric screening is an important diagnostic
tool. Not only does it give the doctor an opportunity to discover
immediate problems but it gives us a "baseline" upon which we
can evaluate future tests. This is especially critical in times of
an emergency. As part of the screening, we will do the following:
Perform a thorough physical examination.
Perform appropriate blood tests.
Possibly give an electrocardiogram.
Conduct specialized tests based on your pet's health
We'll have a preventive health discussion with you
about your pet's nutrition, weight control and how you can monitor
your pet for changes in behavior or appetite as well as bowel and
Identify systems that need close monitoring.
Together, we can ensure that your pet grows old
gracefully by remaining an active and vital member of your
household. This can only be accomplished if your pet is
healthy! Call the office today to set up an appointment for your
beloved "senior citizen" before winter begins.
IF YOUR CAT COMES INTO CONTACT WITH OTHER CATS, THEN
If your cat comes into contact
with other cats, your pet may be at risk from several life threatening
viruses. Feline Infectious Peritonitis (FIP) is one of them. Here
are some facts you should know about FIP.
FIP is an "immune- mediated" disease which
means that the cat's immune system, in an attempt to protect the cat
from FIP, actually speeds up the spread of the virus.
Symptoms of FIP include swollen abdomen, discharge
from the eyes and/or nose, paralysis of the hind legs, convulsions,
personality changes, eye disease, general illness, fever, weight loss,
anorexia and anemia.
Cats at the greatest risk are cats who go outdoors, cats in
multi-cat households, cats suffering from malnutrition or other
infections, cats that are infected with Feline Leukemia Virus (50% of
cats with FeLV also have FIP). FIP occurs most frequently in
cats between the ages of 6 months to 2 years and between 11 and 15
years of age. FIP is also higher in purebreds.
Cats spread FIP through contact with other cats. The virus is
spread in the cat's saliva, urine and feces and can be transmitted by
licking, biting and sneezing. FIP enters the body through the
eyes, nose, and mouth and ultimately finds its way to the cats
Unfortunately there is no conclusive diagnostic test for FIP, no
effective treatment, and no cure. There is a vaccine for FIP but
we suggest that you speak to the veterinarian to see if this
vaccination is best for your pet.
Please call our office if you have any further
questions about FIP. We care about you and your cat.
escape the summertime heat, many of our pets lounge for hours in the shade
or the air-conditioning. During this time, most pet owners continue
to feed their pet the same amount, never adjusting for the pet's
inactivity. As a result, in the fall we often see pets whose ribs
are a little hard to feel and walk a little slower because of weight
gain. Indeed, up to 45% of all pets seen by veterinarians are
In our article "Caring for your canine of feline
senior citizen", we mentioned that being overweight has a significant
influence on the health of an older pet. Some of the problems
associated with overweight pets are:
Diabetes Mellitus - this condition is caused by excess sugar in the
blood due to a malfunctioning pancreas.
Skeletal Stress-Being overweight can aggravate musculoskeletal
Heart Stress - Obesity increases the work load on the heart.
Shortness of Breath & Easily Fatigued - This is especially true
Increased risk during Anesthesia & Surgery - We sometimes
encounter this during emergency surgeries.
If your pet is older and requires a geriatric
screening, we'll discuss your pet's weight with you and offer some
constructive recommendations if needed. If your pet is not a senior
and you feel as if he or she is overweight, give us a call.
Together we can make your pet healthier, happier, and slimmer!
Even the most homebound pet occasionally
wonders off and cannot be easily found. Trying to locate a pet who
lacks adequate identification can be rather scary. There are a
couple of things that every pet owner should do:
Identification Tag - Every pet should
have an identification tag on his or her collar that gives a name and
phone number. Sadly, studies indicate that only about 25% of
pets are equipped with an identification tag. Since most
straying pets usually do so in your local area, an I.D. tag on the
collar is an easy and fast way for a neighbor to identify them.
What's more, I.D. tags are inexpensive and easy to obtain.
However, identification tags can be worn smooth making them unreadable
or they can be lost.
Microchip Identification - There are
micro identification chips that can be injected under the skin of your
pet. Using a special scanner, local agencies can read these
chips which facilitates the return of your pet. The insertion
procedure is painless and the chip cannot be lost or worn smooth.
Many groups are suggesting that pets be
equipped with both forms of identification to ensure their return.
If you have any questions about pet I.D. tags or would like to schedule an
appointment to have a microchip identification placed in your pet, please
call our office. When it happens, the prompt return of your
pet will be worth it!
A PET'S SKIN AND HAIR OFTEN ARE INDICATORS OF GENERAL
Take a look at your pet - is he or she scratching,
rubbing, or licking excessively? Does its coat lack luster? Do you
smell any skin or body odor? If "yes" to any of
these questions, you should give us a call. These symptoms may
indicate the presence of allergies, bacterial or fungal infections,
parasites, or a hormonal problem.
Allergies - Humans with allergies sneeze - pets
scratch. The allergy must be identified and treated.
Bacterial Infection - Bacterial infections are
very common skin problems. However, they are usually secondary to
other problems like allergies, parasites, etc. The bacterial
infection should be treated while you search for the underlying cause.
Fungal Infection - Fungal Infection or ringworm
is often mistaken for other skin problems. Topical anti-fungal agents are
External Parasites - Fleas, ticks, mange and lice
can all be problems to your pet and their effects can be compounded if
your pet is allergic to their bites. The treatment will depend on
the type of parasite your pet has.
Hormonal - Hormonal imbalances are often caused
by malfunctions of the thyroid, adrenal, pituitary or other glands.
A blood test is usually required for correct identification.
Since many of these symptoms are so similar we strongly
urge you not to attempt a self-diagnosis. We have the training,
experience, and equipment needed to make a prompt and accurate diagnosis. Please
give us a call if you have any questions.