Couple of Thoughts ...
Will Rodgers once said that "The best kind of doctor is a
vet. His patients can't tell him what's the matter. He just has to
know." While Will's famous quote is still relatively true,
the fact is that a number of our diagnostic tools and instruments have
gotten a lot better over the years. Our knowledge as a profession
has also increased as well. Of course, new equipment and knowledge
often comes with a price tag. As our valued client, we want you to
know that we are doing everything we can to stay current with the
advances in veterinary medicine. Our staff attends numerous
meetings to hear from experts about the latest techniques and
information affecting our profession. In short, we are doing our
part to ensure that your beloved pet receives the very finest in
medical care. This is our commitment to you!
Summer reminders: Make sure your pets have plenty of clean, fresh water
at all times! If your pet spends time outdoors during the day, make sure
he or she has access to a shady spot. If your pet is traveling
with you on vacation, make sure your pet has an up-to-date
identification tag in case he or she gets lost and bring along proof of
rabies vaccination. If your pet should accidentally bite someone,
you will be glad you had the documentation.
This issue of our newsletter is primarily dedicated to the care of our
senior pets. On page two, we have published a chart that shows when your
pet is considered a senior. Some may think that a six year old St.
Bernard is not a senior but I assure you, that considering their life
expectancy, a six year old St. Bernard is beyond middle age!
Beginning senior screenings early will hopefully boost your pet's
anticipated life span so those wonderful eyes of theirs' can keep
shining on you.
Old is "OLD"?
is relatively safe to say that a St. Bernard and a Jack Russell terrier
do not age at the same rate. For example, they may both be
four years old but the St. Bernard is, from a strictly medical
viewpoint, "older". Indeed, certain breeds, mixed
breeds, and generally, smaller dogs, tend to live longer. A
smaller dog may not show any aging signs until it is about nine - a
larger dog may show these same signs at age five.
to the right is a helpful chart that illustrates when senior
examinations should begin. Please keep in mind that the ages
listed here are not "cast in stone". we have also listed
below reasons why the veterinarian may want to start seeing your pet
earlier than stated on the chart.
Suggested Onset of Senior Examinations
Dogs up to 15
Age 9 to 11
Dogs 16 to 50
Age 7 to 9
Dogs 51 to 80
Age 6 to 8
Dogs over 80
Age 4 to 6
Age 7 to 11*
*See the next page for additional
information on caring for your senior cat.
What Owners of
Senior Pets Should Do
|1. Have the veterinarian
perform a senior examination. The frequency of these
examinations depends greatly upon the condition of your pet
although many senior pets are seen semi-annually. During
these examinations the veterinarian may:
- perform a thorough physical examination
- draw blood for various tests
- possibly administer an electrocardiogram
- administer any other diagnostic tests deemed appropriate due
to your pet's medical history and current condition.
- discuss with you what should be done to care for your
|2. The pet owner should be
alert to the signs of aging such as:
- A change in the pet's behavior often occurs with advancing
- Sudden loss of both appetite and weight.
- Increased appetite or thirst without increase in activity or
weight gain could mark the onset of diabetes
- Diarrhea or vomiting
- Sudden onset of weakness and fatigue.
- Coughing and excessive panting may indicate heart disease
- Stops chewing suddenly or looks like he or she is eating in
a gingerly fashion is a sign the pet's teeth and gums need
- Difficulty in getting up may indicate the presence of
- Barking needlessly, having accidents, roaming in circles and
disorientation may all be indicators of illness.
If, according to our chart, you are the proud
owner of a senior dog and you have not yet had Fido undergo a
senior examination, please call our office today to make an
appointment. Allowing us to catch problems early is the key
to having your beloved pet with you for many more years to come.
Don't delay-call today!
HELP YOUR CAT AGE IN GOOD
The American Association of Feline
Practicioners and the Academy of Feline Medicine recently
developed guidelines for senior feline care. It is extremely
worthwhile to quote from the report as follows:
"Aging is a normal
phenomenon. Cat owners tent to attribute everything going on
with their older cat as being a response to age. The
panel emphasized that a lot of conditions can be corrected or
managed successfully to improve the quality of cats' lives."
"Regular preventive health
care for the early detection of ailments is extremely important
for all ages but especially for older cats where changes and
disease progression can occur within a short period of time.
Medical and behavioral problems in older cats usually have a
specific underlying cause that can be managed if detected
" To provide the best quality
of care we can for cats is going to require more
frequent examinations. Veterinarians should discuss with cat
owners that twice-yearly veterinary examinations are important
once a cat reaches the ages of seven to eleven years."
Your comments, thoughts, and
questions are always appreciated. Please give our office a
call regarding the care of your senior feline.
Your Older Pet
Here are some day-to-day things to
consider when caring for and living with your older pet:
Weather - A pet's coat gets a
little thinner and its circulation less efficient with age.
Keep this in mind when taking your pet outdoors in the heat of
summer or the cold of winter.
Companionship - An older pet
tends to sleep more but still needs your attention.
Keeping your pet involved in your life will increase his or
her sense of security.
Sleeping Areas - Many older
dogs, particularly those with arthritis in the hips and
back seem to prefer sleeping on an "egg crate" type
mattress as they tend to take the pressure off the dog's bony
areas. Many older pet owners place beds in several spots
around the house where their pet likes to nap during the day.
Foods - The cheapest brands of
pet food are not suggested for your older pet. Your
pet's specific nutritional needs will be discussed during the
senior examination. for owners of larger dogs, we
suggest that you elevate the food and water bowls off the
floor thus allowing your pet easier access.
Exercise - Proper exercise is
essential to pets as it is to humans. In older dogs for
example, obesity is the most common condition that
veterinarians see and lack of exercise is a critical component
to this condition. Here are some tips for owners of
Smaller dogs, even
younger ones, are not designed for distance running
Try taking your dog on two
shorter walks rather than one long one.
If your dog has been
diagnosed with hip dysplasia, seek the veterinarians
advice on an exercise program.
If you play
"fetch", do not throw the ball or toy as far.
Dogs desperately want to
please us. They may over-exert themselves in
Good grooming is
important. Regularly brush your senior's
coat - it is their first line of defense against fleas,
wetness, and cold.
Your senior dog's nails may
need to be clipped every three weeks instead of monthly.
Some older dogs are prone
to ear problems. If your dog starts shaking its head
a lot or if you notice a bad odor or discharge from the
ears, call our office immediately.
Older dogs love the
"status quo." when their life is suddenly
disrupted with a sudden change (like a new puppy - often
the older dog's replacement!) - they become
agitated. Discuss any known changes to you senior's
life with our staff first as we can supply you with
some helpful hints.
Please feel free to call our
office if you have any questions concerning the care of your
Study Says Pets Prevent Allergies
A recent study suggest the possibility that keeping a
dog or cat in the home may protect a child from developing allergies to
pets, dust mites, grasses, and pollens later on in life.
In the study of more than 700 children, 38.7% of the
infants lived with one or more dogs, while 23.1% were in households with
cats, 48% had no animals at home, and about 10% had at least 1 dog and 1
By age 7, children who lived with one or more pets as
infants were no more likely than those in the pet-free households to
show signs of allergic reactions or asthma. The study suggested
that children exposed to pets at a younger age were less likely to have
signs of allergy to pets. Some European studies have also shown
that having a pet when a child is very young may actually be protective
against allergies later on.
If pets do protect children against allergies, it is
not clear why this hapens
Source: Veterinary Practice News
Semi-Annual Senior Pet Examinations
We are sometimes asked why various veterinary
societies (like the American Veterinary Medical Association and the
American Association of Feline Practicioners) suggest semi-annual rather
of annual examinations of our senior pets.
As noted above in this newsletter, pets age at a
rather rapid rate when compared to their human owners.
Because of this accelerated aging process, having only one examination a
year would be the human-age equivalent of one exam every five years! Too
much can happen during this span of time that would deny us the
opportunity of catching problems at an early, treatable stage. As
a result, we would like to see our senior patients every six months.
Please give us a call if you have any questions or
& Weight Management
A recent survey of 577 cat owners
suggest a need to educate cat owners about obesity and weight
management. The study suggests that having more than one
person in a family feeding the cat could increase the risk
of multiple feedings.
Among the findings are:
- 47% of cat owners don't know how to determine if their cat
- 40% of cat owners describe their cats as obese and are doing
nothing about it.
- 30% of cat owners feed their cat table scraps.
Obesity robs your cat of years of its life. If you think it is
time Kitty shed a few pounds, give us a call. We have the
specialized products, the knowledge, and the commitment to help
you make a difference in your cat's life.