If your dog shows signs of stiffness or begins limping, you may assume that arthritis is to blame. Unfortunately, joint pain can also be a sign of canine Lyme disease. Learning the facts about thi ...View Article
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Your pet's examinations are critical for detecting subtle changes in your pet's physical health. Ideally, your pet should be seen at least once a year. This should be more often as they get older or have special medical needs. Regular visits to your veterinarian play a huge part in the “Prevention is better than cure” approach so don’t wait until it's obvious that your pet needs medical attention
In the wild if our furry friends show illnesses or pain it makes them weak. This will attract predators and the chance of survival is threatened. Our pets will not show discomfort until the problem is very serious. It is the little things that make the biggest difference in our pet’s lives.
Senior Wellness Exam
1. A complete health and lifestyle history and physical exam. Dr. Bassi will be glad to take a look at your pet and perform an exam. This will include listening to their heart and lungs, palpating their abdomen, checking eyes and ears, dental exam and checking for skin and coat problems
2. A thorough examination of any “lumps and bumps”. Dr. Bassi will check on or under your pet's skin. Even though our bodies naturally get more “lumpy” as we age, certain bumps can be a sign of infectious disease or skin cancer.
3. Blood test. This will include a complete blood count as well as a panel of standard tests to check dozens of other body functions
4. Urinalysis. This test is done when the doctor has suspicions about a problem that requires urine to be tested. It may be recommended during your exam or after the blood results have returned.
5. Fecal examination. A fecal sample will be requested to check for any endoparasites.
6. Nutrition and lifestyle counseling. This can help ensure your pet is meeting there nutritional requirements and are living a healthy lifestyle.
What things should I look out for as my pet ages?
Each of our pets are different, like each human is different. Here are some general things to watch for as your pet ages.
• Slowing down- You may notice that your pet is slowing down as they get older. This isn't always the case, but you should look for subtle changes in how they get up, lay down, and use stairs. Is there any hesitation or stiffness? Does a change in weather (rainy, cold) make it worse?
• Arthritis is very common in pets as they age. Arthritis can occur in any joint but most commonly the legs, neck and spine. There are many different medications and special supplements available to help ease the discomfort of arthritis. There is even a diet formulated to prevent and help with arthritis.
• Bad breath and bleeding gums. As your pet ages they are more susceptible to tartar build up, gingivitis and tooth loss. Other potential causes can be oral cancers, infections, metabolic diseases such as kidney disease or diabetes. These can all lead to bad breath and oral health problems.
• Change in weight or appetite- Weight loss or gain, as well as any changes in diet or eating habits should be kept track of. Your pet should be fed a diet appropriate for their age and general health. The best place to find a healthy diet for your pet is your veterinarian and health care team. They are knowledgeable about your pet’s history and can give you a diet that is individualized to your pet’s nutritional needs as well as underlying health conditions that may be of concern. Weigh your pet using the same scale so the reading is most accurate. The scales at the clinic are available to be used and it is always nice to have your pet in for a happy visit and a treat. If you choose to have your pets weight monitored by us we can set up a special graph to keep an accurate weight plan for your pet.
• Change in urine output and thirst- Dogs and cats should not drink more water simply because they are old, it is summer time, or the heater is on. The most common causes of increased water intake and increased urination are diabetes, kidney disease, thyroid disease etc. Urine leakages or having “accidents” also signals problems such as infection, loss of sphincter control, crystals, stones, or underlying disease.
• Lumps- A growth or lump anywhere on the body can be a skin tumor. Giving your pet regular brushing and massage can help you discover any lumps or bumps on the pet’s skin. Try to brush and/or massage your pet 3 to 4 times a week. These lumps can be removed and sent to the lab by Dr. Bassi to see if they are harmful to your pet.
• Abnormal Discharges- Abnormal Discharges can be bloody or purulent discharges from a body opening. They may have an offensive odor. Discharges from the eyes, ears, nose, mouth, penis or vagina suggest infection.
• Diarrhea- Diarrhea that persists for more than 2 to 3 days is abnormal. In older pets it can be a sign of kidney or liver disease, pancreatic disease or cancer. Older pets can become dehydrated very quickly so timely professional treatment is essential.
• Constipation- Constipation is a common clinical sign in seniors due to many reasons. This can happen because they drink less water, exercise less, poor diet and the muscles of the abdominal wall are weaker. Senior male dogs may have prostate problems such as an enlarged prostate which can narrow the rectal canal and cause straining to defecate.
• Coughing- A chronic cough in older dogs can suggest bronchitis, airway disease or cancer. Coughing in a small dog could suggest heart disease.
• Rapid breathing- A rapid breathing rate (more than 30 breaths/min. at rest for dogs and 40 for cats) could suggest respiratory disease or congestive heart failure and other underlying disorders.
• Rapid Heart Rate- A rapid heart rate can be a sign of anemia, infection, or heart disease.
• Fever- Fever usually indicates inflammation and infection. This should be treated right away in senior patients.
What can I do to keep my pet healthy?
As your pet ages routine examination is the best method to detect illness. Most of the common problems diagnosed by your vet can be easily treated or maintained with diet and supplements. If diagnosed quickly, the condition that your pet is facing as they age can sometimes be reversed.
Senior Wellness Pack
1. Physical examination
2. Senior blood Panel
3. Nutritional consultation including a free bag of food
4. Nail trim
5. Re-check in 6 months as well as a second nail trim
6. A bag of goodies for your pet to enjoy as he/she enters their golden years
7. 10% off any recommendations made by the doctor. Some examples are a dental cleaning, vaccines or any medication that may be needed