Preventative veterinary care can in your older dog is important. As our pets get older, their needs change. We want to keep them comfortable and to help them live as long as possible.
Wellness care: After the age of 7 most cats, dogs and most small ruminants are considered geriatric. Llamas, alpacas, horses and donkeys it is a little older. It is even more important to have your pet evaluated use as a tool to help address issues of aging.
Customized vaccination plan: We discuss with you the risk and benefits of vaccinating an older animal. Together, we will come up with a plan to help prevent life threatening illnesses.
Oral and Dental health: Most dogs have some signs of dental disease by the time they are a year and a half.
Eye exams: glaucoma, dry eye, cataracts, nuclear sclerosis can rob your pets sight. Early detection and medications can help slow the progression of damage to the eye or give us knowledge to explain some changes in behavior such as being more anxious, starling easily or “snapping at the kids”.
Parasite exams: Intestinal parasites, fleas, ticks and heartworm all can rob the senior pet of comfort and nutrition. Various lab work will be recommended to keep your pet parasite free.
Senior Health panel: It is beneficial to have a laboratory base line for your pet. CBC look at red blood cells, white blood cells, and platelets. A chemistry panel is looking at various components of the blood to help identify diabetes, liver disease, and kidney disease. Urinalysis can help give great clues on early kidney disease, mild infections, and other subtle illness.
Pain control: Whether it be for arthritis or a terminal illness we want to keep our senior pets comfortable and to live a quality life. Physical therapy, changes in the environment, and newer pain medications can help us achieve a reduction in discomfort.
Radiograph: As the outside of our pets are different, so are the insides. Yes, overall they are similar but the finer details are different. It is helpful to have a baseline radiograph while the pet is healthy of heart, lungs and stomach areas. If there is signs of an illness normal pictures can valuable for comparison.
Click on the different tabs to read about common pet health concerns!
As pets age, pets often develop joint disease that may have mild to severe affects on your pet’s quality of life.
Although dogs (especially larger breeds) are more susceptible to arthritis, it can also be seen in cats. Conditions that can worsen or trigger arthritis include tendon disease, fractures, developmental disorders (such as hip or elbow dysplasia), cancer, inflammatory joint disease (such as from Lyme disease), degenerative joint disease, or many others.
As with humans, signs of arthritis often include stiffness, limping, reluctance to move, difficulty rising (especially after sleep or resting), limb favoring while moving, or evident pain.
If your animal displays any of the signs indicated above, an appointment with a veterinarian is warranted. Further diagnostics may be available to determine a cause of your animal’s lameness (e.g. a Lyme disease test or radiographs to determine if the dog is suffering from hip dysplasia or cranial cruciate disease).
Furthermore, your veterinarian can provide medications and supplements that lessen the progression or clinical signs of arthritis. These may include pain medications, anti-inflammatories, or glucosamine supplements. A weight management plan and exercise routine may also be developed.
A dog and cat ear canal is different from people.
There are three areas of the ear: outer ear, middle ear, and inner ear.
The ear canal is lined with specialized skin containing sebaceous glands, cerum producing glands and hair follicles. The glands secrete oily secretions and enzymes involved with antimicrobial activity. There is a complex micro-environment in the ear involving the constant battle of keeping the level of bacteria and yeast in check.
Dogs that are more prone to ear infections can be the floppy eared breeds more than upright eared breeds. Dogs with hair in the ear verses those without hair are also high risk. These would include the cocker spaniel, golden retriever, poddle and schnauzer.
Floppy ears are not the only cause for the higher risk. The glands and ph of the ear canal can predispose these breeds. Underlying issues increase the risk of ear infections such as allergies and endrocrine disease.
Cats often don’t get ear infections. They are very fastideous and groom themselves so it unusaul to see infections in cats. Most cat ear issues are associated with ear mites. If it is not mites, ear infections are generally a secondary to another underlying issue.
There have been 14 species of ticks identified in Maine. At least 4 of these species can transmit disease.
Only 5% of the flea life cycle is spent on your pet. The other 95% is spent in the environment (your home!)