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Tips For Keeping Your Geriatric Dog Happy

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on Thursday, 16 January 2014
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geriatricMost dog owners are familiar with the term “senior” when it comes to describing their pet’s age, but as dogs are living longer thanks to advancements in veterinary medicine, a new term, “geriatric” is being used to classify older dogs.  For the body sizes of 25#, 50#, and 100# in dogs, pets are considered geriatric at the ages of 13 years, 11, years, and 9 years respectively.  Special considerations must be thought of to keep our geriatric pets healthy and comfortable as they advance in age.

Just as in humans, vision and hearing begin to decline in geriatric dogs.  You may find that you dog does not greet you as regularly when you arrive home or is hesitant to move in dimly lit rooms.  Leaving the furniture arranged as your pet is accustomed and keeping lamps on to light their paths at night is one way to help prevent falls and bruises from reduced vision.  A gentle pat to wake your sleeping companion when you arrive home would be a kind way to say hello rather than trying to shout their name to come greet you.

The embarrassment of urine leakage is also something that geriatric dogs face as their urinary sphincter begins to weaken with age.  One way of managing this is with a drug called Proin that helps to tighten urinary sphincter tone.  This drug must be used cautiously in geriatric pets due to potential side effects, so an organ screening would need to be performed prior to or shortly after beginning the medication and then periodically throughout your dog’s life.

Finally, difficulty with rising from a sitting position and stiff joints are a very common problem in geriatric pets, even the littler ones.  Joint supplements containing glucosamine and chondroitin sulfate are the first line of defense against arthritis by keeping cartilage and joint fluid healthy.  Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs provide relief of arthritis pain and inflammation.  Adding non-slip rugs help with slipping issues and re-usable bags can have their sides trimmed away to make a flat sling that can be placed under the lower back so that you have handles to help larger dogs with rising.  Give us a call to describe this better or stop by and we’ll show you how.

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Rabbit Nutrition

Posted by Trusty Vet
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on Monday, 17 September 2012
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mon146044Information for this blog was obtained from www.veterinarypartner.com.  This is an excellent source for husbandry information for all small mammals.  Rabbits are the third most popular pet behind dogs and cats.  Rabbits require a large percentage of fiber in their diets to maintain gastrointestinal health.  In general, any diet modifications should be made slowly over a period of at least one week.  Oftentimes, rabbit owners make the mistake of overfeeding commercial pellets that are high calorie.  Commercial pellets designed for adult rabbit maintenance should contain 18% or higher fiber, 13-14% protein, and fat content of no more than 3% and should be fed at no more that ¼ cup per 4 pounds of body weight per day.

Two especially important sources of nutrition for rabbits are an unlimited supply of timothy grass hay and fresh leafy greens at a maximum of 1 cup of packed greens for every 2 pounds of body weight.  The timothy hay provides essential fiber necessary for dental and gastrointestinal health as well as proteins, vitamins, minerals, and carbohydrates.  For rabbits that have only been fed commercial pellets, introduce the timothy hay first and once your rabbit is eating the hay well for at least four weeks, add in the leafy greens.  Introduce one green at a time and wait three days before introducing a new one.  Greens should be washed thoroughly to remove pesticides.  Offer three different types of greens including red and green cabbage, carrot tops, parsley, romaine lettuce, endive, radicchio, collard greens, kale, and mustard greens daily once your pet has been introduced appropriately.

Fruits and vegetables are considered “treat” foods and should be fed at a maximum of 1 tablespoon total per 2 pounds of body weight.  Ideal fruits and vegetables include carrots, apples, strawberries, pears, peaches, squash, tomato, papaya, mango, blueberries, and raspberries.  Avoid starchy foods such as bananas, grapes, beans, corn, peas, and potatoes.  Find at least one treat food that your rabbit likes and feed a small amount daily to check on how good your rabbit’s appetite is.  If they will not eat the treat food, there may be something that needs veterinary attention.

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Time to say goodbye?

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on Monday, 17 September 2012
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As our companion dogs and cats begin to age, they may develop illnesses or diseases which can begin to affect their quality of life.  In some cases, early detection blood screening is helpful in catching these diseases early and postponing progression.  There are other illnesses though such as cancer or heart disease that can develop slowly under the radar and may not be noticeable until your pet’s quality of life begins to decline.

When I have an owner bring their pet to me with concerns over quality of life, I certainly examine the pet, but more importantly, I discuss with the owner the pet’s behavior at home.  There are three criteria I consider in evaluating a pet’s quality of life.  First, is your dog or cat still acting as a companion and coming around to be scratched and given affection to?  Second, is your cat or dog willing to eat regularly and if so, able to keep food down without vomiting?  Finally, is your dog or cat able to go to the bathroom (posture) without falling or having to sit in their own waste?  If any of these are questionable, I would begin to consider medical intervention and if that is unsuccessful, humane euthanasia.

Many pet owners struggle with the decision to end their pet’s life by humane euthanasia.  I explain to pet owners in this predicament the process of euthanasia to help them in their decision making.  In my experience, it is a peaceful process where their dog or cat will fall asleep first in their lap or on a soft blanket and then their breathing and heartbeat will stop after they have lost consciousness.  I also explain that I consider it our gift to our companions to end their suffering peacefully.  Most owners usually find comfort in knowing these details 

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Microchipping You Cat

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on Tuesday, 28 August 2012
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b2 kitten

Do you know how microchips work in pets?  Most pet owners first learn about microchipping their pets when they bring their cat to be spayed or neutered.   This of course, is an easy time for your veterinarian to implant a microchip because your pet would not be moving while anesthetized.   But did you know a microchip can be implanted at any appointment visit with little to no pain to your pet? 

The benefit to microchipping is that is provides unique and permanent proof that identifies that your cat belongs to you.  Cats that live outside tend to know their whereabouts well, but if they are injured and found by a Good Samaritan, how would that person know who it belonged to?  Some owners think that their indoor cat could not or would not escape.   However, what would happen if a house fire or tornado impacted their home and in the disaster, their beloved companion got loose?  These scenarios are reasons that we at Trusty Vet support microchipping you cat.  We know that they are your furry friends and the success stories about cat’s being reunited with their owners when they’ve been microchipped are all the proof we need. 

The simple process of microchip implantation involves pinching the skin between the shoulder blades and quickly inserting the rice sized microchip underneath the skin with a sharp needle similar to but larger than ones used to administer vaccines.  The microchip is then registered in an online database with the owner’s contact information.  When a stray pet is brought to a veterinarian or animal shelter, the facility will scan the shoulder region looking for a microchip in hopes of reuniting owner and cat. 

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When Should You Start Obedience Training?

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on Friday, 24 August 2012
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Most puppies are introduced into their new homes between 6-8 weeks of age, shortly after they are weaned.  Up to this point, their mother and siblings have been influential in developing good puppy manners.  If puppy is too rough with its siblings, their littermate lets out a yip and scurries away.  Momma dog will roll the puppy over and place a paw on his or her tummy and pressure on its neck with her mouth to teach it to behave.  Your responsibility as the new pet owner is to continue developing the puppy into an obedient pet.

Organized obedience school usually begins for a puppy around 12 weeks of age.  In the gap of time between weaning and obedience school, you can still teach your puppy not to bite, jump, or have accidents in the house.  Close monitoring of the puppy will allow you to run interference quickly if your puppy is beginning to show inappropriate behavior.  Redirection is beneficial in managing play biting by offering your puppy a chew toy to play with rather than your hand, pant leg, or coffee table leg.  You can try to squeeze your puppy’s toes, bump your knee into their chest, or turn in circles to deter jumping.  

Whatever training you are working on needs to be consistent and practiced by all members of the household so that your puppy will not become confused and can be raised into a pleasant companion.  Additional puppy training tips can be found at www.veterinarypartner.com.

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Does "Fido" Have a Fear of Fireworks?

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on Monday, 25 June 2012
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firework celebration background
The Fourth of July is a time of celebrating the Independence Day of America with fireworks representing the defeat of the British with “the rocket’s red glare and bombs bursting in air.” For the pet owner who has an animal that is frightened by the booms and blasts though, the circumstances can be defeating to them.

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Trusty Vet - Research Park

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on Monday, 21 May 2012
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Your Cat's Diet

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on Sunday, 20 May 2012
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b2 kittenThere are many available formulations of cat food to purchase for your feline friend. The best type of food to feed is a small kibble that you cat chews in his or her back teeth. The harder kibble helps to keep your cat’s oral health at its best and avoids the excessive calories found in canned food. It is also important to maintain your cat on one specific diet as changes in foods can lead to upset stomach or diarrhea.

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Vaccinating Your Puppy

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on Sunday, 20 May 2012
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mon134008Your new puppy needs to see the veterinarian multiple times in its young life not only to be examined for any developmental or genetic issues, but also to be given protective vaccines. When a puppy is born, it acquires antibodies from its mother’s milk against many diseases. Overtime, these antibodies fade and without vaccines, your puppy would be left defenseless from diseases such as parvovirus and rabies.
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Perks of Pet Insurance

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on Monday, 07 May 2012
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As a consumer that utilizes pet insurance for my own dogs, I feel that I can honestly provide you with an inside look into the perks of having pet insurance for your own dog or cat. Just the other day, a friend and client was faced with the decision on whether to proceed with a multi-thousand dollar surgery procedure for his dog’s blown knee. The reality of the situation was that his child’s need for braces was a more important monetary need. So while his dog will be managed for its pain, the surgery was simply cost prohibitive.

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What is the point of blood testing?

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on Thursday, 03 May 2012
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Working with animals can be quite a challenge since they are unable to verbalize what may be bothering them. While a physical examination is certainly an integral part of evaluating you pet’s health, the internal organs can have problems that can be present that may go undetected on a physical exam. Your pet’s blood contains cells, proteins, and enzymes that when evaluated individually and in relation to each other can indicate organ dysfunction, infection, hormonal imbalances, or inflammation.

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Is Your Itchy Pet Driving You CRAZY????

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on Wednesday, 11 April 2012
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50399We all know what time of year it is when we start to see that yellow film on our cars. That’s right, allergy season and that can mean misery not only for you, but also for your pet.

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Spaying Your Kitten or Puppy

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on Wednesday, 28 March 2012
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Kitten croppedIt is common knowledge that there is an overpopulation of dogs and cats in our community. That reason alone should be enough to encourage responsible pet ownership to include spaying of kittens and puppies.

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Is My Dog Going Blind?

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on Tuesday, 27 March 2012
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king charles 2As our canine companions age, there is concern about them developing deafness and blindness.

Changes such as blindness and deafness in dogs may go un-noticed in their early development because the canine species is heavily reliant on their noses and sensory hairs to feed information about their environment into their brain.

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Feeding your new puppy

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on Wednesday, 22 February 2012
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There are many available formulations of puppy food to purchase for your new canine companion.  The best type of food to feed is a small kibble that your puppy chews in his or her back teeth.  The harder kibble helps to keep your dog’s oral health at its best and avoids the excessive calories found in canned food.  There are mini kibbles and diets for large breed puppies that provide different sizes of the kibble to fit the size of the puppies mouth.  Puppies should be fed a growth formulation until they have been spayed or neutered.  At this point, their metabolism goes through a transition and they require the fewer calories that are provided in adult formulations. 

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Is your dog eating POO POO?

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on Thursday, 16 February 2012
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10436243 s

Most people don’t commonly bring up the habits of their beloved furry family members.  In fact, it can be outright embarrassing to see your dog do such a “disgusting” thing as eating their own feces.   This however, is truly a common occurrence in pets and an instinctual behavior that can be triggered by environmental occurrences.

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Signs of Old Age

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on Thursday, 02 February 2012
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Signs of “old age” in your pet may actually be symptoms of more serious problems. Your observation of your pet is the most important tool in preventing serious problems. If these signs are detected early enough, we can help provide more comfort for your pet in overcoming the natural effects of aging in your pet.

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Your cat and heartworms

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on Friday, 13 January 2012
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7152426 sFeline heartworm disease is a potentially fatal and totally preventable disease.  Cats contract heartworms by being bitten by an infected mosquito, which there are plenty of around our parts.  Within six months, the heartworm larvae migrate to the heart and mature into adult heartworms that create turbulent blood flow (a heart murmur) and changes in the heart’s blood pressure.  Eventually, congestive heart failure can develop or sudden death can occur.

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Huntsville, Alabama 35806