By David J. Merrick, QuincyAnimalHealth.com. For Pets Best, a pet insurance agency for dogs and cats.
November is Adopt a Senior Pet Month, so we asked David Merrick of Quincy Animal Health to discuss senior pet wellness.
As dogs and cats get older, they need more attention and special care. Senior Wellness Programs can help your pet remain fit and healthy as he or she ages and can help catch any potential problems earlier, when they’re easier to treat or manage.
Three tips to keep senior dogs and cats healthy
1. Regular veterinary exams can actually help your pet live longer
- Before your dog or cat reaches senior status, it is recommended that you bring your pet in for a baseline exam and diagnostic workup. This gives a record of what’s normal for your pet so we can keep track of any changes.
- Senior Wellness checkups are recommended when your dog turns 7 years of age or your cat turns 8 years of age.
- Diagnosing diseases and certain conditions early is important throughout a pet’s life, but it becomes even more critical when your dog or cat enters his or her senior years. Our dogs and cats may not show any signs of even serious diseases until they are quite advanced.
- Veterinarians can treat many symptoms that are commonly attributed to age; including those associated with cognitive dysfunction syndrome (similar to Alzheimer’s in humans).
- Your veterinarian can also improve your pet’s quality of life in many ways: by identifying and preventing or reducing pain, recommending an appropriate nutrition and exercise plan, and suggesting environmental modifications to keep your pet comfortable.
2. Be aware of cognitive changes
Dr. Fiona is a veterinarian and blogger for Pets Best, a pet insurance agency for dogs and cats
Hi I’m Dr. Fiona, and today I’m answering a question posted on the Pets Best Facebook page. Betty asks, I’ve heard that giving your dog asparagus when there are bladder stones or crystals helps to dissolve them. Is this true?
Good question, Betty. Asparagus root possibly has a mild diuretic effect, which can in turn cause the urine to be more diluted, thus helping to prevent crystals from forming in the urine. Asparagus can also have an alkalinizing effect–meaning it can raise the pH of the urine–which helps with certain types of crystals. However, this is not always true because some crystals form in more alkaline urine, versus acidic, which could make the problem worse. There are no scientific studies to prove this, and therefore it should not be used as a sole method of managing urinary crystals. Additionally, asparagus will not dissolve bladder stones.
Dr. Jane is a veterinarian and blogger for Pets Best, a pet insurance agency for dogs and cats
Hello. I’m Dr. Jane Matheys from The Cat Doctor Veterinary Hospital and Hotel in Boise,Idaho. Today, I’ll be answering a question about cat health from the Pets Best Insurance Facebook page.
Today, Claire writes: “Why is it so difficult to treat feline diarrhea? We’ve tried so many probiotics, different foods, etc. Is there anything new to try? Otherwise, my cat is fine.”
I agree with you, Claire. Chronic diarrhea can be real frustrating to treat in cats because there’s so many things that can be causing it. When I see a kitty, as a patient, who’s had chronic diarrhea, if the cat is feeling fine otherwise, like Claire’s cat, then first of all, I like to take some time ruling out some of the more simple things that can cause diarrhea in kitties. I, typically, will make sure that I do a very broad-spectrum dewormer, making sure intestinal parasites are not part of the problem. Then I will use some different foods, like apparently Claire has tried.
It’s Lead Poisoning Prevention Week, so to keep your dogs and cats safe we asked veterinarian Dr. Fiona about lead poisoning in pets.
Can dogs and cats suffer from lead poisoning?
Lead poisoning is more common in dogs than cats, since cats are a little more discretionary in terms of what they chose to eat. But any animal can suffer from lead toxicity if it is ingested.
How/where do pets encounter lead?
Common sources of lead include:
- Lead paint – paint chips and paint residue (i.e. during a renovation of an old house)
- Toys with lead paint
- Fishing tackle (i.e. lead sinkers)
- Drapery weights
- Gasoline exhaust
- Car batteries
- Plumbing materials and supplies
- Lubricating compounds
- Putty or tar paper
- Lead foil
- Golf balls
- Improperly glazed ceramic food or water bowls
- Lead bullets
By Megan G., an employee of the Pets Best insurance agency, who participates in veterinary missions across the globe
From October 19-31, 2013 I will be traveling to Kapoeta, South Sudan, Africa to work with the Toposa people on a veterinary mission trip. I am going with a team of 10 people through a partnership between Christian Veterinary Missions and E3 Missions. Our team will provide much needed veterinary care and education.
The Toposa are a very agrarian people group and depend on their livestock for their survival. We will be working alongside the Toposa, training and equipping them so that our work will be sustainable once we leave. We hope to bring a better quality of life to the Toposa by training them to help themselves, instead of relying on additional teams to come in and treat their animals. We had to receive special permission from the Commissioner of Livestock in Kapoeta in order to go on this trip. We will be working alongside the Commissioner to train the people that work under him as well.