Tips on Caring for your Pet’s Teeth

All of us know about the benefits of routine dental care for ourselves. Daily brushing and flossing and regular visits to the dentist, keep our teeth and gums healthy and comfortable. Unfortunately, routine dental care remains an often overlooked aspect of dog and cat’s overall health. Your pets, like yourself, deserve regular dental care.
As your pet ages, tartar starts to build at the junction of his gums and teeth. If this plaque is not removed, it will continue to accumulate and will start to work it’s way beneath  the gums. The tartar is made by a mixture of  bacteria and and saliva which in time can cause an infection. The infected gums cause bad breath and a constant bad  taste and breath for pets. If the tartar is not removed, it will result in more severe gum infection, loosening of teeth, pain when chewing, exposed nerves, abscessed teeth and eventually tooth loss.

Chronic infections of the teeth and gums can lead to problems elsewhere in the body too. Bacteria can enter the bloodstream from the infected teeth and gums causing infections in other organs like the liver, kidneys, heart and joints. Damage to these organs can substantially reduce your pet’s life with early development of kidney failure or heart disease. Good dental care can extend your pets live an average of 2 to 3 years by prevention of such problems.

Miniature and toy breeds exhibit dental problems more frequently and much earlier in life than the larger breeds. Cats are especially prone to gingivitis (inflammation of the gums) and cervical line lesions, a type of cavity or erosion of enamel that occurs on the tooth at the junction of the gums which eventually expose the nerves and destroys the tooth. As a result of the constant mouth pain, the cats stop eating and can loose weight .
You can help prevent dental problems in your pet by feeding a dry pet food or a pet food specifically for dental care. Daily brushing your dog or cat’s teeth with a pet toothpaste is the best way to prevent the formation of tartar. It is best to start teaching your pet to get used to the toothbrush when they are puppies or kittens. There are newer products available that can help you with your home dental care. Water additives, such Clenzadent, Enzadent, breathalyzer, Biotene and others have the ingredients to keep plaque from sticking to the teeth. The New CLENZ-a-dent PlaqueOff is a seaweed extract, which if ingested, is excreted through saliva and helps break down the biofilm on the teeth of the pet. I particularly recommend the use Clenz-a-Dent PlaqueOff with Clenz-a-dent water additive if daily brushing is impossible. (you can get these products in the clinic)
As with humans, your pet still needs regular dental exams, cleaning and extractions as needed. Under anesthesia teeth cleaned with an ultrasonic dental scaler is very similar to what your dentist uses, and then polished. Polishing smooths the surface of teeth to prevent future tartar formation. Your pet will also receive a fluoride treatment to strengthen teeth.

Other more advanced procedures such as root canal work, restorations and even braces are also available should your pet ever need them. We recommend you to be concerned about oral health of your pet, and keep in mind that there are effective treatments for dental problems in your dog or cat. Dentistry beyond your pet’s overall health care plan for a longer and happier life.
February is dental month, schedule your pet’s dentistry and receive 10% off.

Clenz-a-dent is a complete line of dental care products for dogs and cats that is easy to use to increase pet owner compliance and offers enhanced efficacy driven by new molecules and delivery systems The active ingredients are RF2 (a member of the polygonaceae family of flowering plants) and PlaqueOff™ (purified seaweed extract, Ascophyllum sp.). Bacteria in the mouth produce a matrix called a bio-film in which they hide and multiply. The bio-film grows to form dental plaque which in turn gets mineralized into calculus. RF2 fights plaque and calculus where they originate by breaking down and destroying the bio-film.

Clenz-a-dent PlaqueOff™ is a highly palatable food additive that is top dressed daily on the pet’s food. Reduces plaque and calculus.

Clenz A Dent Mouth Rinse / Water Additive (250 ml)

Clenz-a-dent RF2 Mouth Rinse or Water Additive comes in a bottle that has a special nozzle that allows it to be applied directly to the animal’s mouth as a rinse or added to drinking water daily. Provides immediate relief of bad mouth odor.


Clenz A Dent Toothpaste w/ Finger Brush – Poultry (70 gm)

Clenz A Dent RF2 Toothpaste is a palatable for the reduction of plaque and bad breath in dogs and cats. Clenz A Dent RF2 contains a unique patented ingredient. RF2 breaks down the biofilm made by bacteria present in the mouth. Biofilm is the first step to plaque and tartar build-up. Therefore Clenz A Dent RF2 disrupts the formation of biofilm and thus prevents plaque build-up and tartar. RF2 also restores the mouth’s natural bacterial balance. The combined actions of RF2 on tartar build-up and bacterial balance help fight bad breath

Clenz A Dent  Dental Chew Sticks Small (4 bags x 6 chews)
Clenz A Dent Dental Chew Sticks Small (4 bags x 6 chews)

CLENZ-A-DENT S RF2 DENTAL STICK Sogeval TASTY DENTAL STICK FOR ORAL HYGIENE – Plaque and Biofilm control – Tartar control – Prevents bad breath – Advanced design RF2 – dental biofilm control 0 – 10 KILOS Composition: Cereals – Polyols – RF2

Clenz A Dent  Dental Chew Sticks Small (6 chews)
Clenz A Dent Dental Chew Sticks Small (6 chews)

CLENZ-A-DENT S RF2 DENTAL STICK Sogeval TASTY DENTAL STICK FOR ORAL HYGIENE – Plaque and Biofilm control – Tartar control – Prevents bad breath – Advanced design RF2 – dental biofilm control 0 – 10 KILOS Composition: Cereals – Polyols – RF2.

Clenz A Dent  Dental Chew Sticks Medium (4 bags x 6 chews)
Clenz A Dent Dental Chew Sticks Medium (4 bags x 6 chews)
Clenz A Dent  Dental Chew Sticks Medium (6 chews)
Clenz A Dent Dental Chew Sticks Medium (6 chews)
Clenz A Dent  Dental Chew Sticks Large (4 bags x 6 chews)
Clenz A Dent Dental Chew Sticks Large (4 bags x 6 chews)
Clenz A Dent  Dental Protection  Wax (40 gm)
Clenz A Dent Dental Protection Wax (40 gm)

Clenz-a-dent RF2 Wax can then start acting immediately and prevent biofilm and plaque from appearing. If your pet undergoes a professional dental cleaning procedure,your vet can apply a wax containing RF2 at the end of the procedure.

Vet Solutions Enzadent Oral Care Chews for Cats Fish Flavor (24 count)
Vet Solutions Enzadent Oral Care Chews for Cats Fish Flavor (24 count)

Enzadent Oral Care Chews combines enzymes found naturally in your cat’s saliva with the natural abrading action of freeze-dried fish to help remove food debris before it becomes a problem. Remember: your cat depends on you and your veterinarian for all its health care. Ask your veterinarian about the many different home oral care options available to you.

Enzadent Poultry Flavor Toothbrush Kit
Enzadent Poultry Flavor Toothbrush Kit

The Enzadent Toothbrush kit for Dogs & Cats by Vet Solutions contains: 90g (3.2 oz) tube Enzadent Toothpaste, one Enzadent Fingerbrush and one Enzadent Dual-Ended Toothbrush. This is a great starter kit for your dog or cat.

Dentahex Oral Rinse by Vet Solutions (8 oz)
Dentahex Oral Rinse by Vet Solutions (8 oz)

Dentahex Oral Rinse by Vet Solutions (8 oz) with Chlorhexidine 0.12% and Zince, is an antimicrobial oral rinse for reducing plaque and freshening breath in dogs and cats. The unique formulation provides anti-plaque and anti-calculus properties thus aiding in the prevention of tooth and gum disease. Contains: Water, Glycerin, Sorbitol, SD Alcohol 38B, Flavor, Chlorhexidine gluconate, Poloxamer 407, Zinc gluconate, FD&C yellow #5, FD&C blue #1. Directions: Shake well before each use. Rinse daily following each meal or as directed by your veterinarian. Gently lift the upper lip to expose the teeth and gums. Point and squeeze to apply a gentle stream along the gum line. Oral Rinse disperses rapidly and completely covers the entire oral cavity, even difficult to reach areas. Avoid touching the gums with the applicator tip to avoid any injury in case of movement of your pet.

C.E.T. Oral Hygiene Kit for Cats
C.E.T. Oral Hygiene Kit for Cats

The C.E.T Oral Hygiene Kit by Virbac for Cats includes toothpaste and a soft fingerbrush. Brushing your cats teeth is essential to help keep their teeth healthy and clean.

C.E.T. AquaDent (16.9 fl.oz)
C.E.T. AquaDent (16.9 fl.oz)

C.E.T AquaDent is formulated by veterinary dental specialists to help freshen your pet’s breath and prevent plaque accumulation when used in conjunction with a regular home dental care program. simply add C.E.T. AquaDent to your pet’s drinking water to provide clinically tested dental care every time your pet drinks.

Leptrospiriosis Can Infect People As Well as Dogs

Leptrospiriosis is a zoonotic disease which means, it is a disease that can be passed between humans and animals. It is the most prevalent zoonotic disease in the world today and your dog and you may be at risk for contacting this disease. While this disease is usually not fatal by it’s self it can lead to kidney failure and damage to both the liver and the eyes.
Leptrospiriosis is an old disease that was first discovered in the 1800 and vaccinations were developed that helped control the spread of this disease. However, new strains of this disease have recently been discovered and despite the development of two additional vaccines to combat this disease it is on the rise.
Once mainly confined to rural areas where an abundance of wildlife was present and carried the disease these new strains are now reaching urban areas as well, mainly because cities are growing and encroaching on wildlife habitats forcing domestic dogs and even people into closer proximity to the animals who naturally carry the bacteria that spreads this disease. The spirochete bacteria is released by an infected animal when it urinates and is then picked up from the soil or water through the mucus membranes or abraded skin of an animal or human. Not all animals who carry the bacteria show signs of illness but even a seemingly healthy animal can spread the bacteria putting even more animals and people at risk.

Signs of Leptrospiriosis in your pet may mimic a host of other diseases but, common symptoms of this disease are:

  • general depression
  • loss of appetite
  • vomiting
  • weakness
  • swollen red and painful eyes
  • excessive drinking and urination

Due to the fact that the symptoms of this disease is common to many other diseases as well, identifying the disease is not always quick and easy, which poses a problem as a dog suffering from this disease can begin experiencing kidney damage or failure in as little as three to five days.
There are things that you can do to protect yourself and your pet from contacting this disease. The most important thing is to contact your Veterinarian and find out how prevalent this disease is where you live and ask if he would recommend that your dog get vaccinated for one or more of the strains of Leptrospiriosis. While vaccination may not completely protect your dog from all the possible strains it will reduce his chances of contacting this disease by protecting him from the more common strains.
Also don’t assume simply because you live in an urban environment either you or your pet is safe from contacting this disease.

Always take extra care when working in damp soil and around places that have standing water and if camping in places where there is abundant wildlife even small squirrels and rodents, avoid places where there are puddles or damp ground as much as possible.
As in all cases prevention is the best protection and in the case of Leptrospiriosis prevention means using your common sense and getting your dog vaccinated to protect both him and yourself from this disease and it’s serious side effects.

Periodontal Disease and Your Dog

Dental disease can be found in 85% of pets over the age of 3. Periodontal disease is the most common dental disease and if left untreated can cause tooth loss and cause damage to all the major organs, heart, liver, kidney and brain. Untreated dental disease can shorten your pet’s life span by 3 years.

So what is periodontal disease?

Periodontal disease begins with plaque build up on the surface of your dog’s tooth. Just like in humans, the plaque starts as a biofilm of bacteria mixed with food particles and saliva. If this film is not removed, it eventually layers into what is known as tartar.

The tartar begins to mineralize and the bacteria begin to infect the gum causing gingivitis. As the tartar continues to build up, it works it’s way beneath the gum causing the gum line to recede. Eventually, the infection continues to spread and will loosen the attachment of the tooth and tooth loss will occur.

Besides the tooth loss, the gum infection also begins to shower the dog’s blood stream with tiny bits of bacteria. These bacteria will begin to settle in all the major organs, especially the mitral valve of the heart and in the kidneys. This can lead to congestive heart failure and kidney failure and ultimately the untimely death of your pet.

So what can I do to prevent dental disease?

Start with getting your pet used to having his teeth brushed at an early age. Just like in humans, plaque replaces itself every 12 hours, so optimally, your pet’s teeth should be brushed twice a day. Do not use human toothpaste, the fluoride could be swallowed by your pet and cause toxicity. Use toothpaste that is designed and flavored just for pets. I know that brushing your pet’s teeth is hard to do, but brushing really helps keep their mouth healthy.

Also available are special diets such as Hill’s t/d to mechanically remove the tartar and keep the pet’s teeth clean. There are also enzymatically treated chews, such as greenies and C.E.T. chews that can help remove the plaque and tartar.

There are also dental oral rinses and Breathalyser water additives to help with oral hygiene.

Once tartar is formed on your pet’s teeth, your veterinarian will need to scale and polish your pet’s teeth under anesthesia to remove the tartar that is beneath the gum line. Once removed, it is up to you to practice good dental care with your pet with daily brushing and other dental products to keep the mouth healthy.

Taking better care of our older pets

Pets are living longer thanks to advances in veterinary care, diagnostics, and earlier intervention. But the key to enjoying our “senior” pets lies not only in extending their life span, but in helping them enjoy their later years to the fullest.

Like people, dogs and cats are prone to debilitating ailments as they age. Kidney failure, heart disease, arthritis, dental disease, cancer, and cognitive dysfunction can occur during the normal aging process. In the past, because many diseases weren’t diagnosed until advanced stages, veterinarians could do little more than make a pet’s golden years a little more comfortable by treating the symptoms of age-related illness. If the pet was lucky, the problems would progress slowly. Most pet owners just accepted the fact that their four-legged friends were just going to live a relatively short life, get old, and pass on.

But thanks to technical advancements in modern veterinary medicine, surgery, diagnostics and nutrition, not only do pets live longer but their quality of life has increased dramatically as well.

One example follows human medicine in the development and use of the new generation of non-steroid anti-inflammatory drugs. These drugs help the aches and pains of many senior pets while keeping side effects to a minimum.

Many age related problems are still seen as inevitable, but the attitudes of both veterinarians and pet owners have changed. The belief now is that “age is not a disease”, and veterinary medicine is putting increased emphasis on senior pet health through preventative wellness programs.

“The earlier we can intervene, the better, says veterinarian Dr. John Phillips in New York. “We now have greater knowledge, improved diagnostics and better therapeutics all of which mean we can effectively prevent or manage many senior health care issues.”

Eighty three year old Sam Edwards was raised on a farm and has had pets all of his life. He has taken advantage of advancements in veterinary medicine to extend the lives of his pets. “As I’ve gotten older, I’m glad that some of the same medical advancements that have helped me age well are good for my pets, too.”

Edwards shares his home with “Niki”, a 15 year old cat, and a 16 year old terrier mix named “Bones”. “If you had told me twenty years ago that I would be brushing my dogs’ teeth, I’d thought you were crazy. But I brush Bones’ teeth every night while we watch the news. It’s something we both enjoy and my vet says it’s one of the most important things I can do to keep the old guy healthy.”

Pets are living longer due to advances in veterinary care, diagnostics, and earlier intervention. Even so the key to enjoying our “older” pets lies not only in increasing their life span, but also in helping them enjoy their later years to the fullest.

Just like people, cats and dogs can be vulnerable to incapacitating health conditions as they grow older. Kidney failure, heart disease, arthritis, oral disease, malignant tumors, and cognitive dysfunction can take place through the typical maturing process. In earlier times, simply because quite a few health conditions weren’t recognized until the pet was in the advanced stages, veterinarians could do nothing more than make a pet’s golden years a tad bit more comfortable by caring for the symptoms of age-related health issues. If the pet was lucky, the issues could advance slowly. Most pet owners merely accepted the fact that their four-legged buddies were only able to survive a relatively brief life, get old, and pass on.

Yet breakthroughs in technical advancements in modern day veterinary medicine, surgery, diagnostics and nutrition, not only do pets survive longer but their quality of life has increased enormously as well.

One example follows human medicine in the development and use of the new generation of non-steroid anti-inflammatory drugs. These drugs help the aches and pains of many senior pets while keeping unwanted side effects to a minimum.

Several age related problems will still be viewed as unavoidable, however the attitudes of both veterinarians and pet owners have changed. The belief now is the fact that “age is not a disease”, and veterinary medicine is adding greater emphasis on senior pet health through preventative health plans.

“The earlier we can intervene, the better, says veterinarian Dr. John Phillips in New York. “We now have greater knowledge, improved diagnostics and better therapeutics all of which mean we can effectively prevent or manage many senior health care issues.”

Eighty three year old Sam Edwards was raised on a farm and has had pets all of his life. He has taken advantage of enhancements in veterinary medicine to lengthen the lives of his pets. “As I’ve gotten older, I’m glad that some of the same medical advancements that have helped me age well are good for my pets, too.”

Edwards shares his home with “Niki”, a 15 year old cat, and a 16 year old terrier mix named “Bones”. “If you had told me twenty years ago that I would be brushing my dogs’ teeth, I’d thought you were crazy. But I brush Bones’ teeth every night while we watch the news. It’s something we both enjoy and my vet says it’s one of the most important things I can do to keep the old guy healthy.”

At what age is a pet considered a senior? Generally, smaller breeds of dogs live longer than larger breeds, and cats live longer than dogs. Life spans vary with individuals, and pets, like people, grow older at different rates, some more gracefully than others. A few smaller breeds of dogs, like Bones, are considered geriatric at fifteen. Large and giant breeds like Labrador retrievers and rottweilers are considered seniors as soon as seven years old. Cats, especially if they are kept in the house, frequently live to their early twenties and do not attain their golden years until their teens.

The single most crucial way a pet owner can take to keep their pet happy and healthy as long as possible is to pencil in regular veterinary exams. As pets age, these exams tend to be more critical than ever, because as with people, quick detection is essential for disease and problem intervention. Younger pets need routine examinations once or twice yearly. However as dogs and cats approach middle age, these exams should be much more frequent because each year in a pet’s life is equivalent to 5-7 people years.

“Keeping Niki and Bones healthy helps me stay young, too”, says Edwards. “All of us have arthritis so exercise is important to stay in shape and keep from getting stiff. Years ago, when my pets got arthritis, I just accepted it as old age and let them lay around. Now, we go for walks, and there are safer medications for arthritis pain. They even get glucosamine and antioxidants in their senior pet foods!”

Veterinarians tend to recommend routine lab work, electrocardiograms, blood pressure monitoring, and x-rays to locate early conditions like thyroid, kidney, heart, and liver disease. With early detection, pets with organ function conditions can be treated with prescription medication along with specific doctor prescribed quality diets that not only prolong their life span but the quality of their lives. Sometimes, health conditions could even be arrested.

Dr. Leslie Maclean a Tulsa, Oklahoma veterinarian followed the advice she gives her clients and found a hormone problem in one of her own Scottish terriers. “I discovered a rare adrenal gland problem on Brin’s first senior wellness exam. He was acting perfectly normal but his lab work picked up a problem. Early detection meant early treatment and easy management of his disease.”

In general, quite a few early warning signs that your family pet might be having a problem are:

* drinking more water than usual and urination

* urinary incontinence or having mishaps in the house

* recurring throwing up

* terrible breath, drooling or difficulty eating

* excessive panting or tires more quickly when exercised

* lumps, bumps, nodules or alterations in areas of skin color, bumps that bleed or are ulcerated

* change in appetite – ingesting more or less than normal

* changes in behavior for example “spacing out” or increased whining

* abnormal bowel habits – diarrhea or constipation

* fluctuations in body weight – gaining or reducing weight

Watch pets closely and convey any uncommon behavioral or physical matters to your vet without delay. Talk with your veterinarian and develop a specific senior wellness strategy for your pet’s distinctive needs so your precious pooch or kitty can enjoy getting old gracefully.

Sometimes Good Medicine is Simply Good Nutrition

For pets with chronic health issues, veterinarians might recommend specific therapeutic diets.  Designed to provide the right type of nutrition for the pet’s unique problems, these diets are often used for the lifetime of the pet.   But, when finances are tight, are these “prescription diets” really worth the cost?

j-russell-terrier-pups

Feeding your dog or cat seems like an easy chore, but if your pet is suffering from kidney disease, allergies or even cancer, his nutritional needs require special attention.   Most veterinarians keep an inventory of therapeutic or “prescription” diets on hand to help manage chronically sick pets.   In spite of the benefits provided by these diets, the weak economy and rising prices have many owners thinking twice about staying on the more expensive diets.

In 1940, Dr. Mark Morris, a veterinarian in New Jersey, was treating one of his patients, “Buddy”, for kidney failure.   “Buddy” was one of the first “seeing eye” guide dogs in the United States.  Dr. Morris found that he could improve Buddy’s quality of life by providing him with a diet that helped ease the work of his kidneys.  He named this new diet “k/d” for kidney diet and he quickly became inundated with requests from veterinarians for his special food.

Dr. Morris continued to study how the right foods can benefit patients suffering from a variety of diseases.  His visionary work sparked a multi-million dollar industry dedicated to providing optimal nutrition for chronically ill pets.  Today, companies such as Hill’s Pet Foods, Purina Veterinary Diets, Iams, and Royal Canin all commit extensive resources towards research and production of therapeutic diets.

These special diets differ from routine pet foods by the reduction, addition, or manipulation of key nutrients.  For example, k/d has much lower phosphorus and protein levels than normal pet diets.  This balance helps reduce the workload of the kidneys and actually slows the progression of the disease.  For pet stricken with cancer, high levels of quality fat and protein with lower carbohydrate levels can help starve cancer cells and prolong the pet’s life.

Special therapeutic diets are also available for pets with allergies, urinary bladder stones, digestive issues, heart conditions, liver problems and even arthritic pets.

But, all of this scientific research and expertise does come with a cost.   Therapeutic diets often appear to be unusually expensive when compared to regular diets.   As an example, a 30 lb bag of a prescription diet for dogs suffering from allergies can cost more than $90.  For a typical 60 lb dog, this bag of food should last around 45 days, meaning that the daily food cost is $2 per day.

Some owners are tempted to take matters into their own hands and create homemade diets for their pets.  According to the Small Animal Clinical Nutrition text, homemade recipes are often available for a variety of pet illnesses.  However, once the cost of ingredients is added, along with time spent in preparation and extra trips to the grocery, these homemade diets are often just as pricey as the commercially prepared food.

And, without veterinary guidance, these attempts at cost savings often end up hurting the pet.  Owners take short cuts and buy cheaper meats and/or grains due to personal preference or availability of the ingredients.  These lower quality or different ingredients can adversely affect the pet and even worsen his or her underlying disease.  One study also estimated that more than 90% of homemade diets for sick pets are not nutritionally adequate.

So, how can owners keep their pet’s diets from emptying their wallets?  First, talk with your veterinarian about your pet’s overall health condition.  Some pets are put on certain therapeutic diets for a limited time only.   If your pet is overweight, battling bladder stones, or even suffering from digestive upset, it is likely that you only need to feed the special diet for a limited time.

Next, if your pet does need his prescription food for a longer time, order in larger size bags.   The initial cost is certainly higher, but you will save money on a per feeding basis since large bags cost less per pound.

Many veterinarians stock only one brand of therapeutic diet due to lack of storage space and high inventory costs.   Ask your veterinarian if a competing food manufacturer has a diet similar to the one your pet needs and if a cost difference exists.  If the food is indicated for your pet’s illness, it’s possible to save a few dollars with a different brand.

Finally, consider having the diet shipped directly to your home.   Several of the pet food manufacturers offer home delivery of the foods.  This option could save you time and gas money.

These therapeutic diets have enabled millions of dogs and cats to live longer, happier lives despite their illnesses.   On-going research will continue to discover how we can provide the highest level of nutrition to our pets, no matter what illness or condition they might encounter.  Veterinarians will continue to rely on these diets because of their proven track record.  

Caring for the Older Cat

If your cat is seven years or older, he has entered his golden years. In middle and old age, the metabolism slows, the digestive system has more difficulty absorbing nutrients, and joints and muscles become weaker. Diseases such as diabetes, kidney failure, hyperthyroidism, and various cancers are more common. The good news is that many illnesses respond to treatment if discovered early. Here are some simple steps to keep your senior cat healthy and happy.

Routine Veterinary Visits
Even if your cat seems fine, he should visit the veterinarian at least twice yearly. Remember, cats age the equivalent of four or more years for each calendar year. Your veterinarian will perform a comprehensive physical examination and listen to your cats heart and lungs. He will check for signs of illness, especially conditions that occur commonly in older cats. Your veterinary visits are also a great opportunity to ask questions.

Diagnostic Tests
When people reach middle age, routine tests such as blood analysis, cancer screening, and evaluation of the heart are recommended to maintain good health. The same is true for older cats. The reason, in both cats and people, is that some illnesses are not visible during a physical examination, but can be detected in other ways. Tests recommended for cats seven years or older are listed below.

Comprehensive Blood Panel Each type of blood cell is counted and the chemical components of the blood plasma are measured. This provides information on the health of the bone marrow, kidneys, liver, pancreas and thyroid, and can help to detect infections.

Complete Urinalysis The concentration and chemical constituents of the urine are measured. Cells and other solids in the urine are examined microscopically. The urinalysis provides information on the health of the kidneys and bladder, and is also useful in the detection of diabetes.

Chest X-Rays X-rays allow visualization of the internal organs of the body. Chest x-rays are recommended to assess the condition of the heart and lungs and to detect tumors.

Abdominal X-Rays X-Rays of the abdomen are helpful to detect tumors and to assess the condition of the kidneys, bladder, intestine, and spleen.

Electrocardiogram This test measures electrical impulses within the heart, using sensors placed on the skin. The ECG is helpful in detecting heart conditions.

Vaccinations
Just as he did when he was younger, your cat continues to benefit from the protection of regular vaccinations against infectious disease. Your veterinarian will recommend a vaccine program tailored to your cats age, lifestyle, and health status.

Nutrition
Healthy older cats require a diet that is lower in calories, while still rich in essential nutrients such as high quality proteins, essential fatty acids, vitamins and minerals. Special diets are available to address the more specific requirements of cats with medical conditions. Your veterinarian is your best advisor in selecting a diet that will keep your cat purring.

Dental Care
Keeping your cats teeth and gums healthy is critical to his well being. Dental disease is painful and can lead to infection in the internal organs, such as the kidneys and heart. Your veterinarian should check your cats teeth regularly. He will let you know when your cat needs a professional dental cleaning. Under general anesthesia, all of the plaque, tartar, and bacteria is removed from the. After your cats teeth are clean, it is your job to keep them healthy. Tooth brushing and dental diets are highly effective.

Litter Box Issues for Cats

Litter Box Issues in catsOne of the most appealing aspects of owning a cat is that they are generally clean and require little training. Most kittens have already learned appropriate litter box use from their mothers long before they are adopted. Unfortunately, there are several things that can go wrong that cause cats to urinate in places we find offensive. Inappropriate elimination is the most common behavioral problem recognized in cats.

Urinary Tract Illness
When a cat begins urinating outside the litter box, the first possibility to be considered is illness. Cats with bladder irritation or infection frequently urinate in unusual places including potted plants, sinks, and bathtubs. There is often only a tiny amount of urine in each place, and it may be bloody. Kidney failure, diabetes, and some medications can cause cats to urinate more. They may be unable to wait to go outside or to get to the nearest litter box. They generally produce large amounts of watery urine. A physical examination, urine and blood tests can identify or rule out medical causes for elimination disorders.

Urine Marking Behavior
Spraying urine is a normal marking behavior in un-neutered male cats. Spraying differs from ordinary urination because the cat remains standing and the urine is sprayed onto a vertical surface behind him. Neutering male cats as early as possible reduces this behavior. However, neutered males and female cats can spray too. This is more likely when the cat is distressed or anxious and occurs more often in multi-cat households.

Aversions and Preferences
Some cats develop aversions or preferences with regard to locations or substrates for urination. The most common sources of aversions are dirty litter boxes, strongly perfumed litter, and litter boxes placed in busy areas where the cat may feel insecure. Some cats develop a preference to urinate only in a particular spot in the house, or only on a certain material such as carpeting or plastic.

Treating Inappropriate Urination
After ruling out medical concerns, the veterinarian must address underlying emotional issues. Removal of stressful stimuli such as dogs and other cats may help. Antidepressant and antianxiety medicines are sometimes used. A spray that mimics a natural calming hormone of cats has shown benefit as well. Litter boxes are adjusted to encourage the cat to use them. Boxes can be provided in preferred locations and with preferred substrates. Aversive factors should be eliminated. This can involve a lot of trial and error, such as providing numerous litter boxes or different types and observing which are most preferred. Unfortunately, behavioral elimination disorders in cats can be difficult and frustrating to treat.

Preventing Inappropriate Urination
Since its so difficult to treat, its a good idea to try to prevent abnormal urination behavior. A helpful tip is to provide plenty of clean litter boxes, preferably without perfumed litters. The rule of thumb for the number of boxes to have is that there should be at least as many boxes as there are cats and at least as many boxes as there are stories in the house. Most cats prefer a large, open litter box in a quiet location as opposed to litter boxes with hoods, which may trap odor.

Male cats should be neutered. Always remember that cats are territorial by nature. Cats housed singularly are less likely to have behavioral elimination problems, probably because they experience less territorial stress.

Caring for Our Senior Pets

Caring for the Older Dog

If your dog is seven years or older, he has entered his golden years. In middle and old age, metabolism slows, their digestive system has more difficulty absorbing nutrients and joints and muscles become weaker. Diseases such as arthritis, diabetes, renal failure, hypothyroidism, heart disease and various cancers are more common. The good news is that many diseases respond to treatment if detected early. Here are some simple steps to keep your senior dog healthy and happy.

Routine veterinary visits
Even if the dog seems fine, he should go to the vet at least twice a year. Remember that dogs age the equivalent of seven or more years for each calendar year. Your veterinarian will perform a comprehensive physical exam and listen to your dogs heart and lungs. He will check for signs of disease, especially conditions that occur commonly in older dogs. Your vet visit is also a great opportunity to ask questions.

Diagnostic Tests
When people reach middle age, there  are routine tests such as blood tests, cancer screening and evaluation of the heart that doctor’s recommend to maintain good health. Same goes for older dogs. The reason, in both dogs and humans is that some diseases are not visible during a physical examination, but can be detected in other ways. Tests recommended for dogs seven years or older are listed below.

Comprehensive Blood Panel :Each type of blood cells are counted and the chemical components of blood plasma is measured. This gives information about the health of the bone marrow, kidney, liver, pancreas and thyroid, and can help to detect infections.

Complete Urinalysis concentration and chemical constituents of the urine measured. Cells and other solids in the urine examined microscopically. The urinalysis provides information about the health of the kidneys and bladder, and is also useful in the diagnosis of diabetes.

Chest X-ray – radiographs allow visualization of the internal organs of the body. Chest x-rays are recommended to assess the state of the heart and lungs and to detect tumors.

Abdominal X-Rays –  X-ray of the abdomen is useful to detect tumors and to assess the state of the kidneys, bladder, intestines and spleen.

Electrocardiogram –  This test measures electrical impulses in the heart, using sensors placed on the skin. ECG is useful in detecting heart disease.

Vaccinations
As he did when he was younger, your dog will benefit from the protection of regular vaccination against infectious diseases. Your veterinarian will recommend a vaccine program tailored to your dogs age, lifestyle and health.

Nutrition
Healthy older dogs require a diet that is lower in calories, yet rich in important nutrients such as high-quality protein, essential fatty acids, vitamins and minerals. Special diets are available to address the more specific requirements in dogs with medical conditions. Your veterinarian is your best guide in choosing a diet that will keep your dogs tail wagging.

Musculoskeletal
Your dog may be slowing, but he needs exercise. Regular exercise can help keep him supple and prevent obesity. Remember to tell your veterinarian if your dog has pain when he stands up, walks or goes up and down stairs. Medications can be available to him more comfortable.

Dental
Keep your dog’s teeth and gums healthy are essential to his well being. Dental disease is painful and can cause an infection in internal organs such as kidneys and heart. Your veterinarian should check your dogs teeth regularly. He’ll let you know when your dog needs a professional dental cleaning. Under general anesthesia, all of the plaque, tartar and bacteria are removed from the teeth. Once  your dog’s teeth are clean, it’s your job to keep them healthy. Brushing, dental diets and soft chew toys are very effective.