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Monthly Archives: August 2019

Senior Pet Care Best Practices

It’s a gradual change: It begins with grey hair around their eyes and snout. Your evening jogs together in the park become strolls, and there are less and less games of fetch. This is when you realize that your pet has entered their senior years, and this new stage of life may require some adjustments to your pet’s healthcare practices – needing a little extra TLC! With these expected changes, we wanted to take the time to share some essential senior pet care tips!

  1. Regular vet visits are important: This is not the first time you have heard this from us! To keep your senior pet happy and healthy, we recommend at least two visits a year – but this is also contingent on your individual pet’s needs. More frequent visits to the vet allow us to detect any health concerns as soon as possible. Plus, we always love seeing you and your furry family member! 😊
  2. Modify their diet as needed: As your pet gets older, they typically become less active and are naturally burning fewer calories. Because of this, they may not need as much food or even require a slight adjustment to their diet. With obesity being one of the most common age-related diseases in senior pets, it’s important we look at all options to ensure we are providing the proper nutrition for them in this new season of life.
  3. Continue exercising: We know your pets will not be as agile as they were as babies, but it’s essential to keep them moving! If they do not receive any form of exercise in their senior years, they will begin to lose muscle tone, thus making them weaker much faster. Whether it’s a short walk a few nights a week or playing with the laser pointer for a bit each day, exercise is a significant part of keeping your pet feeling good!
  4. Make your house “senior-friendly”: With age comes decreased mobility. Your dog may not be able to jump up on the couch anymore, or your cat may have a hard time using the litter box. Tailoring your home to fit your pet’s mobility needs will help them live more comfortably. Examples of these changes could include investing in a platform for food and water bowls, finding a litter box with a larger opening, and even buying a small ramp or stairs for climbing. If your pet suffers from arthritis – a common age-related condition – there are many arthritic treatments available, including supplements, pain, and anti-inflammatory medications, acupuncture, laser therapy, and even special exercise routines. If your pet’s mobility issues worsen, talk with us about the best options provided that could help alleviate their pain and discomfort. Whatever the case may be, it’s essential to be on the lookout for ways to make life easier for your pet.

Aging is a natural part of life and happens, no matter what. We know how much your pet means to you – and also to us! As your trusted partner in pet health care, we wanted to share valuable information that could give you more walks around the neighborhood with your dog, and additional play sessions with your cat!

 

What Dog Diseases can be Transmitted to Humans?

Don’t let your dog’s disease drag you down

A dog is man’s best friend, offering comfort, support, and even a floppy ear when no one else will listen. There are definite health benefits associated with owning a dog, from helping to lower blood pressure to staving off depression. But despite the abundant health benefits of having a dog, what happens if they’re sick? In some cases, a sick dog can be just as infectious as a sick human!

With all the rough and tumble play your dog experiences outdoors, there’s no surprise they carry germs back into the house. There are indeed, some dog germs can infect humans – which are known as zoonotic diseases. A zoonotic disease is a disease that is spread from animals to humans. These illnesses can be passed through waste, saliva, or even buried in the fur or dander of your four-legged friend. Direct contact with an infected pet can spread the infection, resulting in uncomfortable and sometimes, in rare cases, life-threatening symptoms. Here are a few diseases that can be transmitted from dogs to humans.

Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever

Dogs carrying ticks in their coats can bring these nasty creatures into the house. Baby ticks are the size of poppy seeds and can be hard to spot even in short-haired pets. Carrying bacteria and other infectious agents, a bite from an infected tick can cause Rocky Mountain spotted fever in humans with weakened immune systems. The symptoms are quite similar to the flu, with patients citing fevers, chills, aches, and even a rash on the body.

Roundworm

Shed into feces which contaminate the soil, roundworm is very common parasite among dogs and humans. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that 14 percent of the U.S. population has been infected with Toxocara, which stems from roundworm larvae. People ages 20 and below are at higher risk of infection from roundworm if they own a dog. Roundworm symptoms can vary from minor coughing to fever and inflammation of the liver or even blindness.

Dog Hookworms

Similar to roundworms, dog hookworms are spread by contact with soil contaminated with infected feces. It may be especially challenging to identify contaminated ground where feces might be obscured. Infected persons may notice abdominal cramping, nausea, blood in stools, and an irritating rash.

Rabies

Rabies is the most well-known potential transmission between dogs and humans. In the United States, this viral disease is typically spread by wild animals or unvaccinated domestic pets. Here in Arizona, rabies vaccinations and licensing are required for all dogs.

Prevention

While some zoonotic diseases and their consequences can be serious, this doesn’t mean you should worry constantly. There are a few simple things you can do to help prevent these diseases:

Proper preventative care: Schedule regular preventative care appointments with your veterinarian, and keep your pet up-to-date on their annual fecal tests and vaccinations to best protect both you and your pup from these diseases – plus to put your mind at ease. Your veterinarian can also talk about different parasite preventatives to help protect against fleas, ticks and intestinal parasites.

Wash your hands: It’s always a good idea to wash your hands after interacting with your dog. You never know what they might be nibbling on when you’re not looking. This is especially important for young children in the household.

Scoop the poop: Making sure your yard is as clean as possible can reduce the risk of infections and limit the spread of parasites and bacteria.

Knowledge and prevention can go a long way towards keeping everyone in your family (including your pup) happy and healthy!

Disclaimer: Not intended to be a substitute for professional veterinarian advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your veterinarian with any questions you may have regarding the medical condition of your pet. If you think your pet has a medical emergency, call or visit your veterinarian or your local veterinary emergency hospital immediately.