We Love Our Senior Pets!
Veterinary medicine has come a long way. There are so many options available to keep our senior pets comfortable and living long lives. Preventive care and regular exams are important to alert us to problems early enough to slow down the progression of disease. Good lifetime nutrition and dental care are also very important to a long lifespan.
About 2 years ago, I brought my 13 year old dog, Valentine, in for a dental. She had very stinky breath, and I noticed her taking a lot longer to chew her food than usual. Before the dental, we did preanesthetic bloodwork and determined that Valentine’s liver enzymes were slightly elevated.
Sometimes, dental disease and infection can cause elevated liver values, so I put Valentine on a course of antibiotics, performed the dental, and put a reminder in to recheck her bloodwork in 3 months. After the dental, Valentine could chew much easier and seemed to be doing better all around. However, 2 months later, she started peeing on the floor, something that she never does.
So, I brought her back in to the vet clinic, and we performed a urinalysis. She definitely had a urinary tract infection. Because I know that elevated liver values and urinary tract infections, together, can be an indication of a more serious condition called Cushing’s disease, I retested Valentine’s bloodwork and determined that her liver values were much higher than just 2 months before.
I, then, tested Valentine for Cushing’s disease and found that she did, indeed, have the disease. Cushing’s disease is a condition that results from either an overactive adrenal gland or an overactive pituitary gland. Either way, the body produces too many natural steroids and suffers from it. Patients have frequent skin and urinary infections, bladder stones, high blood pressure and strokes, seizures and other neurologic disorders, as well as a generalized muscle weakness. Because we diagnosed Valentine early in the disease and started her on the appropriate medication, she is still alive, today, at 15 years old.
Diagnostics are important! Communicating with your veterinary healthcare team is important! Starting appropriate treatments early on in disease processes are important! Because we believe all these things, we are designating September and October as Senior Health Months. All patients over 7 years old qualify for these important screens.
We are offering an Early Detection Screen that measures a Complete Blood Count, a Chemistry Panel that measures 16 different values of health, a Urinalysis, and a Thyroid Count. Like Valentine, if we find abnormalities, there are things we can do to prevent further progression of disease. For September and October, this screen will cost $151.50 ($100.90 off the usual cost). Our veterinary healthcare team will be able to interpret your pet’s results and determine the best course of action for your individual pet.
Part of the reason we love our pets so much is that they don’t complain as much as we do! That is especially true when it comes to pain. A lot of times, our pets are in a significant amount of discomfort before they show it to us. Signs of pain include a reduced appetite, not jumping or playing like before, not wanting to ride in the car, slow and hesitant movement, and an overall depressed attitude.
The good news is that they don’t have to suffer in silence. We have many options available to control pain, including 3 different non-steroidal anti-inflammatories, all natural joint supplements called Alenza chews, omega 3 fatty acids that reduce overall inflammation in the body, and many more that we could tailor to your pet’s specific needs.
Dr. Mettendorf is also a licensed chiropractor. Just like in human medicine, a chiropractic adjustment can be very effective at relieving joint pain. Our charge for a chiropractic adjustment is $38.00. For September and October, we will be offering a Comfort Care package, that includes an exam and a chiropractic adjustment for $46.80 ($31.20 off the usual cost).
Another area of veterinary medicine where we have lots of options available to us is in cardiac care. Listening to the heart with a stethoscope can alert a trained veterinary professional to the presence of a heart murmur and also to any secondary lung issues.
Once detecting a heart murmur, evaluating radiographs of the heart and measuring the heart to obtain a specific number, called the vertebral heart score, can enable us to formulate a specific treatment plan for each individual patient. For our Senior Health Months, we are offering a Cardiac Screening Profile for $73.80 ($49.20 off the usual cost).
We can’t really discuss good quality senior care without mentioning dental health. Good dental health is vital to all of good organ function. Infection from rotten teeth can lead to infection settling in the heart valves, the kidneys, the liver, and the gastrointestinal system. Left untreated, this infection can lead to vomiting, diarrhea, coughing, pneumonia, and eventual failure of these organs.
In addition to infection, dental disease is also painful. It can lead to depression and poor appetite. These are both things that we don’t want our senior patients to have to battle. Maintaining good body condition is already a struggle with aging and changing metabolism.
February is dental health month. An exam is important for us to give an accurate treatment plan, but dentals start at $155.85, and we give a 15% discount in February. Of course, we can do a dental any time of the year that it is needed. Please keep a close eye on the condition of your pet’s teeth!
While getting a new puppy or kitten is fun, our seniors have history with us. They have been there through a lot of different life stages with us. It is very exciting to me that we have so many options available to keep them comfortable, but also to extend their lives so we can enjoy them as long as possible. Please call us to make an appointment if there are any issues you want to discuss about your senior pet or if you want to take advantage of any of our September/October senior health discounts.