What exactly constitutes a “senior” pet? In the veterinarian world in Springfield, we consider a dog or cat a senior when they reach the age of 8. For large breed dogs, their senior years begin at a younger age, closer to 6 years.
Many people shy away from adopting a senior pet because they think their time with them is short. However, these pets are such loyal companions and have so much love to give because they are grateful to have a wonderful family and home. The life expectancy of many dogs and cats can be 12-15 years or longer, and giving them a loving environment for the remainder of their lives is very rewarding. Senior pets often are more laid-back and have less energy than a young dog, which is a desirable trait for many pet owners.
With age comes more health concerns of course, but many of the senior pet diseases can be managed with changes to diet, environment, and/or medication. It is a good idea to have a senior pet examined by your veterinarian prior to finalizing the adoption. The most common health issues that we see in senior animals are arthritis, liver or kidney disease, diabetes, heart disease, and cancer. Don’t let this list scare you away from adopting a sweet senior and giving them the best loving home they’ve ever had. With well managed care, they can maintain a great quality of life for years as a member of your family.
Often, rescues and shelters will have Senior Pet Programs where discounts are offered for the adoption of a senior pet. If this is something you are interested in, be sure to ask the staff when you go to find your new forever friend!
If we can answer any questions for you regarding senior pet health or where to find a senior pet to adopt, please contact us in Springfield at 217-529-4499. Our mission is to provide high quality, compassionate veterinary care with a personal touch. We strive to maintain a friendly and comfortable environment for pets and owners and are committed to building strong, respectful, and honest relationships with our clients. Through teamwork, we are dedicated to ensuring the best care possible and treating pets as if they were our own.
Below are some links of local shelters who adopt out senior pets:
Today we will be discussing Otitis Externa; one of the most common reasons that a pet is brought into the clinic for being sick. Otitis externa is an infection or inflammation of the external ear canal. The clinical signs include shaking the head, pawing or scratching at the ears, debris (aka goo) inside the ears, and sometimes a bad smell coming from the ears.
When a pet is suspected of having an ear infection, the veterinarian will use an otoscope to look down inside the ear canal. We can see inflammation, discharge, blood, and can more easily access the severity of the infection. Often times a sample of is taken and checked on the microscope to determine if the dog or cat just has dirty ears or if there is yeast or bacteria involved. Rarely, a pet may have ear mites. We can also diagnose this via microscope at the clinic.
How does a pet get an ear infection? There are many breeds that are predisposed to infections because they have long, floppy ears. Floppy ears are great for trapping debris inside the canal, little to no air flow can get inside, and they provide a great environment for bacteria and yeast to thrive. Many dogs that go swimming seem to be predisposed to ear infections as well. Dog ear canals are shaped like an L, the water is trapped and bacteria and yeast have a party, they love a moist ear canal!
What happens if your pet has an ear infection? Once we diagnose an infection, we will clean the ears out and prescribe a topical medication to be used at home. There are many different medicines on the market, and we choose based on the organisms present in the ears, ease of use, and duration of use. Mites can also be treated with a topical medication as well. Rarely, we might also prescribe an oral antibiotic if the infection is serious. We recommend returning in two weeks for a recheck to be sure the infection has been resolved.
Cats and dogs with recurrent ear infections can be helped tremendously by cleaning the ears out periodically with an ear solution made for cats and dogs. This is also useful for dogs that swim frequently.
If you think your pet is showing signs of having an ear infection, give us a call in Springfield at 217-529-4499. Or if your pet is at risk of developing ear infections, contact your veterinarian about preventative measures you can take now to avoid having to treat an infection in the future. Our mission is to provide high quality, compassionate veterinary care with a personal touch. We strive to maintain a friendly and comfortable environment for pets and owners and are committed to building strong, respectful, and honest relationships with our clients. Through teamwork, we are dedicated to ensuring the best care possible and treating pets as if they were our own.
It is more common than you think, and many people don't think there's much you can do about it. However, storm phobia in dogs can be alleviated or at least reduced by trying several different tactics and treatments. September is disaster preparedness month, so let's dive right into how to help Fido conquer his fears.
First of all, your dog can sense a storm LONG before you can, sometimes even hours before it happens. The single most important thing for us humans to remember is that we must take steps to control the anxiety BEFORE our canine companion becomes agitated by the impeding weather. Once they start to get worked up, it becomes much more difficult to help them relax.
A few changes can be made to your dog's environment to help them feel more comfortable.
1) Small spaces - dog's have been tamed for years but their instincts remain intact. In the wild, they hole up in small dens for protection and sleep. Try confining them to a smaller room or even allow them to bed down in the bathtub or their kennel if they like it in there.
2) Noise distraction - sometimes it is beneficial to play the radio, music, or have a tv on as white noise to help drown out the sound of thunder, wind, and rain.
3) Your Presence - your dog takes a lot of comfort when you are around to keep them safe, but we can't always be home. If the weather is predicting storms, try leaving one of your shirts near your dog's safe place or bed so they have your smell to help comfort them.
There is also a new product that you may have heard of in recent years called the thunder shirt. Many of our clients have used it successfully, not only for storm phobia but also other anxiety related behaviors as well. You can find these at most pet stores and online. The idea behind the shirt is that is fits your dog snuggly, thus giving them comfort (much like a tight, small space).
Lastly, if you have tried all of these tactics above but your dog still has major fear when it comes to bad weather, please call your veterinarian to discuss your options. There are medical treatments that can help, but that is a last resort after other methods are exhausted. Ultimately, your pet's safety is the utmost importance, and most dog's can be helped with medication when nothing else does.
If you have a dog you think may have storm anxiety, give us a call (217-529-4499) and we'll talk to you about some things to try at home. Our mission is to provide high quality, compassionate veterinary care with a personal touch. We strive to maintain a friendly and comfortable environment for pets and owners and are committed to building strong, respectful, and honest relationships with our clients. Through teamwork, we are dedicated to ensuring the best care possible and treating pets as if they were our own.