Senior Pets

We love our pets – they bring us joy, companionship, laughter and… sometimes frustration.  And they give us unconditional love.  In return, we care for them and love them back as best we can.

Beep gets a hug during water therapy for arthritis with Tracie

Beep gets a hug during water therapy for arthritis with Tracie

But we hate the thought of our pets becoming “seniors” – just as much if not more than we hate to think of ourselves as seniors!  So it’s only natural that we hesitate to bring our pets in more often than the usual annual exam.

At the clinic, we frequently hear “My 8 year old dog seems perfectly healthy.  He just has some typical old age stuff like trouble getting up from lying down.  Do I really need to bring him in?”

If you were in pain and having trouble getting up, wouldn’t you go to the doctor to see if you could get something to relieve the pain?  And are you sure that it is just “typical old age stuff”?  Better to get it checked out and get some suggestions from Dr. Frank to keep your dog or cat comfortable and pain-free for as long as possible.

Keep in mind that our pets, particularly cats, are very good at hiding any signs of illness, it is their survival instinct.  By the time you are seeing symptoms, the illness or disease has typically been progressing for some time.

Q: “So how often should I bring my 10 year old cat in for an exam?”

Remember, your pets age 5-7 years faster than we do.  So an annual exam is the equivalent of you going to the doctor every 5-7 years.  A lot can happen in 7 years!  Dr. Frank recommends an exam every six months starting at age 7 for dogs and starting at age 10 for cats.  This provides an opportunity for Dr. Frank to see changes that we don’t notice on a daily basis.   It also allows an informative discussion twice a year about ways to prevent common age-related illnesses or diseases.

Sarah at 16

Sarah at 16 years young

Q: “What can the Doctor see that I can’t see?”

At each exam Dr. Frank will do a thorough check of your pet’s eyes, ears, teeth, skin and joints.  He may recommend blood work to monitor organ function such as the kidneys, liver or thyroid glands, as well as answer any questions you may have.  Dr. Frank will also palpate the abdomen, feeling for abnormalities such as enlarged organs, lymph nodes or masses.

Dr. Frank’s experience and expertise at feeling and seeing abnormalities or changes that we may not even notice is invaluable.  Sometimes we don’t notice because it has been such a gradual change.  Sometimes changes are within an internal organ that requires a vet’s training and skill to detect.

Q: “Is there really anything that can be done to prevent illness?”

This is the reason why Dr. Frank chose the name of our clinic to be “Wellness Center” rather than veterinary hospital.  Our goal is to promote wellness, not just diagnose and treat illness.  Preventive care such as diet, supplements, exercise and regular wellness exams are the best way to keep our pets healthy for as long as possible.

There is no blanket prescription for every pet, as each is unique.  But Dr. Frank can discuss the best wellness plan for your cat or dog, helping you to keep your beloved pet healthy and happy for as long as possible.

Food and your pet – Food Energetics

My apologies for the gap since our last info-rich post.  As the clinic gets busier during the summer months, we’ve needed to adjust timing a bit.  The good news is, this post has a boatload of great information for you.  And we’ll be working very hard to post more frequently going forward – Yea!

Two of three cuties at their appointment

Most of us know our pets can have mild or severe food allergies.  Your new kitten gets diarrhea every time you feed him a canned food with salmon in it, though that doesn’t happen with the same brand that contains only chicken.  Or your Saint Bernard has the same problem every time you feed her a dry food or treat with corn in it. 

And many of us know how we personally feel different when we eat different foods – eating a salad gives you more energy, while eating a salad calms your best friend down.  But few of us know how to determine what foods may affect our pets in subtle or not-so-subtle ways. 

Today Dr. Frank answers questions on Food Energetics, a fascinating topic he is passionate about.  Continue reading

Dry food, Dog teeth, and Puppies

Bear, Beth, Ellie, Fiona, Lady, Rose, Tank and Zoe

Large or small, puppies are always too cute for words and these Belgian Malinois puppies are no exception to that rule as they wait in our exam room for Dr. Frank.   

Whether your pet grows into a large dog like these puppies or stays very small like our client’s Boston Terrier puppy below, doesn’t matter. 
Fiona in David’s arm

All dogs need healthy teeth and gums – puppy or adult, Tibetan Mastiff or Teacup Yorkie mix.  This week’s Q&A covers questions we are frequently asked by current and new clients, so we thought the answers might be useful to you.

Some ads imply that a crunchy dry food or kibble will help clean your pet’s teeth or at least help them stay clean.  Is that really true?  Will a dry food at least keep my pet’s teeth cleaner than a canned food?  If you’ve had those questions pop into your head when you see an ad or commercial about dog food, read on… Continue reading

What is an Alternative vet exam?

An alternative exam can cover different things depending on your vet’s holistic specialties.  In Dr. Frank’s practice an alternative exam is a Traditional Chinese Veterinary Medicine (TCVM) exam.

In honor of talking about Traditional Chinese Veterinary Medicine, today we have a photo Dr. Frank’s very sweet, soft and silky Chinese Crested dog, Punky.

Punky in 2010

Punky at the Clinic

Here is a little of what the American Kennel Club website says about Cresteds:  “A fine-boned, elegant toy dog that craves human companionship, the Crested comes in two varieties. The Hairless has soft, silky hair on its head (crest), tail (plume) and feet (socks). Wherever the body is hairless the skin is soft and smooth.  The Powderpuff is entirely covered with a double soft, straight coat.  The two types often come from the same litter.  Any color or combination of colors is allowed…

It is believed that Chinese mariners sailed with this breed…  During the time of the Chinese plagues, hairless dogs were stowed aboard ships to hunt vermin. By the mid-nineteenth century, Cresteds began appearing in European art, and entries of the breed in American dog shows began in the late 1800s.”

In the photo, Punky is waiting for Dr. Frank on the couch in our reception area.  On to Harmony’s alternative exam. Continue reading