September is Senior Pet Care month.
With the improved veterinary care and dietary habits our four legged family members are living longer. As the family dogs and cats are getting older they are experiencing some of the problems seen in older people. Aging is not a disease, but rather complex biological process influenced by your pets genetics, environment, nutrition, life style and the stress levels that effect the progressive degenerative changes to the body tissues.
How old is your pet?
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Health Problems that can effect senior dogs and cats:
- Heart disease
- Kidney and urinary tract disease
- Arthritis/Degenerative joint disease
Older cats and dogs are creatures of habit. When your pet’s habits and routine change, that may be a sign something is not right. Look for any of the following signs or changes:
- Weight Loss
- Decrease or lack of appetite.
- Increased water intake
- Change in urination or defecation pattern, which could result in an increased frequency of urination or defecation, loose stool, bloody urine or stools, urinating or defecating in the house, loosing house breaking skill.
- Lumps, bumps, or swelling
- Persistent coughing
- Difficulty breathing or rapid breathing that persists
- Difficulty climbing stairs, getting on or office beds or furniture, getting in/out of cars
- Loss of consciousness Disorientation,
- Decreased Human contact
Sometimes these signs maybe interpreted as signs of normal aging. Unfortunately, ignoring the above signs may lead to disease progression and advancement. This can limit the treatment options, and make management of your pet’s disease more complicated. If you see any of the above signs or symptoms, please call Bullard–Marks immediately, so that we can access you pet’s medical condition.
When should we euthanize a pet? How will we know it’s the right time?
This can be an incredibly difficult question for both the owner and the veterinarian, and is often a very tough decision to make. Sometimes, euthanasia is obviously the best thing to do for your pet. At other times, however, it can be less clear. An open discussion with your veterinarian, including an honest evaluation of your pet’s quality of life, should help you make the decision.
One way to determine if your aging pet is still enjoying life and can remain with us a little longer is by using a “Quality of Life” scale to determine if the animal’s basic needs are being met. This scale can be helpful for the veterinarian and pet owner when deciding what is best for your pet. In this scale, pets are scored on a scale of 1 through 10 in each category, with 10 being the highest score for quality of life. Again, only an honest evaluation of each category will help with the decision. Because the scoring is subjective, this score should be a part, but not the sole driver, of your decision based on your pet’s individual situation.
Quality of Life (HHHHHMM Scale)
|0-10||HURT Adequate pain control (including breathing ability)|
|0-10||HUNGER Is the pet eating enough? Does the pet require hand-feeding or a feeding tube?|
|0-10||HYDRATION Is the pet dehydrated? Does it need subcutaneous fluids?|
|0-10||HYGIENE Pet needs to be brushed and clean, especially after elimination|
|0-10||HAPPINESS Does the pet express joy/interest? Does it respond to its environment? Does the pet show signs of boredom/loneliness/anxiety/fear?|
|0-10||MOBILITY Can the pet get up without assistance does the pet want to go for a walk? Is the pet experiencing seizures/stumbling?|
|0-10||MORE GOOD THAN BAD When bad days start to outnumber good days, the quality of life becomes compromised and euthanasia needs to be considered|
|Total||A total of 35 points is considered acceptable for a quality of life score|
Special Offer for Senior Pets:
If your family dogs and cats over the age of seven years, Bullard-Marks is offering a Senior Pet Care Special for the month of September. The senior pet care special will include a physical exam, with blood work to access kidney, liver, thyroid, and pancreas function test. A complete CBC, Fecal and a urinalysis will also be done. Blood Pressure, an Ultrasound or radiographies of the chest, abdomin, spine or legs may be recommended if the veterinarian finds health issues, on the physical exam, that can be better defined and managed with radiographies or ultrasound.
BULLARD-MARKS WILL OFFER A 20% DISCOUNT ON LABORATORY TESTS
Call the office at (559) 432-0887 to schedule an exam.