Purrs and Peeps
Senior pets have different care requirements than those of a younger pet. This fact probably doesn’t come as a surprise to anyone. But how do you know when your pet is considered to be a senior?
It really depends on the individual pet. In general, giant breed dogs age faster than smaller breed dogs. And cats age about as fast as a small dog. Genetics, nutrition, environment; all of these also play a role in how fast your pet ages.
What might surprise is what to expect when your pet ages. Pets actually age a lot like humans do and experience many of the same ailments and conditions. When a senior pet comes to our veterinary hospital we are checking for early signs of kidney, liver, and heart disease. Additionally, we evaluate for the beginning of arthritis and diabetes. As is true in human medicine, early detection allows for early intervention thus helping to prevent serious harm and/or slow the progression of the disease, which can increase your pet’s quality of life and add to the number of years you get to enjoy your pet. This is a key reason we recommend bringing your senior pet in at least twice a year for a check-up and do health screening tests, such as bloodwork annually. Think of these tests as an “internal physical examination” of your pet. We can evaluate organ function and screen for many of the problems facing pets in their older years. A health plan formulated to meet the needs of your aging pets will provide a higher quality of life for them and early intervention in most disease processes will minimize or slow the damage from disease, which can help avoid major health emergencies pets face when these diseases go undetected.
This month we would like to invite you to bring in your pet aged 10 years or older for a FREE EXAM. Give us a call to schedule your appointment at (503) 395-1649. (Offer valid July 1-31, 2017)
When pets are scratching at their skin, most people first think “FLEAS!”, but that might actually not be the cause of the scratching at all. If you don’t see fleas on your pet and they are still scratching or their skin looks irritated, there could be a number of causes. With a simple procedure called a skin surface cytology, we can get a better look at what is happening on the surface of your pet’s skin.
Some conditions that can be identified by a skin surface cytology are:
- · Infectious agents
- · Yeast overgrowth
- · Bacteria
- · Mites
- · Cancer
We can also detect the difference between allergies and infection by doing a skin cytology. This procedure is a quick, easy, and painless wait to get answers about what is happening on your pet’s skin and will help us determine the best treatment plan for your pet!
If your pet is feeling itchy, has irritated skin, or hair loss, we are offering a free skin surface cytology during the month of June with any paid office visit. Call us at 503-395-1649 to schedule your pet’s office visit and skin surface cytology!
With warmer weather arriving, you may start noticing fleas on your pet, in your house, or in your yard! Fleas can cause many problems for both your pet and your family. These troublesome parasites can cause skin irritations and transmit a number of harmful diseases, which is why regular, year-round treatment for fleas is highly advised for your pet.
First and foremost, though, it is important to be familiar with the life cycle of the flea in order to be effective at controlling or treating any flea infestations.
The life cycle of the flea consists of four stages: egg, larva, pupa, adult. Fleas are found throughout the country, and their total life cycle can range between a couple of weeks to several months. Ultimately, fleas thrive in environments where temperatures remain somewhere between 70-85 degrees Fahrenheit, with a 70% humidity rate.
The flea life cycle begins when an adult female feeds off of your pet’s blood, which is a necessary step for an adult flea to reproduce. After the blood meal, the female will lay her eggs. Flea eggs are small, white objects usually slightly smaller than a grain of sand that are laid in your pet’s fur by a single adult female. She deposits the eggs in bunches of about 20, and can lay around 50 eggs every day.
The eggs can take anywhere from two days to three weeks to hatch, depending on the temperature and humidity levels. The warmer the climate, the faster the eggs will hatch, which is why we see such an increase in adult fleas in the summer months. Once the eggs have hatched, larvae emerge and the next stage of the flea life cycle begins.
Upon hatching, the flea larva are blind and tend to avoid being out in the light. The size of flea larva can vary according to climate and environment. They are transparent in color, which makes them difficult to see. Although the larva are legless, they do have small hairs along their bodies that allow them to actively move within any given environment.
The larva continue to develop over the course of several weeks and feed off of pre-digested blood matter, called flea dirt, and other organic matter within the environment that other adult fleas pass along. Within 5-20 days of hatching, the larva will then spin cocoons and pupate, much like a butterfly.
The pupae stage is the third and final stage of development for a flea before emerging as an adult. Wrapped in its cocoon, the pupae are protected for several days or weeks and will not emerge until conditions are right. The cocoon can remain intact for several months, and even years, if the environmental conditions are not right for emergence.
Unlike the eggs, flea cocoons have a sticky outer layer that allows them to remain hidden on your pet, and nearly impossible to remove from carpet or bedding during vacuuming or sweeping.
The adult flea will only emerge from the pupa once it has identified a potential host by sensing body heat, raised levels of carbon dioxide, and vibrations which are all triggered by either your or your pet’s movements through the pupa’s environment. These changes in environment drive the flea to emerge from its cocoon to feed.
When the adult flea has emerged from the cocoon, it has an immediate need to begin feeding from a host. Adult fleas appear as small, dark pests with flat bodies, and become larger and lighter in color once they have begun feeding. An adult flea spends the majority of its time feeding and living on the host, with a lifespan of anywhere between two weeks to several months. It is only shortly after eating that an adult flea will breed and begin to lay eggs within a few days, and the whole life cycle begins again.
FLEA CONTROL AND PREVENTION
Regular treatment is highly recommended for controlling and preventing flea infestations. Along with a preventative treatment for your pet, you should also consider products that will help treat your yard and home.
We offer a variety of flea, tick, and heartworm preventive products at our veterinary hospital and would be happy to discuss what the best options would be for your pet and lifestyle. During the month of May, we are offering a FREE OFFICE VISIT with the purchase of a 12-month supply of flea, tick, or heartworm prevention. Give us a call at (503) 395-1649!
From anemia to leukemia and liver disease to renal failure, Wellness Blood Testing helps us detect what a normal physical exam can’t show us. In fact, blood testing can frequently detect illness in your pet before we see any outward signs of disease. Testing gives immediate insights that we might not otherwise discover and, treating your pet early can lead to a better outcome and possibly lower treatment costs. This is why we recommend annual wellness bloodwork for all pets. You may wonder why we recommend doing this once a year and the reason is because it’s important for us to have a baseline of your pet’s bloodwork values so we can monitor their results more accurately in the future.
So what’s included in Wellness Blood Testing?
Complete Blood Count (CBC)
Red Blood Cells: Red blood cells are the most numerous and longest-living of the different types of blood cells. They typically make up almost half of the blood’s volume. RBCs contain a special protein called hemoglobin (HGB) that binds to the oxygen in the lungs and enables the RBCs to transport oxygen as it travels through the rest of the body.
The CBC is used to screen for: anemia, leukemia, inflammation, bleeding problems, infection, inability to fight infection, stress, and hydration status.
Kidneys: Kidneys are responsible for filtering metabolic waste products, excess sodium and water from the blood stream, which are then transferred to the bladder for excretion.
Kidneys - Blood and urine tests can indicate: early renal disease, cancer, renal failure, abnormalities resulting from long-term medication, infection, and stones.
Liver: The liver is a large organ with many different functions. It processes the blood by removing both bacterial and toxins as well as further breaking down many of the complex nutrients absorbed during the digestion of food into much small components for use by the rest of the body.
Liver Biochemistry tests can indicate: liver disease, obstruction of the bile ducts, Cushing’s syndrome, certain cancers, dehydration, and abnormalities resulting from long-term medications
Pancreas: The pancreas is a small organ located near the small intestines and is responsible for producing several digestive enzymes and hormones that help regulate metabolism
Pancreas Biochemistry tests can indicate: Pancreatitis (inflammation of the pancreas), abnormalities resulting from long-term medications, diabetes mellitus, and cancer
Glucose: Glucose is the basic nutrient for the body. Glucose changes may be seen with a variety of metabolic diseases, such as diabetes and various organ system abnormalities.
Electrolytes: Electrolytes are critical to the body function and must be maintained in narrow limits. Dehydration is a common cause of electrolyte imbalance.
Urinalysis: Although not a blood test, a urinalysis is essential for a comprehensive evaluation of kidney function. A urinalysis includes physical, chemical, and microscopic evaluation of the urine.
Thyroid: Thyroxine, a hormone produced by the thyroid gland, is essential for growth and metabolism. As your pet ages, thyroid function can become abnormal and cause signs of disease.
Thyroid – Endocrine tests can indicate: hypothyroidism and hyperthyroidism
During the month of April, we are offering 20% off all Wellness Bloodwork. This is a limited time offer*, so please call us at 503-395-1649 to schedule your appointment!
*Offer valid April 1-30, 2017
We are often asked why indoor only pets must be vaccinated against rabies. For starters, it’s the law. Rabies is a fatal disease that is easily prevented with vaccination.
The virus that causes rabies is transmitted through the saliva of infected animals. In our area, the raccoon is the main carrier of the disease. However, any mammal is a potential threat, including foxes, bats, and skunks.
So why must indoor-only pets be vaccinated against rabies? Because things happen — bats get into homes through air conditioning units and raccoons climb down chimneys. While this may seem unlikely, the consequences are severe. If your animal is exposed to a potentially rabid animal and is overdue for a rabies vaccination, it is required that the animal be either euthanized or kept under a strict six-month quarantine. Domestic animals accounted for 7% of all rabid animals in the United States in 2008, and rabies is still responsible for 2-3 human deaths each year.
Rabies kills humans and it is endemic to our area. So not only is rabies vaccination required by law, it is essential in controlling the spread of this disease and paramount in keeping your family protected. Whether you have a 3-lb. Yorkie that barely leaves your lap or a 15-year-old housecat that has retired to bird-watching from the window, rabies vaccination is necessary for all pets.
We’re hoping we can make the decision to vaccinate your pet against rabies an easy one by offering FREE rabies vaccines for dogs and ½ price rabies vaccines for cats during the month of March with any paid exam! So, if your pet needs their vaccines updated, this is a great opportunity to get that done at a much lower cost than normal. Call us today at 503-395-1649 to schedule your pet’s exam and rabies vaccine!