Monthly Archives

April 2015

Senior Dog Guidelines

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Senior Dog Guidelines

At the age of about 7 to 8 years, most dogs enter the senior years. In large breeds, the transition happens even earlier, while small breeds are considered senior when about 10 years old. The end of the middle age and beginning of the senior years usually go unnoticed but expect gradual changes in both behavior and physiology.

Age-Related Changes and Health Issues in Senior Dogs

As in humans, age brings a number of changes in dogs as well. Not all are bad. Senior dogs usually have fewer behavioral problems, are calmer, have good manners, etc. Unfortunately, age can also bring a number of health problems which, if not treated/managed promptly and properly, can seriously affect your pet’s quality of life.

Many ailments that are more likely to affect senior dogs – such as arthritis, kidney disease, diabetes, dementia and cancer – are difficult to detect because they don’t cause any obvious physical symptoms. At least not in their early stages. As they begin to advance, however, there will be indications that something is wrong. For example, if your dog is getting increasingly inactive, shows no interest in going for a walk or/and is reluctant to move in the first place, he may be suffering from arthritis. On the other hand, not every change in your dog’s mood or behavior is a sign of a disease. Also, the mentioned health problems are not limited to senior dogs but can affect their younger counterparts as well. Nevertheless, the risk increases dramatically with age.

Helping Senior Dogs Stay Happy and Healthy, and Live Longer

Doberman Elder

Quality of life of senior dogs and their longevity to a large extent depend on their owners. To help your senior dog stay happy and healthy, and live longer you are recommended to:

– Provide your dog with healthy, nutritionally balanced diet. Please note that nutritional requirements of senior dogs are slightly different and that dogs with some medical conditions require a special diet. Contact your veterinarian if you have any questions or doubts about your pet’s diet.

– Make sure that your dog is getting enough exercise. It will help him maintain a healthy body weight and reduce the risk/help manage a number of health problems including arthritis and diabetes. Be sure to adjust exercise/physical activity and its intensity to your dog’s health and fitness level.

– See your vet on a regular basis. All health problems including age-related ailments can be treated/managed a lot easier if detected early. In addition to looking for obvious signs of potential health problems, your veterinarian will also look for signs of diseases that often lie hidden until reaching the advanced stage.

– Keep up with the vaccination schedule. With age, the immune system gets weaker which means that senior dogs are more likely to contract infectious diseases and develop a more severe form of illness. For that reason, it is highly important to keep up with the vaccination schedule.

– Contact your vet immediately if noticing any behavioral changes or other signs that may indicate a health problem. Pay especially close attention to signs such as lack of appetite, weight loss, excessive drooling, increased drinking and urination, persistent constipation or diarrhea, lumps and sores that don’t heal.

Skin Problems in Pets

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Skin Problems in Pets

Skin problems in dogs and cats are relatively common. They manifest themselves in visible changes on the skin or/and fur but they can also result in changes in your pet’s behavior such as compulsive scratching, licking and chewing. The most common culprits of skin problems in pets include:

– Yeast and Fungal Infections

If your dog is constantly scratching his ear or/and shaking his head, there is a great chance that he has yeast infection. The same yeast species can also cause an infection on other parts of the body, resulting in skin redness and scabby/crusty patches. In cats, problems with ears usually don’t indicate yeast infection but rather mite infestation. The latter can be recognized by dark, coffee-colored deposits in the ears. Fortunately, both types of ear infection are relatively easily treated with topical medications.

Ringworm is another relatively common skin problem that is caused by fungal infection and can affect both dogs and cats. Characterized by circular, ring-like skin lesions, ringworm is highly contagious and can also be transmitted to humans and vice versa. This skin problem requires an immediate treatment with anti-fungal medications and a series of measures to prevent the infection from spreading to other pets and humans.

– Bacterial Infections

Just like in humans, many bacterial skin infections in pets are caused by bacteria that are naturally found on the skin and under normal circumstances cause no harm. But when the balance between the microorganisms on the skin is disrupted, for example by a disease or skin damage/injury, the normally non-pathogenic (harmless) bacteria can become pathogenic. The good news is that most bacterial skin infections can be successfully treated with antibiotics. Signs and symptoms depend on the bacteria species that is responsible for the infection.

– Parasitic Infections

In addition to mites that can cause a very unpleasant ear infection and other skin problems including sores, scabbing and hair loss/bald spots (mange mites), symptoms such as skin redness, itching, flaking and similar skin/coat changes can also be caused by other parasites such as fleas. Fortunately, they can easily be treated at home with flea control products, many of which also provide protection against other parasites, both internal and external.

– Allergic Reactions, Seasonal Changes, Stress

Skin problems in pets can also indicate an allergy to food, environmental factors and even pollen. Symptoms such as dry skin and flakiness, on the other hand, may be due to seasonal changes – pets have drier skin during the winter too. Skin problems are sometimes also the result of compulsive scratching, licking and chewing which in turn can be triggered by a number of things including stress.

– Underlying Medical Condition

Changes in the appearance or texture of the fur may also be a symptom of a disease such as diabetes, immune system disorder, hormonal imbalances, metabolic problems, etc., ranging from minor health concerns to potentially life-threatening conditions.

Contact Your Vet If

Your pet has any visible skin/coat changes or is displaying discomfort in the form of scratching, licking or chewing. Note that it is normal for dogs and cats to shed. However, take your pet to a vet as soon as possible if hair loss is severe or if having any bald spots.

Woof Wine and Dine

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Woof Wine and Dine: What it is…

 

Join us for a food samples from fine dining restaurants, beer & wine tasting, basket raffles,
the Rotary Club of Roseville’s Muttini Bar, live music and more!

Woof Wine and Dine: What we’ll be doing

 

As part of Rocklin Road Animal Hospital’s commitment to the community, we are volunteering our services at the Pet First Aid table during the event.

Woof Wine and Dine: Itinerary

May 29th

Vernon Street Town Square
311 Vernon Street Roseville
6:30 – 9:30 p.m.

We’ll see you there!

 

Van Gough up for Adoption

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Van Gough up for Adoption

He gets along very well with other cats! Not sure about dogs as he hasn’t lived with them yet.  He has a very easy going personality.

He is a beautiful 4 year old boy who lost his mommy on Easter due to cancer. He is currently being fostered but only has until April 17.

Van Gough Contact Information

For information email Patti Robison HERE.

 

Flea & Tick Awareness

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Flea & Tick Awareness

Fleas and ticks are blood-sucking bugs that can make your pet miserable. And since they are drawn to human blood as well, they can become a serious issue for your family too. In addition, they can cause various health problems, especially ticks. They transmit all sorts of diseases which can be fatal for your pet and cause very serious illness in humans: Lyme disease, Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever, tick-borne meningoencephalitis and tularemia, to mention only a few. Any signs of flea and/0r tick infestation therefore require prompt action although prevention is the best way to deal with both types of parasites.

Flea & Tick Transmission

Ticks are most often contracted in the woods and high grass. They simply hang on the grass and low shrubs, and wait for a suitable host to come by. And they can wait for months because they can survive up to one year without feeding. But they can also be preying on your pet elsewhere. Including in your backyard. And so can fleas which, just like ticks, can get literally to your doorstep by falling off an infected animal passing by.

Flea & Tick Symptoms

Life Cycle of the Flea

Both fleas and ticks are easily detectable. If you notice tiny dark spots moving in your pet’s coat, or/and black/white specks, your pet has fleas. You should also check your pet’s fur for fleas if your four-legged friend is constantly scratching or if there are any bald patches, visible skin irritation, scabs or hot spots (in dogs).

Ticks may go unnoticed for a few days – until their body fills with blood to the extent that they can be both felt and seen. They can attach on any part of the body but they prefer the ears, head and paws (in dogs). In cats, they are most often found on the head near the ears or eyes.

Flea & Tick Treatment

Fleas are relatively easily treated with various flea control products including shampoos, sprays, dusts and spot-on products, some of which also eliminate other parasites and work as preventives at the same time. They are available over-the-counter but you are advised to consult your veterinarian about the advantages and disadvantages of particular products, and things such as dosage, safety, etc.

As much as ticks are concerned, they should be physically removed. Immediately! Grab the tick with tweezers as close to the skin as possible and gently pull straight up. Don’t twist the tick and don’t try to “suffocate” it with petroleum jelly, alcohol or nail polish. Also, never handle ticks with bare hands. If you are not using tweezers, protect your hands with gloves or tissue paper.

Flea & Tick Prevention

There are many products that provide an effective protection against both fleas and ticks, with the most popular being collars and spot-on products. You are recommended to ask your veterinarian for advice in the selection of the best flea/tick preventives for your pet, especially if being very young/senior, having a medical condition or pregnant/nursing.

Even though the available flea/tick preventives are very effective, you are advised take these simple measures to further reduce the risk of fleas and ticks getting onto your pet:

– vacuum your home on a regular basis
– wash pet bedding at high temperatures every week
– keep the grass in your backyard short and regularly trim the shrubs
– keep garbage cans covered and pet food out of reach to stray and wild animals
– regularly inspect your pet for fleas and ticks

Heartworm Awareness

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Heartworm Awareness

Heartworm (Dirofilaria immitis) is a parasitic worm that is responsible for the so-called heartworm disease, a very serious condition that affects both dogs and cats. Also relatively common in wolves, foxes, coyotes and other mammals, the worm is endemic to all 50 states. It lives and reproduces in the heart, lung and respective vessels of the infected animal. If left untreated, it can cause serious health complications and even death due to heart failure or damage to other inner organs.

Heartworm Transmission

Heartworms are transmitted by infected mosquitoes. When a mosquito bites the infected animal, it contracts microfilaria or tiny baby worms that live in the blood system. However, it doesn’t become the carrier of the infection immediately. The mosquito transmits the infection only when microfilaria develop into larvae, which takes a few days. Heartworm cannot be transmitted directly from one animal to another.

Symptoms of Heartworm Disease

In the early stage of the disease, infected dogs and cats usually have no symptoms. But as the worms increase in size or/and number, they begin to cause damage to the heart, lungs, blood vessels or/and other inner organs. Symptoms in this stage may include coughing, vomiting, loss of appetite, weight loss and abdominal swelling in both dogs and cats. Both can also experience heart failure and death without any prior warning signs.

Signs of heartworm disease in dogs may also include the so-called caval syndrome, a life-threatening condition that is caused by the worms blocking blood flow through the right side of the heart. This complication often affects dogs with no prior symptoms of infestation and requires surgical removal of the worms to prevent death. Cats, on the other hand, may develop the so-called heartworm associated respiratory disease (HARD) causing asthma/bronchitis like symptoms.

Tests and Diagnosis

Heartworm disease in both dogs and cats is diagnosed with blood tests although a slightly different procedure is used to detect the presence of the worms in cats. In addition to taking a small blood sample, the veterinarian may also use ultrasound or x-ray to confirm or rule out heartworm infection.

Treatment of Heartworm Disease

Heartworm infection in dogs can be successfully treated, especially if detected early. Unfortunately, there is no Life cycle of Heart wormsapproved treatment for cats (that used to kill the worms in dogs isn’t appropriate for feline pets). Otherwise healthy cats with mild to moderate symptoms are usually only monitored. Severe infections require intervention either in the form of corticosteroids or surgical removal of the worms to prevent complications.

Prevention of Heartworm Infection

Prevention is the best (and the cheapest) heartworm treatment for both dogs and cats. Several types of drugs are available to protect your pet from heartworms (and some other parasites as well): pills, topicals and injections. Ask your veterinarian for advice on the selection of preventive medication and have your pet tested for the disease. Dogs should be tested once a year even if being on a year-round preventive treatment. Cats should be tested for heartworm infection before starting the preventive therapy and re-tested as recommended by your veterinarian.