12677 County Road 472, Lindale, TX 75771

Lindale Pet Hospital blog

Preventive Care Helps Your Senior Pet Age Well

9/5/2017
You may have heard that one year in a dog or cat’s life is equivalent to seven years for a human. That isn’t quite accurate. According to the American Veterinary Association, the aging formula for companion animals goes more like this:
  • Fifteen human years by the end of the first year
  • An additional nine human years for the second year
  • An additional five human years for each year thereafter
No matter how you calculate it, there’s no denying that dogs and cats age significantly faster than people do. Many begin to experience health problems associated with middle age around age seven and officially become seniors by age ten. That’s why we recommend more frequent preventive care exams for pets starting around midlife. When you consider that one year is like five years for an older pet, it makes sense to come in for a check-up at least twice a year.
 
Common Health Issues in Senior Pets
We tend to diagnose these problems more often in middle-aged and senior dogs and cats than we do in younger ones:
 
Arthritis: The cartilage in bones acts as a cushion to prevent them from rubbing together. The normal aging process causes the cartilage to wear away, which leads to inflammation and pain. Some indications your pet could have arthritis include loud vocalizing when you pick her up, stiff gait when walking, reluctance to jump, and over-reliance on some limbs while avoiding using others.
 
Cancer: The three most common types of cancer in cats include squamous cell carcinoma, lymphoma, and soft-tissue sarcoma. Dogs present most often with hemangiosarcoma, lymphosarcoma, and osteosarcoma. Look for early signs such as unintended weight loss, low energy, behavior changes, and slow-healing wounds.
 
Diabetes: Aging, obesity, genetic inheritance, and several other factors can cause the pancreas to produce inadequate amounts of insulin, which gives your pet energy. Typical symptoms of diabetes in pets include irritability, increased need to urinate, fatigue, unintended weight loss, and distorted vision.
 
Kidney disease: Toxins can start building in your dog or cat’s kidneys and cause her extreme pain. Your pet needs healthy kidneys to properly eliminate waste products. Waste material remaining in the body can cause infection. Symptoms to look for include soiling accidents, vomiting, weight loss, fatigue, and increased desire for water.
 
Senility: Cognitive changes affect at least half of all senior dogs and cats. Your pet may display agitation, aggressive behavior, or anxiety that he’s never shown in the past. He may also forget skills he’s already learned. Soiling accidents are common at this stage.
 
Help Your Senior Pet Age Gracefully
Bi-annual preventive care exams at Lindale Pet Hospital allow Dr. Koten to detect and treat new health issues as soon as possible. Remember that dogs and cats are masters at disguising pain and that you might not even notice anything is wrong. This goes back to their evolutionary need not to appear weak to predators. 
 
Additionally, we carry a variety of products in our online store to help you take great care of your older pet. From foods for special diets to toys to keep the mind sharp, you can find what you need at MyVetStoreOnline.
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Kids Headed Back to School? Watch Your Pet for Signs of Separation Anxiety

8/26/2017
It’s August, and that means millions of kids go back to school either this month or by early September. After a long summer together that was probably more unstructured than the school year, both your kids and pets might not be ready for the change. While your children can express their anxious feelings, your pets can’t do the same. Don’t feel surprised if your dog or cat expresses longing for his young friends in a variety of ways. The most common signs of separation anxiety include:
  • Destructive chewing
  • Howling by dogs and loud vocalizations for cats
  • Lack of appetite
  • Pacing
  • Soiling in the house
  • Trying to escape the yard to run after your children
Cats may also groom themselves excessively to the point of causing bald spots. While dogs tend to become more aggressive when feeling anxious, cats may hide and show more fearful behavior.
 
Distract Your Pet When Your Children Leave
Distraction is a useful tool in helping to keep your pet’s mind off her friend who has gone to school. For dogs, try filling a Kong with peanut butter or another favorite treat that she must work to uncover. A catnip-filled mouse will help distract your cat from what’s taking place at the front door. If other people are home, someone should interact with the pet while your children leave to catch the bus. If everyone leaves the house at the same time, be sure that your dog or cat gets plenty of attention from at least one person.
 
Provide a Stimulating Environment When Your Pet is Home Alone
Be sure to rotate your pet’s toys frequently if he must be alone for long periods. The toys will be a novelty and help him feel less lonely. Dogs love any chew toy and need a comfortable place to sleep for naps. Your cat should have scratching posts, one or more perches to look out the window, hiding places, and toys as well. Leaving soft music on in the background while your family is away can help to calm anxiety also.
 
Both dogs and cats have a strong sense of smell and associate different aromas with their human family. It can be a comfort to your pet to leave something out that your children wear or use often as it will contain their unique human scent.
 
Make Sure Your Pet Gets Plenty of Attention
Your pet will adjust to the back-to-school change more quickly if everyone in the family gives her several minutes of undivided attention when they are home. This reassures her that she’s still an important part of the family and that no one has forgotten about her. Be sure to include your pet in family activities whenever possible.
 
Schedule an Appointment with Us if Your Pet’s Anxiety Persists
Some pets have a more difficult time with schedule changes than others. If you have tried these tips and your dog or cat remains highly anxious, request an appointment at Lindale Pet Hospital. Dr. Koten can provide you with additional ideas, such as full or part-time doggy daycare for dogs. In severe cases, he can prescribe anti-anxiety medication that you can get from our online store
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Preventative care, medical care, dental services, surgical services, farm calls, and during business hours emergency care. We also offer boarding services to large and small animals.