"Preventive Medicine

For Your Pet"

As you know, our pets age much faster than we do. As they get older, try not to let them get overweight. This can add stress to their heart and also to the joints of the body. Overweight dogs end up with more lameness, diabetes, pancreatitis and heart failure than normal weight dogs. They may be over-fed or they may need thyroid medication. Watch their diet. Maybe they could handle bones, fat and greasy left-overs as a young dog, but now they are very likely to develop a case of acute pancreatitis.

Watch their teeth and have you Veterinarian check them for heart problems and kidney failure. Also watch for any lumps (tumors). Some of these can be malignant and dangerous. Early detection and removal may save your pet.

So give your pet a good inspection now and then. If you think something may be wrong, discuss it with your Veterinarian. Preventive medicine will help your pet live a more healthy, less painful and longer life.

Take some pride in your pet. remember they are entirely dependent on you.

Preventive medicine also saves you money in the long run. Most last minute, last ditch measures to save a dying pet are expensive and fruitless..

Many pets brought in to the Veterinarian for examination for injury or illness are much worse than their owners imagine.

Since pets don't complain as loudly and persistently as we do, we tend to ignore their early symptoms.

Some dogs with severe pain from the hip dysplasia, intervertebral disk disease, acute pancreatitis, or parvo-virus disease will just seek a spot to be alone and will become very quiet. They may hide under the bed.

I have seen dogs brought in with advanced heart failure that died within five minutes of entering the hospital. The heart failure had been going on for weeks, but the owners didn't realize that the early symptoms of coughing, then difficult breathing, were that serious.

Some pets come in with severe anemia. the gums are very pale and they may die before treatment can begin. If only the owner had examined the color of the gums or noticed the signs of weakness and lethargy earlier.

So the main thrust of my message today is this; at least once a week , take a close look at your pet. Are the gums pink? Are the teeth clean? Pets can develop very serious mouth and gum infections. Is water or food consumption above  or below normal. Is the pet gaining or losing weight lately? Does it sleep more than usual? Is there stiffness or weakness when they get up in the morning? Are the ears infected?   Is their head shaking? Pay attention to scratching, biting and licking. Self mutilation and trauma is a serious problem with animals. A vicious cycle can develop that must be stopped. Things like sneezing, choking, gagging, straining to urinate, all have a reason or mean something. Pets don't "fake it" for attention like people think they do. If your dog has a limp, there is something wrong. They are not "just after sympathy."

by: Judson H. Pierce, D.V.M., Reno Animal Hospital




Check Out Our Online
Pet Medical Information Center!

Most answers to your questions can be found right here by checking out the links below. However If you still can't find the answer you need click on "Ask Dr. Pierce".

Medical Info Center Links:


"Hyperesthesia Syndrome"

Very Common, Rarely Diagnosed

A common cat disease that is rarely diagnosed is "Hyperesthesia Syndrome," also called "rolling skin disease" due to the occasional rippling of the skin on the top of a cat's back. I call it "angry cat syndrome" because some cats will unexpectedly growl, bite, or even attack their owners and not want to be held or petted by them.

A cat that has hyperesthesia syndrome can have few or many of these symptoms, ranging from mild to severe:

  1. Not tolerating petting or holding

  2. Rippling or rolling of skin on the back

  3. Sudden licking excessively or biting themselves

  4. Abruptly running around the house as if something were after them

  5. Hiding under bed or elsewhere

  6. Frantic meowing and swishing of the tail

  7. Attacking objects or their owners without any provocation

  8. Apparent hallucinations with glassy eyes and dilated pupils

  9. Some cats spray urine or urinate in the wrong place.

  10. Some vomit more often

All these felines have severe deep pain in the lumbar area when palpated correctly, and almost all respond well to treatment.

Some veterinarians have seen higher incidence in Siamese cats, but I have seen more in female calico cats.

Hyperesthesia syndrome seems to be a chronic disease of viral origin that effects the brain and/or the spinal chord. Kittens can be born with it and have it for their entire life. Some Cats acquire it following a bite from an infected cat and have acute symptoms with changes in the blood picture (blood tests).

Many owners are relieved to find that their cat is not "crazy" or "schizophrenic" but actually is a good cat that is tormented by serious pain. When put on the proper medications, these cats can act normal and enjoy life. Any cat can have this disease. If you think your beloved feline may suffer from this disorder, please see a veterinarian.

by: Judson H. Pierce, D.V.M., Reno Animal Hospital 

1.  Dr. Jean Holzworth, Feline specialist and former Staff member at Angell Memorial Animal Hospital in Boston. Mass.wrote a great book Diseases of The Cat  WB Saunders, 1987 See pages 654-655.  Other, earlier references on Hyperesthesia (extremely important for investigating Veterinarians to read) are listed there also. A must-read for anyone truly interested in Hyperesthesia in cats.
2.  Dr. Steve Ettinger  Textbook of Internal Medicine third edition  WB Saunders, 1989   Page 73 (Behavioral signs) and page 729.  This coverage is OK, but is a cut-down version of the Holzworth material.
3.  Dr. Barbara Kummel   Color Atlas of Small Animal Dermatology  CV Mosby Company, 1990  page 216.  Well-written and presented clearly.

Any veterinarian that has an opinion on Hyperesthesia in cats that isn't interested enough to familiarize themselves with these articles and their contents should keep their comments to themselves.  Jud Pierce, DVM  Reno, Nevada





emagine Designs Website Development