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
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