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Meet Santa at Santa Sunday December 11th!

Santa
Meet Santa at Santa Sunday!
Join Natick Animal Clinic for our annual Santa Sunday on December 11th! The jolly event will include plenty of fun, games and snacks for you, your kids and your pets, and we’ll be holding a raffle for lots of exciting prizes. You can buy raffle tickets at our clinic from now until the day of the event, and all proceeds will go to PittieLove Rescue, a nonprofit dedicated to helping rescued pit bulls find loving homes. Raffle tickets are $2 each, six for $10 or 14 for $20. The prizes will be drawn on Monday, December 19th. You can also donate any dollar amount through “paws” that we’ll place around our clinic.

Santa Sunday
December 11
12pm to 3pm
Natick Animal Clinic

Come get professional photos of your family and Santa and join the festive fun,
all for a great cause. If you have any questions, contact
Natick Animal Clinic by calling 508-203-4108.

Pound for Pound Pet Food Drive

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Donate to Our Pound for Pound Pet Food Drive and Your Donation Will Go Far!

Help pets and pet owners in need this holiday season through our Pound for Pound Pet Food Drive. Bring any unopened packages of pet food to Natick Animal Clinic, and we’ll donate an equal amount of food in honor of your pets! All food will be donated to local pantries. Any brand of food donated by the can, case or bag will be accepted.
 
Pet food donations help families in our community stick together when they’re going through rough times. Donate to our drive starting November 1st!

Don’t Leave Your Pet in a Hot Car!

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One of the most dangerous places for your pet is inside your own car. On warm days—even days as mild as 70 degrees—temperatures inside your vehicle can reach into the 100s in 10 minutes or less.

Leaving pets inside sweltering cars is a common mistake pet owners make, and it can have deadly consequences. We often assume that pets can tolerate warmth like we can, but their bodies simply can’t handle the stress of extreme heat.

To help you avoid leaving your pet in the car when it’s too hot, we’re providing free heat sensors to all Natick Animal Clinic clients. The sensor hangs from your rear-view mirror, and it changes color when the car is too hot for your pet to be inside.

Make sure you pick up a heat sensor next time you visit Natick Animal Clinic. It’s an easy way to remind yourself to protect your pets from a very sneaky hazard. For more information on overheating dangers or to schedule an appointment at Natick Animal Clinic, please call 508-203-4108 or contact us online.

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Senior Pet Health

Their Affection Is Timeless, Their Devotion Is Ageless, and Their Love Is Endless

He’s been your companion and a part of the family for a long time, but now you see some changes. He’s less agile and not as attentive as he once was. It’s inevitable – our beloved pets are growing older. This means his needs are changing and he is dependent on you to help him stay healthy and comfortable; and it’s our job to help you.

Our goals for the healthcare of our senior pets are to:

  • Promote early detection of disease in the apparently healthy pet
  • Prevent or delay morbidity and mortality whenever possible
  • Help pet owners to understand common clinical conditions in senior pets
  • Provide education on all aspects of screening, diagnosis, treatment
  • Assist pet owners to evaluate quality of life

Becoming a “Senior”

The term “senior” has been chosen to describe the aging and older pet. The number of years considered to be “senior” may vary, and one must keep in mind that organ systems, species, and breeds of dogs age at different rates. The American Animal Hospital Association defines senior pets as those animals in the last 25 % of predicted life span. Most veterinarians consider dogs as senior by the time they are six or seven years of age, and they consider cats senior by the time they are somewhere between seven and 10 years of age. Your pet’s veterinarian will have senior pet protocols in place based on your practice’s definition of senior ages. Pets, of course, age at a more rapid rate than humans, and therefore, pets move from a senior pet age status to a geriatric pet age within three years of when they are first recognized as a senior pet.

Health Changes

Regular veterinary examinations are important for overall health at any age, but more frequent exams may be needed for an aging pet. Senior companions can live happy, healthy lives, however as our companions age, we will begin to recognize some overall changes in their physical or mental status. While some of the signs you may observe include a general slowing down, lower exercise endurance, decreased agility and perhaps some personality changes, these signs may be a part of the normal aging process or they may be symptoms of various health issues, so it is important to understand some of the more common health problems associated with senior or geriatric dogs.

There is no substitute for a thorough and complete history and physical examination at any age. The purpose of clinical screening of your healthy pet is to establish a baseline assessment for future comparison. This evaluation should include blood work which is used to detect subclinical abnormalities at a time when preventive and therapeutic intervention may have the most benefit. Within the veterinary field, there is a volume of literature that documents subclinical disease in otherwise healthy-appearing pets. Subtle changes in diagnostic tests, such as blood work, may give an indication of the presence of an underlying disease.

Preventive Care

Preventive care is directed at making recommendations prior to the onset of disease in order to prevent or temper the effects of disease or adverse health conditions. Yearly examinations as well as yearly laboratory testing is recommended as the most effective approach for recognizing and treating conditions that might otherwise become serious illnesses if left untreated.

By the time that your pet reaches his geriatric year, bi-annual examinations are strongly recommended to identify age-related problems. Your pet’s geriatric exam will once again include a physical examination, complete blood count, blood chemistries, stool exam and urinalysis.

Your pet’s veterinarian may also wish to test blood pressure and thyroid levels, especially in cats. Kidney disease is relatively common in older cats and the urine check can pick up protein leakage. While we can’t cure kidney disease, we can, if caught early, slow down its progression.

Ongoing Assessments

Senior and geriatric pets receiving treatment have an increased need for more frequent examinations and testing. Care of senior pets also necessitates more frequent communication with the doctor so that the doctor can monitor progression or regression of signs. With a slowdown in metabolic rate and a decreased level of activity, aging dogs and cats do not require as much food to maintain their weight. Therefore, your pet’s doctor will also want to review dietary changes with you during your pet’s visit.

Managing Senior Pet Medical Conditions

The medical conditions that afflict aging cats and dogs have been a focus of much research in recent years. According to the American Veterinary Medical Association, the reasons for this research include the increasing longevity of pets, the willingness of owners to address chronic illness in their pets, and the implications for modeling human disease. Some studies have examined issues that commonly affect older pets such as diabetes, heart disease, and pain management. Other studies have delved into conditions more specific to geriatric animals—cognitive dysfunction, glaucoma, and osteoarthritis.

  • Weight Changes – Obesity actually “ages” animals faster, but a sudden weight loss or chronic underweight physique may indicate a serious health problem. Diseases such as cancer, kidney failure and diabetes can cause weight loss and affect half the dogs older than 10 years of age.
  • Dementia – Geriatric dementia is a condition most often associated with humans, but the truth is that pets are prone to a deterioration of mental functions, too. Dementia in dogs may manifest most commonly as inappropriate vocalization, urinary accidents, getting lost in a part of the house or avoiding interaction with family members; and in cats, forgetting behaviors such as how to use the litter box, and losing some awareness of her surroundings. Some cats will pace, sleep less at night, or walk around crying as if they are lost.
  • Arthritis – The most common form of arthritis is osteoarthritis which is a degenerative joint disease. This condition most commonly affects hips, knees, elbows and shoulders. These changes wear away cartilage and may cause abnormal bony growth resulting in pain, stiffness and de-creased range of motion. There is no cure, but there are treatments that can either slow the progression or ease the pain. Ranges of services include laser therapy, rehabilitation/exercise programs and joint supplements.
  • Vision and Hearing Loss – As your dog ages, his senses will dull. His sense of hearing, vision and smell will all diminish. Dogs do adapt to sensory changes. You can help your dog or cat adjust to reduced vision by maintaining a consistent environment for him.
  • Cancer – According to the American Veterinary Medical Association, the rate of cancer in pets increases with age. Cancer is responsible for approximately half the deaths of pets over 10 years of age. Dogs get cancer at roughly the same rate as humans, while cats tend to have lower rates of cancer. Some cancers, such as breast or testicular cancer, are largely preventable by spaying and neutering. A diagnosis of cancer may be based on x-rays, blood tests, physical appearance of tumors, and other physical signs. The ultimate test for cancer is through confirmation via a biopsy.
  • Pain – Signs of acute or chronic pain vary. Any behavioral change, or change in vital signs, may be an indication of pain. Signs of pain may be less obvious due to your pet’s demeanor (e.g., stoicism) or if your pet is on a combined medication regiment. Treatment options vary depending on whether your pet’s pain is chronic or acute. Single drugs or combinations of drugs may be used.

Hospice and Palliative Care

Veterinary hospice care is defined as “giving clients time to make decisions regarding a terminal companion animal and to prepare for [its] impending death.” The comfort of the animal must always be considered. In human medicine, hospice and palliative care are considered to be the model for quality, compassionate care for those facing a life-limiting illness or injury. Palliative care, based on the animal’s specific requirements, might include outpatient/home care; pain management; easy access to food, water, and litter; wound management; a stable and consistent environment; good hygiene and sanitation; clean bedding and padding; and mental stimulation. Visits to the home by veterinarians and/or support staff may be offered.

Health span and Lifespan

In the book “Good Old Dog, Expert Advice for Keeping Your Aging Dog Happy, Healthy and Comfortable,” its author, Dr. Dodman, writes that it’s important for people to increase not only a dog’s life span, but also their pet’s health span. Advances in veterinary medicine help dogs and cats remain healthier for much longer even as they reach significantly older ages.

Questions?

Anyone can have a job. We have a passion. Feel free to ask us whenever you have a question or concern.  Remember, the needs of your senior pet are changing and he is dependent on you to help him stay healthy and comfortable. It’s our job to help you.

Reasons to Celebrate – June 2012


JUNE 22nd TAKE YOUR DOG TO WORK DAY 2012

In dog circles, June 22, 2012 is known as” Take Your Dog to Work Day” or “TYDTWD” and the entire week is designated as Take Your Pet to Work Week™! Pet Sitter’s International gets the credit for this dog lover’s day which they created in 1999 to celebrate dogs and encourage adoptions of rescued dogs from shelters, rescues and humane societies across the country. The organization leads the effort to encourage employers to invite employees to bring their dogs to work on June 22nd. It also recommends other special events and celebrations to strengthen the human/animal bond. Perhaps the hope is that more employers will make this a regular part of the work environment for their employees and not just one special day each year. For more information on how you can pilot such a program at your workplace, visit www.takeyourdog.com. If you would like a member of our staff to speak at your workplace or if you would like to bring your co-workers for a tour of Natick Animal Clinic to celebrate “TYDYWD, please call us at 508-653-5020 or email us at info@natickanimal.com. We would love to help make your day a success!