Guilford-Jamestown Veterinary Hospital Blog Graphic Accent

Animal Kidney Disease: What Every Pet Owner Should Know

animal kidney diseaseAll of the 32.4% of homeowners who own cats and the 37.2% of homeowners who own dogs can tell you that having a pet requires attentive veterinary care — from pet dental surgery to visits to a pet wellness center.

As people and animals age, their bodies begin to wear out. Humans see this in the form of heart failure, as hearts are often a human’s weakest organ. For dogs and cats, however, kidneys tend to wear out first. In fact, next to arthritis, chronic renal failure is the leading cause of illness in most older dogs and cats.

It is important to know the mechanics of how this happens in your cats and dogs. Kidneys help bodies to be free of wastes that accumulate during metabolism, essentially scrubbing the blood system free of excess salts, water, and metabolites.

Nephrons, the tiny structures within kidneys, perform the actual waste removal. During chronic kidney disease, important enzymes and hormones that are normally produced by nephrons are blocked up. Consequently, healthy kidney functioning ceases.

Your pet’s body is doing everything it can to fight renal deterioration in animal kidney disease — their kidneys go into overtime to make up for their lost waste disposal capacity. This might manifest in excessive thirst and urination. Symptoms of more progressed animal kidney disease include weight loss, anemia, and abnormal blood work results.

Dogs, in particular, are prone to chronic interstitial nephritis, a form of kidney damage. It is basically a chronic inflammation of the matrix that suspends the nephrons, which can block important nephron filters.

Remember, it is important that your pet visits the vet at least every six months after they turn 10. You veterinarian will be able to look for tell-tale signs of kidney deterioration — in some leaner pets, scarred kidneys have a characteristic feel through the abdominal wall. In cases where diagnoses are unclear, tests can be run.

Treatment options for animal kidneys are limited to measure to slow the rate at which your pet’s tissue is lost. Special diets, designed to contain less protein and sodium, can be effective. Vitamin supplements can also help pets with poor appetites from kidney failure.

Getting Through Dental Surgery With Your Pet

pet dental surgeryIf you are one of the 32.4% of homeowners who own cats or the 37.2% of homeowners with dogs, you know the joys of owning a pet and the unique companionship they offer. You also know that they can have serious health conditions — and it’s your responsibility to take care of them. Dogs and cats under the age of 10 should visit the vet annually, and sometimes, a complication in their teeth or mouth might be detected.

Consulting with a professional for advice on the proper veterinary care can lead to a diagnosis and, perhaps, the prescription for surgery. Make sure to follow these tips to make the procedure go as smoothly as possible for you, your veterinarian, and of course, your pet.

Pet dental surgery can be necessary to correct some important defects or dental conditions. They can turn into serious infections or deep abscesses, or even prevent your pet from being able to chew or swallow.

Communicate with the Pet Care Providers
It is important that the pet dental surgeon and all of the associated medical parties have full disclosure before your pet dental surgery. That means providing information about your pets allergies, the medication he or she is taking, and emergency and contact numbers to call.

On your end, it is vital that you are very clear about your understanding about the procedure — communication between a pet care provider and the owner is key. From diagnosis to prognosis to treatment options and their costs, complete transparency is essential.

Pet Preparation
Before pet dental surgery, your pets should refrain from eating for at least eight hours before the scheduled appointment. This step is essential for your pets safety against anesthesia. As with any human before a procedure, getting rest beforehand is also recommended.

Make sure your pet gets lots of exercise before their pet surgery! If they can go to the bathroom normally beforehand, they will be much more comfortable.

To avoid injury, bring a leash, and a carrier, so your pet is properly restrained before and after the procedure.

Post Procedure
After the procedure, your pet will be quite groggy! Keep him or her warm (but not hot), and isolate them from your other pets or children. With impaired reflexes, your pet will need all the rest and alone time they can get. Make sure to take your pet outside frequently, since some IV fluids will make your pet need to urinate more frequently. Remember to keep any wounds clean, and try to prevent them from picking at or biting.

When all is said and done, a few days of discomfort for your pet could mean a lifetime of painless eating, biting, fetching and barking. Don’t refrain from providing for your pet and remember that pet teeth inspection and possible a procedure can save them from more serious conditions.

How to Prevent Heart Disease in Your Pet

animal heart diseaseWith 32.4% of homeowners owing cats, and 37.2% having dogs (not to mention the Internet cult following…) it’s quite clear how important household pets are to people. It may seem like your beloved furry companion is immune to the mortal coils that hold us down to Earth — health problems like animal heart disease among them. The unfortunate truth is that they are just as susceptible to illness and physical deterioration as we are. Luckily, as a pet owner, you have a certain amount of agency when it comes to taking care of your pets health, especially their cardiovascular health. Follow these basic guidelines to keep you feline or pooch healthy as can be.

1. Visit the vet regularly
Dogs and cats under the age of 10 should visit the vet at least annually, and at least every six months once over 10. Vets are trained professionals who may be able to notice something amiss that you hadn’t. They can also solve any problems quickly, and recommend preventative treatments, diet or exercise adjustments, and other pieces of advice. Vets can also administer blood tests on your pet for early detection of heart disease, so schedule an appointment at a pet wellness center as soon as possible.

2. Help your cat or dog maintain the ideal body weight
It may be hard not to give your pet all the food he or she wants and begs for, but obesity is actually a huge issue among household pets. Just like in humans, too much body fat can clog arteries, and prevent your pet from getting the exercise he or she needs to lose the weight. Ask a pet nutritionist or vet for pet diet advice, pet health solutions, and pet food suggestions. Animal heart disease can be avoided by providing your pet with a beneficial and nutritious diet.

3. Exercise!
For a dog, this means more frequent and longer walks. Luckily, since you need exercise to keep your heart healthy too, you’ll both enjoy more time outdoors and with each other. If you work a lot and can’t give your dog the exercise he or she needs, it is worth it to hire a dog walker or enroll your pooch in doggie day care.

For your feline friend, more exercise may mean that you have to reassess your living area. Make sure there are places for your cat to perch, climb, and jump on safely. If at all feasible, introducing your kitty to the outdoors could allow him or her to get all the fresh air and exercise they need.

Health care for animals is just as serious as it is for you — don’t wait until it is too late for your dog or cats health and practice preventative measures against animal heart disease.

Sit! Stay! Roll Over! Go to the Vet!

health care for animalsHealth care for animals is no joke! If you’re like the 32.4% of homeowners who have cats, or the 37.2% who have dogs, it’s important to provide veterinary care to your four legged friend. Your precious canine or feline companion needs as much medical attention as any other walking, jumping or flying animal — including you. Even if your pet isn’t sick, here are three great reasons to go to the vet:

  • Checkups
    Puppies and kittens under the age of 10-years-old should visit a vet annually. After age 10, they should visit at least every 6 months. Getting pet wellness exams can help you make sure your cat or dog is in tip-top shape, allowing them to happily continue tearing up your lawn, garden, and upholstered furniture with the same enthusiasm as always. Preventative care could also eliminate the need for emergency vet care, pet surgery or tumor removal later on.
  • Dental Care
    The oral hygiene of your pet greatly contributes to its overall health the same way that your own dental hygiene is important. Make it a bonding activity, and take turns going to the dentist! Animal gum inspection, tooth inspection, and dental cleaning is offered by most providers of health care for animals and can keep your pet gnawing happily on the bones, sticks, and slippers it knows and loves.
  • Nutritional Counseling
    Is your cat or dog acting sluggish, gaining weight, and/or changing its eating habits? Maybe it’s time for your pet to join you in your New Years resolution and go on a pet diet. Just be sure it’s been designed specifically by pet nutritionists to optimize the health and well being of your furry friend. Get professional pet food suggestions, pet health solutions and pet diet advice, so the apple of your eye can stay happy, healthy and active into its golden years.

What are you waiting for? The benefits of preventative care and professional pet health counseling from a veterinary care center are enormous, and could save you money, time and discomfort later on. Clip on the leash, or scoop up your fur ball and get a head start on your pet’s health today.

Do Pets Need Exercise?

veterinarianPets might be popular, but exercising them sure isn’t, which is quite a problem. About 32.4% of homeowners own cats and about 37.2% of homeowners have dogs. Yet, a recent study found that one in five dog owners are too lazy, while another study found that 58.3% of cats were considered overweight or obese by their veterinarian.

If you want your pets to be healthy, veterinary hospitals recommend that you make sure they’re getting enough exercise. Here’s what you should know.

Dogs Need About a Half Hour of Exercise a Few Times a Week.
Veterinarians recommend that you give your dog between 30 and 40 minutes of aerobic, heart-pumping exercise at least three times or more each week. Some less active breeds don’t need as much exercise, but still have to get some play in. A good rule of thumb to remember is that a tired dog is a happy dog.

Cats Need About 15 Minutes of Exercise a Few Times a Day.
Believe it or not, cats also need exercise. Veterinarians recommend that you try to get your cat to run around and play for about 10 to 15 minutes a few times each day. Younger cats will usually take the initiative and start playing with you on their own, or they’ll find their own entertainment, but it’s a good idea to get a laser pointer or other toy for your cat if he or she doesn’t want to play as much.

Older Pets Still Need Exercise, Too.
The older a pet gets, the more trouble he or she will probably have playing. That being said, that doesn’t mean they should take it easy for the rest of their days. They too still need to be active to keep their bodies working well. The difference is to perhaps take things down a notch, and take their health into consideration as you play.

Taking care of pets means more than taking the dog or cat under the age of 10 to the veterinarian each year (while pets over the age of 10 need to go twice a year). You also need to make sure your furry friends are getting enough exercise, otherwise your advanced veterinary care center may find that they’re having health issues.

If you have any questions about these exercise tips, feel free to share in the comments.

Your Pet Is Getting Older: 3 Things You Should Know

veterinarianTaking care of elderly pets isn’t easy. There are medications they have to take with specific instructions, such as antibiotics that need to be given for a certain length of time, even if they’re feeling better. Plus, dogs and cats 10-years-old and older have to visit the vet every six months, instead of annually as younger dogs and cats do.

The fact of the matter is that they’re getting older, which means they need more care. Luckily, that’s not that big of an issue at all. Here are a few things you should know about tending to geriatric pets.

Weight Control
Believe it or not, weight can be a big problem for geriatric pets. Veterinary hospitals check older dogs to see if they’ve gained weight, as that increases their risks of health problems. At the same time, veterinarians often check cats for weight loss, as that’s more of a bigger concern for geriatric felines.

Mental Health
Pets can start to go senile, believe it or not, which is why many veterinarians recommend stimulating them with interactions. This helps keep them mentally active; it keeps them sharp. If you notice any changes in your geriatric pet’s behavior, you’d be wise to consult with a veterinarian, as it may be a sign of their age.

Parasite Problems
Much like older humans, geriatric pets’ immune systems aren’t what they used to be. This means that if they get parasites — such as ticks — they’re unable to fight off diseases or heal quite as fast as they used to be able to. You need to make sure that your older pets are properly guarded against parasites, so be sure to give them their flea baths and more.

So long as you remember these tips and take them to an advanced veterinary care center every six months for a check up, they should be fine. If you have any questions about caring for geriatric pets, feel free to share in the comments.

Pet Dental Care: What You Should Know

animal hospitalConsidering the fact that about 32% of homeowners have cats and that about 37% of homeowners have dogs, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that about 80% of the total veterinary industry revenue comes from providing care to dogs, cats and other small animals.

And yet, although dogs and cats make up the majority of animal hospital patients, their oral health is often overlooked. Here are a few things you may want to know.

The Majority of Pets Show Signs of Dental Disease by Age Two
Believe it or not, the majority of pets show signs of dental disease by the age of two-years-old. More specifically, about 70% of cats show signs of dental disease by two years of age, and 80% of dogs do.

The Majority of Pet Owners Don’t Provide Proper Dental Care
With just how many pets develop oral health problems so early in life, it shouldn’t be all that big of a surprise that most pet owners don’t take proper care of their animals’ teeth. Research actually shows that two in three pet owners don’t provide their pets with proper dental care.

What Does Proper Pet Dental Care Entail, Anyways?
Taking care of pets’ teeth is easier than you might think it is. Dogs and cats need special toothpaste to take care of their teeth, and need it brushed on at least once a week. They should also get their teeth professionally cleaned at an animal hospital at least once a year.

There Are Real Benefits of Caring For Your Pets’ Teeth
Obviously, taking care of your pets’ teeth provides them with benefits, but you may be surprised to learn that taking care of your dogs’ and/or cats’ teeth can actually prolong their life 20%.

Fortunately, advanced veterinary care centers can help you take care of your furry friends’ oral health. If you have any questions about your pets’ oral health, feel free share in the comments, or set up an appointment with one of your local animal hospital’s veterinarians.

The Risks of Being Vet: 3 Things You Didn’t Know

pet animal hospitalWorking at a pet animal hospital can be a rewarding experience, but it can also be more dangerous than you might think. Here are a few things of the threats veterinarians deal with on the job.

Bites, Scratches and Other Injuries.

It’s true that three-quarters (75%) vets in the U.S. are employed in private practice treating animals, and that four out of five (80%) of the total veterinary industry revenue is estimated to be derived from caring for dogs, cats, and other small animals, but these furry friends can also act out. In fact, about 61-68% of vets suffer an animal-related injury resulting in hospitalization or significant loss of work during their careers at advanced veterinary care centers.

Illnesses, and Infections.

Just because some animal diseases can’t be given to humans doesn’t mean all disease won’t be. Zoonotic infections are infections that can cross species from animals to humans. For example, rabies, toxoplasmosis, hookworm, and roundworm are all examples of such infections. Vets need to follow safety procedures to avoid disease transference, just like human doctors do.

Malpractice.

Another danger vets face working in pet animal hospitals is that of malpractice. There are lawyers out there who are devoted to defending the rights of animals, and their owners. While these animal rights attorneys mean well, and do an important job, some lawyers are the animal equivalent of ambulance chasers, and are just looking to make a quick buck by exploiting loopholes in the law to get at vets who aren’t at fault, and are really just victims of unfortunate circumstances.

Pet animal hospitals are not exactly the safest places to work. Vets and staff are at danger of suffering from a physical injury — like a bite or a scratch — an illness, an infection, or even a malpractice suit, which can hurt them financially, and damage their careers.

If you have any questions about the dangers vets sometimes face in their careers, feel free to share in the comments.

Geriatric Pets: What You Need to Know About Caring For Them

pet health solutionsSince the 1970s, pet ownership has more than tripled. About 67 million households had pets about 40 years ago, but now there are about 164 million homes with own pets. In other words, about 62% of American households have at least one pet, about 32.4% of which own cats, and around 37.2% of which have dogs.

Of these pets, about 40 million are now getting on in years, which means that these old timers are going to need some special attention, and care. If you have a geriatric pet, here are a few things you should know.

Multiple Trips to the Vet Each Year.
As dogs and cats begin reaching their golden years, they need to take extra trips to the vet. It’s recommended that dogs and cats 10-years-old and older see their advanced veterinary care center’s primary care physicians and veterinarian technicians at least once every six months. In other words, geriatric pets need semi-annual vet trips.

Watching What They Eat.
It’s very important to watch what geriatric pets eat. If an older dog begins gaining weight, it can increase his or her risk of health problems, while weight loss in older cats is a far bigger concern. In order to help geriatric pets get the nutrition they need, many companies provide pet health solutions in the form of scientifically formulated food. These pet health solutions have the specific anti-aging nutrients, provide the calorie levels and ingredients necessary, and are easier to digest.

Determining a Pet’s Quality of Life.
When pets reach a very advanced age, it’s necessary to consider their quality of life using the Quality of Life Scale. Provide a number between 0 and 10 for each of the seven questions, and tally up the score at the end. A total of 35 points is considered an acceptable quality of life score. The seven questions are:

 

The Great Debate: Dogs Versus Cats

veterinary care centerThe United States loves its pets, but it’s also divided on which pet is better to own. Cats or dogs? About 32.4% of U.S. homeowners own cats, while about 37.2% of homeowners have dogs, so it’s pretty evenly split — and for good reason, too. Just as there are a ton of benefits to owning a cat, there are also a ton of reasons to own a dog, too. Here are just a few of each.

Cats
First of all, cats can help you relax. Studies have shown that petting cats has a calming effect, which lowers an owner’s stress and anxiety levels. Second, they’re good for your health. One study found that over a 10 year period, cat owners were 30% less likely to die of a heart attack than people who didn’t own cats. Third, cats make great companions. A study from 2003 found that the relationship between a cat and its owner had the emotional equivalent of having a romantic partner.

Dogs
On the other hand, dogs make awesome pets, too. First of all, dogs make their owners happy. Dog owners are less likely to suffer from depression than people who don’t have pets. In some cases, hanging out with a dog was a more effective depression treatment than some medications. Second, dogs are great for their owners’ health. They help their owners get more exercise. According to a 2010 study published in the Journal of Physical Activity and Health dog owners got a full hour’s worth of exercise more than their non-dog owning counterparts every day thanks to all the walks they went on.

No matter what type of pet you think is better, it’s important that your furry friends go to a veterinary care center at least once a year if they’re under 10-years-old to get the proper health care for animals from their veterinarian technicians. If they’re older than that, they should head to a veterinary care center twice a year. Otherwise, they’re really getting the short end of the deal, aren’t they? They make their owners healthier, and it’s up to their owners to do the same by taking them to a pet wellness center.

What type of person are you? Dog? Cat? Let us know in the comments.

Graphic Accent

For over 20 years, we have been clients at Guilford Jamestown Veterinary Hospital. While a lot of things have changed in 20 years, one thing has remained the same. Dr. Karen Kennedy and her unparalleled team of doctors continue to provide stellar service to our family of pets. We cannot thank them enough for all the love and care they have shown our family over the years.
The Payne Family

Everyone at the practice from the veterinarians to the technicians to the front office staff know you and your pet by name even before you check in. It’s a little like being Norm on Cheers.

We’ve been bringing our pets to GJVH since 1989 for top notch veterinary care. Now that we live across town, it’s not as convenient, but the quality care and helpful staff keep us coming back.

I sometimes think my dogs get better medical care at GJVH than I do at my doctor’s office. From the courteous front desk staff to the friendly technicians to the terrific veterinary care – I know my dogs get better medical care than I do!