Plantation Animal Hospital https://plantationanimalhospital.net/ Wed, 16 Oct 2019 21:00:19 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=6.1.1 To My Owners, From a Senior Pet https://plantationanimalhospital.net/2019/10/16/to-my-owners-from-a-senior-pet/ https://plantationanimalhospital.net/2019/10/16/to-my-owners-from-a-senior-pet/#respond Wed, 16 Oct 2019 21:00:19 +0000 https://plantationanimalhospital.net/?p=419 Dear Mom and Dad, I wanted to write this letter to tell you how much I appreciate you. Although I’m adopted, you’ve always treated me like your own puppy. When I was a baby, you fell in love with me at first sight. You took the time to teach me the difference between right and [...]

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Dear Mom and Dad,

I wanted to write this letter to tell you how much I appreciate you. Although I’m adopted, you’ve always treated me like your own puppy. When I was a baby, you fell in love with me at first sight. You took the time to teach me the difference between right and wrong, and why it was important to piddle outside and not on the carpet. You tolerated my exuberant energy and always provided outlets for my teething, curiosity, and zoomies. 

As a teenager, we may have had our minor disagreements, but I started to realize that life doesn’t revolve around playing and crazy energy. I started to appreciate those quiet moments—for example, sleeping on the couch with my head on your lap while you watch the small noise box, or lying under your feet while you sip your morning coffee, after you feed me breakfast, of course. 

For the past few years, we’ve settled into our own wonderful rhythm. I never let you forget about my breakfast and dinner, and, with a few exceptions, you let me outside to smell all the smells. To repay you for tolerating me as a puppy, I am a great babysitter to all the small humans you have brought home. They play a little rough sometimes, but they also drop delicious snacks, so it’s OK. 

But, my beloved humans, I have some things to tell you. I’m getting older. I may live for many more years, but I’m past my prime. And, with my age, come some potential problems we need to address.

  • The first thing I need to tell you is that my body is starting to hurt. It came on slowly, but it’s undeniable now. I’m not sure if you’ve noticed that I’m stiff when I get up in the morning, or that our walks are slower than they used to be, but it’s true. I feel a lot better, almost 100%, after I get up and moving, but if I do too much, I really hurt the next day. I’ve talked about it through the fence with the neighbor dog, who said her owners give her medication to help her bones and joints stop hurting. Do you think you could ask the veterinarian about that?

  • Speaking of the veterinarian, I know she does what’s best for me. The last time at the hospital she poked me with needles for “vaccines”—whatever they are—and said you should bring me back every six months for checkups. But, six months feels like a really long time. My body is changing so fast now, and I’m hoping that the veterinarian can find the spots in my back, hips, and knees that are painful, and catch the new lump that has popped up.

  • I can tell you’ve noticed this, because you won’t let me kiss you on the mouth anymore—I know my teeth are dirty. But, not only is my breath bad, but also my mouth hurts, and I leave blood behind on my favorite toy when I chew it. I can’t chew with one of my back teeth anymore because it hurts so bad. I know the doctor mentioned she could clean my teeth and pull the one that’s hurting, and I hope you’ll decide to let her do it, because a clean mouth will help protect me from other problems, like heart disease. I know you’ll love my kisses once my breath is fresh, and I’ll love eating without that awful pain.

  • Lastly, I’m never a fan of having my blood drawn, but lately I’ve been feeling that something may be wrong with my insides. I’ve been feeling a bit thirstier than usual, and going to the bathroom more often, which you may not have noticed, because I let myself in and out of the doggy door—always on squirrel patrol. But when the veterinarian recommends blood work at my next checkup, I’d like you to take her up on that. The earlier we catch what’s happening to my insides, the better chance we have to slow its progression. I want to be a healthy family member for as long as possible, and special foods, medications, and supplements can ensure a good quality of life for longer. 

I want to be there for you for a long time. I want to keep your feet warm all night, every night, for as long as I possibly can. Regular checkups and following my veterinarian’s recommendations are the best way to keep me happy and healthy. It’s been a while since I’ve been for a visit, so I would love you to call the hospital to set up my next appointment.

Love,

Your Senior Pet

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No Tricks, Only Treats: Halloween from Your Pets’ Points of View https://plantationanimalhospital.net/2019/09/25/no-tricks-only-treats-halloween-from-your-pets-points-of-view/ https://plantationanimalhospital.net/2019/09/25/no-tricks-only-treats-halloween-from-your-pets-points-of-view/#respond Wed, 25 Sep 2019 00:46:16 +0000 https://plantationanimalhospital.net/?p=396 This Halloween season, we’ve got a treat for you. We were privy to a private conversation between a local family’s four-legged family members. The feline correspondent is obviously the intellectual contributor in the transcript, and we’ve done our homework by fact-checking his claims. Rest assured that none of what follows is “fake news.” Doggo: Hey, [...]

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This Halloween season, we’ve got a treat for you. We were privy to a private conversation between a local family’s four-legged family members. The feline correspondent is obviously the intellectual contributor in the transcript, and we’ve done our homework by fact-checking his claims. Rest assured that none of what follows is “fake news.”

Doggo: Hey, Cat—did you hear the news? I heard the Smallest Human talk about his Howl-o-ween costume. That means Howl-o-ween is coming up, right?

The Cat: Um, maybe. But, remember that the Smallest Human gets excited about things prematurely. Last year, he started talking about the presents the Fat Bearded Man would bring when it was still the Season of Beautiful Leaves. And, by the way, it’s pronounced, “Halloween,” not “Howl-o-ween.” Geez. 

Doggo: Really? Are you sure it’s not at least “Hallo-weenie”? My dachshund friend next door said it’s pronounced that way.

The Cat: Ugh. No. It’s definitely “Halloween,” and its origin comes from the time when the Big Humans celebrated the end of the harvest on “All Hallows Eve.”

Doggo: Mmm. Hearing “harvest season” made my mouth water. Do you have any snacks?

The Cat: Focus, Doggo. There will be plenty of snacks on Halloween, because both of the Smallest Humans will be trick or treating.

Doggo: I know some tricks! I can do sit, shake hands, and play dead. I’m really proud of the last one—it took so long for the Big Human Who Smells Good to get that one right. Say, “play dead” sounds like a good trick for Howl-, I mean, Halloween, don’t you think?

The Cat: Um, I guess. But for the nine lives of me, I can’t imagine why you let the Big Humans control you. Speaking of dead, keep out of the Smallest Humans’ candy buckets, or you might end up fighting for your life for real.

Doggo: What? But I love candy. What’s the problem with sneaking a few nuggets?

The Cat: Honestly, Doggo, I can’t believe you’ve survived this long without my expert advice. Now, listen up—this is important—lots of the Smallest Humans’ Halloween haul will be chocolate.

Doggo: Yay! I love chocolate!

The Cat: Come on, Doggo! Don’t you know that chocolate is bad for you? If you eat too much, it can be life-threatening.

Doggo: What? Really? How can something so delicious be bad?

The Cat: Doggo, chocolate contains methylxanthines.

Doggo: Methyl-who?

The Cat: Methylxanthines, Doggo. Try to keep up. With chocolate, we’re talking about two potentially dangerous methylxanthines—caffeine and theobromine. 

Doggo: Oh! Caffeine is that thing that both our Big Humans need every morning to be less grumpy.

The Cat: That’s right, Doggo. The Big Humans love it, but caffeine, and theobromine, can make you really sick. A good rule to remember is that the darker the chocolate, the more dangerous it is for you. Did you know that unsweetened baker’s chocolate contains up to seven times more methylxanthines than milk chocolate?

Doggo: What will happen if I can’t resist the urge to snack?

The Cat: Geez—can’t you show any restraint?

Doggo: Of course! I mean—no.

The Cat: Well, then, we’ll need to ensure the Big Humans keep the buckets where we can’t reach them. If you do find yourself face to face with their candy buckets, refrain from pilfering, or prepare for some seriously unpleasant results. 

Doggo: Like what? 

The Cat: Well, it really depends on the type of chocolate that you ate, and the amount you ate. 

Doggo: All. I want to eat it all. 

The Cat: I mean, I’m not advocating that you eat any chocolate, but given your large size, if you eat milk chocolate, you should watch for diarrhea and vomiting. If you can’t fight the urge to eat dark chocolate, you’ll probably feel the effects in your heart and neurologic system, and it may be serious enough to be life-threatening.

Doggo: Yikes! I’ll try my hardest to stay away from both of the Small Humans’ baskets. Unless, of course, they get healthy treats, like fruit. I remember last year when the Smallest Human was complaining about the house that handed out raisins. He called that a “trick” instead of a “treat.”

The Cat: Doggo, no! Don’t you know that raisins are worse for you than chocolate? Raisins, and grapes, cause kidney failure in dogs. You’ll know that you’re in trouble if you start vomiting after eating the forbidden fruit.

Doggo: Ah! The wrath of grapes. I’ve heard of that.

The Cat: Good one, Doggo.

Doggo: Thanks, Cat. You know, the other reason I knew that Halloween was approaching is that the Big Human Who Smells Good put the most ridiculous clothes on me.

The Cat: Honestly, Doggo, why do you put up with stuff like that?

Doggo: Because it makes her laugh. But, she put me in some clothes to turn me into Batman, and though I’ll be eternally grateful for my chance to be a superhero, I have to admit that the collar was so tight, it was hard to breathe. 

The Cat: Wow. Usually the Big Human Who Smells Good is really careful. She should have checked that nothing was too tight, and that the costume didn’t have any beading or loose pieces—because knowing you, you’d probably try to eat them. 

Doggo: You know me so well, Cat.

The Cat: One last thing, Doggo. You know you go crazy when the doorbell rings, so maybe you should hang out in your crate once the trick or treating starts. Although, I heard the Big Humans talking the other day, and they said they were going to get you a microchip in case you ever get lost. 

Doggo: With a nose like this, I never get lost! But a microchip sounds cool. So, the Big Humans will be able to track my movements? 

The Cat: No, it doesn’t work like that. The microchip is a tiny chip that is implanted under your skin with a needle. Don’t worry—it doesn’t really hurt. If you get separated from the house or the Big Humans, and some other Human picks you up and takes you to the big house, your chip will be scanned. As long as the Big Humans remember to keep their contact information up-to-date with the microchip company, you’ll be home in no time!

Doggo: Wow! What will they think of next?

The Cat: I don’t know, but I’m late for my tenth nap, so I’ve got to go. 

Doggo: And I’m late for my tenth snack! Thanks for the chat, Cat!

The Cat: Zzzzz…

Questions about keeping your furry family members safe this Halloween? Contact our team.

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Why Dental Care is Essential for Dogs and Cats https://plantationanimalhospital.net/2019/09/17/why-dental-care-is-essential-for-dogs-and-cats/ https://plantationanimalhospital.net/2019/09/17/why-dental-care-is-essential-for-dogs-and-cats/#respond Tue, 17 Sep 2019 20:07:18 +0000 https://plantationanimalhospital.net/?p=370 Many pet owners are shocked to learn that their pets require routine dental care. In fact, roughly 80% of dogs and cats have signs of dental disease by age 3. If you consider that people should visit the dentist twice a year for cleanings, it should come as no surprise that our pets have similar [...]

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Many pet owners are shocked to learn that their pets require routine dental care. In fact, roughly 80% of dogs and cats have signs of dental disease by age 3. If you consider that people should visit the dentist twice a year for cleanings, it should come as no surprise that our pets have similar needs. Without proper care, dental disease can lead to numerous health problems, but fortunately, it is entirely preventable. 

Does my pet have dental disease?

Depending on the disease severity, your pet may exhibit more signs than bad breath. By gently lifting your pet’s lips and examining her teeth, you may be able to see evidence of tartar build-up. While plaque creates a gummy film on the tooth surface and can be challenging to see, tartar (i.e., an accumulation of plaque) has a characteristic thick, rough, often brown appearance that usually forms along and under the gum line. In addition to plaque and tartar, you may notice reddened, irritated, or bleeding gums, which indicates gingivitis and periodontal disease. Moreover, you may see other abnormalities, such as broken, worn, or loose teeth, retained baby teeth, or teeth crowding. Your veterinarian can examine your pet orally to determine an appropriate treatment plan. 

Is my pet in pain?

Most pets are stoic creatures who are experts at hiding pain. Many pets with dental disease will happily continue to scarf down their food or chew on toys, while more sensitive pets may exhibit noticeable signs. Keep an eye out for the following signs, remembering they will not be displayed by all affected pets:

  • Inappetence
  • Chewing more slowly or carefully
  • Dropping food from the mouth
  • Preference for softer food 
  • Bleeding from the mouth
  • Pawing at the mouth
  • Foul mouth odor
  • Facial swelling
  • Unwillingness to be touched near the face or mouth

How does dental disease affect my pet’s overall health?

Dental disease is not only unpleasant for your pet, but also can lead to other serious health problems. Untreated dental tartar is associated with painful conditions such as gingivitis, tooth-root exposure, bone loss, and abscessation. When the accumulation of bacteria in the mouth enters the bloodstream through a lesion in the oral cavity, other severe conditions can ensue, such as bacterial endocarditis, an infection caused by the bacteria when they reach the heart valves. Severe dental disease can also negatively impact the liver and kidneys.  

What does my pet need for proper dental care?

If your pet has evidence of dental disease and is deemed healthy enough to undergo anesthesia, your veterinarian will likely recommend a dental cleaning. Hand or ultrasonic scaling is necessary to remove tartar accumulation, and while people will readily allow a dentist or hygienist to clean their teeth with sharp tools, most animals will not tolerate this. Since tartar often accumulates underneath the gum line, its removal can be painful. For the safety and comfort of your pet and the veterinary team, general anesthesia is necessary to perform a thorough dental cleaning. Don’t worrywe will perform a pre-anesthetic examination and recommend full blood work before the procedure to ensure your pet is a good candidate for anesthesia. 

Do pets need dental X-rays?

Dental disease often involves more than can be seen on the surface, and lesions can lurk below the gum line. For this reason, dental X-rays are routinely recommended. While our pets don’t typically suffer from cavities like people, they are subject to different types of tooth and bone lesions that require X-rays for diagnosis. 

Is there anything I can do at home?

Yesbrushing the teeth alone cannot remove stubborn calculus, but it can prevent build-up of plaque, the precursor to tartar. Routine brushing at least three times per week is beneficial to your pet’s oral health and to prevent dental disease. Other oral-hygiene products are available for pets, including oral rinses, gels, water additives, and dental chews, but these products generally do not remove plaque as efficiently as tooth brushing. Your veterinarian can recommend specific products for your pet’s individual needs. 

Contact us to schedule an appointment for an oral health examination, and for tips on how to begin an at-home oral-care regimen for your pet.

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