NEWS AND ANNOUNCEMENTS




Do you ever turn your nose up to your pet’s breath? Is it hard to sit next to them with the odor of their breath? Bad breath or halitosis is certainly not limited to humans and can affect dogs and cats. While humans are typically aware (or not aware) of halitosis our pets are oblivious when their breath smells atrocious. This poses a big problem as halitosis can be due to some major dental disease and we as owners are responsible for the oral health care of our pets.

What causes halitosis?
Halitosis is the result of odor-producing bacteria that build up in your pet’s mouth, lungs or gut. While we may think that the root of bad breath is always in the mouth, it could be a sign of a more major problem with the liver, kidneys or gastrointestinal tract. Regardless, halitosis is the result of bacteria build-up, saliva and food that have contributed to plaque. If left untreated, this build-up over time can result in an infection affecting the gums and surrounding tissues of the teeth and cause the breath to worsen.

What do I do if my pet has halitosis?
First, don’t panic! There are lots of remedies and help available. The best thing you can do is make an appointment with your veterinarian for a physical exam and comprehensive oral exam. He/she will recommend specific diagnostics based on physical exam findings and history. Blood work may be recommended to figure out if there is a problem present other than oral disease. If your veterinarian finds excessive calculus, broken teeth, discolored teeth, etc. on oral exam then he/she will recommend a dental cleaning under anesthesia.

What treatment will be done for my cat and dog with halitosis?
As mentioned previously, if there are problems found on the physical exam or blood work, then those problems will be addressed first. If a teeth cleaning is warranted and there are no problems on the initial exam or blood work, then a cleaning under anesthesia will be scheduled. Cleaning under anesthesia will typically begin with a thorough oral exam, dental radiographs, and routine scaling/polishing of all the teeth. The examination and radiographs may reveal more significant concerns that may require further treatment. If abnormalities are found, such as fractured teeth, tooth root abscesses, etc., then extraction of those teeth may be recommended. After the dental cleaning, sealants may be applied in some cases. Rinses, antibiotics, and pain medication may also be sent home to reduce discomfort, help clear infection, and allow for proper healing.

What can I do at home to help prevent/treat halitosis?
There are many easy things you can do at home to help prevent halitosis. There are lots of choices of toothpaste and toothbrushes designed specifically for pet use. Pets need their teeth brushed just like humans and it is recommended to brush them once a day. If that is too often for you, even as little as once a week will be beneficial. Antibacterial rinses can help with bacterial load and in turn with halitosis (and they are easier to use than they sound!). Chews can also be given to help with the mechanical removal of plaque. Some chews even contain antibacterial ingredients that can combat the bacterial load. Finally, some dental diets offer another option for removing plaque mechanically.

Remember to have a complete oral health exam performed at least annually as part of a general physical exam. Combining regular monitoring with proper dental care as recommended by your veterinarian will help to prevent halitosis and severe dental disease from occurring. Make an appointment today!



Osteoarthritis (OA) is a progressive condition that causes joint inflammation, cartilage damage, pain, and disability. Ouch! OA can be managed though. A well rounded approach to managing OA may include weight management, exercise, modifying the environment, drugs, and supplements.

What in the world is UC-II®? 

UC-II® is a proprietary form of undenatured type II collagen* that works in a completely different way than traditional oral supplements such as glucosamine and chondroitin. As joints suffer wear and tear, small bits of type-II collagen can be released from the cartilage into the joint fluid, triggering the immune system to react, causing pain. UC-II® targets the dog’s immune system in the digestive tract in a process called oral tolerization. By exposing the digestive tract to even more collagen, UC-II® “teaches” the immune cells to ignore the loose type-II collagen, thus lessening the pain response. The process works much in the same way an allergy can be treated by exposing it to small amounts of the allergen over time, building up tolerance.

The efficacy and safety of UC-II was demonstrated in a trial in dogs with OA. In the study, lameness and pain were evaluated after the dogs were given UC-II® for 90 days. The dogs receiving UC-II® had significant declines in lameness, overall pain, and pain during manipulation. No adverse effects were noted and no changes were seen in serum chemistry measurements, suggesting that UC-II® was well tolerated.

Other Helpful Supplements for Osteoarthritis

  • Omega-3 Fatty Acids – Omega 3 fatty acids are a collection of polyunsaturated fatty acids. They have anti-inflammatory properties and are vital to healthy joints. They are not produced naturally in the body and food or supplements are good sources to add them. Omega 3 fatty acids aid in joint health by lessoning the inflammation that often accompanies OA. Many over the counter pet foods add omega 3 fatty acids to the food. However, due to regulatory restrictions, they are not allowed to add the therapeutic levels of omega 3’s recommended for osteoarthritis management.
  • Glucosamine/ Chondroitin – Glucosamine and chondroitin are substances that occur naturally in connective tissue and provide building block material for the components of healthy cartilage and its structural integrity. They are in many joint health supplements.
  • Methyl-Sulfonyl-Methane (MSM) – Methyl-sulfonyl-methane is a source of sulfur required for the formation of collagen. Sulfur is found in almost every cell in the body, and higher concentrations are found in joints, hair, skin and nails. MSM is an antioxidant and enhances the structural integrity of connective tissue including cartilage.
  • Vitamin C – Vitamin C is an antioxidant that helps protect cells from damage caused by free radicals, which are reactive substances created by metabolic processes.

Leverage your veterinarian as a source of information

Your veterinarian is the best person to discuss any questions you have about managing your pet with OA. Several years ago a study was done to evaluate the quality of information regarding OA in dogs that was available online. At that time they determined the quality of information available on the web was questionable. Although many of the sites had some conventional information that was reasonably accurate, the information was often incomplete, of minimal use, and often considered counterproductive. Your veterinarian and health care team will be able to provide guidance on the best options for your pet.

Helping your Pet with Osteoarthritis Live Relatively Pain Free

Osteoarthritis can be managed with a multi-modal approach. Work with your veterinarian to find the best supplement for your pet. Those recommendations may change as the disease progresses or your pet’s health changes. In addition to supplementation, weight reduction, controlled exercise and modifying the environment are beneficial. These methods along with drugs such as non-steroidal anti-inflammatories will help break the negative cycle and allow your pet to live a long, happy and relatively pain free life!

*UC-II® is a trademark of InterHealth N.I.



It’s no secret that regular physical activity is beneficial to the health of both people and animals. Maintaining mobility is especially important for pets with osteoarthritis (OA). The great thing about walking is that the duration, frequency and intensity can all be adjusted based on the individual pet’s needs. Plus, dogs make great exercise partners and can help motivate owners to get moving!

  • Walking is a great way to bond with your dog.
  • Exercise, including walking, helps with weight control. Since dogs with OA often need better management of their weight, walking is an important part of a weight loss plan.
  • Walking gives you the chance to get in tune with nature! Too little stimulation can contribute to a number of behavioral problems, and a daily (or frequent) walk can reduce boredom, provide interesting sensory interactions and opportunities for socialization. If your dog is not used to being around other pets use caution if you meet other dogs on your walk and use a leash when necessary.
  • The positive impact of dog walking motivates some people to get moving themselves. Having a dog as a walking buddy overcomes some of the barriers of finding an exercise partner. A dog always has time, as opposed to a friend who might not be able to schedule time. Dogs can also make walking more fun and help a person stick with the exercise program. Dogs love routine and once you get into a walking routine, your furry companion will likely not let you forget your daily walk.
  • The key is consistent and controlled exercise. High intensity activities over a short period are more likely to cause injury.

It’s good for you too!

The Human Animal Bond Research Initiative (HABRI) Foundation recently announced the results of a study that explored what happened when participants were sent emails with incentives to walk. Pet owners were sent reminders about the benefits to their dogs of walking, and non-dog owners were reminded of the benefits to themselves. Although both groups increased their walking times, the dog owners accumulated significantly more walking minutes per week than the non-dog owners! The powerful human-animal bond can help change behavior in a positive fashion.*

A positive exercise experience is a happy and healthy one

Walking is a good exercise even for pets with OA, but be sure to keep the experience a positive one. Some pets will benefit from being on supplements or pain relieving medication before starting an exercise program. Make a pledge to take more walks together and reap the benefits of better health. Talk to your veterinarian about how to get started and then hit the trail!

*Randomized Controlled Theory-Based, E-Mail-Mediated Walking Intervention: Differences Between Dog Owners and Non-Dog Owners. Richards, E. A., N. Ogata, and C.-W. Cheng. Clinical Nursing Research (2016): 1-21. 1 July 2016



Planning a summer vacation can be an exciting task for you and the entire family. Travelers are including their pets in summer travel plans more often. If you are bringing your furry friend along for the ride, here are a few things to consider to make the trip easier on your pet.

Hitting the Road?

If you are taking a road trip with your pet, don’t forget to take a trial run first. Bring your pet along with you on more local car trips to see how they respond in different situations. Additionally, make sure you have options to ensure your pet is safely secured within your vehicle. For smaller dogs and cats, always have them secured in a carrier. For larger dogs, a crate in the back of the car that is secured is preferable. Pet seat belts or restraints are also an option.

Depending on the length of your trip, plan out stops so that your pet has ample opportunities to use the restroom and stretch their legs. Some rest stops and larger gas stations even have doggy play areas! Don’t forget to allow pets to hydrate while traveling – and if traveling during regular meal times, make sure they are able to eat.

Lastly, consider car temperatures! Never leave your pet unattended in a warm car. Temperatures inside a parked car can reach 20-30 degrees higher than outside, and can quickly become deadly for a pet.

Flying high?

Flying with a pet is more popular than ever. Some airlines are even doing more to accommodate pets, but there are still a few things to keep in mind if you are taking off with your pet in tow.

First, always make sure your pet is in good health before flying. If your pet is very young or old, or has a particularly fragile medical condition, it may be best to leave them at home.

Second, do your research first regarding airline fees and policies – you might be surprised at how quickly they can add up. Some airlines charge extra for bringing pets and others will consider your pet carrier as a “checked bag.” Take a close look at your airlines’ pet policies.

If you are heading out of country, pay close attention to laws regarding vaccinations and medical records needed prior to bringing your pet. Some countries (and Hawaii) even require quarantine periods.

Keep your pet safe – no matter how you are traveling

Whether you are driving or flying with your pet, there are some common things to always do beforehand.

  • Ensure your pet’s ID tags are current and that your pet is micro chipped with updated contact information
  • Consult with your veterinarian about your plans
  • If your pet gets nervous while traveling, consider a calming supplement to ease their worries
  • Bring your pet’s favorite toys or blanket as a familiar reminder of home

Ensuring your pet’s well-being while traveling can help make your summer trip the best one yet. As always, if you have more questions regarding things to consider when bringing your pet along on trips, talk to your veterinarian.



Aches and pains; feeling a bit creaky getting out of bed. Sound familiar? We’re not the only ones who may experience stiff and achy joints – our dogs and cats can too. Osteoarthritis (OA), sometimes called degenerative joint disease (DJD) is a common condition in pets that occurs when the cartilage protecting the bone is damaged. Similar to humans, OA is most common in older dogs and cats. Unfortunately, this is not just due to simple wear and tear but it can also be due to injuries your pet has gone through over the years. Animals can suffer from and be diagnosed with OA at any age, and certainly the more active the animal is the higher the likelihood for injury.

Possible risk Factors of Osteoarthritis in Dogs and Cats:

  • Breed
  • Obesity
  • Injuries
  • Infectious Disease

Signs My Pet Has Osteoarthritis

Osteoarthritis causes changes in the affected joints that are painful. Clinical signs of OA in dogs and cats may be subtle or more obvious depending upon the individual pet’s pain tolerance, or the extent of the damage to the joint.

  • Your pet is a little slower to get up in the morning, or reluctant to climb the stairs or jump from heights that were easy before.
  • Sometimes your pet may limp, or favor one or more of their legs. The limp may be worse when they first get up and gets better after they move around a little bit.
  • Another tell-tale sign is hesitancy to do some of the things that previously were easy for your pet to accomplish. They may have difficulty jumping into the car or onto the couch. It may be difficult getting into or out of the litter box, and/or jumping onto furniture.
  • The pain of osteoarthritis may make some pets irritable. They may not like to be petted or groomed because it is painful to be touched or moved.
  • You know your pet better than anyone. If something seems off, it’s probably time to call the veterinarian.

The Important Role Your Veterinarian Plays

As part of evaluating your pet’s overall health, your veterinarian will conduct a thorough physical and orthopedic exam to help pinpoint the cause of your pet’s pain. Painful joints can usually be discovered by touching and feeling the joint and through a range of motion exercises. Radiographs may be taken to get a better look at the musculoskeletal system of your pet and, in some cases, joint fluid analyzed to determine the cause of pain.

The plan your veterinarian develops will be based on those mentioned exams combined with your pet’s health history. Keep track of changes you see to add to the discussions with your vet.

  • Has there been a recent injury?
  • Is the stiffness or lameness only in the morning or throughout the day?
  • Is the lameness in the same leg all the time or different legs?
  • Is the stiffness worse in cold weather?
  • Does it seem difficult for your pet to reach certain areas when grooming?
  • Is there a lapse in litter box habits?

As your pet’s best advocate, talk to your veterinarian about what you have observed. It’s a good idea to take a video of your pet moving to show your veterinarian.



Obesity is a complex disease with influences of genetics, environmental factors, and other diseases. The Association for Pet Obesity Prevention estimates that 54% of the pets in the United States are overweight or obese. Why does this matter? Pets that are overweight or obese are at risk for several diseases, including osteoarthritis (OA). Obesity is ultimately caused by consuming more calories than needed. The excess calories are stored are then stored as fat. Hormones and chemicals related to inflammation are released from this fat, causing chronic diseases such as OA. Cartoon cats with a fancy for pasta are not aspirational for our pets. Just like people, a weight loss journey is never all that simple and easy. However, in the end will lead to a more enjoyable life for your companion.

How Do I Know If My Pet is Overweight?

One of the first steps to evaluating a pet that is overweight or obese is a thorough physical examination and laboratory tests. Your veterinarian will help you evaluate your pet’s Body Condition Score (BCS) which evaluates body fat by observation and palpation. There is a 5-point scoring system and a 9-point scoring system. For most pets a body condition score of 3 on a 5-point system and 5 on a 9-point system is a good goal.

Some signs your pet is at a healthy weight are:

  • Dogs: Ribs are easily felt with little fat covering. When viewed from above a waist can be seen. From the side, a stomach tuck is present.
  • Cats: Ribs are easily felt with little fat covering as well. The lower spine can be clearly seen. There is an obvious waist behind the ribs with minimal stomach fat.

Tips for Weight Management

Below are some ways that can help make your pet’s weight management more beneficial and easier for the both of you:

  • Weight loss foods high in protein will help encourage weight loss and a lean body while those high in fiber will keep your pet feeling full while consuming fewer calories.
  • Be sure to calculate treats within your pet’s diet plan, save 10% for treats.
  • Some good options are: low calorie treats and certain fruits and vegetables.
  • Supplements may also be used for treats to simultaneously reward you pet and create healthier joints (Examples: Flexadin Advanced, Flexadin Plus, etc.)
  • Incorporating an exercise plan is important to help your pet lose weight and relieve joint pains. Walking is always a convenient and inexpensive way to exercise. Duration, frequency and intensity can all be adjusted based on the individual pet’s needs.
  • Typically a pet needs to eat 20% to 30% fewer calories than it would need to maintain weight.
  • Monitor weight loss. Weigh your pet every week or so and write down the number. If weight loss stops, reevaluate what you’re doing.
  • Underwater treadmill walking has also been successful for many obese cats and dogs that have a difficult time walking on their own. (Check for availability in your area.)
  • Don’t expect a rapid drop in weight, but slow and steady weight loss. Pets will gradually lose weight overtime with the slowest being in cats.

Feeding a weight loss food, using supplements to maintain healthy joints, and exercising several times a week are all key parts to a good weight management program. However, the most important step each pet owner needs to take is recognizing that there is a problem and to take action. We sometimes use excuses of “she’s just fluffy” or “he’s big boned” but honesty is needed to recognize positive changes that will better the quality of your pet’s life. It isn’t easy but helping your pet lose weight and maintaining an ideal weight will make them feel better in the long run.



Anemia is a condition in which there are too few red blood cells to carry the necessary amount of oxygen to the tissues. The number of red cells in the blood is roughly analogous to the amount of water in a bucket. But this bucket is leaky, so to keep the water level constant a running faucet continuously replaces the water being lost—the water flowing in replaces the water flowing out. The escaping water corresponds to the normal aging and death of red cells. The life span of feline red blood cells is only about 70 to 80 days, so they’re in constant need of replacement. These lost cells are replenished—like the water from the faucet—by “factory” tissues in the bone marrow.

Carrying our analogy further, anemia can come about in two ways: either the faucet is turned too low, or water is leaking out more quickly than it can be replenished. Non-regenerative anemia is due to inadequate production of red blood cells by the bone marrow—the faucet’s turned too low. There are many causes, but feline leukemia virus in felines is the most common culprit. Regenerative anemia is caused by either blood loss from hemorrhage or premature death of red cells—the leak in the bucket is too big. It is absolutely essential to distinguish between these two forms of anemia if the condition is to be properly treated. Fortunately, simple blood tests and, if necessary, a bone marrow evaluation allow veterinarians to make the distinction.

Broken cells

Hemolytic anemia results from the abnormal destruction of red cells and is of the regenerative type. In immune-mediated hemolytic anemia (IMHA), body’s own immune system is fooled into “thinking” that the red blood cells are foreign—and thus destroys them. A plethora of conditions can trick the immune system into behaving badly: Infections, cancer , blood parasites, adverse reactions to medication, poisoning and transfusion reactions are a few. But many cats and dogs with this form of anemia escape diagnosis in spite of extensive diagnostic tests. If a specific cause can’t be identified and alleviated, management then relies on immune-suppressing medications which don’t always help. Many cats and dogs don’t survive.

Vaccination

There are no studies suggesting a relationship between vaccination and IMHA in cats and dogs . This being the case, I see no need to modify vaccination protocol. Remember, the goal is to maximize the benefits of vaccination—of which there are many—while minimizing the risks. The majority of vaccines are rarely associated with serious adverse reactions. But as with any medical procedure, vaccination isn’t entirely free of complications. To tip the balance toward the beneficial side, it’s important to vaccinate only against infectious agents to which your pets have a realistic risk of exposure, and then vaccinate only as often as is necessary.


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Just as people are living longer than they did in the past, cats are living longer too, and there is every reason to expect that the “graying” cat population will continue to grow.

How old is my cat and dog  in human years?
Cats  and dogs are individuals and, like people, they experience advancing years in their own unique ways. Many  begin to encounter age-related physical changes between seven and ten years of age, and most do so by the time they are 12. The commonly held belief that every “cat year” is worth seven “human years” is not entirely accurate. In reality, a one-year-old cat is physiologically similar to a 16-year-old human, and a two-year-old cat is like a person of 21. For every year thereafter, each cat year is worth about four human years. Using this formula, a ten-year-old cat is similar age wise to a 53-year-old person, a 12-year-old cat to a 61-year-old person, and a 15-year-old cat to a person of 73.

Advancing age is not a disease
Aging  is a natural process. Although many complex physical changes accompany advancing years, age in and of itself is not a disease. Even though many conditions that affect older pets are not correctable, they can often be controlled. The key to making sure your senior pet has the healthiest and highest quality of life possible is to recognize and reduce factors that may be health risks, detect disease as early as possible, correct or delay the progression of disease, and improve or maintain the health of the body’s systems.

What happens as my cat ages?
The aging process is accompanied by many physical and behavioral changes:

  • Compared to younger cats and dogs , the immune system of older cats and dogs is less able to fend off foreign invaders. Chronic diseases often associated with aging can impair immune function even further.
  • Dehydration, a consequence of many diseases common to older pets , further diminishes blood circulation and immunity.
  • The skin of an older pets  is thinner and less elastic, has reduced blood circulation, and is more prone to infection.
  • The claws of aging pets are often overgrown, thick, and brittle.
  • In humans, aging changes in the brain contribute to a loss of memory and alterations in personality commonly referred to as senility. Similar symptoms may be seen in elderly pets: wandering, excessive meowing, apparent disorientation, and avoidance of social interaction.
  • For various reasons, hearing loss is common in pets  of advanced age.
  • Changes in the eyes. A slight haziness of the lens and a lacy appearance to the iris (the colored part of the eye) are both common age-related changes, but neither seems to decrease vision to any appreciable extent. However, several diseases, especially those associated with high blood pressure, can seriously and irreversibly impair a cat’s ability to see.
  • Dental disease  is extremely common in older pets and can hinder eating and cause significant pain.
  • Although many different diseases can cause a loss of appetite , in healthy senior pets , a decreased sense of smell may be partially responsible for a loss of interest in eating. However, the discomfort associated with dental disease is a more likely cause of reluctance to eat.
  • kidneys undergo a number of age-related changes that may ultimately lead to impaired function;Kidney failure  is a common disease in older cats and dogs, and its symptoms are extremely varied.
  • Degenerative joint diseases, or arthritis, is common in older pets. Although most arthritic pets  don’t become overtly lame, they may have difficulty gaining access to litter boxes and food and water dishes, particularly if they have to jump or climb stairs to get to them.

Is my pet sick, or is it just old age?
Never assume that changes you see in your older pet  are simply due to old age, and are therefore untreatable. Owners of older pets often notice changes in  behavior, but consider these changes an inevitable and untreatable result of aging. However, any alteration in  behavior or physical condition should alert you to contact your veterinarian.

Disease of virtually any organ system, or any condition that causes pain or impairs mobility can contribute to changes in behavior. For example:

  • A fearful cat or dog  may not become aggressive  until it is in pain (e.g., from dental disease) or less mobile (e.g., from arthritis).
  • The increased urine production that often results from diseases common to aging cats (e.g., kidney failure, Diabetes mellitus, or hyperthyroidism) may cause the litter box to become soiled more quickly than expected. The increased soil and odor may prompt cats to eliminate in inappropriate areas. .
  • Many cats that do not mark their territory with urine may begin to do so if a condition like hyperthyroidism develops.
  • Cats with painful arthritis may have difficulty gaining access to a litter box, especially if negotiating stairs is required. Even climbing into the box may be painful for such cats, prompting them to eliminate in inappropriate areas.
  • Older cats and dogs  may be more sensitive to changes in the household since their ability to adapt to unfamiliar situations diminishes with age.


How can I help keep my senior pet healthy?
Close observation is one of the most important tools you have to help keep your senior pet  healthy. You may wish to perform a basic physical examination on a weekly basis. Ask your veterinarian to show you how to do it and what to look for. You will find it easier if you just make the examination an extension of the way you normally interact with your pet. For example, while you are rubbing your pet’s head or scratching its chin, gently raise the upper lips with your thumb or forefinger so you can examine the teeth and gums. In the same way, you can lift the ear flaps and examine the ear canals. While you are stroking fur, you can check for abnormal lumps or bumps, and evaluate the health of the skin and coat.

Daily Brushing
Daily brushing or combing removes loose hairs, preventing them from being swallowed and forming hairballs. Brushing also stimulates blood circulation and sebaceous gland secretions, resulting in a healthier skin and coat. Older pets may not use scratching posts as frequently as they did when they were younger; therefore, nails should be checked weekly and trimmed if necessary.

Daily Tooth Brushing
Brushing your pet’s teeth with a pet-specific toothpaste or powser is the single most effective way to prevent dental disease. Dental disease is more common in older pets and can lead to other health problems, so maintaining oral health is important.

Proper Nutrition
Many pets get heavier or even obese as they age. If your pet is overweight, you should ask your veterinarian to help you change the diet  so that a normal body condition can be restored.

Reducing Stress
Reducing environmental stress whenever possible is very important since older pets  are usually less adaptable to change. Special provisions should be made  that must be boarded for a period of time.

Pets are experts at hiding illness. It is common to have a serious medical problem, yet not show any sign of it until the condition is quite advanced. Since most diseases can be managed more successfully when detected and treated early in their course, it is important for owners  to carefully monitor their behavior and health.

How can my veterinarian help?
Just as your observations can help detect disease in the early stages, so too can regular veterinary examinations. Your veterinarian may suggest evaluating your healthy senior pet  more frequently than a younger. If your pet  has a medical condition, more frequent evaluations may also be necessary. During your pet’s examination, the veterinarian will gather a complete medical and behavioral history, perform a thorough physical examination in order to evaluate every organ system, check  weight and body condition, and compare them to previous evaluations. At least once a year, certain tests, including blood tests, fecal examination, and urine analysis, may be suggested. In this way, disorders can be found and treated early, and ongoing medical conditions can be appraised. Both are necessary to keep your senior pet  in the best possible health.

Should I adopt an older pet ? 
A special group of senior pets that deserves particular attention is older pets  in shelters. While young cats,dogs ,puppies and kittens are attractive to most potential adopters due to their cuteness and playfulness, senior pets are often overlooked by people considering adopting a pet. If people keep their minds open, they will find that there are countless older pets that would make excellent pets and would brighten up any home. The next time you are at the shelter, take some time to check out these mature felines and canines . Taking them home can make both of your lives richer, happier, and more satisfying.


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Within each of a cat’s teeth is a chamber (root canal) that contains tissue made up of blood vessels, lymphatic vessels, and nerves. This tissue, which communicates with the rest of the animal’s body, is surrounded by a bony substance called dentin, which accounts for the bulk of the tooth’s structure. In a condition known as a tooth resorption –formerly referred to as feline odontoclastic resorptive lesion (FORL) or cervical line lesion—the dentin in a single tooth (or several simultaneously) erodes and eventually becomes irreparably destroyed. Over time, all areas of an affected tooth, from root to crown, may become involved.

Tooth resorption is a common condition, affecting an estimated 20 percent to 60 percent of all cats and close to three-quarters of those five years of age and older. The cause is unknown. “There are a few theories, but no one is sure about what really stimulates this condition. Some researchers, for example, theorize that an excess of vitamin D in commercial cat food might be to blame, but other researchers don’t necessarily agree. So, for now, we don’t have an answer.”

In most cases,  there will be various levels of resorption in affected teeth, and the destruction can occur at varying speeds until it progresses to a point at which it must be clinically addressed. “A cat may lose just one tooth in its lifetime because of this problem,although it can have a little bit of resorption on other roots that may not require treatment. Regarding the clinical signs of tooth resorption are Loss of appetite might occur if the crown were to break off from a single tooth. In that case, the cat could be off its food for a significant amount of time—24 to 72 hours, say. But in general, the condition has to get to an extreme level before the cat stops eating. Instead, if there are several resorptive lesions in the oral cavity, one of the first signs would be that the cat starts swallowing its food without chewing it or that it suddenly develops a preference for soft food.

A cat may clearly indicate that it is experiencing excruciating pain when it bites down on an affected tooth or if the tooth is touched by a veterinarian’s probing fingers or examining tool. At the same time, chronic toothaches are not among the condition’s most salient clinical signs. A more reliable indicator in this regard is a cat’s behavior while eating. The owner may notice that the animal’s appetite appears to be normal but that it tilts its head and tries to chew on just one side of its mouth. If it is eating kibble, it may try to swallow it without chewing, or the food may fall out of its mouth.

The best way of confirming the suspected presence of the condition , is by means of a full-mouth intra-oral radiograph. its  recommend that a cat’s teeth be visually examined every year.

If veterinary examination reveals the presence of tooth resorption,  the only effective treatment will entail extraction of any affected teeth.


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The most frequently diagnosed feline-canine  joint disorder is osteoarthritis, otherwise known as degenerative joint disease (DJD). This condition may be caused by an injury to a joint, by gradual wear and tear on a joint that takes place over time, or as the secondary consequence of a disease that compromises the internal structure of a joint.

In all cases, DJD is characterized by the erosion of cartilage, the smooth tissue that protects the ends of bones from rubbing directly against one another within a movable joint. When this protective tissue, for whatever reason, is worn or torn away completely, the bone ends come immediately into contact, and the persistent grinding of bone against bone results in inflammation and pain of varying severity.
All joints in a cat’s and dog’s body can be affected by DJD, but those that become most visibly apparent to the owner will be the movable joints, most often the shoulders and elbows. But the knees, wrists and hips are also frequently affected. Outward signs of the condition will vary, depending on which joints are most painful, the extent of damage, and the animal’s age.

The earliest visible sign of DJD is likely to be apparent stiffness and a subtle reduction in an affected animal’s activity. Altered gait may eventually occur as the disease progresses or if the joint disorder has resulted from an injury.

Risk Factors

There is no gender predisposition for DJD; male and female cats and dogs  are equally susceptible to the condition. It is seen more frequently in obese cats than in those of normal weight, since overweight animals constantly exert excessive pressure on their weight-bearing joints. The only notable breed disposition for DJD is in Maine Coons who, due to their naturally stocky bodies, are more susceptible to hip dysplasia than other breeds.

Other Conditions

Although DJD is, by far, the most frequently observed feline and canine  joint disorder, a wide variety of other conditions affecting the joints may be responsible for a sudden or gradually occurring lameness. For example, being hit by an automobile or falling from a significant height can fracture or dislocate one or more bones in an animal’s joints. Most frequently, these traumas occur in the front or hind limbs, although such fractures can also occur in a cat’s pelvis or spine.

In some cases, a cat  and dog may be born with a so-called developmental defect—a genetically inherited condition—that affects the joints. Among these conditions, the most frequently occurring is hip dysplasia. In a normally formed animal, the top end of the thigh bone fits snugly into the ball-and-socket joint of the hip but is free enough to glide and partially rotate to allow an animal’s movement. In hip dysplasia, the ball and socket are misaligned and loose, a structural abnormality that causes the bones in the joint to rub painfully against each other.

A host of other problems can compromise the joints in the feline body, such as dietary and hormonal disorders, bone cancer, diabetes , rheumatoid arthritis and ligament ruptures. Fortunately, these conditions, insofar as they impact the joints, are relatively rare in cats and dogs , especially when compared with the frequent occurrence of DJD.

Veterinary diagnosis of a cat and dog  that seems to be experiencing a joint problem focuses, therefore, on confirming the presence of DJD and excluding, to the extent possible, the presence of other conditions that might affect the joints. Diagnosis will entail a complete medical history and overall physical examination of an afflicted animal, followed by an orthopedic exam and X-rays of the  joints.

A number of surgical procedures, such as bone fusion or joint replacement, may relieve problems, but such procedures can also restrict an animal’s activities. So palliative treatment—relying largely on pain medication and attentive home care—is most often recommended. The goal is to relieve the patient’s discomfort and provide him or her with a reasonably good quality of life.


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