Our Role in Older Dog’s Health

by admin on July 7, 2011

“Old dogs, like old shoes, are comfortable. They might be a bit out of shape and a little worn around the edges, but they fit well.”
–Bonnie Wilcox ‘Old Dogs, Old Friends’

I love that quote! One of our buddies is getting older, and our awareness of that fact has just kicked-in. He isn’t as frisky on his frequent walks–takes much more time to sniff around ( and there might be a lesson there for us all!). I’ve noticed he also takes much less notice of his younger “sibling’s” playfulness. He still barks furiously at the dog next door, but he’s slow and deliberate in everything he now does.

One thing I know I can control is his food, his exercise and other stimulation. We are very careful, read labels and have discussed his diet with the vet. At his last checkup, he got the highest marks for his health. Bottomline, our awareness of older dog health problems and the things that we can control are important. Here’s a link to some good information.

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We noticed a recent news feed about an outbreak of Parvo in York County. I asked Kirstin Madden, an Idaho pet medical center vet, about Parvo–exactly what it is and how to prevent it. Here’s her response:
What is it? “Canine parvovirus is a serious illness, and unfortunately is common in the dog population. The tough virus that causes the illness is resistant to freezing and sunlight, and can persist in contaminated soil for months.” The virus attacks the lining of the digestive system causing dogs/puppies to not be able to absorb nutrients or liquids.
What are the symptoms?
Vomiting, diarrhea, loss of appetite, and listlessness. It also suppresses the immune system.
How is it spread?
“Dogs are exposed to the virus through contact with feces from infected dogs or soil contaminated with infected feces. In some areas, the infection is seen more commonly in the summer months, perhaps because dogs and their people participate in more outdoor activities then.
How to prevent?
Puppies are most vulnerable to parvovirus infection because their immune systems are immature and they may not have had a chance to respond to routine vaccinations.  Without treatment, most infected puppies will die, from dehydration and secondary infection caused by the bacteria in the intestinal tract. While treatment is successful in about 80% of cases, it requires intensive care and usually hospitalization for several days at the least. Puppies which survive the illness usually recover with no lasting ill effects and cannot be re-infected, but it is much more humane and cost-effective to make sure dogs and puppies are properly vaccinated.
A very effective vaccine is available to protect dogs. In young puppies, a series of parvovirus vaccines is recommended, because the protection puppies receive from their mother’s milk interferes with the vaccine for a period of time. Until several vaccines have been given, it is best to avoid exposing pups to areas where many dogs are known to visit. As an adult, vaccine boosters are recommended at least every few years, depending on the dog’s lifestyle and the veterinarian’s preference.

Thank you Kirstin! In our household, we wipe off our buddies paws after each walk and adventure. It’s just one of those responsible pet parent routines as, in addition to parvo, there are dangers like fertilizers and pesticides that collect on their paws and be ingested through their grooming routine.

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Latest Pet Food Recalls

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Here are the latest AVMA recalls and alerts info.PET FOOD RECALL

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“Dog Proofing” the House

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We mailnly hear about the items that are toxic to dogs, but Dr. Jon has listed common household items that are non-toxic. In other words, you don’t have to rush to the vets or the animal emergency if your dog has ingested one of these, unless it is lodged in their tummies and causes a [...]

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Ahhh spring! Time to smell the buttercups but keep your canines away from them! With the buds and blossoms come some real dangers to your dog. According the ASPCA, there are 391 plants that are toxic to dogs from Amaryllis & Carnations to Wisteria & Yucca. Check the list here.Other dangers are the commercial lawn [...]

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AKC Canine Good Citizen

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Top 10 Pet Travel Tips

March 27, 2011

from gopetfriendly.com: 1. Training, Training, Training Avoid embarrassing and potentially dangerous situations by teaching your dog reliable Come, Heel, Quiet, and Settle commands. Practice is the key. Before you set out on a road trip, test your progress in places with a lot of distractions, like a friend’s house or the dog park. 2. Thoroughly [...]

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