“Our Commitment To Your Pet Lies In The Quality Of Our Care”

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234 Power Road, Endeavour Hills, Vic 3802

 

Telephone: 1300-838-738 or 1300-VET-PET

 

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How DO I CARE FOR MY AGING PET?

(Some of the information has been sourced from AAHA Senior Care Guidelines for Dogs and Cats)

“Our Commitment To Your Pet Lies In The Quality Of Our Care”

Pets are predisposed to many conditions. We do recommend presenting your pet for assessment every 6 months or more frequently. It is rather unfortunate that only about 14% of senior animals undergo regular health screening. Pets receiving treatment have an increased need for more frequent examinations and testing. As pets grow into the senior year they become even more cemented in the human family. Middle age is considered to be approximately 7 to 8 years of age for most dogs and cats. As pets enter their senior years, more frequent testing and more extensive examinations are recommended as organ systems, species, and breeds of dogs age at different rates. We clinically screen healthy pets so as to establish a baseline assessment for future comparison and to detect subclinical diseases. Subtle changes in laboratory test results may give an indication of the presence of underlying disease, and help us to institute appropriate preventative measures. We do believe that you would prefer to be told about the best options for your pet. As health care professional we have a responsibility to recommend what is best for your pet. The chosen treatment would be what is best for both the pet and yourself. We firmly believe that you need to be empowered in the decision-making process.

We do want to provide your pet with the high quality of veterinary care as you would expect from human health care. By providing optimal care for your aging pet we:-

  • are in a position to detect diseases in the apparently healthy pet
  • are in a position to provide optimal and individualized medical care that may enhance quality of life and promote longevity in your pet thereby delaying morbidity and mortality whenever possible
  • can define aspects of screening, diagnosis, treatment, anesthesia, and surgery that are pertinent to your pet
  • can outline principles of assessing and managing pain in your pet
  • can provide a framework to evaluate quality of life
  • can assist you with decision-making at the end of life

Based on the information that we gather we will be in a far better position to make recommendations appropriate for your pet. We do this from the information that we gather from you, by observing your pet’s actions while in the examination room, as well as a detailed clinical examination. Our assessment includes, but is not limited to:

  • the breed, sex, reproductive status, etc
  • weight gain or loss (that you may not have observed);
  • obesity;
  • changes in body condition or conformation
  • presentation of skin, coat, claw, and nail bed character;
  • detection and assessment of lumps and bumps
  • presence of lymph node enlargement
  • presence of thyroid nodule (cats)
  • hydration status
  • abdominal palpation, especially the size and shape of kidneys and liver
  • vital signs such as temperature, pulse, respirations, and pain assessment
  • assessment of the gums, teeth, oral cavity, tongue
  • cardiopulmonary evaluation
  • evaluation of the central nervous system such as: nerve reflexes, proprioception; vision, hearing, etc
  • orthopedic examination
  • rectal palpation (dog)
  • anal gland assessment, etc

Our interest is in educating you on how to better look after your pet as they age by drawing attention to:

  • its dental and oral care
  • its diet and nutrition appropriate to its age
  • monitoring of weight gain (especially in the dog) or loss (especially in the cat)
  • parasite control
  • maintaining mobility
  • vaccination
  • mental health
    • importance of routine and predictable environment;
    • environmental enrichment;
    • companion pets and social interaction;
    • discussion of brain aging;
    • monitoring signs of cognitive decline
  • environmental considerations:
    • housing; indoor or outdoor lifestyle;
    • accommodation of disabilities;
    • avoidance of smoke and toxin exposure
  • the potential reproductive disease in non-neutered pets
    • pyometra,
    • mammary tumor
    • testicular neoplasia,
    • prostatic disease

A frequent finding in senior pets, which often is a life-limiting ailment, are malignant neoplasias. Some commonly occurring neoplasias are:-

  • Squamous cell carcinoma: appearing as nail bed disease (dog) or facial dermatosis (cat)
  • Squamous cell carcinoma, melanoma, and fibrosarcoma of the oral cavity: emanating from the gingiva, tongue, or tonsil
  • Osteosarcoma causing lameness
  • Fibrosarcoma, mastocytoma, hemangiopericytoma: presenting as soft-tissue cutaneous or subcutaneous masses
  • Mammary adenocarcinoma: appearing as a swelling or cyst along the mammary chain
  • Lymphosarcoma: producing alimentary signs, soft-tissue masses, and organomegaly (e.g. hepatomegaly in the dog, renomegaly in the cat), and at other extra-nodal sites
  • Bladder or urethral carcinoma: presenting as dysuria or hematuria

We are quite cautious when we dispense medications. We avoid indiscriminate use of drugs. We design a treatment plan appropriate to your pet. Should your pet be prescribed medications we request that you do not change the dose or frequency without consulting us. As a carer you share responsibility for monitoring side effects or complications. To ensure a successful outcome we will contact you from time to time, and need to work in partnership. Should the need arise we will refer you to a specialist.

We will be there to guide you when your pet is presented with a debilitating or chronic disease, or with euthanasia. We no doubt take into account the impact your pet has on you. You will need to consider the realistic ability (financial, physical, and time constraints) to adequately care for your pet.

As a pet carer, it is expected that you would provide:-

  • Warmth, comfort and security for your pet
  • Companionship, mental stimulation and opportunities for expression of normal behaviour for your pet
  • Exercise as appropriate to your pet
  • Protection from disease and injury for your pet
  • Protection from fear and distress for your pet
  • Provision for appropriate feeding for your pet
  • Opportunities for defecation and urination away from the sleeping area for your pet

While you may already be doing all of the above as well as upholding the rights of pets as noted below, you would be very surprised to know that a significant number of pets do not enjoy this level of care.

As a pet carer we expect that you will uphold the rights of animals, which are listed below. These freedoms form the cornerstone of animal ethics and welfare.

Freedom from Hunger and Thirst

  • All animals deserve access to readily available fresh water and a well-balanced, nutritious diet.
  • Freedom from hunger and thirst provides for an animal’s most basic needs by allowing that animal to remain in good health and full of vitality. It may seem obvious, but this freedom is more than just food and water. It’s the right kind of food and the proper amounts of food and water that often make a difference in an animal’s health.

Freedom from Discomfort

  • All animals should inhabit an appropriate environment. The conditions and surroundings afforded an animal contribute greatly to its overall well-being.
  • By providing an animal with shelter and a comfortable resting area, you are ensuring that the animal remains healthy and content.

Freedom from Pain, Injury or Disease

  • All animals should be entitled to immediate veterinary attention when sick or injured.
  • To avoid unnecessary suffering, animals should be provided with rapid diagnosis and treatment.
  • In addition to treatment, pain, injury and disease can also be prevented though proactive measures like regular visits to a veterinarian and close observation.

Freedom to Express Normal Behaviour

  • All animals should be allowed to express normal behaviours.
  • A normal behaviour is the manner in which an animal conducts itself in its natural environment. Sufficient space, proper facilities and company of the animals own kind will encourage the expression of normal behaviours.

Freedom from Fear and Distress

  • All animals deserve to enjoy a positive psychological state.
  • Ensuring conditions that avoid unnecessary anxiety and stress will help to provide freedom from mental suffering. While favourable physical conditions are important, appropriate mental conditions are also essential to good animal welfare.

As you can appreciate the problems are many and will need to be identified. It is therefore recommended that your pet is seen by us at the earliest, to prevent the problem progressing and causing other complications. Early recognition and treatment means that your pet will recover sooner, and will therefore be far more comfortable. It is not only significantly more difficult to treat a pet in an advanced stage of the disease, as well as far more expensive, but one also has to take into account the significant pain and stress your pet is under by not being treated at the earliest.

We sincerely recommend that you please call us on 1300-838-738 (1300-VET-PET) to schedule an appointment at the earliest. We do not believe in berating our clients for presenting the pets late, as we believe that this is counter productive. It is not our intention to cause you any embarrassment, offence or anxiety. Our approach is now that you have presented your pet to us, how do we go forward from here, not only keeping your pet’s welfare at heart, but also working with your wishes and limiting factors. We do approach all cases presented to us with a level of sensitivity. As pet health care professionals we will present our assessment and treatment in a professional manner and factually as possible.

You may not be aware that in older pets multiple problems often arise as aging affects all body systems. As pets age they become increasingly vulnerable to diseases. The three leading causes of non accidental death in pets are cancer, kidney disease and heart disease. Older animals seldom suffer from a single disease. One problem may markedly influence the course of another. Ageing is characterised by progressive and irreversible change. Pets are likely to start having diseases associated with ageing between 7 and 13 years. Smaller dogs tend to live longer than large dogs. The quality and length of life of older pets can be improved through regular health checks (every 6 months). A thorough clinical examination will help define some of these problems.

Because we do care for the welfare and interest of your pet, we do go out of way to ensure that your pet can access medical or surgical attention in time of its need. It would also interest you to know that:-

  1. We do pride ourselves in the quality of our services.
  2. We do provide a 24 hour on call service.
  3. We also offer payment plans through a third party, provided you meet the criteria as set out by the financing institute.
  4. If you cannot bring your pet to us, we will come to you as we do have a fully equipped pet ambulance.
  5. We also do house calls.
  6. Your pet will receive a very high level of care given the level of diagnostic and monitoring equipment that we have on hand.
  7. We do welcome you to take a personal tour of our facility.
  8. We also provide pet grooming services
  9. We also provide puppy classes. Puppies are trained not only indoors, but also outdoors, being exposed to outdoor noises and traffic in a controlled environment. The puppy training classes are run by Ms Julie Pocknee.
  10. We do care for our wildlife, and work very closely with wildlife carers providing veterinary care where needed.
  11. We take an active part in community services and proudly support Service Dog Training, by way of providing veterinary services to working dogs of individuals with disabilities. Please see www.servicedogtraining.com.au

If you have not used our services before, we do suggest that you try our services and see the differences for yourself. From our analysis we find that over 30% of all new patients are referred to us by existing clients, and a further 25% of all new patients are brought in by existing clients. Our clients travel from as far as Camberwell, Clayton, Fitzroy, Ringwood, Chelsea, St Kilda, Port Melbourne, Pakenham, to name but a few. From the level of service we provide, you would come to understand that we are not your average Veterinary Services provider. We do recommend that you bookmark our web address www.petcarevet.com.au

Our staff are very friendly and courteous. We are very easily accessible. We are located at 234 Power Road, Endeavour Hills, at the intersection of Power Road and Heatherton Road, Endeavour Hills, just off the Monash Freeway. Please note that parking is at the rear.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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