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Most of you have likely heard through the grapevine (a very healthy vine in Texarkana!) that Westridge has changed ownership recently. Indeed we have heard almost every rumor you can imagine over the last 6 months. The most prevalent rumors have now turned into questions in the exam room so we believe it is time to address these head on.
50 is the new 40... or at least that is what I keep telling myself as I get ready to celebrate my forty-something birthday this year. But there is some truth in that feel-good statement. People are living longer, more active lives because of advances in medical care and we, as a whole, are taking better care of ourselves. The same thing is true for the furry members of our family. Because of the advances in veterinary care, pet nutrition, heartworm prevention, and the fact that more pets are living inside or in enclosed yards; our pets are also living longer more active lives. So when do pets become seniors?
Heartworm disease is still a serious and potentially fatal disease in dogs (and occasionally cats) in the United States. Northeast Texas remains a real hotspot for this deadly parasite due to the year round mosquito population in this part of the state. It is caused by a foot long "worm" (yup, up to 14" in length and the diameter of a pencil lead) that lives in the heart, lungs and associated blood vessels of infested animals. It can lead to severe lung disease, heart disease and will cause damage to other organs and systems, especially the kidney. Because it is also a parasite of wild dogs, coyotes and foxes, we have an incredible reservoir of infestation in our part of the world.
Sara Bell, a 9 year old Boston Terrier, came for an exam in early February with the chief complaint of cloudy, painful eyes with excessive tears. On exam, we found significant inflammation in the part of the eye in front of the iris/pupil and conjunctivitis. She was in a lot of pain and didn't want to open her eyes.
We tried to treat with drops and oral pain relief, but two weeks later she had conreal ulcers and the pain continued. Now the intra-ocular pressures were very high. Glaucoma had developed. We sent Sara Bell to Dallas the next week (3/16) for an ophthalmic consult and their diagnosis was the same, but included dislocation of both lenses. Prognosis was very poor. Their suggestion was bilateral enucleation (eye removal). She was already blind in both eyes with no hope of medical improvement.
Every week we have clients who bring in their pet due to lameness, respiratory issues, or abdominal pain. These patients often require radiographic imaging to “see” what is inside. Radiographs give us an opportunity to look beneath the skin to examine underlying tissues and determine the root of whatever is causing the patient’s issue. Obviously, fractures of bones are easily visible but we can also see many soft tissue abnormalities and even the occasional foreign body (like the magnets the kids knocked off the refrigerator or maybe your keys…..we’ve even seen a superball!). Technology in the veterinary industry is continuously evolving. At Westridge, we like to keep up with all of the state-of-the-art equipment available to better diagnose and treat your pet. One of the most valuable pieces of equipment that we use daily is our digital radiology system.
"Doctor, why does Fido's breath smell so bad, has he eaten something dead?" How many times do we have this question asked daily? It is TNTC (doctor acronym meaning too numerous to count). February was National Pet Dental Health Month and we celebrated it at Westridge by performing over 40 prophys (cleanings) complete with digital radiographs, ultrasonic scaling and polishing (and quite a number of extractions!!!). We commend you all who are still taking advantage of the 10% discount we always extend on dentals during February (and continue on into March in order to finish!!) each year. There are a bunch of happy dogs and cats that have a sparkling smile now and more than a few that feel so much better now that one or more bad teeth have been removed.
Do you think it’s time to add a puppy to your family? There are many things to consider when adding what you hope will be a loving, long lasting member of your family. Let’s discuss some of the most important things to consider before you make this addition.
One of the most common emergency calls we receive is the one that starts with, “My pet just ate…..” We have seen dogs and cats eat some crazy things…including, but not limited to, Polly Pocket toys, jewelry, coins, fishhooks, needles and thread, hair ties…the list is endless. But today I would like to concentrate on the items that our beloved pets eat that can be toxic.
Dr. Murray, Dr. Burns, and Dr. Morgan will share some of their knowledge on subjects that most pet owners have questions about!