Posts Tagged ‘Prescription diet’

“Mikey,” a 9-year-old Labrador, refuses to go down the short set of steps to the yard. Instead, he stays inside and urinates and defecates near the back door. 

“Jester,” a 14-year-old Siamese cat, no longer runs to the kitchen at the sound of the can opener. He sleeps during the day and spends most nights howling outside his owner’s bedroom door.

“Ginny,” a 12-year-old Cocker Spaniel, spends hours staring at the wall and has no interest in retrieving her favorite toy.

What do these three senior pets have in common? They may be suffering the usual effects of aging: arthritis for “Mikey;” hearing loss for “Jester;” and blindness for “Ginny” — or they may all have Cognitive Dysfunction Syndrome.

Cognitive Dysfunction Syndrome (CDS) is the result of degenerative brain aging that leads to lost or reduced memory, ability to learn, attention span, and understanding. For comparison, CDS is thought to be similar to Alzheimer’s Disease.

What are the signs? Typical behavior in pets with Cognitive Dysfunction Syndrome are divided into categories labeled DISH.

  • Disorientation: the pet wanders, seems lost or confused and may not recognize familiar people; doesn’t respond to his name; he may get “stuck” in corners or behind furniture; he may stare into space or at walls
  • Interaction changes: the pet may walk away while being petted, doesn’t greet her owners, and seems aloof or detached
  • Sleep and activity changes: the pet may sleep more during the day, but stay awake at night, and no longer wants to play; he may wander or pace and have less purposeful activity
  • Housesoiling: the pet doesn’t signal the need to go out and has accidents in the house

    Is he lost in thought – or just lost?

What’s next? The veterinarian will check your pet for other medical issues that may be related to aging, such as arthritis, loss of vision or hearing, incontinence, or a disease process (kidney disease or diabetes, for example.) Some symptoms may be the result of medications that the pet is taking. Changes in the pet’s environment can also cause behavioral problems. Of course, a pet can have age-related problems at the same time he is experiencing the effects of brain aging.

Is there a cure for Cognitive Dysfunction Syndrome? There is no cure, but nutritional and medical intervention can slow the progression of the disorder and return some cognitive function.

What are the options? Treatment may consist of a diet change. For instance, Hill’s Pet Nutrition has formulated its b/d Diet to address brain aging through the use of antioxidants that protect brain cells from destructive free radicals. [Learn more about free radicals here.]

Another option is Anipryl, a prescription drug that enhances dopamine production, allowing brain cells to better communicate with each other. Anipryl is not right for every dog, though, and certain endocrine function tests must be performed first, to determine suitability. Also, Anipryl is not recommended to treat aggression in dogs.

For cats, mental stimulation can help with cognitive function. Keep your cat busy climbing, exploring, searching for treats, and using its natural hunting instincts.

Where do I start? If you suspect your pet has Cognitive Dysfunction Syndrome, schedule a physical exam for her. Keep a journal of the pet’s behavior leading up to the visit. Contact us and ask to receive a Behavior History Form to help track your pet’s activity. Bring the form with you to your pet’s appointment.

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Resources:
“Brain Health and Behavioral Changes in Dogs,” a Hill’s Pet Nutrition publication;
Anipryl brochure, a Pfizer Animal Health publication;
“Senior Pet Care and Cognitive Dysfunction Syndrome,” by David Merrick and Dr. Gary Landsberg

A version of this post originally appeared on Sept. 5, 2012.

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Order food for Labor Day

Little Creek Veterinary Clinic will be closed for the
Labor Day holiday weekend from Saturday, September 1st
through Monday, September 3rd.

Pet emergencies over the holiday weekend
can be handled by BluePearl Town Center (757-499-5463).

Our clinic will re-open on Tuesday, September 4th.

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Why should you care about the bacteria in your pet’s mouth?
We have even more answers today.
(See Part I here.)

PetDental_logoPet

Q: What’s the difference between gingivitis and periodontal disease?
A: Gingivitis is reversible and can be treated and prevented with thorough plaque removal and continued plaque control. Periodontal disease is more severe and is irreversible. It may require advanced therapy and thorough plaque control to prevent progression of the disease. Periodontal disease causes red, swollen, tender gums, receding gums, bleeding gums, oral pain and dysfunction and bad breath. Periodontal disease, if left untreated, may lead to tooth loss and systemic health problems affecting the heart, liver, kidneys, and lungs.

Q: Can I reduce the risk of oral disease for my pet?
A: Yes. The good news is that oral disease is primarily preventable. The Foundation for Veterinary Dentistry recommends a three-step program to help prevent oral disease. Take your pet to his or her veterinarian for a dental exam; start a home dental care routine; and take your pet to his or her veterinarian for regular checkups. Research shows that canine gingivitis can be controlled by regular tooth brushing, and that feeding a pet food with proven oral benefits is also helpful in daily plaque control and maintenance of oral health. Your pet is never too old to begin a dental care routine.

Q: Does it matter to my pet’s teeth whether he or she eats hard or soft food?
A: Studies show that hard kibbles are slightly better at keeping plaque from accumulating on the teeth. Hill’s Prescription Diet T/D for dogs and cats has been proven to help remove plaque and tartar. If you think your pet needs a special food, consult his or her veterinarian.

Q: What are the warning signs that my pet has an unhealthy mouth?
A: Some of the common signs of oral disease include bad breath, a change in eating or chewing habits, pawing at the face, lethargy, and depression. Oral disease causes pain in your pet’s mouth. If you notice any of these signs, take your pet to his or her veterinarian for a dental exam.

Do you have questions about your pet’s oral health? Contact us today.

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Feeding time at the zoo

  Is it time for a change?

There are a number of good reasons you might change the food your pet is eating, including:

  • Pet enters a new stage of life, such as going from puppy/kitten to adult to senior
  • Pet develops a food allergy
  • Pet requires a prescription diet to manage health issues, such as obesity or liver disease
  • Pet refuses to eat its regular food
  • Pet could benefit from a higher-quality food than the one it currently eats

Before changing your pet’s diet, consult with your veterinarian.
In the case of prescription diets, your pet may need to be
on a strictly measured amount, rather than free-choice feeding.

The key to making the switch is to gradually introduce the new food, in order to reduce the possibility of digestive upset. 

This is the trick to introduce a new food to your pet:

Days 1 and 2: Feed 3 parts old food and 1 part new food*

Days 3 and 4: Feed 2 parts old food and 2 parts new food (i.e. half and half)

Days 5 and 6: Feed 1 part old food and 3 parts new food

Day 7: Feed only the new food

*Be sure to calculate how much of each food to give, so that you are not overfeeding.

If your pet experiences loose stools during the transition, your veterinarian may recommend adding probiotics to the diet.

Est. 1973

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Hill's will no longer accept "Free Product" coupons

     Hill’s Pet Nutrition has announced that, due to fraud involving counterfeit coupons, it will no longer reimburse Free Product coupons for Science Diet and Prescription Diet (as illustrated above.)  Because of this, we can no longer accept these coupons, either.  Both legitimate and counterfeit coupons are included in Hill’s decision.

     Consumers who have questions about the change may contact Hill’s Consumer Affairs Department at 1-800-445-5777.

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