Monthly Newsletter

York Animal Hospital Newsletter

York Animal Hospital

The veterinarians and staff at this York, NY Animal Hospital are pleased to provide you with an online newsletter. This fun and fact-filled newsletter is updated on a regular basis

Included in the newsletter are articles pertaining to pet care, information on the York, NY Animal Hospital as well as news on the latest trends and discoveries in veterinary medicine.

Please enjoy the newsletter!

Current Newsletter Topics

Senior Pets - Maintaining Good Health

In general, pets over the age of 7 are considered senior pets. The following are a few suggestions to help ensure good health to your faithful companion.

As your pet approaches senior status, your veterinarian may recommend basic blood and urine tests as a baseline for measuring future changes. Regular blood testing can help identify diseases in their earliest and most treatable stages.

Note changes in your pet’s behavior or appearance. Treat simple medical problems, such as incessant ear scratching, immediately. A trip to the veterinarian can get problems under control early, before they become major problems requiring more extensive treatment.

Switch to a quality senior food that provides enhanced levels of key nutrients

Ask your veterinarian about a dental checkup and teeth cleaning. Follow the cleaning with recommended dental care at home.

Provide moderate exercise. This will deter anxiety-related behavior problems, help with weight control and keep muscles toned.

Talk with your veterinarian if your dog or cat tires easily or has trouble breathing.

Groom your senior pet at least once a week. Check for lumps, sores, parasites and foul-smelling ears or discharge. Older pets may need to he bathed with medicated or moisturizing shampoo.

Maintain a familiar routine and environment to minimize stress.

If your pet has not been spayed or neutered, ask your veterinarian about having this done. These procedures reduce the likelihood of mammary or prostate gland tumors.

As your veterinarian about a Senior Pet Health Examination. He or she will examine your pet and offer suggestions for maintaining an excellent quality of life.

If Your Dog is Sensitive to Anesthesia, This May Be Why

Purebred dogs have been selectively bred to perform specific tasks, such as retrieving or racing, or have been bred to develop specific physical characteristics. Often, less desirable traits emerge as a result of selective breeding.

A common question posed to veterinarians is about the "sensitivity" of a particular breed of dog or cat to anesthetic drugs. This is a difficult question to answer, as there are few scientific studies that have evaluated the sensitivities of different breeds of animals to anesthetics. Many of the reported breed sensitivities are based on the clinical experience of veterinarians. Many giant-breed dogs seem to require less of a pre-anesthetic sedative (a smaller dose per unit of body weight) than miniature or toy breeds. The reason for this apparent difference is unclear.

It has been documented that sight hound breeds of dogs are more sensitive to some of the ultra short-acting thiobarbiturate induction drugs. The administration of thiobarbiturates for induction of anesthesia in sight hound breeds has been associated with a slower recovery from anesthesia. The reason for this breed sensitivity is unclear at this time, but may be related to a difference in liver metabolism of the drug and/or differences in body fat. When sight hound breeds are to be anesthetized, it has been recommended that non-thiobarbiturate induction drugs be used to prevent a prolonged recovery from anesthesia.

Within the same breed, individual animals respond to the same anesthetic in differing degrees. Vigilant monitoring of vital signs during general anesthesia will enable the veterinarian to recognize and respond to life-threatening changes in heart and lung function. A patient who displays an abnormal response to any drug (anesthetic or not) should be monitored carefully if the situation dictates that the same drug be re-administered at a later date.

Excellent Dental Care For Your Pet

A complete examination of all surfaces of the teeth is impossible to perform while the veterinary patient is awake. The external surface of some teeth may be superficially examined, but the inside surfaces of the teeth (within the oral cavity) cannot be evaluated unless anesthesia or deep sedation is administered.

Laboratory blood tests along with an ECG and radiographs are often necessary before a dental patient can be anesthetized. The older the patient, the more tests that may be needed prior to administering general anesthesia. Animals with congenital disease and pets suffering from chronic conditions are a greater anesthetic risk than completely healthy pets. If your pet is considered an anesthetic risk, your veterinarian will recommend the tests that are necessary prior to administering anesthesia.

The anesthesia given to one pet may be completely different than the anesthesia given to another pet. Your veterinarian can choose from a variety of pre-anesthetic medications and anesthesia induction agents. After the pre-anesthesia medication and induction agents are administered, general anesthesia is usually maintained with a gas agent (isoflurane or sevoflurane) mixed with oxygen. Monitoring the anesthetized patient is a fundamental procedure in veterinary medicine.

One or more of the following monitors may be used:

• Electronic Respiratory Monitor

• Pulse Oximeter

• Blood-Pressure Monitor

• Electrocardiograph (ECG)

• Esophageal Stethoscope

• Carbon Dioxide Monitor

Along with patient monitoring, it is important to keep the pet warm and comfortable during the dental procedure. Since many procedures may last longer than an hour, the pet's core body temperature may become lowered. By using blankets, hot water bottles and heated tables, the veterinary patient's body temperature can be maintained at its normal value.

Anesthesia or deep sedation is necessary for oral examination and dental cleaning because:

• Dental tartar is firmly attached to the surface of teeth and needs to be removed.

• Scaling by ultrasonic scalers and sharp hand instruments are necessary in order to remove the dental tartar.

• Any sudden movement can cause injury to the animal or individual performing the dental procedure.

• Dental scaling is performed above and below the gum line. Scaling the teeth above the gum line usually does not cause discomfort, however, scaling below the gum line (can cause discomfort. The area below the gum line, or subgingival space, is the most important area to clean as periodontal disease begins here.

• Humans cooperate during dental procedures, however without anesthesia or deep sedation, dogs and cats do not.

• Scaling above the gum line offers nothing but cosmetic results. Scaling must be done below the gum line.

During the last few years, veterinary dentistry has made tremendous strides. By taking advantage of the dental procedures offered at your veterinary hospital, your pet can enjoy the benefits of having excellent teeth well into his or her senior years.

Infographic: Pet Holiday Hazards

The holidays can mean exciting smells, sights and tastes for your curious pet -- and more ways he or she can get into trouble. Please take a look at the infographic below outlining the most serious dangers. Take the necessary precautions to keep the holidays happy and healthy for everyone in your home.

Click on the graphic below and print it out.

Keep it handy during the holiday and give copies to your friends and family.

Holiday Hazards

Therapy Dogs Improve Lives of Dementia Patients

Dementia. The diagnosis is most often devastating. As the condition progresses, your loved one will become more forgetful, less able to effectively communicate (if at all), and unable to perform simple day-to-day tasks. You’ll begin to feel hopeless and helpless when it comes to improving the person’s mental health and quality of life.

Those in the healthcare field, working in nursing homes and assisted living environments, witness the struggle firsthand. Many report patients who won’t even make eye contact with them or their family members. But, for some reason, visitors with wagging tails seem to hold their attention. Dogs have long been used as therapeutic aides in hospital environments, even if the therapy they’re providing is as simple as a smile. Programs are now being geared specifically toward Alzheimer and dementia patients in an effort to reach them.

"The best way to reach an Alzheimer's patient is through music, children or animals," said Diane Dzambo, the director of People & Animals Who Serve (P.A.W.S.) in a Capital Gazette article. "The patients become lucid. The pets provide a connection to the outside world."

Like other programs worldwide, P.A.W.S consists of volunteers and their dogs who visit senior communities, assisted living residences, senior activity centers, adult day care centers, and more.

The Benefits of Animal Therapy

Mara M. Baun, DNSc, a coordinator of the nursing program at the University of Texas Health Sciences Center has been researching the benefits of therapy dogs on dementia patients for more than a decade. She has found that one-on-one and group settings where a dog is present increase interactive behaviors in those suffering from dementia.

“Even people with Alzheimer’s recognize a dog and they see that the dog is someone new in their environment,” she said in a medical article. “I think they see it as someone with whom they can interact without any worry.”

Therapy dogs have also been shown to:

Lessen agitation – This common symptom of dementia is reduced when a therapy dog is around

Increase physical activity – Petting, brushing, or playing with a dog adds to patient mobility

Increase appetites - Dementia patients have been shown to eat more following a dog’s visit

Provide enjoyment – Depression is common among dementia and Alzheimer patients, but therapy dogs have

been shown to lessen such feelings

Dementia Assistance Dogs

In the U.S. alone, approximately 15% of citizens 65 years and older will suffer from some form of dementia and another 10% from Alzheimer’s disease – that’s 5.5 million people. More and more therapy dog programs are popping up, not just geared at providing companionship and joy, but also for assisting with everyday living. Just as guide dogs for the blind are trained to help their handlers live better lives, dementia assistance dogs are now being trained to help patients in the early stages of the condition.

“Research has shown that an individual who walks with a dog is more likely to be engaged in conversation by other people along the way,” states a Psychology Today article. “An important fact is that such interactions are very predictable… These positive and predictable social interactions reduce the sense of loneliness and isolation experienced by people with dementia.”

Dementia assistance dogs are trained to guide people through the day, reminding handlers when to eat, how to get back home, and more.

Sources: Alzheimer's Project, Capital Gazette, Everyday Health, & Psychology Today