Getting a Paw Up on Osteoarthritis in Pets

Almost all pets (and people) are affected by arthritis at some point in their lifetime. While it is not always a debilitating condition, it certainly can affect the quality of life.

At Dupont Veterinary Clinic, we are big proponents of treating osteoarthritis in pets early and aggressively to ensure the happiest pet possible.

Arthritis Basics

A normal joint consists of two bones held together by a joint capsule. Between the two bones there is a spongy padding called cartilage. A slippery substance called synovial fluid bathes and lubricates the joint as well.  

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The Golden Years: How To Take Great Care of Your Senior Pet

There’s an age old dictum that rings with truth, “Gettin’ old ain’t for the faint of heart!” Unfortunately, this applies to our canine and feline companions as well. But it’s also important to remember that although getting older is not optional, suffering in old age can be. In other words, your pet can still enjoy good health, and be active and pain free as they move through their senior years. Your veterinarian can help make this a reality. 

If you are a pet owner, it’s likely (we hope) that you will be caring for a senior pet at some point. By working together, we can ensure your senior pet has the happy and healthy golden years they deserve. 

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The Power of Platelet Rich Plasma in Veterinary Medicine

As people working in the veterinary field, the staff at Dupont Veterinary Clinic want to do everything we can to help animals. We work hard each day to relieve pain and suffering, and to help our patients get well.

Part of being good at our job means staying ahead of advances in veterinary medicine and riding the forefront of new treatments and diagnostic testing. The use of platelet rich plasma in our hospital is just one example of how we are striving to bring the best to our pet patients.

Principles of Platelet Rich Plasma

Platelet rich plasma, otherwise referred to as PRP, is the portion of centrifuged blood that contains a concentrated number of platelets. These are the cells in the blood that facilitate clotting.

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The Light Fantastic: Laser Therapy for Pets

Have you noticed your older kitty slowing down lately? Maybe your agility dog has an injury that just won’t heal. In these and many other scenarios, it’s possible that laser therapy could be an answer to your pet’s pain and discomfort.

Used for years in humans, laser therapy for pets uses Class IV laser light to stimulate healthy cell growth, repair damaged cells, and promote healing and pain relief. This therapy is now available at Dupont Veterinary Clinic, and we are thrilled to share its benefits with our patients and clients.  

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Pet Obesity: How to Keep Your Pet at a Healthy Weight

A portly pet is an adorable pet, right? That’s what most memes and other animal images in the media often imply. However, overweight pets face several health risks, including a shortened lifespan.

As humans battle their own expanding waistlines, overweight and obese pets have followed a similar pattern. Over the past decade, the percentage of overweight pets has risen to more than half of all household cats and dogs (roughly 85 million). Unfortunately, this trend of pet obesity seems to be on the rise, showing no signs of slowing down.

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5 Frequently Asked Questions At The Hospital

1. Does my indoor cat need vaccines?

Cat looking out window

It seems counter-intuitive, doesn’t it? If my cat does not go outside and does not encounter disease, then why does he need vaccines every year? Here are a half-dozen good reasons your veterinarian wants to keep your cat up-to-date on vaccines. If you are unsure if your cat is up-to-date on vaccines, contact your veterinarian today to find out.

  1. Your cat could accidentally get outdoors. They are curious about that big exciting world outside their windows and will not hesitate to go exploring. It only takes a few hours outside for an indoor cat to come in contact with a stray cat or wild animal carrying disease.
  2. If your cat ends up at a shelter, he or she could be exposed to sick cats. We all hope that this never happens, but as mentioned before, cats can and do escape from their home. If your cat is found but does not have any identity, such as a collar or microchip, the next stop is the local animal shelter. The stress of being taken to the shelter along with crowded shelter conditions can make cats more susceptible to disease.
  3. You cat may have a lifestyle change. When you bring that adorable kitten home, you are most likely expecting to have him or her for life. However, sometimes life brings changes beyond our control, such as divorce, death in the family, or a move, which can all affect your cat’s lifestyle. There are numerous cats that start out as indoor kittens but later become outdoor cats.
  4. Stress can cause latent disease to flare-up. Cats are often exposed to the feline herpes virus early on in life, especially if they come from a shelter or contracted the disease in-utero. Cats without up-to-date vaccinations can more easily contract respiratory infections or other disease that can cause latent or dormant disease to flare up in an already sick cat.
  5. Viruses such as Calicivirus and Feline Herpesvirus can be spread by inanimate objects.  A “fomite” is any inanimate object that can carry an infectious organism.  Grooming supplies and even shoes and clothing can act as a fomite bringing disease into your home.

 

2. How can I help my pet’s dental health at home?

You have noticed recently that Buddy’s breath is less than fresh and you are wondering how to help him? Maybe you have noticed that Buddy does not like to chew on toys or dry kibble that he used to love? Depending on the stage of Buddy’s dental disease, there are some good home care remedies that help to keep tartar and gingivitis at bay.

Close up photo of face of Labrador     

      A. Teeth Brushing: If your pet allows it, brushing their teeth daily with a pet toothpaste (NOT human toothpaste) is the gold-standard for treating dental disease.  It’s more work but definitely helps the most.

Brushing a Yellow Labrador Retriever's teeth

      B. Dental diet: We recommend Hill’s Science Diet T/D dental diet. The T/D diet is a complete, balanced diet that can be fed on a             daily basis and has been proven to clinically reduce dental disease. The T/D diet can be fed as treats as well, but less frequent             use decreases the positive results.  T/D is available at Dupont Veterinary Clinic.

T/D dog food for dental health

      C. Chew Products:  OraVet Oral Chews (by the makers of Heartgard and Nexgard) are daily oral chews that reduce both halitosisand tartar accumulation.  CET Rawhide Chews are rawhide treats coated with enzymes to help inhibit plaque and tartar.  Blue Buffalo Dental Bones are another simple option to help reduce tartar.  All are available at our hospital.

      D.  Food Additives: We recommend Clenz-a-dent Food Additive as another easy aid in slowing down plaque and tartar accumulation.

4 Stages of Periodontal Disease

Here is an image displaying the 4 stages of dental disease. Make an appointment with your veterinarian at Dupont Veterinary Clinic to determine if your pet needs a professional cleaning and polishing. Some pets, especially those in stages 3 and 4, can start to lose teeth if your veterinarian does not step in to help your pet.

 

  3. Is my pet overweight?

Pug standing on scale

Obesity in pets is on a steady incline in the United States. Overweight pets are at a much higher risk for developing arthritis, orthopedic disease, cancer, diabetes, and other illnesses. It is important to first determine if your pet is overweight and then determine what his or her ideal weight would be. Click on the following link to be directed to a resource that will walk you through these steps. This article will show you a body fat index risk chart to determine how overweight your pet truly is, then on the second page it will determine what your pet’s ideal weight should be. Feel free to stop by Dupont Veterinary Clinic at any time to put your pet on the scale for a more accurate weight, especially while they are losing weight. There are diseases, such as hypothyroidism, that can lead to weight loss because of a decreased metabolism. If you are concerned about your pet’s weight, contact your veterinarian to have them help you develop a diet plan or recommend a diet for your pet and look for any illness that may be preventing your pet from losing weight.

 

4. What food should I be feeding my pet?

Boston Terrier puppy eating

There are numerous foods on the store shelves and it can be overwhelming when trying to select the appropriate one for your pet. For puppies, make sure to get a food that is labeled for puppies as this provides better overall nutrition for their growing bodies. If you have a large or giant breed puppy, make sure to get a large breed puppy food because this helps provide better nutrition for their large, rapidly growing joints. Hill’s Science Diet has a great large breed puppy, toy breed puppy, or even puppy food (for those puppies of average size) for those youngsters at home. If your pet is between the ages of 1 to 7 and does not have any other dietary restrictions, we recommend selecting a diet labeled for adult dogs. If your pet is 8 years or older, we recommend a senior diet because this type of diet provides less calories for our less active pets as well as added nutrients to support joint health. We do not recommend selecting a diet that is listed for “all life stages” (this label is often listed on the back of the label) as this type of diet provides the same nutrients and calories that would be appropriate for a lactating mother or puppy as it would for a less active senior pet! Just like humans, pets have different nutritional needs at different stages of their life and we need to change their diets accordingly. If you are unsure of the food that you are feeding your pet, feel free to bring the food bag into your vet to have them give you a better nutritional assessment.

 

5. How do I remove a tick from my pet?

Pulling tick off of dog with tweezers

With the warm weather upon us we are seeing an increasing number of ticks on our pets. Here is a link to a short video that can help walk you through safe removal of a tick from your pet and signs and symptoms to look out for after the tick is removed. If you are concerned about removing a tick from your pet, you can schedule an appointment with the technicians at Dupont Veterinary Clinic to have them help you remove the tick. It is important, especially if you are noticing ticks on your pet, to put your pet on a tick preventative. If you are not sure if the monthly preventative your pet is on works against ticks, call your veterinarian to have them help you pick out the best product for your pet.

By Ashley Dawes, DVM

Patient Spotlight – Ringo’s New Drumsticks!

Ringo is a Labrador with a new hip replacement 

 

Meet Ringo, a five-year-old happy-go-lucky Labrador Retriever. Ringo, like a lot of large breed dogs, was born with abnormal hips or a condition called Hip Dysplasia. Hip dysplasia worsens during the rapid growth phase of puppies and refers to the poor fit of the “ball and socket” nature of the hip. Ringo, like other dogs with hip dysplasia, did not have a ball and socket that fit together smoothly. Instead the socket (acetabulum) is flattened and the ball is not held tightly in place, which allows for more movement or slipping in the hip joint. Over time all of the movement in the hip joint results in the development of painful arthritis.

 

           X-Ray of Normal Hip  Normal Hip

X-Ray of dog with hips dysplasia  Early Hip Dysplasia

Ringo went to see Dr. Steve Harry at Dupont Veterinary Clinic for lameness and pain in his hips. Ringo’s hip dysplasia was treated over a prolonged period of time; however, his arthritis and pain continued to worsen. Dr. Harry along with Ringo’s owners decided to refer him to a specialist where he would be evaluated for a total hip replacement. In July of this year Ringo was considered a candidate and was approved for a total hip replacement. Ringo stayed over night at the specialty hospital and underwent the procedure the following day.

 

X-ray of a dog with severe hip dysplasia

Ringo’s Before Surgery X-ray

During the procedure the “socket” (or acetabulum) of the hip is deepened and replaced with a prosthetic socket and a prosthetic “ball” is inserted in order to replace the existing hip joint. The goal of the surgery is to give Ringo a pain-free, normal functioning hip. Even though Ringo has hip dysplasia affecting both the left and right hip joint only the right side was given a total hip replacement. Eighty percent of patients with arthritis in both hips only require surgery on one side in order for them to live a comfortable life. The decision of which hip to replace is dependent on which hip is more painful or has a greater limit in mobility.

 

X-ray of a dog's pelvis after a hip replacement

Close-Up X-ray of a hip replacement

Ringo’s After Surgery X-rays

Ringo is doing exceedingly well after his surgery! He is living a much more comfortable and happy life at home with his brother, Wyatt, where they are back to their normal antics.  Check out his progress in this video!!

“Ringo” Enjoying Life After His Hip Replacement

If you are concerned about your pet possibly having hip dysplasia or believe they may be a candidate for a total hip replacement, contact your veterinarian at Dupont Veterinary Clinic for more information.  We at Dupont Veterinary Clinic strive to provide clients with the best health care at the forefront of veterinary medicine.

If you are interested in learning more about the total hip replacement surgery, click the following link to watch an animated overview of the technique.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BTLhcLxT-0o

By Dr. Ashley Dawes

Patient Spotlight – Ringo’s New Drumsticks!

Ringo is a Labrador with a new hip replacement 

 

Meet Ringo, a five-year-old happy-go-lucky Labrador Retriever. Ringo, like a lot of large breed dogs, was born with abnormal hips or a condition called Hip Dysplasia. Hip dysplasia worsens during the rapid growth phase of puppies and refers to the poor fit of the “ball and socket” nature of the hip. Ringo, like other dogs with hip dysplasia, did not have a ball and socket that fit together smoothly. Instead the socket (acetabulum) is flattened and the ball is not held tightly in place, which allows for more movement or slipping in the hip joint. Over time all of the movement in the hip joint results in the development of painful arthritis.

 

           X-Ray of Normal Hip  Normal Hip

X-Ray of dog with hips dysplasia  Early Hip Dysplasia

Ringo went to see Dr. Steve Harry at Dupont Veterinary Clinic for lameness and pain in his hips. Ringo’s hip dysplasia was treated over a prolonged period of time; however, his arthritis and pain continued to worsen. Dr. Harry along with Ringo’s owners decided to refer him to a specialist where he would be evaluated for a total hip replacement. In July of this year Ringo was considered a candidate and was approved for a total hip replacement. Ringo stayed over night at the specialty hospital and underwent the procedure the following day.

 

X-ray of a dog with severe hip dysplasia

Ringo’s Before Surgery X-ray

During the procedure the “socket” (or acetabulum) of the hip is deepened and replaced with a prosthetic socket and a prosthetic “ball” is inserted in order to replace the existing hip joint. The goal of the surgery is to give Ringo a pain-free, normal functioning hip. Even though Ringo has hip dysplasia affecting both the left and right hip joint only the right side was given a total hip replacement. Eighty percent of patients with arthritis in both hips only require surgery on one side in order for them to live a comfortable life. The decision of which hip to replace is dependent on which hip is more painful or has a greater limit in mobility.

 

X-ray of a dog's pelvis after a hip replacement

Close-Up X-ray of a hip replacement

Ringo’s After Surgery X-rays

Ringo is doing exceedingly well after his surgery! He is living a much more comfortable and happy life at home with his brother, Wyatt, where they are back to their normal antics.  Check out his progress in this video!!

“Ringo” Enjoying Life After His Hip Replacement

If you are concerned about your pet possibly having hip dysplasia or believe they may be a candidate for a total hip replacement, contact your veterinarian at Dupont Veterinary Clinic for more information.  We at Dupont Veterinary Clinic strive to provide clients with the best health care at the forefront of veterinary medicine.

If you are interested in learning more about the total hip replacement surgery, click the following link to watch an animated overview of the technique.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BTLhcLxT-0o

By Dr. Ashley Dawes