25 Dec 2014

It’s normal for our dogs and cats to slow down a bit as they age. But when they begin having difficulty walking or even lowering their heads to eat, they may be exhibiting signs of arthritis, a disease that can be debilitating—but one that can also be managed.

In the latest video from the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA), Dr. Tony Kremer, a veterinarian from Oswego Animal Hospital in Oswego, Ill., says pets—like people—can experience arthritis as they age and their body tissues begin to break down.

"Our joints, and those of animals, have a tissue called cartilage which functions as a shock absorber between bones, and also provides support for and smooth motion of the joints," Kremer says. "As we and our pets age, this cartilage can become thin or break down, causing joint pain. This form of arthritis can be very painful."

Kremer says pets suffering from arthritis generally walk stiffly, limp or favor certain legs. They may experience pain when touched in certain areas or be hesitant to jump, run or climb stairs. Cats with arthritis have difficulty grooming themselves; unkempt fur can be an indication of arthritis.

While arthritis can be painful, it can also be managed. Kremer says veterinarians can prescribe pain killers or anti-inflammatory medications to help ease pets’ discomfort. There are some risks associated with long-term use of these medications, however, so pet owners should talk to their veterinarians to make sure they understand how to administer the medications and what problems to look for. Kremer stresses that pet owners should never give over-the-counter human arthritis or pain medications to their pets.

In addition to medications, Kremer says providing low-impact exercise can also help reduce the pain from arthritis, but warns that too little or too much movement or exercise can increase a pet’s pain level. Veterinarians should be consulted regarding the amount of exercise that would be appropriate and what type would work best for a given pet.

Kremer adds that some pets may benefit from shedding a few excess pounds, too. "This not only takes pressure off their joints and reduces their pain, but also reduces their risk of weight-related problems, such as diabetes and heart disease." Veterinarians can help pet owners develop a safe and effective weight-loss plan for their pets.

Some arthritic pets may benefit from physical therapy, such as swimming or walking on underwater treadmills, and some pet owners may seek acupuncture or other alternative treatments for their arthritic pets. Pet owners should talk with their veterinarians about the proper course of treatment for their pets.

Along with a pain management plan from a veterinarian, pet owners can help make their pets more comfortable with soft bedding, gentle play, and massages, as well as grooming areas that are hard for pets to reach and providing ramps to make it easier for pets to get up or down from high places.

"The most important thing is to take your pet to the veterinarian as soon as you notice a difference in your pet’s behavior or any signs or arthritis," Kremer says. "Your veterinarian can rule out other causes of pain and properly diagnose arthritis. The earlier we can diagnose it, the earlier we can start pain management treatment to help alleviate some of the discomfort."

To watch the video, visit

17 Mar 2014

4-5 year old male Jack Russell Terrier found wandering the streets - he needs a forever home!  He has a deformed front leg, but it doesn't slow him down one bit.  "Rex" is very friendly, loves children, cuddling and most other dogs.  We're not sure how he gets along with cats because he hasn't been around them much.  He was tested heartworm negative, and on March 20th he will be neutered and vaccinated.  If you are interested in adopting this cute little boy, please contact us.

26 Jan 2014
Dr. Bieber's Old Black Lab Karli

(SCHAUMBURG, Illinois) January 21, 2014—Is the worst part of cuddling with your pet its bad breath? This could be a sign of looming dental problems. Preventive veterinary dental care can save you money in the long run. Pet Dental Health Month, sponsored by the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) every February, reminds pet owners that brushing their pet’s teeth is good for both your pet’s health and your budget.

“It’s something you do every morning, part of your daily routine—brush your teeth. While most people take care of their own mouths, they often forget that they also should take care of their pet’s teeth through a regular dental health care regimen,” explains Dr. Clark K. Fobian, president of the AVMA. “One of the most common problems veterinarians see in pets is dental disease, and, unfortunately, these issues can get serious if untreated. I remind pet owners that an untreated dental infection can spread to the heart, kidneys and other organs, and suddenly become life threatening. Practicing good dental hygiene at home, in addition to regular dental cleanings by your veterinarian, is the most efficient and cost-effective way to keep your pets healthy, comfortable and pain-free.”

According to a 2013 analysis conducted by VPI Pet Insurance, the average cost to prevent dental disease in pets is $171.82, but it costs $531.71 to treat dental disease.

Resources and information for Pet Dental Health Month:

 “We brush our teeth each day, and daily oral hygiene is recommended for dogs and cats from the time the permanent teeth erupt,” explains Dr. Jan Bellows, president of the American Veterinary Dental College. “Brushing is the gold standard, and many dogs and some cats will tolerate having their teeth brushed if the introduction to brushing is managed gently and gradually. In addition, several companion animal nutrition companies offer dental diets.  The texture of those foods generates a mechanical cleansing effect on the surface of the tooth as the pet is eating. Dental treats such as chews can also be effective, either mechanically by scraping the tooth surface or by chemically removing excess calcium in saliva that could otherwise be deposited on the teeth as calculus. There are also plaque-retardant products available in the form of a water additive, spray, gel or dentifrice, and products that are used to seal the surface of the teeth to prolong the beneficial effect of professional dental scaling. Talk to your veterinarian for more advice about preventing dental disease in your pets.”

While regular dental checkups are essential to help maintain your pet’s dental health, there are a number of signs that dental disease has already started. If you notice any of the symptoms below, take your pet into your veterinarian immediately:

  • Red swollen gums and brownish teeth.
  • Bad breath—Most pets have breath that is less than fresh, but if it becomes truly repugnant, similar to the smell of a rotten egg, it’s a sign that periodontal disease has already started.
  • Bleeding from the mouth.
  • requent pawing or rubbing at the face and/or mouth.
  • Reluctance to eat hard foods—for example, picking it up and then spitting it out.

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The AVMA, founded in 1863, is one of the oldest and largest veterinary medical organizations in the world, with more than 85,000 member veterinarians worldwide engaged in a wide variety of professional activities and dedicated to the art and science of veterinary medicine.