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            Nishan Panwar is a young writer from India known for his profound philosophical sayings.  According to his biography, he loves dogs, and babies, respects old people and women and is a strong believer in God. 

           Recently, one of his quotes “age is just the number of years the world has enjoyed you!” goaded me to present a canine patient of mine called Bailey.  He is an appealing Havanese dog who has certainly achieved senior status as a seventeen-year-old!  Of course, as he ages, Bailey is facing a moderate decline of his muscle mass and body organ function as well as some joint stiffness and yet, he still moves his little body about quite swiftly, appearing to be quite enjoying his sunset years to the fullest!    

        Presently, some quite moderate nutritional and medication adjustments have proven to be beneficial to him, aimed to provide support to favour his kidneys and his stiffening joints.  These include blood pressure medication, a joint cartilage restoring medication, and vitamin B12 to perk up his appetite.    

       His quarterly spaced blood work so far looks great for his age and his heart function is very acceptable.   

       His daily routine is not a pampered one, and he obviously is enjoying it to the fullest. There is no evidence of significant cognitive decline, which is quite commonly a finding in “grey muzzles”. 

        A few months ago a Cultus Lake misadventure at a Main Beach dock speaks to his resiliency.   One fine summer day Bailey was trotting along the deck in the company of his owner, with them both enjoying the weather and fresh air when, in a moment of distraction he headed off the deck at a 45 degree angle, fell down about five feet and then was submerged in the cold lake water! !  Still, he managed to reorient himself, swim under the deck and scramble at the ladder soon to be rescued by his human friend!   

       Inevitably, unable to escape the clutches of time, as Bailey experiences more physical impairments he will require some additional body support needs at home such as stair gates and strategically placed track mats to avoid missteps and tumbles.  When he starts to develop problems with his hearing and with his vision, he will be requiring some additional guidance and supervision by his owner whenever outdoors.  But, by all outward appearances, at this point in time he is still ready and set to go outside and have some fun at the lake with his human companion at his side.  

       Although he would not be capable of understanding this, he has no doubt contributed to his human friend’s health status.   Studies have indicated that dog owners that walk with their pets have significantly lower serum triglycerides than do non-owners and further, human interactions with them can help reduce their human friend’s blood pressures.  

Although Bailey can no longer navigate stairs as well as he once could, nor run as fast nor jump as high, a healthy life-style including lots of love and exercise have no doubt played a large role in his senior health status. 

   By analogy, as people age, although they may not be as capable of running up apartment stairs two at a time, or reading fine print without glasses, they can still maintain a good health status by watching what they eat, getting lots of exercise, preferably outdoors and sharing time with their friends and loved ones. 

                                                         

 

  

 

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 Dog parks can provide a package of fun, entertainment and exercise for most extrovert-type dogs; however, there are some hazards that need to be avoided.

One essential priority is to directly supervise interactive play to avoid dog disputes escalating to painful bite wound injuries. Even minor wounds can cause psychological stress to dogs and not uncommonly, may appear minor at first appearance but hidden tissue damage deeper down may be actually the case.

Another priority of importance is to avoid sharing water bowls because shared water can share diseases from one thirsty dog to the next.  

Kennel Cough, Canine Influenza, Distemper and Leptospirosis, all can all be passed on this way. To avoid this risk, it is best to bring your own water source for your canine friend so that he can have a lot of fun while you can rest easy that he won’t be coming home with a newly acquired illness.

 

                Let’s discuss B.B.Q. safety and our pets! Burned tongues are no fun and severe burns can pose a serious health threat. Hungry dogs and food-driven dogs are always quick to try and grab a hot piece of meat from the grill. Most cats can easily jump onto a hot B.B.Q. lid not realizing the danger. Similar risks are associated with campfires. Stones around the fire get very hot and can burn paws. Also, flying embers can burn a pet’s skin and eyes. Knocked over B.B.Q.’s and camp stoves can also be a fire hazard.


          Attentive supervision is very important when our pets are around BBQ’s and other outside cooking devices. So, lets embrace the joys of summer outdoor cooking while keeping our beloved pets safe.

 Image may contain: dog, food and indoor

 

             Rabbit owners please take heed!

 

          There is a deadly, highly infectious rabbit virus that appeared in British Columbia for the first time ever early February of this year.  (2018). Initial reports were from cases found on Vancouver Island.  Since then, wild rabbits from Nanaimo, Annacis Island, Courtenay, Comox and Delta have tested positive for this virus. 

 

  It infects the rabbit’s body very quickly and causes very fast deterioration of their health due to internal bleeding and severe liver and spleen damage.  The mortality rate is very high! Sudden death occurs often between 1 and 9 days after exposure.  Breathing difficulties, lack of coordination and nasal bleeding are common signs.   The virus causing the devastating illness is named RHD2.  It is a new variant of much more common, less lethal various forms of the virus.  Essentially, it has become virulent with a vengeance! 

 

 The virus just affects rabbits; it does not cause disease in cats, dogs or humans.

 

     The disease can spread very easily!  It is very important as a long-term safety measure to avoid pet rabbits being in any kind of contact with wild rabbits, rodents and insects, including flies and fleas.  During this recent outbreak, it is important to be even more careful about where pet rabbits are housed and to keep them in quarantine to avoid them contacting new rabbits or sick rabbits.  Also to keep them separated from cats or dogs that may have been outdoors and in contact with wild rabbits or their droppings.    Strict biosecurity measures for people in contact with groups of rabbits should be firmly in place.  These include changed clothing between rabbits and the use of bleach, virkon or potentiated hydrogen peroxide products for disinfections of the environment and of handler’s hands and shoes. 

  

    Other longer-term protective measures include avoidance of the offering of home grown food, even if from a private yard garden due to the risk of contamination of fecal, digestive or respiratory secretions left from infected wild rabbits.

 

 Very fortunately, there is currently an imported vaccine now available to veterinarians.  It has been cleared by the federal governments to be distributed to B.C. by a special emergency permit since it is an unlicenced vaccine. It is administered as a single dose and is recommended as a yearly vaccine to avoid rabbits succumbing to this devastating illness.

 

 

 

  

Ready? Set? Fetch it Rover!  

 

      Fetching Games are fun for almost all dogs but high-speed catches and pick-ups can result in your pet breaking some teeth, lacerating his or her gums and sometimes suffering from much more serious emergencies as a result of sharp ends of sticks or other parts of hard objects penetrating the tissues of his or her mouth, esophagus or of delicate tissues further down the digestive tract.  In more extreme cases tragedies such as suffocation from inadvertent inhalation of the thrown object or (parts broken off it), may be the outcome of this innocent interactive game.    

 

      The great majority of these hazards can be avoided if the object involved in the fetching game is safe for your dog.   As fetched objects, sticks, tree branches and rocks can often be hazardous and should be avoided whenever possible.  Fortunately there are a wide variety of affordable dental- friendly dog toys such as fuzz-free rubber balls and Kong toys available at most reliable pet supply outlets.

 

     Also, since the fetching instinct is so very deeply entrenched in the D.N.A. of most dogs, teaching them to “Drop-it” on command is a very valuable lesson to teach a pet no matter their breed or size.

 

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