I’ve written before about signs of pain in pets. Today I’m writing specifically about cats and how they experience pain. The first important point is that yes, cats do feel pain. In fact, many of our older kitties are in chronic pain. The second point is that cats are exceedingly good at hiding their pain. This means your cat may be feeling pain, and you don’t even realize it. [Read more…]
Francis M. Pottenger, Jr. was a physician who lived from 1901-1967. His father was also a doctor who co-founded a sanatorium in California for tuberculosis patients. After Dr. Pottenger graduated from medical school, he joined the medical staff at the sanatorium. Dr. Pottenger was interested in using extracts from the adrenal glands to improve health in people with respiratory disease, such as asthma, tuberculosis, allergies, and emphysema. He conducted studies using cats, who lived in open-air pens overlooking the San Gabriel Valley. [Read more…]
So we’ve established that we don’t want our pets to be infected with heartworms. My friend Dr. Melissa McFarland commented on my last blog post via Facebook, reminding me that we vets are facing a shortage of the drug used to treat heartworm infection. As of the end of last year, the FDA has allowed the drug manufacturer to import limited quantities of drug into the U.S. from Europe, to augment the small amount being produced domestically. This will hopefully allow dogs with the most severe infections to be treated. Dr. McFarland also commented that she personally treated SEVEN cases of heartworm in southcentral Pennsylvania last year. This highlights how the heartworm has become more prevalent in areas where it once was considered rare. In contrast, during my first year in veterinary practice 15 years ago, the entire clinic (with four vets) had only a couple of cases.
To round out our discussion about senior pets and the aches and pains they experience, today’s post focuses on using acupuncture and laser therapy. Appropriately, today marks the beginning of Acupuncture Awareness Week. Millions of people receive acupuncture treatments each year for relief of chronic pain conditions, including back, headache, and knee pain. Acupuncture has been practiced and studied in Asia for thousands of years and involves stimulating anatomical locations on the body using very thin needles. Western science has documented that acupuncture causes release of endorphins (pain lessening chemicals), immune system stimulation, and blood pressure regulation. [Read more…]
This month I’ll be writing about issues facing senior pets. We’re going to start by tackling body condition, aka weight. If you have been weighed at your primary care doctor’s office recently, you were probably given a handout before you left discussing your Body Mass Index, or BMI. In people, this is calculated using your weight and height. The resulting number places you in one of four categories: underweight, normal weight, overweight, or obese. Data for 2010 shows that 35% of adult Americans are obese and 69% of adult Americans are overweight or obese. Overweight and obese people are at greater risk for heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure, certain types of cancer, stroke, and osteoarthritis. These are shocking statistics, right? [Read more…]