Guest Column: Caring for our Pets

The PACE character trait for December is caring. Have you ever thought about how much your pet cares for you? That unconditional love that gives us joy, amusement, and fond memories; those big eyes that stare while you eat your dinner. They have been there for us through the tough times; illness, loss, divorce, physical and mental pain. You name it, and they have been by our sides. They care for our health and our souls, now it is our turn to care for them.

Animals, by nature, have instinctively learned to camouflage pain and illness to prevent becoming someone else’s dinner in the wild. These traits are often found in our pets as well. We can help by giving them routine preventative care. Preventative care establishes a bond between our pets and their Veterinarian helping to diagnose problems early. When we are able to catch illnesses early they are more easily treatable and potentially cost less in the long run.

Stormy is a Persian mixed breed cat that sees the vet every six months for her Preventative Care Exam. She lives in a very busy household with six children. When the kids come home from school she will go up to each and every one of them to welcome them home. She is the focal point of her family’s evening as a companion and a teacher. During one of Stormy’s exams her owner had mentioned that she has been drooling more than usual. The doctor examined her teeth and noticed she had a broken tooth. She had never cried or complained to her family, but she was in pain. We scheduled Stormy for a dental cleaning and extraction that next week and now she is back to her normal self. After taking out that bad tooth her family noticed her playing a lot more with her toys and acting more like a kitten again. They then realized that Stormy was trying to tell them her tooth hurt by not playing like she used to.

Rex is a 9 year old Dachshund. His owner has been though a lot with Rex. About two years ago they had been in a car accident together and Rex had become his owner’s physical therapy partner. One day Rex was found limping when his owner got home from work. His owner examined his feet and legs and didn’t find a thing wrong with him. There was no swelling and Rex didn’t yelp or say anything while his owner checked out his leg. This went on for a couple of days when Rex’s owner gave the office a call. He was scheduled for and appointment so Rex could come and see the doctor. Upon his exam the doctor found that Rex had a sore back. They took an x-ray of Rex and found that he had some arthritis in his spine that was causing him some problems and contributed to his limp. With some medication Rex is back to feeling better. He comes in for monthly laser treatments to help with his pain and stiffness. He and his owner are back to walking two miles every day.

Our pets express pain in several different ways, most of the time we don’t even notice it, or just chock it up to them aging – “Old age is not a disease”. There is usually a reason why our pets stop playing, start having trouble going up stairs, or hide under the bed for longer periods of time. Pain is rarely vocalized by our pets. Minute changes in their behavior can be a sign of big changes within their bodies. So before you just say “Fluffy is just getting old”, give your veterinarian a call and schedule a physical exam. There are many things we can do to help them feel better.

The Veterinary Team at Pet Vet Hospital and Wellness Center are a compassionate group of caring people who love taking care of their clients’ family members. Team members include Keith Clark, DVM, practice manager Shelly, technician Ragan, vet assistant Remi , patient care coordinator MaryAnn, and Adrienne (not pictured).  Dr. Clark is also the school board president for Central Valley School District. Pet Vet has been a PACE Partner since 2010.