A Look at the Benefits of Adopting an Older Cat

When many people decide to adopt a cat, their minds immediately go to kittens. However, there are many advantages to adopting an older cat that can outweigh the concerns about possible higher veterinarian bills. We ourselves have done this and it worked out perfectly. Watch this video to find out more.

Older cats are less demanding or more self-sufficient than kittens, which make them great for people who have busy schedules. Their personalities are established, so it is easier to integrate them into your household. As long as you are consistent with bringing your cat to the veterinarian regularly and acting quickly to take him or her to the veterinary clinic if you notice any symptoms of a medical problem, your older cat can still live a healthy life in your home.

Whatever the age of your new cat, the Chastain Veterinary Medical Group is here to help with preventative and emergency vet care in north Dallas and McKinney. Learn more about our services by calling Preston Road Animal Hospital in north Dallas at (972) 239-1309 or by calling Meadow Brook Animal Hospital in the McKinney/Frisco area at (972) 529-5033.

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What Diet Should You Feed Your Aging Dog?

Just like humans, dogs have different nutritional needs at every stage of life. When your dog enters his or her senior years, it is time to have a conversation with your veterinarian about your pup’s current food and what changes you should consider. These tips will also help you pick the right diet for your aging dog.

Consider Cutting Calories

Older dogs tend to be less active, which means they are also prone to weight gain. Same as with people. You can reduce the risk of obesity in your older pet by cutting his or her calories, under the guidance of your veterinarian. Some dog foods are specifically designed for seniors to provide an adequate amount of protein and carbohydrates with fewer calories, though some families prefer to just cut back on servings of their dogs’ current foods. Talk to your vet about the right way to cut calories without leaving your dog feeling hungry.

Add Fruits and Veggies

Constipation can be a problem in older dogs, so adding fruits and vegetables to your dog’s diet can help. Keep in mind that not all fruits and veggies are appropriate for dogs, so talk to the staff at your veterinary clinic to get healthy recommendations. You can add fruits and veggies to your pet’s normal meals or offer them as treats between feedings.

Adjust for Health Needs

If your veterinarian has diagnosed your dog with a health problem, such as diabetes or heart disease, you may need to make changes to his or her diet as part of the overall treatment plan. For dogs with joint problems, nutritional supplements can also help to reduce inflammation. If your older dog has dental health problems, switching to wet food from dry kibble can make chewing easier.

Diet can play a central role in preserving your dog’s health well into his or her senior years, and Chastain Veterinary Medical Group is here to help. We provide dog dental care, extensive preventive care, and emergency vet services to ensure that your pet always has access to the medical treatments he or she needs. To make an appointment at our veterinary hospitals in the north Dallas areas, please call (972) 239-1309 for Preston Road Animal Hospital in Dallas or call (972) 529-5033 for Meadow Brook Animal Hospital in McKinney.

Dealing with an Animal Medical Emergency

A medical emergency is scary, but the truth is most pet families are bound to face at least one such crisis. When trouble strikes, seeing an emergency vet as soon as possible could be critical for your pet’s well-being.

The best way to deal with an animal medical emergency is to know what you will do, who you will call, and where you will go, before an urgent need arises. Find out your veterinarian’s emergency care protocols and locate the nearest emergency vet to your home. Know how to contact your veterinarian in an Emergency – in our case the phone number for the Emergency Messaging System is (214) 439-7233. If an emergency does happen, act quickly but calmly. If you are anxious, your pet will be, too. At the emergency animal clinic, the staff will triage your pet’s case and ensure he or she gets the right care at the right time.

Chastain Veterinary Medical Group offers emergency vet care in Dallas and the McKinney / Frisco areas during regular business hours and we share emergency care affiliations with several emergency-only animal clinics in the area. To speak to us about this or to schedule an appointment with one of our veterinarians, please phone Preston Road Animal Hospital in north Dallas at (972) 239-1309 or phone Meadow Brook Animal Hospital in the McKinney/Frisco area at (972) 529-5033.

What to Expect When Your Pet Needs Surgery

Pet parents never want to think about their beloved animal undergoing surgery, but sometimes it is necessary to treat an illness or injury. At every turn, your veterinarian and the staff at the pet hospital will be available to explain the process for you and address your concerns. If your pet is scheduled for surgery, here is a look at what you can expect.

Pre-Operative Prep

Before your pet undergoes his or her procedure, your veterinarian will take every possible precaution before surgery to ensure that your pet is healthy enough for anesthesia and recovery. This will typically include a physical exam, blood work, and ECG screenings. These tests help your veterinarian make the right decisions about the type of anesthesia to use and which medications may be necessary before and after surgery. If the surgery is a planned procedure and not one that is the result of an emergency, be sure to follow all pre-op instructions and to bring your pet in for appointments and screenings as necessary to avoid delays in the surgery. For emergencies, these pre-op tests will be performed immediately before surgery.

Surgical Procedure

During surgery, your pet will receive the type of anesthetics that the veterinarian has determined are appropriate for him or her. The procedure itself will, of course, vary depending on the problem that is being treated. Your veterinarian will explain what the procedure will entail and how long you can expect your pet to be in surgery.

Post-Operative Recovery

After surgery, your pet will recover in a specialized area of the pet hospital while being closely monitored by veterinary nurses as he or she recovers from the anesthesia. He or she will also receive pain medication as needed. When it’s time for your pet to go home, you’ll receive medication and home care instructions. You may also make a time for a return visit for a checkup.

Chastain Veterinary Medical Group understands how overwhelming pet surgery can be, and we strive to give every pet family the best possible experience. When your pet needs surgery, schedule a consultation with one of our veterinarians in Dallas or McKinney. Call Preston Road Animal Hospital in north Dallas at (972) 239-1309 or call Meadow Brook Animal Hospital in the McKinney/Frisco area at (972) 529-5033.

A Look at the Risk of Thyroid Disease in Cats

Thyroid conditions are common among cats, and they are something your veterinarian will monitor your cat for throughout his or her life. Although thyroid disease is most common in older cats, it can happen at any age. There is no cure, but thyroid disease can be managed by your veterinarian. Here is what you need to know.

What kind of thyroid disease is most common in cats?

Most cats with thyroid disease have hyperthyroidism, or an overactive thyroid. With this condition, the thyroid is stimulated to overproduce thyroid hormone thanks to the development of tumors. The exact cause is not known, though veterinarians suspect that a combination of environmental, immunological, and nutritional factors could be at play. There is no breed or gender of cats that is more susceptible to hyperthyroidism than others.

What are the symptoms?

Because hyperthyroidism can impact different organs in different cats, the symptoms can vary. Classic hyperthyroid symptoms include weight loss despite an increase in appetite, increased urination, and hyperactivity. In some cases, however, cats can become lethargic and have a reduced appetite. These symptoms can sometimes indicate severe hyperthyroidism, and your veterinarian should evaluate them as soon as possible. If your vet suspects hyperthyroidism, he or she will perform a physical exam of the thyroid to see if it is enlarged and do blood work to measure thyroid functioning. In some cases, diagnostic imaging may also be needed.

What treatments are available?

Because hyperthyroidism can lead to heart failure, getting treatment is important. Medication can help to suppress thyroid functioning, but it needs to be administered for life. In some cases, surgical removal of one gland of the thyroid is recommended, but the other gland may then become hyperactive. Radioactive iodine treatment is another excellent treatment option, but it does require an extended stay in the pet hospital before your cat can safely come home.

Hyperthyroidism is manageable with help from your veterinarian at Chastain Veterinary Medical Group, where we offer complete pet diagnostic and treatment services on-site. To schedule an appointment with one of our veterinarians, please phone Preston Road Animal Hospital in north Dallas at (972) 239-1309 or phone Meadow Brook Animal Hospital in the McKinney/Frisco area at (972) 529-5033.

The Importance of Fur De-Matting

When your pet’s fur becomes long, it also becomes prone to tangles and matting. Matts can appear on the outer coat, where they are easy to see, or in the undercoat, where you may not notice them. Regular pet grooming is an important part of preventing matting in your pet.

De-matting your animal as part of a regular pet grooming schedule will keep your pet comfortable and help to prevent health problems. Matted fur can be extremely painful, and the skin underneath matts can form sores and other irritations. Sometimes, debris becomes tangled in matts and further irritates your pet skin. During grooming, de-matting can be done gently to reduce discomfort for your pet. Brushing your pet regularly between pet grooming appointments will reduce the risk of matts.

At Chastain Veterinary Medical Group, we are pleased to offer pet grooming in McKinney and Dallas by professional groomers who can remove matts while protecting your pet’s delicate skin. To make an appointment for grooming or to learn about other services we provide at our pet hospitals, call (972) 239-1309 for Preston Road Animal Hospital in Dallas or call (972) 529-5033 for Meadow Brook Animal Hospital in McKinney.

Common Health Issues in Senior Cats

As your cat gets older, his or her health may change over time, and you may need to make more frequent visits to the veterinarian. Fortunately, many senior cat health problems are manageable and won’t prevent your cat from living a long life, as long as he or she gets the proper care. Here are some of the most common health problems diagnosed in senior cats and how your veterinarian can address them.

Arthritis

Arthritis is extremely common in older cats. After the age of 12, approximately 90% of cats begin to show signs of arthritis. While arthritis is no doubt uncomfortable for the cat, it can sometimes be difficult for us humans to pick up on. Pay attention for subtle, telltale symptoms, such as new difficulty going up and down the stairs, a reluctance to jump on and off furniture, and stiffness upon standing. If you notice these symptoms, make an appointment at your animal hospital to explore treatment options. If your cat is overweight, losing some excess weight can also reduce the stress on joints.

Dental Disease

Dental disease—especially gum disease—is another common problem in older cats. You can reduce the risk of dental disease with regular pet dental services at the vet and with brushing your cat’s teeth at home. Adding Oxyfresh Pet Oral Hygiene Solution to the pets drinking water has also problem useful in our hands. Dental disease not only causes pain and makes it difficult for your cat to eat, but it can also lead to systemic infections, including heart disease and respiratory problems. If your cat hasn’t had a dental checkup recently, or if you have noticed a change in your cat’s eating habits, make a vet appointment.

Vision Loss

As cats age, they become more prone to vision problems such as cataracts, glaucoma, and retinal detachment. In addition to obvious indicators like your cat bumping into things, look for cloudy eyes. Depending on the cause of your cat’s vision loss, your veterinarian may recommend medications or surgery or environmental adjustments. In some cases, cats can adapt to vision loss without the need for extensive treatment.

From their first year through their senior years, the vets at Chastain Veterinary Medical Group are committed to helping cats live happy and healthy lives. You can make an appointment at our animal hospital in Dallas by calling (972) 239-1309 or for our animal hospital in McKinney, call (972) 529-5033.

Care Tips for Your Senior Dog

It can be difficult to acknowledge that your beloved dog is getting older, but recognizing his or her senior status and making adjustments to how you care for your pet will ensure that he or she stays healthy, happy, and comfortable for as long as possible. Just a few small tweaks to your routine and regular visits to the veterinarian can help your senior dog grow old gracefully. Here is what parents of older pups need to know.

Talk to the Vet About Special Diets

As your dog gets older, he or she may have new dietary needs. In some cases, dogs may develop medical conditions that require a certain kind of food, such as low sodium food for dogs with kidney issues. In other instances, dogs who are generally healthy may still benefit from switching to a food that has been formulated specifically for older pets. These foods are designed to support the changing needs of older dogs so that they get the nutrients they need to stay alert and active. Your veterinarian can recommend foods that meet your dog’s specific needs.

Make Exercise a Priority

Your older dog may not love running with the puppies at the dog park or going on day-long hikes any more, but exercise is still essential for good health. Go on shorter walks and have shorter play sessions, but continue to keep your dog active each day. Exercise keeps older dogs physically and mentally fit and reduces the risk of obesity, which is a significant health issue for senior pooches.

Have Regular Checkups

Most senior dogs should see the veterinarian every six months, so that any health problems that do develop are caught in their early stages. Pet dental services have also never been more important. Your veterinarian will help you set up a schedule for preventative care that is right for your pet.

Make Chastain Veterinary Medical Group part of your plan for caring for your senior dog. To schedule an appointment with one of our veterinarians, call (972) 529-5033 for Meadow Brook Animal Hospital in McKinney or call (972) 230-1309 for Preston Road Animal Hospital in Dallas. We provide care for animals in all stages of life, as well as pet grooming and boarding services.

Specialized Care for Your Senior Pet

animal hospital dallas

As your pet gets older, he or she will need new kinds of care to stay happy, healthy and comfortable. The good news is that, just as your veterinarian has used preventative care to help your pet get to this stage, he or she can offer various life-stage adjustments to help your senior pet continue to live a happy and comfortable life. If your pet is at or past middle age (typically considered about 6-7 years of age in the dog and cat) then here is what you can expect:

More Check-Ups
As with people, many health conditions in pets are easier to treat when they are discovered early. Once your pet becomes a senior citizen—at around six years for large dogs and seven for cats and smaller dogs—getting check-ups more frequently is important. Your vet may recommend that you visit the animal clinic every six months for an exam – that’s what we do. These mid-year exams may be tailored to senior-aged pets and include discussions and screenings and more extensive exams that your pet didn’t need previously.

Dietary Adjustments
The older your pet gets, the more trouble he or she may have with digesting food. Switching to a food that is easier to digest, or less allergenic, can help in these cases. Other pets may need special diets to improve their heart disease or kidney disease. In all cases, be sure to follow your vet’s guidelines for changing foods to reduce the chance of stomach upset. It is also common for pets to need fewer calories or to have a smaller appetite as they age. Consider getting food made for senior animals to give your pet the right nutritional support.

Increased Mobility Problems
As pets get older, wear and tear on their joints can lead to arthritis and pain – same as with people. You may notice that your pet is not as active as before, or struggles to jump or go up stairs. Keeping your pet walking and active can reduce the chances of mobility problems, but your veterinarian can also provide a variety of arthritis treatments, from dietary supplements to cold laser therapy. In some cases, it may even be beneficial to consider making changes at home to make your pet more comfortable, such as providing a small set of pet stairs to get up to a favorite chair.

Chastain Veterinary Medical Group can guide you through all stages of your pet’s life with care specifically designed for his or her age group. Learn how our pet hospital in McKinney can make your pet’s senior years golden by calling (972) 529-5033 for Meadow Brook Animal Hospital in McKinney or (972) 239-1309 for Preston Road Animal Hospital in north Dallas.

Managing Arthritis in Your Pet

Much like humans, dogs and even cats are also susceptible to arthritis and joint pain. As your veterinarian can tell you, certain breeds are at a higher risk of developing arthritis than others.

Watch this video for some tips on how to best care for a pet that suffers from arthritis. Dr. Kremer, an experienced veterinarian, discusses the causes, symptoms, and veterinary treatment options for arthritis in pets.

If you’re worried that your pet may be showing signs of arthritis, bring him to see one of our veterinarians in Dallas or McKinney at Chastain Veterinary Medical Group. We provide diagnostic and treatment services, comprehensive veterinary care, and exotic animal care to all household pets. To schedule a veterinary exam at our animal clinic, call us today at (972) 239-1309 (north Dallas) or (972) 529-5033 (McKinney / Frisco).

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