Adult & Senior Pets - Angelcare Animal Hospital - Racine, WI

Angelcare Animal Hospital

6915 Washington Ave.
Racine, WI 53406

(262)886-3337

angelcarevet.net

Adult & Senior Pet Care

Heartworm

This is a parasitic infection that occurs in dogs and sometimes in cats. The culprit is a worm called Dirofilaria immitis and it makes its home in an animal's heart. The animal then becomes very sick and can die, if left untreated.

 

But, how can my pet get something like that?

Heartworm is transmitted by infected mosquitoes. Mosquitoes become carriers when they bite a dog or cat infected with heartworm. Young worms called microfilaria, circulate through blood vessels and are drawn up with the blood when a mosquito bites. The microfilaria mature within the mosquito into larvae - their next growth stage - and are then transmitted to another unprotected dog or cat when the mosquito bites.

The heartworm larvae remain in tissue surrounding the bite for approximately 2 months, where it grows into an immature adult worm. It then proceeds into your pet's bloodstream, where in 3-4 months, it reaches the heart and surrounding arteries. The worms reach final maturity 6-7 months after your pet was first infected, and now produce microfilaria of their own...starting the cycle all over again.

 

What are the symptoms of this disease?

The most common symptoms include:

  • chronic coughing
  • easily becoming tired
  • unwilling to exercise
  • difficulty breathing
  • lethargy

Left untreated the disease seriously damages the heart and causes death.

 

How can I keep my pet safe?

With annual checkups, proper annual diagnostic testing and a good preventative program recommended by your veterinarian, your pet can remain heartworm free.

 

But why do I need an annual heartworm test, if my dog/cat is on Heartworm prevention?

Well, even though they are on heartworm prevention, there is still somewhat a margin of error...Maybe you were on vacation, and the person you had watching your pet forgot to give the medication to your animal, or maybe we had a false negative on our testing equipment due to your giving them their heartworm medication the day before we tested them, or there is even a slim chance, that for some reason, the heartworm prevention that you were given was somehow ineffective.

Whatever the case, yearly testing for deadly Heartworm Disease is a smart move. Arsenic is the only way to kill the adult Heartworm living in your pet's heart; and that is fatal not only to the heartworm, but can be to your beloved pet as well.


Dental Care

 

This should be routinely done. Yearly dentals are recommended for all pets. Bad breath and drooling are frequent signs of dental disease. Pet's teeth are normally white and smooth. Healthy gums are pink, smooth and tightly adhere to the teeth. Plaque and tartar occur under the gum as well as on the crown. Affected gums are thickened, red, and bleed easily. If any of these warning signs are present, your pet needs veterinary attention. Prevention is the best defense against periodontal disease. Regular visits to Angelcare for the removal of hardened tartar build-up are the first step. Proper care at home, however, is the Most Important Factor in protecting your pet's oral health. Proper diet that includes dry, crunchy food helps stimulate gums and eliminates some of the plaque accumulation.

Brushing your pet's teeth on a regular basis helps prevent periodontal disease.

Start your Dental Health Program slowly:

Start handling your pet's mouth by running your finger along the lip side of the gum and tooth line. Clicker Training helps further this process...make it fun and rewarding. Do it consistently. Your pet will pick up signals from you - if you're comfortable, he will be too.

Once your pet has accepted this brief handling of his mouth, wrap a piece of gauze or cloth around your finger and rub off some of the outer layers of plaque from the tooth's surface. After your pet is used to the cloth or gauze, start adding a little pet toothpaste...Do NOT use human toothpaste, as they cannot spit like we do, and they must ingest what goes into his mouth.

After your pet is used to the cloth, try a special soft-bristle toothbrush made for animals. Gently hold the mouth closed with one hand, and lift his lip on one side and brush the outside surfaces of the teeth. A back-and-forth motion is most practical, but like humans, a circular motion is most effective. Concentrate mainly on the cheek side of the teeth and gums - this is where the salivary glands are located and where most problems occur. Pets require little care on the inside of teeth, unlike humans. The action of your pet's tongue helps the cleaning process in that area.

The entire process of brushing should only take a couple of minutes and should be done at least twice a week. Give praise and a treat for cooperation on this very important procedure. This care will tremendously improve your pet's dental health and reduce the need for professional treatment. 

Home care, coupled with periodic examination and treatment will make a significant difference in your pet's health, longevity, and happiness.


Diagnostic Testing

Can identify hidden health problems. Testing reduces risk - and we recommend some or all of the following tests to determine your pet's health status, so we can make the best medical decisions, especially before administering anesthesia. Although performing these tests does not guarantee that complications won't occur, it does reduce the risk to your pet and provide you with peace of mind. 

  • Before animals undergo any kind of surgery, a dental health cleaning, etc, they should have a work-up to check for any possible complications. 
  • Pets over 4 years of age should be tested annually to at least identify what is the normal range, so a problem can be identified later on. 

The top 4 Reasons to test your pet:

1.) Peace of mind: Testing can significantly reduce risk and ensure your pet's health and safety.

2.) Pets can't tell us when they don't feel well. A healthy-appearing pet may be hiding symptoms of a disease or ailment. For example, a pet can lose up to 75% of kidney function before showing any signs of illness. Testing helps us evaluate the health of your pet's liver and kidneys, so we can avoid problems related to anesthesia.

3.) Testing can reduce risks. If results of the pre-anesthetic are within normal ranges, we can proceed with confidence, knowing the anesthetic risk is minimized. On the other hand, if results are not within normal ranges, we alter the anesthetic procedure to safeguard your pet's health.

4.) Testing can help protect your pet's future health. These tests provide baseline levels for your pet and become part of his or her medical chart for future reference.


Hematology

  • Complete Blood Count (CBC): A CBC gives details on red blood cells (RBC), white blood cells (WBC), and platelets. The total WBC and Differential (shows the different blood cells to check for anemia, inflammation, or any abnormalities) can indicate infection, leukemia, stress, inflammation, or inability to fight infection. Low platelets can indicate a bleeding problem, and we may suggest delaying surgery because it could cause serious surgical complications. 
  • Hemotocrit (HCT): Provides information on the amount of red blood cells present in the blood. A low hematocrit suggests anemia.
  • Morphologic Inspection: Looking at the cells through a microscope - provides information on the type of anemia or inflammation, or other abnormalities such as leukemia.

Blood Chemistry

  • Albumin (ALB): A protein which is produced by the liver. Reduced levels of this protein can point to chronic liver or kidney disease, intestinal disease, or intestinal parasites, such as hookworm infection. 
  • Alanine Aminotransferase (ALT): An enzyme that becomes elevated with liver disease or injury. 
  • Alkaline Phosphatase (ALKP): An enzyme produced by the cells lining the gall bladder and its associated ducts. Elevated levels can indicate liver disease or Cushing's Syndrome.
  • Amylase (AMYL): An enzyme produced by the pancreas. The pancreas secretes amylase to aid in digestion. Elevated blood levels can indicate pancreatic and/or kidney disease. 
  • Blood Urea Nitrogen (BUN): BUN is produced by the liver and excreted by the kidneys. Abnormal levels can indicate dehydration, and liver and kidney abnormalities. 
  • Calcium (CA2+): Increased levels can be seen with diseases of the parathyroid gland and kidneys or as an indicator of certain types of tumors. 
  • Cholesterol (CHOL): Elevated levels of cholesterol are seen in a variety of disorders including genetic disease, liver and kidney disease, or urinary tract obstruction. 
  • Creatinine (CREA): Creatinine is a by-product of muscle metabolism and is excreted by the kidneys 
  • Blood Glucose (GLU): High levels can indicate diabetes. In cats, high levels can indicate stress, which may merely be a result of the trip to the veterinary hospital. Low levels can indicate liver disease, infection, or certain tumors. 
  • Phosphorus (PHOS): Elevated phosphorus can be an indicator if kidney disease. 
  • Total Bilirubin (TBIL): Bilirubin is a breakdown product or hemoglobin and is a component of bile. Bilirubin is secreted by the liver into the intestinal tract. Blood bilirubin levels are useful in diagnosing anemia and problems in the bile ducts. 
  • Total Protein (TP): The level of TP can detect a variety of conditions including dehydration and disease of the liver, kidney, or gastrointestinal tract.


Electrolytes

  • Sodium, Potassium, Chloride (NA+, K+, Cl-): The balance of these electrolytes is vital to your pet's health. Abnormal levels can be life threatening. Electrolyte tests are important in evaluating vomiting, diarrhea, dehydration, and cardiac (heart) symptoms.
  • Serum T4 - This is a measurement of the level of thyroid hormone circulating in the blood and is helpful in identifying thyroid disease. Thyroid disease occurs in both dogs and cats and can have a serious impact on health if left untreated.

Urinanalysis 

  • The urine contains by-products from many organs such as the kidneys, liver, and pancreas. Abnormal levels of these by-products can indicate disease including diabetes, liver and kidney disease.

Electrocardiogram 

  • Detects heart rate and electrical rhythm. Certain abnormal rhythms and heart rates can be deleterious to animals undergoing anesthesia.