Dogs - Geriatric Care Tue, 17 Sep 2013 21:51:00 GMT Joint Supplements for the Geriatric Dog Tue, 17 Sep 2013 21:51:00 GMT <p> Is your older dog on a diet that is formulated specifically for the geriatric dog?  Depending on your dog's current health issues, various nutritional supplements may be considered.  For example, joint care may be the most frequent issue that is addressed with supplements.</p> <p> There are a lot of wonderful <a href="">joint support products</a> to choose from, but I personally like products with natural ingredients compared to products with single ingredients.  For example, green-lipped mussel (<em>Perna canaliculus</em>) contains many excellent joint support ingredients. Using a product with green-lipped mussel seems to be the better way to address a joint issue, for example, than using only glucosamine.</p> <p> As your dog ages, there are a lot of other compounds that the body cannot make in significant quantities to support normal function or physiology.  An example of low production with age is hyaluronic acid, an important nutrient for  many  tissues - muscles, tendons, ligaments, and skin.  Low hyaluronic acid production is one of the main reasons the geriatric dog becomes so stiff and rigid.  Hyaluronic acid not only holds water but increases the elasticity of tissues.  It also can be very beneficial to  the eyes.  For optimal results, use a high molecular weight hyaluronic acid. It will be absorbed and utilized by the body with high efficacy.  Hyaluronic acid may not be the fountain of youth, but it sure can make a difference.</p> <p>  </p> <p>  </p> Blog:b026d028-07e2-43a9-8977-27a0e5e95d28Post:a85fd44d-81d5-458f-880a-79d06c1901c9 Canine Cognitive Dysfunction Syndrome (CDS) Thu, 12 Sep 2013 19:27:00 GMT <p> As our canine companions age, they can experience a variety of physical and metabolic changes that may cause them discomfort or change their behavior.  For example, the acuity of senses (sight, hearing, taste and smell) are reduced, metabolism slows, immunity is decreased, muscle and bone mass decline, and arthritis may affect the joints.  The brain can also undergo a series of changes that result in cognitive decline. </p> <p> Cognitive Dysfunction Syndrome (CDS) is the age-related deterioration of cognitive abilities characterized by behavioral changes in dogs that cannot be completely attributed to general medical conditions such as neoplasia (cancer), infection or organ failure.  CDS is caused by physical and chemical changes that affect the brain function in older dogs.  This is often referred to as “senility” or “old dog syndrome” and is manifested by one or more of the following signs in the absence of any physical cause:</p> <p style="margin-left:40px;"> 1. Disorientation:  wanders aimlessly; appears lost or confused in house or yard; gets “stuck” in corners or behind furniture; stares into space; stands at the hinge side of the door or has difficulty finding the door; does not recognize familiar people or respond to verbal cues or commands.</p> <p style="margin-left:40px;"> 2. Interaction with family members: seeks attention less often; walks away while being petted; less enthusiasm upon greeting; no longer greets family members.</p> <p style="margin-left:40px;"> 3. Activity and sleep:  sleeps more during the day and less during the night; increase in wandering or pacing; barks at night for no reason.</p> <p style="margin-left:40px;"> 4. House training:  Urinates indoors; has accidents indoors soon after being outside; does not ask to go outside any longer.</p> <p> Diagnosis of CDS can only be reached after other medical conditions that have behavioral components have been ruled out.  A thorough history, physical and neurological exam, and laboratory tests are necessary to make a diagnosis of CDS.</p> <p> CDS can be a difficult disease to treat.  There is a prescription medication available that can help alleviate the symptoms.  Antioxidant supplementation is another way we can support our senior dogs and try to slow or prevent the occurrence of CDS.  Having your companion examined regularly (every 6 months) is an excellent way to recognize disease processes early (including CDS) and provide assistance and support to them as soon as possible.</p> Blog:b026d028-07e2-43a9-8977-27a0e5e95d28Post:4b8d74a6-4cd9-469d-a53f-738845f3d98e Older Pets May Have Special Needs Mon, 09 Sep 2013 17:39:00 GMT <div> Older pets have entertained us, played endlessly, helped watch our children, and even guarded our homes.  As pets age, they may require special needs in terms of nutritional support.  The needs will vary somewhat, but most can benefit when certain supplements are added to their daily ration.  The following areas rank fairly high in extra support requirements - joint, muscle, bone, kidney, digestion, and immunity.  Many times there is the need to use two or more types of products.</div> <div>  </div> <div> Depending upon the current health needs of your pet, there are several non-supplement items that can help our pets live a better quality of life too.  Orthopedic beds are wonderful in reducing pressure sores and possibly giving the pet a more relaxed, deeper sleep.  If the muscles have better circulation while sleeping, then that particular muscle group may also have more strength when it is time to get up.</div> <div>  </div> <div> In contrast, pets with weakened muscles often need the assistance of the owner to actually get up. Once they are up, most can function fairly well.  If we exercise our pets daily, maintain a good weight, support healthy joints and muscles, the possibility of keeping our pets mobile longer may be possible. </div> <div>  </div> <div> Other accessories to consider for larger pets and those with special needs include pet ramps (for your vehicle, stairs and furniture) and traction boots.  Ramps can alleviate the need to climb stairs or jump.  For dogs with weak muscles and difficulty on slippery surfaces (such as hardwood or tile floors), traction boots can make an extreme difference allowing a dog to get up unassisted and avoid falls. These types of products can make life better for both the dog and owner.</div> Blog:b026d028-07e2-43a9-8977-27a0e5e95d28Post:92fad258-28b1-4229-bb21-561ba4531dec Proper Digestion for the Geriatric - Is a Digestive Enzyme Supplement Needed? Wed, 28 Aug 2013 17:04:00 GMT <p> Having a properly functioning digestive system is as important as selecting the high-quality food to put into the digestive tract.  Our digestive system not only houses the majority of our immune system but obviously processes the food eaten by our pets.  The many steps necessary to digest food into particles that can be efficiently absorbed is dependent on enzymes, bile acids, stomach acid, minerals, probiotics, vitamins, water, and transit time (the time it takes food to move through the entire length of the intestinal tract).</p> <p> As our pets approach the geriatric years, the efficiency of digestion can start to decrease.  The cause of this decrease is often due to the decreased production of digestive  enzymes.  So if you start to notice a drop in your pet's body weight and even muscle tone, you should schedule a visit with you veterinarian for a good physical exam and possible laboratory tests for your pet.</p> <p> If everything is normal, discuss with your veterinarian the potential benefits of  adding digestive enzymes to the pet's food.  The added enzymes will help break down the fats and protein for improved utilization.  The end result can be weight gain and an improvement in muscle tone.  In addition, better nutrient uptake can also help the immune system.</p> Blog:b026d028-07e2-43a9-8977-27a0e5e95d28Post:12cb522b-3043-4754-bef8-0576cc0fb23f