You’ve heard me go on about the importance in keeping up with your health and making those yearly trips to the doctor. Medicine, historically, has been about treating what ails you but in recent years it’s shifted towards prevention. Makes sense, just don’t get sick in the first place. I can get on board with that, but the big question now becomes, well, how do I do that? I don’t know all the answers but I do know that there are people who have some answers, like your GP, specialists, homeopaths and my mother. Point being you don’t have to know all to find all. As you know, having a pet from puppyhood is a new experience for me, so I need to reach out to find out how to keep my Titan strong and healthy. First and foremost, I always ask my breeder and Berner whisperer (Allo Veronique!), but when serious and more imminent concerns arise (throwback to Titan’s chocolate eating episode), we certainly go to our vet (love you Dr. LittleJohn! More on that later…) Okay, the preventative measure here would have been to keep my sweets away from my furry friend with the sweet tooth, but what about the in-between times and all the other body parts?
River’s Brush with Cancer
When we had our sweet golden lab, River, at 11 years old, we noticed his middle getting kind of big. Weight gain, right? Well, that’s what we thought. One night, he barked to go out at 2:00am. One hour later, we noticed he had not come in yet. My husband noticed he was just laying on the ground panting, unable to get up. The next day we took him to the vet. One simple X-ray later, they found a large mass covering his abdomen , likely an angiosarcoma (huh? Cancer of the blood vessel lining). Dr. LittleJohn said it may be a cancer of the spleen. Our options were surgery – if it was localized he could take it out, if it had spread he could put Riv down right there. The other option would be to just put him down. We went the surgery route. Dr. LittleJohn canceled his vacation to perform the surgery and monitor him post-op. Yeah, I don’t think I can say enough about our remarkable vet. Luckily, his mass was a localized 6lbs tumour on his spleen. Dr. LittleJohn was able to remove half of his spleen and keep the other half intact. This was really great because the outcome for an entire splenectomy would have been only a 6-12 month survival rate. Six pounds lighter, our Riv was back to his spunky self. Need a vet? Hook up the ‘Got a Pet? Get a Vet’ initiative and they will be glad to recommend one in your area
Not So Fun Facts…
Sigh… I’m just going to come out with it – according to Canada’s Pet Wellness Report, 2011, two top facts about owners and their pets were revealed. First of all, only 10% of pet owners view having regular annual checkups as one of the most important things you can do to increase the length of your pet’s life. Jaw drop. 10%! Talk about a horrible report card. The most important aspect of doggy’s daily care is their mouth. Oral care is huge in maintaining a healthy pet. It’s the one place vets look as an indicator to the overall health of your pet. If you haven’t heard it from your own dentist, people, then listen to your vet! The second major issue that came out in the study was people were not listening to veterinarian advice about oral hygiene. Fresh breath and clean teeth are where it’s at – not surprising.
Between the dramatic story and the cold-water-in-your-face factoids, the message is clear; prevention and early detection are key in keeping your furry friend happy and healthy for years to come. This can be accomplished by taking your pet for a check-up once a year – think of it as a spa day for their insides. If you are having trouble finding a vet in your area, check out these links!
Let us know how you feel about annual check ups for your dogs! Necessary? Or do you consult Dr. Google?