By Dr. Gary A. Borgman, DVM7
My 2017 articles have covered a variety of pet health issues of dogs and cats. Readers can access all past articles at www.OsceolaWoman.com. In January I listed many symptoms and clinical signs to watch for. In March I discussed heart health and the following issue dealt with several hormonal conditions. In July, I touched on allergies and the treatment options. We also discussed the newer strain of Canine Influenza Virus and the prevention through vaccination. Finally in September I covered kidney function.
So what have I not discussed? We still have the liver, the reproductive systems, the lungs and upper respiratory tract, bones and joints, and of course the central nervous system. Oh my, I have my challenges for 2018!
One subject that I have not discussed much in the past is pain management. Many chronic arthritis conditions can be very uncomfortable, painful and debilitating. We now have a variety of very effective medications to improve quality of life. I plan to go into this in more detail in a future article.
Another subject will be a discussion of common eye abnormalities. Injuries to the eyes are common and can result in loss of vision if not treated promptly. Small injuries to the cornea can rapidly progress to ulceration and infection. Early identification and treatment of eye conditions is very important. Appropriate antibiotic therapy and prevention of further injury from scratching at the eyes with the Elizabethan collar is often a vital part of the management of these cases. As dogs age, we often find a progressive cloudiness (sclerosis) of the lens and sometimes cataracts. Fortunately, we can refer serious eye cases to veterinary ophthalmologists when needed.
Early detection, diagnosis and treatment of the “lumps and bumps” which pop up is another issue. We often do fine needle aspirates with cytology (microscopic examination) of these lesions to determine if surgery is indicated. Well cared-for dogs and cats are living longer but this results in increased incidence of tumors and cancers. A future article will discuss neoplasia (cancer) and the treatment options.
I will touch on the importance of regular check-ups and routine diagnostic tests. The most important point about vaccinations is that we need to do a risk assessment for each animal. The life style and exposure potential determines the recommended protocol for each individual pet. We are happy to review these factors over the phone and in the exam room.
Of course, parasites (internal and external) are a big issue in Florida. It is much better to prevent than to treat. Fortunately we have a variety of very effective preventative products. I will discuss options and recommendations in the future.
In 1969, when I graduated from four years of veterinary school, I knew there would be constant new scientific and practical information, but I had no idea how much new information would ensue! We currently receive at least half a dozen journals every month, attend about 40 hours of continuing education each year and receive very current information via the internet, especially through our Veterinary Information Network. So there is no shortage of information to share. The challenge is to condense and communicate so pet owners can get the most use from all this new information. In February, I will again attend 5 days of CE at the largest veterinary conference in the world at the Orange County Convention Center. I plan to devote an article to “Highlights of the 2018 NAVC”.
The veterinarians and staff at Kissimmee Animal Hospital (Tel 407-846-3912) and Poinciana Pet Clinic (Tel 407-518-0880) are available to answer any questions or concerns about pet health issues. We are here to help and to serve. I welcome any suggestions for content for future articles in this magazine.