Monument Road Animal Hospital

1238 Monument Road
Jacksonville, FL 32225

(904)721-2119

www.mrah.net

What Pets Really Need

A complete health history and a comprehensive physical exam are the foundation of proper pet healthcare. All of us have unique healthcare needs, and our pets are no different. We gather all of the important information needed to formulate an individual healthcare plan for your pet. Please see the Puppies & Kittens, Adult Pets, & Older Pets sections below.

 

Puppies & Kittens

This is where it all begins. Your education is the best way to ensure a long, happy, and healthy life for your new pet. Every time a new puppy or kitten is introduced into your home, we will review all of their basic healthcare needs. We cover all important healthcare issues: general behavior; breed related risk factors; housebreaking; chewing & scratching protection guidelines; dental care; feeding guidelines; needed vaccines; and parasite protection & dewormings (including heartworms). Once we get to know you and your pet, together we will formulate the optimal wellness plan for your pet.

 

 

Adult Pets

This is the age when many of the most common serious diseases of older pets can be managed more easily if detected early. Since they can't always tell us how they feel, we rely on your observations, comprehensive physical exams by the doctors, and any indicated testing to monitor your pets health. Many pets can reap great health benefits from minor modifications to their daily care at home. We will make appropriate recommendations to meet your pet's needs. Some common diseases that can be managed if they are detected early in this age group include kidney disease (the most common serious disease of cats), heart disease, liver disease, cancer (the most common cause of passing for large dogs), arthritis, and dental infections. For instance, many breeds of dogs and cats that are prone to serious dental infections can benefit from easy and inexpensive care at home. Research has shown that proper dental care can add years to your pet's life expectancy.

 

 

Small & Medium Dogs

Dog's Age Human Years
5 33
7 44
10 56
12 64
15 76
20 96

51 to 90 pound Dogs

Dog's Age Human Years
5 38
7 50
10 66
12 77
15 93
20 >110

Greater than 90 pounds

Dog's Age Human Years
5 41
7 56
10 78
12 93
15 >110

All Size Cats

Cat's Age Human Years
5 33
7 44
12 64
15 76
18 88
21 100

 

Body Weight & Longer Lives

Pets carrying excess body weight is one of the most common canine and feline medical problems. As caring owners, we love our pets so much that we sometimes tend to overfeed them and give lots of treats. Unfortunately, this “extra loving” can make them prone to many life-threatening medical problems. Research has shown that being overweight can shorten a pet’s life up to 3 to 5 years.

Body Condition Score: To know if your pet is overweight, check the thickness of the fat layer over their rib cage. If you cannot easily feel their ribs with light pressure, while they are standing, then your pet has too much body fat. 

Medical risks for overweight pets:

  • Painful joint problems that can lead to arthritis. This is especially significant in breeds predisposed to hip dysplasia and large dogs that are predisposed to tearing their ACL (a ligament in the knee similar to a common football player injury).
  • Much higher risks of cancer, diabetes, pancreatitis, heart and lung disease. 
  • In cats, if they stop eating for any reason (change in diet, illness, etc.) they may break down the excess fat and deposit it in their liver, leading to a life threatening disease process called ‘hepatic lipidosis’ or ‘fatty liver syndrome.’
  • Other diseases like heat stroke, urinary tract disease, and infections are much more common in overweight pets.

What you need to do: 

  • Remember- we are really talking about lifestyle modification, not a short term diet.
  • Reduce the overall food intake to a total of 1/3 measuring cup per 10 pounds of body weight PER DAY.
  • No treats of any kind! This is the toughest step, but very important.  [Rawhide Dental Chews, Nylabones, and Chew Toys are fine- they have no calories]
  • Increase exercise if possible. It is difficult for exercise alone to lead to weight loss, but it can help when combined with the proper diet.

What to expect:

  • In most cases, your pet will not approve of his/ her new diet in the beginning.  Your pet may start begging, crying, going to the bathroom inappropriately, waking you up at night, following you around the house, opening cabinets for food, and even biting your ankles (this most commonly occurs in cats).
  • In most cases, your pet will show no signs of weight loss for the first month.
  • Most weight loss plans take 6 months to a year for your pet to reach their optimal weight. Once your pet is at a healthy weight, they will continue to receive the same amount of food at each meal for the rest of their life.

Most importantly, stay focused and be strong. Having a family pet on a diet can be a challenge, but the rewards are well worth it. Pets that are lean have much higher energy levels, and you can add years to your pet’s life.  Be Strong and Good Luck!