Keeping Your Senior Pet Healthy

Senior Wellness

Dogs and cats age much more quickly than humans. Their development from puberty to adulthood takes place over a period of 18-24 months. After that time each year of a pet’s life is equal to about 4 years of a human life.

Portrait of a female german shorthaired pointer, age 11

What is a senior pet?

  • Any pet over the age of 7 years is considered a senior.
  • Large breed dogs over the age of 5 years are considered a senior.

Although age is not a disease, it is a progressive process that is associated with the development of age related problems. Some changes that are more prevalent in the mature pet include:

  • Physical and metabolic changes, joint disease, renal disease, muscle atrophy, cognitive and behavioural changes, thyroid disease, skin and coat changes

We are able to assess the health of your mature pet in several ways:

  • Annual/semi annual physical examination by your veterinarian
  • An early disease detection blood profile and urinalysis (senior wellness profile)

We recommend performing a senior wellness profile on all mature pets. There are several benefits to this:

  • In the early stages of disease there is often no noticeable signs (compromised organ function can occur before clinical signs are evident)
  • This blood panel can serve as a benchmark/baseline when done in a healthy mature pet. This enables better care and diagnosis for any changes that develop in subsequent years.

Early disease detection in the mature pet can result in earlier medical and nutritional treatment, which will impact the quality of your pet’s life.

During the month of November, we are offering a 20% discount on our Senior Blood panel when you book an annual examination for your senior pet.  Your pet will also receive a complimentary bag of the appropriate Royal Canin Veterinary diet, based on their nutritional requirements.

Please call the clinic or click the clinic of your choice below, to book your pets appointment.


The Doctors and Staff at The Interior Pet Health Group

(Fairfield Animal Hospital, Central Valley Vet Hospital & Westbank Animal Care Hospital)


How to keep your Pets safe this Howl-O-Ween!!

fah halloween olive suni and daisy

Halloween is a fun and exciting time of year, so much so that we often want to include our furry family members in the festivities. However, It is important to remember that certain foods that people consume are highly toxic to dogs and cats. Below is a list of tips to ensure that your pet enjoys Halloween as much as you do!

  1. Costumes
    • Many people love to dress up and want to share this experience with their pet. It is important to remember that not all pets enjoy being dressed up. Some costumes can cause discomfort and may cause your pet to become unnecessarily stressed.
    • What to watch for: Make sure the costume does not impair your pet’s vision, movement or intake of air. Assess your pet’s response to the costume and if he/she exhibits signs of distress promptly remove the costume.
  2. Chocolate
    • Chocolate is highly toxic! Chocolate contains methyxanthines, chemicals that can be fatal. In general, the darker the chocolate the more toxic it is.
    • What to watch for: If your pet has ingested chocolate call your vet immediately. Symptoms include GI upset in mild cases (vomiting/diarrhea) to abnormal heartbeats and seizures in severe cases.
  3. Candy
    • Ingestion of a large amount of sugary, high fat candy can lead to pancreatitis or gastroenteritis. This often requires hospitalization and treatment with intravenous fluids and other medications.
    • What to watch for: Symptoms can include, vomiting, diarrhea and lethargy.
  4. Gum
    • Pieces of gum can be a choking hazard for pets, so be careful not to leave them lying around. Additionally, sugar-free gum may contain the sugar substitute xylitol, which is highly toxic to dogs. Xylitol causes dogs to produce insulin rapidly, which can lead to seizures or liver failure. The effect of xylitol on cats is unknown, but it’s best to keep them away from it to be safe.
    • What to watch for: Lethargy, weakness/collapse, seizures, vomiting and not eating.
  5. Candy Wrappers
    • Ingestion of foil/plastic can cause gastrointestinal obstructions, which often requires surgical intervention and can be life threatening.
    • What to watch for: Vomiting, not eating, not defecating and lethargy.
  6. Raisins
    • Very small amounts of grapes or raisins can cause kidney failure in dogs and cats.
    • What to watch for: Vomiting, not eating and lethargy.
  7. Glow Sticks
    • Both cats and dogs are attracted to these toys and will chew them causing the harmful chemicals to leak out.
    • What to watch for: Drooling, foaming at the mouth, vomiting and lethargy.

Reference: ASPCA

Have a safe and spooky Halloween from all the Doctors and Staff at The Interior Pet Health Group!

(Fairfield Animal Hospital, Central Valley Vet Hospital & Westbank Animal Care Hospital)

Mushroom Toxicity In Pets

While the ingestion of poisonous mushrooms in pets is a rare occurrence the consequences can be deadly.

There are thousands of types of mushrooms that grow in North America and luckily less than 100 are poisonous. However, one of the many difficulties in dealing with poisonous mushrooms is that the mushroom species can be very difficult to identify. It is also often the case that our pets can eat a quick bite of something while we look the other way! For these reasons it is often difficult to know for certain that a toxic mushroom has been eaten and treatment is often based on this presumption.

The most dangerous type of mushrooms contains liver toxins called hepatotoxic cyclopeptides. This family of toxic mushrooms includes the Aminata phalloides, commonly known as “death cap” or “death angel” mushroom and Aminata ocreata, also known as the “angel of death”, among others. It is this class of mushroom, which is known to grow worldwide, that is held responsible for 95% of mushroom related deaths in humans. The liver toxins in these mushrooms prevent liver cells from building proteins and ultimately lead to the death of the liver’s cells.

When a pet has been poisoned by this class of mushroom the illness comes in 3 predictable stages.

In the first stage, the pet will show severe gastrointestinal abnormalities including: Drooling, vomiting, diarrhea and abdominal pain. This stage will start within 6 hours of the mushroom being eaten and last for about 18 hours. The first stage is followed by a temporary recovery period where the pet will appear to be on the mend. Sadly, this false recovery is short-lived, lasting between 12-24 hours. It is followed by the hepatorenal stage. During this stage dogs exhibit signs of liver failure which can include vomiting, diarrhea, bleeding disorders and neurologic abnormalities among other problems. Less commonly, kidney failure can develop several days later. Once patients reach this stage of illness, where severe organ injury has occurred, medical treatment required is intensive and chance of recovery becomes remote.

Treatment for mushroom toxicity is most successful when started early on.

Decontamination is key to prevent the toxins from being absorbed from the digestive tract. This involves the induction of vomiting and administration of several doses of activated charcoal to bind toxins within the intestines. If animals are already clinically ill by the time that they arrive in the veterinary clinic, treatments will also include medications to control vomiting and the acidity of the stomach, intravenous fluids to promote appropriate hydration and blood pressure, medications to address bleeding problems which may include blood or blood plasma transfusions, treatment for hepatic encephalopathy (abnormal mentation resulting from liver dysfunction) and medications to protect the liver. Peritoneal dialysis and antibiotics may also be used in severe cases.

Because pets who are seen early after ingestion have a good chance of full recovery, we recommend that any pet suspected of having eaten a wild mushroom should be seen by their veterinarian as soon as possible.

Thanksgiving Safety Tips For Your Pets!

Thanksgiving is a wonderful time of year. The weather is cooling down and the leaves are changing! During Thanksgiving families and friends gather to give thanks and share delicious meals! Many pets want to be involved in these festivities and it is our job to insure they stay healthy and happy! Over Thanksgiving people tend to be overly generous with their pets. Dogs and cats may be offered table food scraps or other food that they would not normally be privy to. Sometimes, however, too many treats can lead to injury or illness for our pets.

Below are some tips to keep your canine and feline companion safe and healthy!

Avoid fatty foods/unfamiliar foods: Foods that are high in fat, or unfamiliar food can lead to pancreatitis or gastroenteritis. Common symptoms include: – Vomiting, diarrhea, lack of appetite, lethargy (quiet) and abdominal pain (often listlessness will be observed). These two medical conditions can be very serious and often require hospitalization. Keep your pet safe and do not feed unfamiliar food or food that is high in fat.

Maintain a normal diet and exercise schedule: It is important to keep your pets routine the same during the holidays. Feed your pet his/her regular diet and pet approved treats only. A disruption in his/her dietary routine can cause stomach upset, diarrhea and/or vomiting.

Do not feed your pet bones: Bones can become stuck in the gastrointestinal tract and require emergency surgery to remove. This can be life threatening.

Do not feed your pet onions: Onions are toxic to pets! Onions and onion powder (often found in stuffing) can destroy your pet’s red blood cells and cause a life-threatening anemia.

Do not feed your pet grapes/raisins: Grapes and raisins can contain a toxin that can cause kidney damage to both dogs and cats.

Do not feed your pet chocolate: Chocolate is toxic to cats and dogs. Never feed your pet chocolate or chocolate containing food. Ingestion of chocolate can be fatal.

Keep food wrappings away from pets: Many food wrappings are appealing to pets because they have food remnants on them. However, aluminum foil, wax paper and other food wrappings can cause intestinal obstruction if ingested. Make sure to place these items securely in the garbage.

Make sure your pet is allowed to have some quiet time: Make sure your pet has a quiet retreat should the holiday festivities be too much for him/her. Watch his/her behavior to make sure he is not stressed.

Keep the garbage secure! Keep an eye on the garbage and keep it securely fastened! If your pet gets into the garbage he/she could develop severe gastrointestinal upset, pancreatitis or even gastrointestinal obstruction.

If you have any questions or concerns please call us!

Although we love to see you and your pet, we hope the tips above will help prevent a visit to the hospital over the holiday!


The Doctors & Staff at Fairfield Animal Hospital, Central Valley Vet Hospital & Westbank Animal Care Hospital

(The Interior Pet Health Group)