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How is Your Pet Aging?

Is your furry friend over the age of 7 years? Well, it might be time to switch some things to continue making sure they stay as healthy as can be. Below you will find some steps to help you do just that!

  1. You may want to start seeing your veterinarian twice a year instead of annually.
  2. It might be time to switch diets to a senior formulated diet.
  3. Yearly blood work is something you would also want to look into.
  4. Make sure exercise is appropriate for your pet’s age for many different reasons.
  5. You may have to make some environmental changes to help with mobility or mental stimulation.

Now you may be wondering why we have to change so many things for our beloved mature and senior pets. Well, let’s talk about that for just a little bit. Why would we want to see the vet twice a year instead of the regular once a year that we have done for so long? The reason for this change is so that we can pick up on things much quicker so that we have less time to possibly get worse to a point of not being able to do anything.

Ok so we understand why increasing checkups might be helpful but why would we need to change the food we have been using for so long? Simple, each stage of life has a different nutritional requirement. As our pets age, they require different things in their diets to help them. This is something you would want to talk with your veterinarian about during an annual/biannual exam because there are so many different diets and each pet may require something different based on breed, size, medical conditions ( i.e.: diabetes, kidney disease, etc..) or even just a switch to a senior food as they are now older.

That makes sense now. So, is this the same idea for annual blood work? Yes, it is. When your furry friend is younger they do not always need blood work as they are generally healthy. However, as they get older we like to have annual blood work so we can keep track of anything beginning to increase or decline such as kidneys, liver, and thyroid. This kind of goes hand in hand with our annuals as the more often we check the quicker we can find any problems that could be occurring.

Fluffy is getting older, isn’t it normal for them to be slowing down? Why would I need to change their exercise or environment? That’s just old age. Yes, that is true, however, because they may be getting older it may become more difficult to use things like stairs so you would want to make sure that their things are more accessible to them. Maybe even have everything on the same floor they use the most so they are not having to climb for their needs. They also may begin to sleep more but you still want to make sure that they can get the proper exercise needed so they do not become overweight as their energy requirements lessen. This can lead to many more problems caused such as arthritis or stiffness.

What things should I look for when bringing my friend in for senior checkups? There are a few things you would want to keep an eye on when going for your annuals/bi-annuals. Below you will find a list of the things to watch for any changes in:

  •  Change in water consumption
  •  Change in appetite
  •  Lethargic or depressed (listless behaviour)
  •  Change in urine production (amount and/or colour)
  •  Constipation
  •  Change in attitude (irritability)
  •  Change in sleeping patterns
  •  Noticeable decrease in vision
  •  Vomiting/diarrhea
  •  Weight gain/loss
  •  Bad breath or drooling
  •  Lumps and bumps on the skin
  •  Excessive panting
  •  Breathing heavily or rapidly at rest
  •  Increased stiffness, trouble jumping, or walking

In short, make sure to take knowledge of any new things happening with your pet, change things to help them around, and try to been seen more regularly because as we may not be able to stop the ageing process we can at least help slow it down and help our pets get the best and longest life we can.

References:
AVMA – https://www.avma.org/resources/pet-owners/petcare/senior-pet-care-faq
Heartland Veterinary Clinic – https://www.laservet.ca/senior-pets.html
VCA Animal Hospital – https://vcacanada.com/know-your-pet/helping-our-senior-dogs-age-gracefully

By: Ashley Goss, Veterinary Technician

Blog

How do I become a veterinary technician?

This is the end to RVT week, a time to celebrate our technicians and what they do to help our clinics! In honor of this we will be talking about how to become a veterinary technician. To answer this question we must first look at what are veterinary technicians. "A veterinarian’s assistant, trained to provide medical care for animals, as performing diagnostic tests or administering vaccines and medication." - Dictonary.com Now that is just putting it in the most simple terms. If we went in depth a bit more you would get the following. "Veterinary technicians are animal nurses (and much more). In addition to their nursing duties, they act as patient advocates, phlebotomists, radiology technicians, laboratory technicians, anesthesia technicians, and surgery technicians. Except tasks legally restricted to veterinarians, such as diagnosing disease conditions, performing surgery, prescribing medications, and prognosing medical outcomes, veterinary technicians are trained to do everything a veterinary hospital requires to run smoothly." - AAHA Certainly! Veterinary technicians play a crucial role in the healthcare of animals. Their responsibilities encompass a wide range of tasks, making them an integral part of the veterinary team. In fact, you may sometimes hear them referred to as veterinary technologists, as they possess a comprehensive understanding of various medical procedures and techniques. To become a veterinary technician, individuals typically undergo rigorous education and training. They typically enroll in specialized programs that span anywhere from 18 to 36 months. These programs provide them with the knowledge and skills necessary to excel in their field. Upon completion, aspiring veterinary technicians may take a national exam known as the Veterinary Technician National Examination (VTNE). The VTNE is a comprehensive assessment that evaluates the breadth of the technician’s understanding across multiple species. With a total of 300 multiple-choice questions, covering various topics, this exam ensures that technicians are well-prepared to handle the diverse challenges encountered in their daily work. From animal anatomy and physiology to pharmacology and radiology, the VTNE examines their proficiency in all essential areas. Successfully passing the VTNE paves the way for technicians to become registered veterinary technicians (RVTs). The RVT title signifies their achievement and signifies their commitment to upholding high standards within the profession. As registered technicians, they can further contribute to the well-being and welfare of animals, working alongside veterinarians to provide exemplary care. In summary, veterinary technicians are highly skilled professionals who have invested significant time and effort into their education and training. Their role in the veterinary field is invaluable, as they bring expertise, compassion, and dedication to ensure the health and happiness of our beloved animal companions. So let’s simplify the steps into a list to become a technician! Research and Understand the Role: Take the time to learn about the responsibilities and duties of a veterinary technician. This will give you a clear understanding of what the profession entails. Obtain a High School Diploma or Equivalent: To pursue a career as an RVT, you will need a high school diploma or an equivalent qualification. Make sure you meet this prerequisite. Research Accredited Veterinary Technology Programs: Look for accredited veterinary technology programs in your area. These programs are designed to provide the necessary education and training to become an RVT. Choose the Right Program: Evaluate different veterinary technology programs based on factors such as curriculum, facilities, faculty, and clinical opportunities. Choose a program that aligns with your interests and career goals. Enroll in a Veterinary Technology Program: Once you’ve selected a program, complete the application process and enroll. Be prepared to meet any admission requirements specific to the program. Attend and Complete the Program: Dedicate yourself to your studies and practical training during the veterinary technology program. Attend lectures, laboratory sessions, and clinical rotations to gain the knowledge and skills required for the profession. Acquire Hands-on Experience: Seek out opportunities to gain practical experience in veterinary clinics or animal hospitals. Many programs offer externships or internships, which provide valuable real-world exposure. Prepare for the VTNE: The Veterinary Technician National Examination (VTNE) is a comprehensive exam that assesses your competency as an aspiring RVT. Study diligently and use preparation resources, such as practice exams and study guides, to enhance your chances of success. Schedule and Take the VTNE: Once you feel prepared, schedule your VTNE. The exam is administered by the American Association of Veterinary State Boards (AAVSB) and can typically be taken at designated testing centers. Obtain State Licensure: After passing the VTNE, you will need to apply for state licensure. Each state has its own requirements, so make sure to complete the application process and submit the necessary documentation. Continuing Education and Career Development: As an RVT, it’s vital to stay current with advancements in veterinary medicine. Pursue continuing education opportunities, attend conferences, and consider specialization or advanced certifications to further enhance your knowledge and skills. Remember, the journey to becoming an RVT requires dedication, hard work, and a passion for animal care. Follow these steps to embark on a fulfilling and rewarding career in veterinary technology. Written by: Ashley G, VT Resources AAHA – https://www.aaha.org/your-pet/pet-owner-education/ask-aaha/what-is-a-veterinary-technician/ NAVTA – https://www.navta.net/education-certification/becoming-a-vet-tech

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