Senior AtWe are cel

Senior pets are a large part of our practice and we love them dearly. It is our belief that, as aging happens, it is important to make sure that we are taking optimal care of our pets and ensure that they are getting all of the proper nutrients/vitamins in their diet.  We believe that is important to provide clients with all pertinent information once a pet reaches it's senior years.  As we get older ourselves, everything changes.  We are expected to have more frequent visits to our doctors and to make sure we follow up with routine bloodwork and other tests as deemed necessary.  We are trying to give our senior pets the same level of care. 

At Winrose, we have designed a special program for our senior pets.  It is structured in such a way that we do specific tests to ensure that your pet is staying healthy and happy in his/her later years. With our Senior Wellness, we are able to detect any changes at an early stage with blood tests, urine tests, ECG's and x-rays. Early detection means earlier treatment and a better prognosis for the longterm. 

We break the program into two annual visits and at each visit your pet receives a complete exam and required tests.  This allows us to fully review all organs systems your pet twice a year and helps minimize stress as we perform certain tests at each visit instead of doing them all at once.  Seeing your pet two times a year instead of one also allows us to detect subtle physical changes before they become major problems.  Keep in mind we typically say our pets age 5-7 years for each human calendar year.  As such, big changes can happen in a short period of time!

Our Senior Wellness program includes nutrition counselling as well. This is an important part of staying healthy in the golden years.  We now have great diets available to help with everything from mobility to kidney disease.  Please feel free to ask any team member about our Senior Wellness or senior diets and we will gladly provide any additional information you require.  We want to keep our patients as healthy as possible for as many precious years as possible!

In closing, we would like to leave you with a story about a very special senior pet who has come to our hospital for many years. He belongs to one of our veterinary technicians. This is his story.

Sampson's story:  Our old English sheepdog "Sampson" came to us from a farm out in Anola, Manitoba.  Sampson had been purchased by the farmer to be a working dog.  Unfortunately for the farmer but lucky for us, Sampson was much more content to laze in the sun than work!!!!  Since day one this friendly mild-mannered sheepdog wormed his way into our home and hearts!!! 

As a puppy, Sampson managed to get himself into all kinds of trouble.  At Christmas one year ,he managed to eat 2 lbs of trail mix and was quickly rushed to Winrose for his first episode of induced vomiting!!!  He was very disappointed that day as he had worked very hard to eat all 2 lbs!!!

From day one, Sampson went to Winrose for annual vaccines, wellness testing, heartworm meds and annual exams.  He was even a canine blood donor.  He always loved his visits to the clinic...not much ever phased him.  As long as Dr. Eichkorn was around to provide him with liver treats he was happy to cooperate!! 

When Sampson turned 10, we decided to start senior wellness testing.  It was a more comprehensive assessment and included bloodwork, urine analysis and thyroid testing.  It gave us a peace of mind that we were covering all the bases especially since our previous sheepdog had died at the age of 9 of heart failure. 

In 2006, while doing an ultrasound, Sampson was diagnosed with an enlarged heart. At the time, Sampson had no clinical symptoms of heart disease.  With the advice of Dr. Eichkorn, we decided to start Sampson on some medications that would help keep his heart strong and allow us to try and prevent further damage.  With careful management and routine senior wellness testing we have been able to keep on top of Sampson's heart disease.

In 2009, we started to find that Sampson was slowing down.  At one of our routine visits, we mentioned to Dr. Eichkorn that we were seeing some changes in Sampson's activity such as difficulty getting up in the morning, slowing on his walks and generalized stiffness.  Dr. Eichkorn examined Sampson and found the early stages of arthritis.  We decided at the time to try Sampson on some medications that would help alleviate some of his discomfort.  Within a couple of weeks he was a new dog!!!  Our Sampson, whom we thought was starting to show his age, was acting like a puppy again...chasing the cats, lasting longer on the walks than our much younger dog and jumping up on the counter again!!!!!!  Dr. Eichkorn told us that we would need to continue to monitor Sampson's blood work yearly as some of the arthritic medications could cause some changes in his kidney/liver values.  The senior wellness plan that Sampson is on allows Dr. Eichkorn to monitor those values every year and watch for changes.

In late 2009, at a wellness visit, Dr. Eichkorn told us about a new dog food that could also help with Sampson's arthritis. She said that it might allow us to decrease some of the arthritis meds that Sampson was on.  I have to say I was very skeptical at first.  Could a dog food really make that much of a difference in Sampson's mobility???  We started Sampson on a mobility support diet shortly after our visit.  Again, after about 6 weeks we found that Sampson was a new dog!  It allowed us to decrease the dose of some of the arthritic meds he was receiving. We actually found him out in the backyard one day chasing our 5 year old dog around the yard!

This October, we met our biggest challenge yet with Sampson.  Sampson had not been eating well for a couple of days and we had taken him to Winrose to have him examined.  His physical exam showed that he had a tooth that had been broken and an infection under the gums.  We were very anxious at the thought of having to put our old guy under anesthetic.  I read online about the risks of putting a senior dog under anesthetic but I couldn't find a single article that his said age was a reason not to undergo the procedure. Yes, there were potential risks with anesthetic but the an ongoing infection in his mouth was going to cause him ongoing pain as well as carrying a chance a more widespread infection. We discussed at length with Dr. Torevell what we should do.  She suggested that we recheck Sampson's blood work and his heart before we put him under anesthetic.  This type of pre-anesthetic testing would give the doctors more information before putting him under general anesthetic.  On October 17th, Sampson had a full panel of blood work, an ECG and chest x-rays done.  These tests showed that there was no reason not to go ahead with the anesthetic.  On October 21, Sampson came into the clinic in the morning to be admitted for his dental surgery. I must have questioned myself a million times on the way to the clinic as to whether I was doing the right thing.  I anxiously waited by the phone the entire morning.  I was sure I was going to get a call telling me bad news.  When we got the call saying that Sampson had come through with flying colors and one less tooth we were so excited!!! I went to the clinic that evening anxious to pick up our boy.  There he was... waiting to go home!  The first night home was a long one, but by the time I got home from work the following day he was bouncing around in the yard like nothing had happened.  Tthe best part?  He was he was eating his dry food with gusto!!!!

If I haven't already mentioned it, Sampson will be turning 17 this December.  In human years for a large breed dog like Sampson...well..that's ancient!!!!!  I keep telling Dr. Eichkorn we need to find a way to get him to 20.  Do I think its all genetics???  Of course some of it has to do with genetics. Moreso, I think it was all the preventive medicine that helped get him to where he is right now.  I have become a strong advocate for Senior Wellness testing as it has allowed us to find small problems before they became big problems.   It has allowed us to make changes for Sampson that have given him a better quality of life and that has allowed us so far 16 GREAT years!

We leave you with a few pictures below of our beloved Sampson....we'll post some more when he reaches 20!!