What Do People and Dogs Have in Common? Arthritis.

Is your dog having trouble getting up from the floor or climbing stairs?
Is she running, jumping and playing less?
Is he limping?
Does your dog yelp when you touch her, or move away to avoid being touched?

These are behavior changes commonly seen in a dog that has arthritis.

The causes and symptoms of arthritis are the same in dogs as in people. The main feature of arthritis is persistent swelling of one or more joints—the place wherever two movable bones come together—that causes pain.

Normally, cartilage acts as a cushion to keep bones from grinding against each other and wearing down. A layer of cells surrounding a joint produces a thick, clear fluid, which keeps the cartilage lubricated so the joint can move freely. Anything that reduces the production of fluid increases friction in the joint. If this condition continues, the excess friction will wear away the cartilage so movement becomes more difficult and painful.

The cause of the excess friction in a dog’s joints determines the type of arthritis it has. The two main classifications of arthritis are degenerative arthritis and inflammatory arthritis. Treatment of every type of arthritis focuses on removing the cause of, or reducing, the inflammation in the joint.

Degenerative Arthritis

A. Degenerative arthritis occurs when the cartilage dries out.

Veterinarians often see this condition in older dogs, because aging reduces production of the lubricating fluid in the joints. Any joint—including the vertebrae in the spine—can be affected. For 20+ years, veterinarians in Europe have been achieving significant Continue reading

Tim Baker, DVM--Hillsdale Veterinary Hospital
280 S. Broad Street HillsdaleMI49242 USA 
 • 517-437-4431
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Five Vital Steps to Preventing Dental Problems in Dogs

Many animals develop the same types of tooth and gum diseases as humans. In fact, much of what we know about oral disease in humans came about as the result of study of the same conditions in dogs.

There is no shortage of studies about canine teeth and gum problems. According to Watson, who reviewed an assortment of studies from 1899 to the present, the incidence of gum disease ranged from 66% to 95%, depending on age of the animal (Watson, 1994). Because over 100 years of research indicates that almost every dog will develop gingivitis, dog owners need to know more about this condition.

Gingivitis is an inflammation of the gums around the margins of the teeth, caused by plaque-producing bacteria. Uncorrected, this situation leads to a more serious problem called periodontal disease.

Periodontal disease is a condition involving irritation and swelling of the tissues that hold a tooth in place, due to the buildup of tartar–plaque that has absorbed calcium from saliva and hardened. Eventually, the bacteria thriving between the tooth and the tartar causes an abscess around the roots of the tooth, destroying bone and fibrous tissues that hold it in place. If periodontal disease reaches this stage, other unseen consequences have already occurred: With each tooth abscess, bacteria leaks into the bloodstream, stressing the dog’s immune system, and damaging the animal’s blood vessels, heart, liver, and kidneys. Although the infection can be cleared by antibiotics, the damage done to organs remains, making it more likely that kidney failure, heart disease, arthritis, and high blood pressure–conditions typically associated with aging–develop sooner.

These deadly consequences are unnecessary, because gingivitis Continue reading

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Safely Remove a Tick

Summer and fall are the seasons when your pet is most likely to bring home a tick or two. The video below will put to rest some wives’ tales about tick removal, and show you exactly how to remove a tick from your pet (works for humans, too!).

It’s EASY… But please heed the warnings.

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Holiday Hours

Pam’s Clipart ImagesHillsdale Veterinary Hospital  will be closed July 2 through 4, 2011. Regular business hours will resume Tuesday, July 5, 2011 at 8:00am.
Dr. Baker and the staff of Hillsdale Veterinary Hospital hope you have a safe and enjoyable 4th of July holiday. Please remember, as you celebrate our country’s birthday, to keep your pets safely away from wherever fireworks are being used.

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