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Daily Exercise for Your Dog May Help Prevent Serious Diseases

When it comes to keeping your dog healthy, people often think of choosing the right food, regular visits to the vet, and making sure your dog gets enough play time. But play time or brief walks don’t always provide your dog with enough crucial aerobic exercise—and dogs that don’t get enough exercise are more likely to become overweight or obese.

Overweight pets are becoming more and more common. We’re all busy these days, and most of us barely have enough time to exercise ourselves, much less ensure that our animals get adequate activity. But it’s crucial for your pet’s health (just as it is for our own!) to make sure they’re up and moving briskly every day. Your dog probably wants to exercise every day, hard enough to make them pant. And making sure your dog keeps active can help prevent a host of serious conditions and diseases.

When dogs become overweight, they suffer from the same sorts of problems as overweight humans do. Overall, they have a shorter life expectancy, and overweight dogs are at risk for diabetes, bone diseases and joint pain, diseases of the heart and the lungs, and cancer. While, as is the case with humans, daily exercise is no guarantee against chronic illness, the evidence suggests that it helps. Staying at a healthy weight can also help your dog once he or she gets older. Aging dogs can have a difficult time getting up, jumping into cars, and playing. Obesity puts extra strain on their joints, which compounds these struggles.

Of course, not all dogs are the same. The exercise your dog needs will vary based on its breed, age, size, and general health. A border collie will need a lot more active time to remain healthy than a teacup terrier, for example. But, an average dog will need between half an hour to two hours of activity every day.

Walking is a great way to get your dog up and moving, but that’s not the only way you can exercise them. In fact, your dog can be a great motivator for keeping you and your family active! A nice family hike can be a great way to get you and your dog’s heart rates up, as can a few runs a week. Even playing a game of fetch is great for you and your pet. You’re up off the couch or away from your desk, moving; they’re running happily to and fro, getting in the heart-healthy exercise they need.

Of course, it’s good to be cautious. Like older humans, older dogs may not be up to every challenge. Before embarking on a weight loss program for your pet, consider a visit to your primary veterinarian. Just like you’d consult a doctor before trying to lose weight, it’s a good idea to talk to a professional about your dog’s unique needs. Your pet can’t tell you when he or she is tired, thirsty, or hurting, so it’s good to know everything before changing up a routine.

VRC is a specialty veterinary healthcare center in Malvern. We are open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year.

Ways Your Family Can Give Back to the Animal Community

Americans love animals. Most American households have at least one pet. 35% of U.S. households have one or more dogs, and another 30% have cats. And, of course, there are plenty of families out there with more unusual pets—fish, ferrets, rabbits, hamsters, guinea pigs, birds, and other exotics. But most animal lovers don’t just think about cuddles, belly rubs, walks, playtime, selecting nutritious food, and scheduling regular veterinary visits for their pets. They also think about the welfare of animals outside of their own homes!

News & Events-2If you love animals and want to make a difference in the lives of dogs and cats, it’s easier than you think. Most animal shelters are constantly in need of additional funds, so a donation to a local animal rescue group around the holidays, or whenever you can spare it, can go a great way toward helping animals.

A donation of time is also invaluable. If your pet-loving children need community service hours, why not suggest a local shelter or animal charity? A few hours cleaning litter boxes, taking dogs for walks, or playing with attention-needing animals is always a very rewarding experience. And, if your children are younger, you could always suggest sponsoring a classroom pet and offer to help out with food and supplies, as public schools are always on a tight budget these days. For animal lovers like you, teaching the next generation about the importance of proper animal care is a fantastic idea!

If you’re looking to teach values or volunteer a bit closer to home, there might be opportunities in your own neighborhood. Elderly people may not be able to walk their own dogs as often as they’d like to, or bend down to brush their cats, so volunteering in that capacity helps animals in need, as well as aiding your community.

Perhaps the biggest commitment you can make to helping animals in need is adopting a new animal from a shelter or rescue. Most shelters are overcrowded with animals, and especially older animals. While puppies and kittens always seem to find a good home, dogs and cats a few years past their most adorable age often languish in shelters. It’s a shame, because there are many advantages to adopting an older animal! Older cats typically don’t require litter box training, and older dogs often know how to walk on a lead or wait to go outside to use the bathroom.

They’re also a bit less spirited, which can be nice for families who don’t want to risk scratched curtains, couches, and hands—or torn-up pillows and frequent wake-ups to take a puppy outside in the night. Older animals are often on their second chance, and can be so excited to find a new “forever home” that they go through a second puppy or kittenhood, so even if you want a rambunctious new companion, an older animal may provide you with just that!

We are a specialty veterinary healthcare center in Malvern that loves animals as much as you do. We are open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year, so give VRC a call at (610) 647-2950.

2016 CE Schedule

VRC’s 2016 Continuing Education Schedule

VRC cordially invites all referring veterinarians to any of our upcoming Continuing Education programs. All programs include a complimentary dinner and meet and greet starting at 7:00 pm. Sessions begin at 7:30 pm followed by Q&A. Please contact Bria Howard to register via email at
Bria.Howard@vrcmalvern.com or by giving her a call at 610-647-2950 ext. 104. Locations for each CE not specified below are to be determined. Visit our website at VRCMalvern.com for updated information.

April 5, 2016 7pm
Gingiva: Its Many Faces, Assessment, and Treatment Options
Stanley “Lee” Blazejewski, VMD, DAVDC
Location: 340 Lancaster Ave, Malvern, PA 19355

June 14, 2016 7pm
Minimally Invasive Soft-Tissue Surgeries
Jason Coggeshall, DVM, Resident in Surgery

July 13, 2016 7pm
Bacterial Pneumonia: So Many Antibiotics to Choose From
John Anastasio, DVM, DACVECC

CANCELLED-August 8, 2016 7pm
Clinical Pathology in Daily Practice
Roberta Di Terlizzi, DVM, DACVP

September 20, 2016 7pm
Intralipid Therapy for Dogs and Cats
Laura Ateca, VMD, DACVECC

November 9, 2016 7pm
It’s Lame Being Lame: Diagnostics, Diagnoses, and Treatment of Lameness in Dogs
Gayle Jaeger, DVM, MSPVM, DACVS

The 9 Most Common and Serious Canine Diseases and Ailments

A large part of being a good dog owner means taking care of your pet’s health. That means making sure your dog’s food is healthful and nutritious, going for long walks every day, playing at the dog park, and of course giving your pup plenty of love and attention. It also means taking care of his or her health by scheduling regular visits to the vet for checkups, and monitoring them for signs of disease or ailments.

No one knows your dog better than you do. You know how he or she walks, sleeps, and eats. That means you are your pet’s first line of defense. It’s important to pay attention to your dog’s sleeping, eating, and exercise habits. Sudden changes may indicate a medical issue that ought to be checked out by VRC, your local veterinary specialist in Philadelphia. Here are ten of the most common dog health issues we see, and some of the early symptoms:

• Gum Disease: Just like you and your children, dogs can get gum disease. If you notice that your dog’s gums are bleeding, red, or swollen, or that they’re eating in a way that indicates gum tenderness, it’s time for a checkup.
• Flea- and Tick-Borne Diseases: Dogs go outside, which means they’re susceptible to painful bites from fleas and ticks. But fleas and ticks also carry disease. Dogs that have sudden fevers, or diarrhea, vomiting, and reduced appetite, may have caught something from a pest.
• Obesity: Overweight and overfat pets are at risk for many types of illnesses.
• Arthritis: Dogs may show signs of arthritis by exhibiting a change in gait, an aversion to going up stairs, or difficulty walking or standing, making sounds of pain when being picked up, or demonstrating a general reluctance to move.
• Diabetes: In dogs, the first signs of diabetes can include increased or frequent thirst, weight loss, increased urination or urge to urinate, and fatigue.
• Blindness: Cataracts aren’t just something that affect humans. If your dog seems disoriented, or can’t find their way around, it may be time for an eye exam.
• Kidney Disease: Kidney diseases in dogs may manifest as an urge to urinate more, having accidents in the house, and drinking more water.
• Heartworms: If your dog is reluctant to move, seems fatigued, and is plagued by a persistent cough, it’s time to call the vet.
• Cancer: Early signs of cancer include lumps or bumps on a dog’s body, sudden changes in weight, and tiredness.

If your pet is diagnosed with cancer, the experienced oncology team at VRC in Malvern, PA will stage your pet’s cancer and treat their disease. When you bring in your pet for oncology at VRC your dog will receive comprehensive diagnostics and care so that they receive the most effective medical care available. We take a multidisciplinary approach to treating your dog’s cancer, and will recommend a host of treatments that improve your pet’s quality of life while supporting the healing process.

The oncology department at VRC in Malvern, PA specializes in cancer care for your pet. We take your pet’s health seriously. If you see an early sign of disease, give us a call at (610) 647-2950.