geriatric and palliative care for senior animals is at the difficult place now...we are figuring out that they need more than just food, water. a nice family to live with and an occasional asprin but with the technology available how far do we actually go in caring responsibly for them?
when i was talking to corry from the spca she was telling me what she wanted to say in her article..that seniors make great companions, and can still live active lives for many years, they are already settled and housetrained...what you see is what you get.
and this is all true IF you are talking about 8 or 9 yr old seniors...but at saints we have very few of those kind of seniors...we have the 12, 14, 16 and 18 yr old kind of seniors and they do come with arthritis, incontinence, dental and cardiac disease.
if you look at max, you see a great and happy and sweet, very active dog..it took the xrays to see that his spine is toast and his heart is enlarged. some metacam, maybe eventually some tramadol...maybe a series of cartrophen injections? (i will talk to the vet about that on saturday), a couple of different cardiac meds and max continues acting like a happy and active old dog. the spca saved us a nice chunk of money doing those diagnostics on him. they gave us a very old dog with alot of diagnosed health issues that we knew we could easily help him with.
dogs become incontinent for a few different reasons..infection, joint or spinal disease. pain, infection and inflamation are the first things to look at when a dog loses control of their bladder or bowels. you can medically reduce pain, infection and inflamation with a good and responsible medication regime. you still have to pay for the diagnostics but a thorough exam and history taking, bloodwork, urinalysis and xrays do not cost as much as a vacation...a few hundred dollars put out and a well thought out plan to carry forward with.
it is not rocket science and it does not take MRI's, CT scans, ultrasounds, and echocardiograms....it just takes a bit of cash, some common sense about aging, and a responsible and decent vet.
the issues with our animals is...they never had responsible vet care to begin with. these guys mostly (not all) came from homes where their health and wellness was never given alot of thought. their families either did not know or care that their animal's health was something that was supposed to become a priority.
the world is changing...and not just for the good either. part of the issue is even "good" families are not prepared to spend thousands of dollars or alot of effort on an old and falling apart dog... their lives are busy and stressful, their cash flow is tied up in interest on credit cards and loans, thier vet is recommending a bunch of necessary AND high end diagnostics that they simply do not have the money for.
they have not been long term responsible and regular and loyal customers at their clinics so credit and payments are not an option either. if they then decide to unload the dog, they take it to the nearest shelter which is now faced with this nice but old and medically messed up dog or cat that no one in their right mind wants to adopt.
dead dog, dead cat...unless they call rescue and rescue has the resouces and room.
most of these families won't change because they really are not great homes to begin with...but some are just functioning thru ignorance and not knowing and with education they might change. education is the key in animal welfare to improving the care of all domestic animals...companion and farm.
we have to raise the standard of what society as a whole expects to be considered responsible and humane care.
but how do we get there when every moment of every day is spent in caring for the victims of our ignorance? when every dollar raised goes right back into fixing up what was invisible because we never thought we were supposed to know?
i envisioned a sanctuary whose primary focus is to value animals...up close and personal...see them, feel them, touch them, KNOW them and what they deserve. learn what it takes to care for them, learn what we owe them in return for what we take from them. to see with our veruy own eyes that old does not mean dead, it can mean feeling well and acting like a moronic puppy.
now i know we need to go further...we do the caring part, we do provide the access to meet them...but not everyone comes here, we need to push out into the community to bring that knowledge out there.
so much to do...keep saints running well, start a new farm sanctuary, figure out an educational program and plan an effective delivery system....
god should have made 10 of me and at least one of me disgustingly rich!
what i could do with paris hilton's money! (she can keep her body and lifestyle, it wouldn't work too well for me)
i am thinking of a new reality tv show...SAINTS RICH BFF...dontcha think that would be fun and interesting?