Category Archives: Cat Care

Age Is Not A Disease!

Recently I performed a dental on a 16-year-old dog, after which I removed an infected eye from a one pound, four-week-old kitten.  While the cases were very different, they had one common denominator.  At one point or another, someone suggested the patients should not have surgery based solely on their age.  Now I will admit, I kind of held my breath a little on the one-pound kitten.  It wasn’t because of its age; it was because of its size.  It was hard to dose the medication accurately; and even harder to get an IV catheter in.  However, I trusted my staff, they trusted me, and the kitten did very well during the surgery.

Age is not a disease process.  There are certain diseases that are more common in elderly patients; but the diseases, not the age, dictate whether anesthesia and surgery are plausible.  As an emergency vet, all my surgery cases were very sick when they were placed under anesthesia.  We didn’t have the luxury of waiting to anesthetize healthy animals.  Are there times when an animal is too sick to have a routine procedure on them? Absolutely… but the disease, not the age dictates that.

While I was at the Western Veterinary Conference in March, I attended a lecture on anesthesia.  The board-certified anesthesiologist described a phone call he got for a consult with a former student.  The dog was healthy, all the pre-anesthetic bloodwork was normal, but the doctor was terrified to anesthetize the dog.  When the specialist asked why, the local doctor explained that the dog was 27 (it was an AKC registered dog, so the age was accurate).  With a gentle prod and a reminder that age is not a disease, the 27-year-old Bichon had his dental done successfully, and the owner was very happy.  So, the next time you think your cat or dog shouldn’t have something done because it is older, remember the 27-year-old Bichon!

Ann E Bastian, V.M.D.

How To Be A Responsible Pet Owner

Although February 2017 is in the books, it was Responsible Pet owner month so I thought it was worth reviewing some basics of what is involved in being a Responsible pet owner

  1. Research various breeds to decide which breed is right for your family.  Things to consider include size, activity level and grooming needs.  Talk to breeders at shows, ask your veterinarian, read information about different breeds at or breed specific websites.  Make sure if you decide to buy from a breeder they are reputable.  Shelters and rescue organizations have wonderful dogs and cats as well.
  2. Know the cost of pet ownership. Besides the initial adoption or purchase price, there is food, vaccines, medication, and insurance.
  3. Keep up on your pet’s health. The staff at Willow Creek can make recommendations on needed vaccines and preventative medication that will keep your new family member healthy and happy.  Preventative care can help you avoid some of the larger medical bills in the future.
  4. Feed your pet a healthy, balance, age appropriate diet.
  5. Spay or neuter your pet. Besides helping with the pet overpopulation problem, spaying or neutering pets can help avoid medical problems such as mammary tumors, infections and tumors of the uterus, testicles, and prostate.
  6. Make sure your pet has ID. Microchips are a way of permanently identifying your pet if tags or collars come off.
  7. Have a basic first aid kit, and know some basic first aid skills. Keep the ASPCA Poison Control phone number in an easy to find location (1-888-426-4435).
  8. Train your dog to be a good citizen. There are several excellent trainers in the area.  We can provide you with a list of local trainers.  Your pet will be easier to care for, and you will enjoy your pet more if they are well behaved.

With the right preparation, pets are a wonderful part of our lives.


Ann E. Bastian, V.M.D.