January 31st, 2020 by Laurie Brush
February is heart health month!
Make sure you give Fido a lovely Valentine this month; he or she may be giving your heart a healthy boost. A growing body of evidence suggests that having a dog may help with heart health by lowering blood pressure, lowering cholesterol and triglyceride levels and even reducing mortality after cardiac events.
One study published recently reviewed patient data from more than 3.8 million people in 10 separate studies. Compared to non-owners, dog owners had a 24% reduced risk of dying from any cause; a 31% reduced risk of dying from cardiovascular-related issues; and a 65% reduced risk dying after a heart attack, according to the reports published in the American Heart Association’s journal Circulation: Cardiovascular Quality and Outcomes. Read the rest of this entry »
January 26th, 2020 by Laurie Brush
Like their human counterparts, companion animals share an increased death rate during the holidays. Many pet parents face the winter months in mourning.
Pet loss grief can be complicated by a lack of social support, misplaced guilt, and degrees of bonding that might surpass many of our human-to-human relationships. Yet pet loss grief is often “disenfranchised grief” – grief that cannot be easily publicly mourned. Read the rest of this entry »
November 27th, 2019 by Laurie Brush
During the holiday rush, owner distraction and plummeting temps can leave your fur-friend feeling bored. And boredom can spell trouble. If you don’t want your pup to redecorate the house, or your senior pet to withdraw, consider pet enrichment tips to make your fur-friend’s season “merry and bright.”
What Is Canine Enrichment?
With an increasing population of senior pets, research has focused on ways to stave off cognitive decline through play and engagement. Evidence now suggests that mentally-engaging activities help reduce the clinical incidence of canine cognitive dysfunction. Read the rest of this entry »
October 28th, 2019 by Laurie Brush
Making the decision to euthanize a pet is the hardest thing a pet parent has to do. However, deferring or avoiding the decision can allow a degree of suffering that no one would deliberately wish on their loyal companion. Natural death is rarely humane. But how do you know when the kindest act you can offer is to plan to say goodbye? How do you know when your beloved companion is ready to cross the “Rainbow Bridge”?
Some people have a difficult time with the thought of euthanasia. They might feel like they’re “playing God,” and feel besieged by guilt. It’s important to remember that the illness, disease, or injury is causing the end of life, not you. Read the rest of this entry »
October 24th, 2019 by Laurie Brush
Nine years ago, a mere 30 veterinarians gathered to discuss ways to help bring comfort to aging pets and help pet parents know when it’s time to say goodbye. That was the dawning of the International Association for Animal Hospice and Palliative Care (IAAHPC). Earlier this month, ten times that number gathered in Chicago to learn about trends in the emerging field.
“Research shows that more and more Americans are opting for pet hospice,” said Dr. Laurie Brush, founder of Heaven at Home Pet Hospice and early graduate of the IAAHPC’s new certification program. Read the rest of this entry »
September 30th, 2019 by Laurie Brush
It’s a tough subject, but our companion animals age faster than we do. It’s hard to see them suffer, and even harder to imagine life without them. What if in their final chapter you could reduce their pain? What if, when the time was right, they could end their life story in the comfort of their favorite place, with the people they love?
“Those are the questions that fueled the rise of the home hospice movement not all that long ago,” said Dr. Laurie Brush, founder of Heaven at Home Pet Hospice. Read the rest of this entry »
September 20th, 2019 by Laurie Brush
As part of pet pain awareness month, we published an article earlier this month about identifying and managing pain in members of your fur family. In this second installment, we’ll share a handy infographic to help identify pain in cats and dogs and include the American Animal Hospital Association’s article summarizing its guidelines in layman’s terms.
Pain Management Approach for Senior Companion Animals:
The Heaven at Home team takes a “multimodal” approach to helping manage pain in palliative pets. We are firm supporters of the AAHA/AAFP Pain Management Guidelines for Dogs and Cats, and subscribe to the “Continuum of Care” philosophy inherent in it. This means that pet parents and routine care veterinarians are part of the pain management planning process and that pain management should include anticipation, early intervention and evaluation.
During home visits, one of the team’s veterinarians will evaluate your pet’s condition and assess things that can be changed in the home environment to help your pet stay a part of the family. They will review records from your routine care veterinarian if available, and give you pain assessment guidelines so that you can also monitor and rate your pet’s pain behaviors. Together, we then develop a pain management plan for your pet. The plan may include a number of elements depending on the underlying cause of pain, which could be from arthritis, cancer, or any number of life-limiting illnesses. Read the rest of this entry »
August 30th, 2019 by Laurie Brush
September is Animal Pain Awareness month.
Our companion animals often instinctively hide their pain. It’s a habit that has evolved as a survival mechanism to prevent predators from targeting them.
“Pain in dogs and cats can be difficult to measure,” said Dr. Laurie Brush, founder of Heaven at Home Hospice, which provides palliative and euthanasia services throughout West Michigan. Read the rest of this entry »
August 23rd, 2019 by Laurie Brush
By this time last summer, Michigan was amidst a rapid spread of Canine Influenza, three years after an outbreak of new strain H3N2 in Chicago. In Grand Rapids, some doggie daycares closed and mounted mass vaccination efforts while pet parents sidelined social opportunities for 10-30 days to confine the spread. Meanwhile, confirmed cases of CIV spread across the US, with approximately 20% of affected pets contracting the severe, life-threatening form. Read the rest of this entry »
July 18th, 2019 by Laurie Brush
Summertime Lyme on the Rise
Whether you’re heading to the Lake for a summer vacation or staying closer to home to enjoy the great outdoors, be on the lookout for the increasingly pervasive Black Legged (Deer) tick, purveyor of Lyme disease.
Frequent pet checks will help keep your pet – and your family – safe from Lyme disease, which has increased five-fold in the past decade throughout Michigan and is reaching what the CDC is calling epidemic proportions across America. The CDC estimates 300,000 cases last year, making Lyme the fastest growing vector-borne illness. Read the rest of this entry »