The District Vet

New Meds for Pet Arthritis Librela for our canine friends and Solensia for those of the feline persuasion have significantly improved the quality of life for many of our senior patients. Each is given once per month. I have been amazed at its efficacy. – Dan Teich DVM

Everyday, Calvin T. Dog’s personality continues to grow and develop. Same with his size: he’s almost fifty pounds. A few notes since our last update on this little velociraptor. When he’s tired, like many small children, he throws a small temper tantrum. A walk then a nap is due. I usually see this around 4:00 in the afternoon. He now knows sit, stay, boop, shake, and come (mostly). I can’t get over how much fun it is watching him grow and figure out the world around him.

The past months there’s been a large media alert concerning a “new” dog virus leading to respiratory disease. Every week there’d be an announcement that it was in a new state or area. As of this writing we have not noted any significant increase in respiratory illness in dogs, and the emergency and internal medicine specialists in the area have not noted anything out of the ordinary either. Respiratory disease is common in dogs—just like children—and circulates relatively unabated. The good news is that we are not noting anything unusual. As always it is best to keep your dog vaccinated against bordetella and canine influenza, especially if they are social.

Throughout winter months do not ignore using flea/tick /heartworm prevention. Here in the city, we have a combined sewer system, in which the temperature of the water under grates is conducive to mosquito growth. It is not unusual to note mosquitoes in the winter, especially when we have a few weeks of a warm stretch. Ticks are also on the prowl. February is a common month to be bitten by ticks. They lay awaiting passing prey. Remember that ticks frequent woodlands and shrubby areas and transmit all sorts of nasty diseases.

During the winter many people complain that their joints ache. Is it the cold? Lack of sun? Decreased activity? I can’t say, but older pets and those with arthritis seem to echo their humans. As a clinician, my main mission is the happiness and well-being of the pet. When it comes to arthritis, we have noted great responses to the new injectable arthritis medications for dogs and cats. Librela for our canine friends and Solensia for those of the feline persuasion, have significantly improved the quality of life for many of our senior patients. Each is given once per month in the veterinary hospital, either at a doctor appointment or subsequently as a visit with one of our technicians. On a personal note, I have been amazed at its efficacy. Older cats that would no longer jump on the bed are bounding up and down, and older dogs are walking much further and with less lameness.

When a bit chilly and staying indoors, remember mental stimulation for all of your furred friends! As discussed in prior articles, the brain needs to work in order to stay fit! A mentally tired dog or cat is a much happier pet. We have been using a Kong Wobbler to feed Calvin— it takes much longer for him to eat, and makes him think about how to get it to spill out the food. Consider other toys for your friends, too.

And since we are in February and approaching Easter too, please be mindful of chocolates and candies. Keep these treats far out of reach!

Dr. Teich is the medical director for District Veterinary Hospitals in Navy Yard, Eastern Market and Brookland. Visit for more information.