John Wenzlau and Millie Oakeson

What do animals have to do with Successful Aging? This week, John Wenzlau, CEO, and Millie Oakeson, vice president of corporate marketing, welcomed Dr. Elizabeth Robbins, clinical assistant professor in primary care at Midwestern University’s College of Veterinary Medicine, and Gena Zischke from Care2U to “Successful Aging” on Independent Talk 1100 KFNX.

Wenzlau asked Robbins about animals in pain. Robbins explained the most common sign of pain in one’s pet is decreased activity. She said to take notice if one’s pet is not playing as much as usual and/or is reluctant to jump up on surfaces, cats especially. A decreased appetite can signal pain. Difficulty standing after lying down is a sign of osteoarthritis, as well as not going up or down stairs. Oakeson asked Robbins to talk about the services offered at Midwestern’s Companion Animal Clinic.

“We have an 112,000-square-foot facility,” Robbins said. “It has state-of-the-art equipment that can handle all pet needs and healthcare needs from laparoscopic and arthroscopic surgery suites to digital dental X-rays, CT scan, ultrasonography, and an underwater physical therapy treadmill.”

“How can you tell if your pet has dental pain?” Wenzlau asked.

Robbins answered. “Your pet can’t tell you when they’re suffering, so if you notice any of these signs, contact your veterinarian to schedule an exam.”

Robbins said some signs of pain are:

First, no signs at all, this is a survival mechanism, an instinctual behavior that domesticated animals have in common with their wild ancestors. One of the signs is bad breath. The odor is a byproduct of the bacterial metabolic process. Another sign is altered behavior, chewing on one side of the mouth, acting grumpy and not eating. And still another sign is bleeding; if there is blood from the mouth, look for an oral mass, a fractured tooth or ropey saliva.

Midwestern University’s Animal Health Institute Companion Animal Clinic is a full-service clinic dedicated to caring for all four-legged family members.

Zischke takes skin cancer very seriously. Skin cancer is the most common of all cancers and Arizona has the highest rate of skin cancer than any other state. “Eighty percent of those skin cancers are 65 years of age or older, and if you get it once, you’ll most likely get it again,” Zischke said. 

The majority of skin cancer is basal cell and doesn’t represent a huge risk to one’s health, as long as it is discovered and treated. Squamous cell cancer is more common as people age and grows more rapidly and is more serious. Melanoma is the most serious of the skin cancers and accounts for about 5 percent of skin cancers.

“This is the one you need to catch and treat as early as possible,” Zischke said. 

For more information on these topics or to ask a question, visit www.successfulaging.info. Tune in at 11 a.m. Tuesdays on Independent Talk 1100 KFNX as Wenzlau and Oakeson continue to explore “Successful Aging.”