Caring for Your Aging Pet

Caring for Your Aging Pet

Two by 2

Pets, like adults, have new and more frequent health issues as they age. A pet is considered senior at age seven and veterinarians recommend bringing them in twice a year for an examination. During this time, we can look at diet and weight management, joint health, eye health and perform lab tests to determine how their thyroid, kidney and liver is functioning and screen for diseases like diabetes.

Even if your pet is not yet age seven, joint health can be a concern for many pets, particularly larger breeds or pets that are carrying a few extra pounds. Osteoarthritis (OA) is the number one cause of chronic pain in dogs, affecting about 1 in 5 dogs in the United States. It is a degenerative disease that worsens with age as the protective cartilage in joints wears down and causes painful swelling and stiffness that can make movement difficult. Arthritis can affect any joint but it is commonly diagnosed in knees, elbows, wrists, hips and the spine.

Dogs suffering from OA may avoid activity like running or stairs, shy away from being held or picked up, limp, seem irritable and lethargic, or just not like their usual selves. Although there is no cure, OA pain can be managed with appropriate treatment to help your dog stay as active as possible. A treatment plan may include PREVICOX (firocoxib) to relieve pain and inflammation, joint health supplements as well as appropriate exercise and weight control. If you suspect your pet may be in pain or you notice any of the signs above, talk to your veterinarian now to start treatment before the condition worsens. Pets are adept at hiding pain from us so we as their caregivers must watch for the symptoms they might need help.

Jeff Falone, DVM 

Valleydale Animal Clinic

205-991-5416

 www.valleydaleanimalclinic.com

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Showering God’s Love

Showering God’s Love

Mission Makers

Mountain Brook Baptist Church recently hosted a Sav-a-Life shower for expectant moms and dads. Learn more about how you can volunteer to help with a similar event at www.savalife.org.

Is your church or organization looking for a unique opportunity to share the Gospel? Consider partnering with Sav-A-Life Vestavia to shower God’s love on expectant parents. About eight times a year, this faith-based organization hosts baby showers which include presents, cake, Good News and God’s love.

Leading up to each shower, Sav-A-Life invites expectant women to come to a series of classes to learn about birth and motherhood. Fathers are invited to participate as well. These classes are diverse, ranging from traditional methods to doulas. Their purpose is to give each expectant mother a range of ideas and options to consider pursuing. Any expectant mother can attend the classes. Everyone who completes the class can participate in a group baby shower. Sav-A-Life’s ministry partners, including area churches, host these parties. The expectant mothers and fathers, regardless of background, spiritual walk or socio economic status, are showered with baby toys and necessities so that they may experience the love of Christ. No one asks or expects anything in return. “My favorite part is seeing the new moms and dads at the showers overwhelmed at the outpouring of love from complete strangers. These are people who are giving purely out of love with ‘no strings attached,’ ” explains Janice Johnson, with Sav-A-Life’s Family Education Services. During the shower, the host ministry has the opportunity to present the Gospel. This part of the shower does not have a set protocol or structure. Rather, every gathering sees a unique presentation of the Gospel as each ministry partner shares the love of Jesus in its own way. Because of these volunteers and gift-givers, each expectant parent is able to feel the love of Christ, and touch the hands and feet of Jesus. If your organization is looking for a new opportunity to share the Gospel, consider Sav-A-Life’s baby showers. Learn more at www.savalife.org or call Janice Johnson at 205-979-0302.

  • Abby Holcombe

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Great Escapes: The More You Travel, The Farther You’ll Go!

Great Escapes: The More You Travel, The Farther You’ll Go!

Healthy Living

We all know how great it feels to get away, but do you know how important those vacation days are for your health and well-being? Trips away are good for our body and soul.

And as it turns out, adding mileage to your vacation can also increase your longevity.

According to an article published by U.S. News & World Report, putting real distance between you and your workplace could very well add years to your life. It isn’t enough just to take time away from the office – we need to advance toward new and faraway destinations. Experiencing new places is invigorating, refreshing, and boosts our creativity. By stimulating feelings of awe and admiration, taking in new sights (and sites) can even make us more compassionate and help us better connect with others.

A change of venue is good for your body too. Breaking away from our regular routine frees us up to take on unique, invigorating activities. The more distant our adventure, the more physically active we tend to be. For example, most of us are more likely to go hiking among exotic ruins than we may be to go walking around our own neighborhood.

We cannot overlook the benefits of reducing our stress levels either. Crossing oceans or long lengths of blacktop not only stirs our sense of adventure – it helps us relax at the same time. Changing our backdrop removes us from our regular stressors of job, house, and mundane responsibilities. In addition, planning for a special trip gives us something amazing to look forward to throughout the year, keeping our focus on better, wondrous things ahead. Improve your scenery. . . and extend your expectations for life down the road.

-Jean Bowick

YMCA of Greater Birmingham, www.ymcabham.org

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ACT: Practice Car Heat Safety

ACT: Practice Car Heat Safety

Healthy Living

We all have forgetful moments at times. We may forget our cell phone or misplace our keys, but what happens if you forget your sleeping baby is left in the back seat of the car? Or what if you decide to leave your baby in the car while you run inside for “just a minute?”

Hot vehicles are the primary non-crash, vehicle-related killer of children under the age of 14, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). In 2016, 39 U.S. children died from hyperthermia or heat stroke while in automobiles. When the outside temperature is 85 degrees Fahrenheit, the temperature inside a car can reach 114 degrees in just 20 minutes. This can quickly raise body temperature to dangerous levels. Cracking a window open and parking in the shade are not sufficient safeguards. A child’s body heats up three to four times faster than an adult’s body. Children’s of Alabama has joined the national initiative, ACT, which educates the public about the dangers of leaving a child in a hot car. ACT stands for: 

Avoid heat stroke-related injury and death by never leaving your child alone in the car, not even for a minute. Always lock your doors and trunk so a child doesn’t climb into a hot car without you knowing.

Create reminders for yourself by placing something you’ll need at your destination, like a cell phone, next to the child safety seat. This can be a helpful reminder on a chaotic day.

Take action. If you see a child left alone in a car, call 911 immediately. Emergency personnel are trained to respond to these situations .

For more information, visit safekids.org or childrensal.org/childpassengersafety.

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Celebrating Everyday Heroes for LIFE: Herb Lusk

Celebrating Everyday Heroes for LIFE: Herb Lusk

City Scene

Former NFL tailback, Reverend Dr. Herbert H. Lusk, II has been the Senior Pastor of Greater Exodus Baptist Church in Philadelphia since 1982 and the church has grown from 17 members to over 2,000 under his leadership. Lusk was known as the “praying tail back” in the NFL and was recognized in ESPN and NFL Films documentaries as the first NFL player to kneel and pray after scoring. When he was asked what he was doing he simply replied, “I was just giving thanks!”

Former NFL player Herb Lusk restores hearts with hope through his Crisis Pregnancy Center in the City of Brotherly Love. Better known as the tailback of the Philadelphia Eagles, he was the first to kneel in the end zone and give thanks to God for scoring. He eventually left the NFL to start giving back and helping those in need in his community.

Tuesday September 26 Lusk will be in Birmingham to share about his life’s mission to help women, men and babies seeking help in a world turned upside-down and to support local efforts in our community to do the same. Lusk will be the keynote speaker at the Sav-A-Life Shelby County annual fundraising banquet, “Celebrating Everyday Heroes for Life.” The Center located in Pelham restores hope to those in need, and the free event will shed light on what is happening both in Philadelphia and our local area. Learn how the Center is working to change hearts and minds and help the most helpless in our society: unborn babies and their families.

Sav-A-Life Shelby’s mission is to develop a culture of life where abortion is unnecessary and undesirable in Shelby County, Alabama while offering the hope of the Gospel. Since the opening of its doors in 1985, thousands of lives have been saved. The non-profit center provides free and confidential pregnancy testing, ultrasounds, abortion information, pregnancy/parenting classes, and material assistance to empower women and men to make a life-affirming decision.

The banquet will be held at 7 p.m. September 26 at the new Noah’s Event Venue, 2501 International Park Place, Hoover. The event is free but seating is limited and reservations are required. For tickets visit www.savalifeshelby.org or call Sav-A-Life Shelby, 205-664-1667. †

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The Proven Cure for the Drug Epidemic: Alabama Teen Challenge

The Proven Cure for the Drug Epidemic: Alabama Teen Challenge

Special Feature

presented by Alabama Teen Challenge Adult Men’s and Women’s Centers

Alabama Teen Challenge offers both men and women a one-year Christ centered residential program to help them learn how to live drug free lives.

As a ministry that reaches out to the community and seeks to educate teenagers and adults about the dangers of drugs, Teen Challenge is the oldest, largest, and most successful program of its kind in the world. Established in 1958, the ministry has grown to more than 1100 centers in 118 countries. Along with education efforts, Teen Challenge centers in Alabama offer: a one-year residential program for adults, designed to help men and women learn how to live drug-free lives. Teen Challenge staff members encourage the residents to embrace the Christian faith, with the belief that when they do, their lives will be transformed and they will find true meaning and purpose. Residents follow strict rules and discipline. All residents adhere to a daily schedule that includes chapel, Bible classes and job skill training. Many men and women have experienced the transforming power of Jesus Christ by way of their Teen Challenge encounter. For those of us at Teen Challenge, Brother David Wilkerson’s enduring legacy will always be that he founded this ministry for the addicted, the hurting and the disenfranchised.

To learn more about admission to the program, providing financial support to the ministry or to schedule a Teen Challenge speaker for your school, church, youth group or civic group, call 205-763-0909. Visit www.alatc.org. Teen Challenge is a member of the Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability, Alabama Assoc. of Non-profits and Amazonsmile. †

Alabama Teen Challenge, Adult Men’s and Women’s Centers

205-763-0909

P.O. Box 270

Lincoln, AL 35096

www.alatc.org
“Thank God for Teen Challenge.” Rev. Billy Graham

“Not only does Teen Challenge help our young people deal with their substance abuse but it also gives our kids something to live for- a relationship with God, a healthy self-esteem, and a direction in their lives that finally leads somewhere.” President Ronald Reagan

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Itchy Pets? Let’s Talk Why & How to Treat Them

Itchy Pets? Let’s Talk Why & How to Treat Them

Two by 2

Does your dog or cat itch? Are they obsessive about licking paws or scratching other areas? Seem to have numerous ear infections?

Occasional itching is a fact of life for pets – especially dogs. Frequent or constant itching, however, may be a sign of a skin disease or allergies. If treatment is not started early, dogs and cats can have a much harder time battling this issue. Pets have 4 common allergic skin diseases: Flea Allergy, Food Allergy, Contact Allergy and Atopic Dermatitis (a chronic itchy skin disease associated with environmental allergens)

Fleas. Flea bite hypersensitivity causes severe itching of pet’s skin. Most often the hind end is affected more than the front of the body and fleas or flea dirt may or may not be visible. We recommend year-round flea prevention (Valleydale Animal Clinic recommends Nexgard for dogs and Advantage Multi for cats) to limit flea allergies on your pet.

Food. In about 10% of allergy cases, a food trial will be recommended to determine food allergies. In this trial, pets will be fed a diet with one protein and one carbohydrate for 10 weeks. No other foods or treats are allowed. If symptoms disappear, food allergies are likely to blame.

Contact. Allergic contact dermatitis is rare but occurs when a pet’s skin overreacts to certain molecules in the environment such as nickel, rubber, wool, dyes and chemicals. Irritant contact dermatitis occurs when the skin is exposed to severely irritating chemicals such as the sap in poison ivy and salt on the road.

Atopic dermatitis. A more common diagnosis among pets is atopic dermatitis, a chronic inflammatory skin disorder brought on by environmental allergens such as grass, mold, pollen, and even cigarette smoke.

Previously, the only available treatment that would provide dogs with rapid relief from itching was steroids. But steroids come with potential side effects when used long-term. New oral treatments are now an alternative. Immunotherapy is also available to treat environmental allergies that cannot be avoided by creating a serum, based on the results on the serum allergy test, which is injected on a decreasing schedule as the pet’s immunity grows. Other options for pet itch relief include: antihistamines combined with essential fatty acids, anti-itch conditioners, topical steroid sprays and oral steroids in low doses to treat sporadic outbreaks.

Don’t let your pet suffer or annoy you with their constant itching. Talk to your veterinarian about ways to treat their skin issues now before they become worse. Learn more at www.valleydaleanimalclinic.com.

Jeff Falone, DVM 

Valleydale Animal Clinic

205-991-5416

 www.valleydaleanimalclinic.com

 

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Guys Like Me Don’t End Up in Places Like This…

Guys Like Me Don’t End Up in Places Like This…

Mission Makers 

Chap Womack completed his first Mercedes Marathon in February. He now has his sights set on a triathlon competition that will require him to swim 1.5 miles, bike 56 miles, and run 13 miles. This chemical engineering graduate of Auburn University has shown that he can do anything he sets his mind to- except free himself from the death grip of alcohol on his life.

Womack grew up in a good Christian home. He went to church consistently with his family. He accepted Christ as his Savior in the 8th grade. He was active in his youth group until his high school graduation. Womack and his future wife, Jana, began dating in high school and married after college. Once married they lived and worked in several cities- Jana as a nurse and Chap as an engineer. Womack’s life seemed to be an envious one. They had a son and moved back to Auburn for a new job. “I had been a social drinker during college,” Womack said, “and drinking was not presenting any problems.” It was not until Womack began to hide his drinking from his wife that he began to think that alcohol was becoming too much in his life. “Any time you begin to secretly drink, it is a problem.” Womack continued his journey into a deeper dependence on alcohol for the next several years. He finally reached a point where he approached his wife and said, “I need help.”

Womack tried two conventional treatment centers but the experience produced little change. He knew he was approaching a fork in the road. About this time, one of Womack’s brothers began volunteering at Brother Bryan Mission (BBM) in Birmingham. His brother began to see on a regular basis the results that the residential recovery program at BBM was producing. Soon after, Chap Womack was in an auto accident and his wife knew that was enough. She told him, “Pack your bag, you can’t stay here any longer.” His family intervened and because of what his brother was seeing at BBM, they brought him to the mission. “I was shocked when I was dumped out at this place. I did not know what to think. I was now living in a rescue mission.  Guys like me don’t end in up in places like this,” said Womack.

Within the first week, Womack cried out to God in anger saying, “You screwed me.”  The response that came back was, “I don’t know you.” “That scared me and shocked me,” Womack said, “I began to listen.” Three months into the nine-month program, Womack turned his entire life over to Jesus. “I have a joy and peace that I have never felt,” Womack says. A recent testimony by Jana Womack speaks to the journey the family has experienced.  She said their daughter summed up the change in her husband by saying, “Dad’s funny again.”

Concerning the future, Womack says, “I am open to whatever God wants for me…My family is too. I know they would rather have a sober me than a paycheck from someone who is drinking all the time. I cannot thank Brother Bryan Mission enough for giving me and my family a new chance at life.”

Brother Bryan Mission 

1616 Second Avenue North, Birmingham

www.bbmission.com, 205-322-0092

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What to Expect at Your First Gynecologist Visit

What to Expect at Your First Gynecologist Visit

Healthy Living

presented by: Henderson & Walton Women’s Center, P.C. 

To those of you who have not made a trip to a gynecologist, the very thought of it probably makes you feel uncomfortable. Most of us are not even comfortable with looking at our own bodies, so baring it all in front of a physician you just met is not the most appealing idea. However, we at Henderson & Walton cannot stress to you enough how important it is to regularly see a gynecologist. Proper gynecological care helps prevent many undesired cancers, diseases, and other illnesses through early detection. Yes, your first gynecologist visit can be scary, but knowing how to prepare and what to expect can very beneficial

When to Visit. Our doctors recommend that your first visit be at the age of 21, or when you start becoming sexually active. Additionally, women and girls of any age need to visit their gynecologist if they notice irregularities in their breasts, genitalia, menstrual cycles, or if they become pregnant. Make sure you schedule your appointment when you will not be having your period. Bleeding can affect the accuracy of the test results. To be preventative and maintain your good health, visit your gynecologist once every year unless you are having problems or your doctor has advised otherwise.

Be prepared. Before your visit, look online at the practice’s website to see if you can get your paperwork online.  At Henderson & Walton all your paperwork is accessible online and just needs to be completed and printed. Have your insurance card with you when you come in for your first visit so the receptionist can scan your card into your account and your insurance can be correctly billed. Most preventative visits are covered at no cost to you. Bring a list of any medications you are taking and the dosage. Be prepared to provide a urine sample, before you see the doctor.

Meeting with the Nurse & Medical Assistant. When you are called by the nurse, she will take your height and weight, and ask questions regarding your personal, family, sexual, and medical history. She will then instruct you to go to the bathroom to give a urine sample in cups provided in the bathrooms. Once completed, you will be called to a room, or if a room is not ready yet, you will be sent to the waiting room. Once in the room, the medical assistant will take your vital signs and instruct you to remove your clothing and cover with drapes once she has left the room. When you are ready, the doctor will come in to meet you and will only uncover areas needed for the examination.

Meeting the Doctor. Your first appointment is usually very simple, and your doctor will spend time getting to know you. The doctor will ask about you and your family’s medical history and your sexual health. It is very important to be honest. This will help the physician tailor the best treatment for you. Also, do not be afraid to ask questions. Sometimes if you are nervous, you forget what you want to ask your physician. Try writing down a list of your concerns.

The Exams. Each exam depends on your age, sexual history and whether or not you have any particular symptoms. Your physician will explain each part of the exam before he/she performs it. The following is a list of exams that may be performed:

Breast examination: Your doctor will exam your breasts to detect whether there are any lumps or abnormalities. Breast exams are one of the most important early breast cancer screenings.

Pap smear: During this routine screening procedure, cells from your cervix are gently scraped away and then examined for the presence of precancerous or cancerous cells on the cervix. This test is performed on women over the age of 21.

Pelvic examination:  A physical exam of your pelvic organs is performed based on your age, whether you are sexually active, and the extent of your symptoms.

Gynecological care is important, regardless of your age, marital status, or level of sexual activity. Your first appointment may be nerve-wracking, but being prepared and having the knowledge of what to expect will help. It’s important that you find a gynecologist you trust and one that you feel comfortable with. We understand the importance of having the right gynecologist and we have 11 physicians to select from.

  • Henderson and Walton Women’s Center

The physicians of Henderson & Walton Women’s Center, P.C. are accepting new patients in their Birmingham, Alabaster, Chelsea, Cullman, Gadsden, Jasper and Tuscaloosa locations. Call 1-800-264-1075 to make your appointment. Visit www.hwwc.net to learn more about the practice, physicians, and services.

*This article is for educational purposes and is not intended as medical advice. If you have a medical concern, see your physician.

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