Here is what we’ve learned in over 35 years of practicing veterinary medicine…..
Regular visits to your veterinarian make a difference.
Dogs and cats are stoic, and don’t show pain or discomfort until it’s impossible not to. You may not see symptoms but a good physical examination can reveal issues that may be hidden from you (heart murmurs, respiratory issues, tumors in the abdomen, skin problems, etc).
And, as always, if we can find a problem early, the chances of successfully dealing with that problem increase dramatically!
Prevention is better than treatment
Whether it’s preventing infectious diseases with vaccination, or dental disease with regular cleanings, the act of prevention is ALWAYS safer, less painful, less expensive and more successful than having to treat disease.
We’ve seen outbreaks of Parvovirus, Leptospirosis, Canine Influenza and of course, Lyme Disease that claimed the lives of too many dogs. The same holds true for cats with Feline Leukemia and Rabies. Prevention is up to you!
Good nutrition is the foundation of good health
If you’ve never seen the movie “Supersize Me” you should. The filmmaker eats nothing but McDonald’s for a few months while regularly visiting his doctor. Over the course of the movie you can see his health slowly deteriorate.
The same holds true for our dogs and cats, but even more so, because our 70-90 year lifetimes are compressed into less than 20.
Feed your dogs an all natural diet with no animal by-products and no chemical preservatives. That simple change will only help over your pet’s entire lifetime.
Older Pets are Different
When pets start to hit middle age, things change. Chronic problems, often insidious start to creep in, and you may not even realize it. As important as it is for younger pets to have regular examination, it’s even more important, even critical to middle aged to senior pets to be seen by your veterinarian TWICE yearly.
Remember, six months is our time is the equivalent of your dog or cat aging 5-10 years (depending on the breed) if your pet were human.
Parasites are common, and very very bad
External parasites like ticks carry a host of diseases, including Lyme Disease, Anaplasmosis, Ehrlichiosis, Babesia, Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever, and more. Fleas carry a bacterial disease that’s contagious to humans called Bartonellosis (Cat Scratch Fever in humans) as well as Tapeworms. If your pet brings fleas into the house you’ll have to fog your whole house with chemical bombs, and trust us, you don’t want to to do that.
Internal Parasites are numerous and common. Among them are Roundworms, Hookworms, Whipworms, Tapeworms, Giardia, Coccidia, and more.
Some, like Roundworms and Hookworms, can be contagious to humans, particularly children or anyone immuno-compromised. That’s why we check a stool sample every six months.
Regular Blood Tests are Essential
For patients that don’t talk, and don’t complain much, it’s essential to able to look at their blood tests results and understand EARLY when there are problems.
Our technology has advanced to the point were we can detect Kidney Disease early enough that we can make simple changes to diet, add supplements and monitor changes so we can hope that the kidney disease never shortens your pet’s life.
The same holds true for a multitude of other problems…. but the key is that we need to take blood tests regularly in middle aged and senior pets.