You’ve gotten a new puppy! Congratulations! Getting a puppy is a great deal and requires a lot of hard-work and dedication to making sure she grows up to be strong and live a long healthy life. So how do we ensure that this happens?
Start off by getting her examined by a veterinarian. The veterinarian will take a look from nose to tail to ensure her health is good. Preventatives and diagnostics like the fecal examination will be recommended to further ensure that there are no parasites that could be causing her harm.
Yay! It’s her birthday and she is one year old now. Where has the time gone? Now what happens with Lucy? Well, most likely she’s coming up due for some vaccines and other preventative diagnostics such as her heartworm test. At this time it is always recommended to have the veterinarian take a look at her again to make sure her weight has been steady, that she gets all of the vaccines and preventatives needed for her current lifestyle, and that there aren’t any concerns.
The annual exam gives us an opportunity to evaluate Lucy’s heart for any murmurs or abdomen for any pain, discomfort, or organ enlargement. This is also often a time when veterinarians may find that her ears are showing signs of infection and owners mention that “Lucy has been scratching at her ears a little more lately.” It is a very common situation, we understand. We are all busy working, raising families, and taking care of the pets that we may not notice subtle signs of our some times very stoic pets.
Our pets age quicker than we do and therefore have changes that occur within a short period of time. Seeing Lucy during a healthy visit once a year gives us an opportunity to talk more extensively about her health and lifestyle and what we can do to make her as healthy as possible for as long as possible. We don’t always get the same type of quality time during a sick visit since we are concentrated on finding on the root of the problem and focus on the treatment.
You will always hear the veterinary staff talk about preventative care during your healthy visit. These recommendations are the most current recommendations backed by scientific studies conducted by experts in the veterinary field and are put in place to help our pets live long and healthy lives with us.
Preventative products such as heartworm, flea and tick preventions all protect pets not only from pesky and often deadly parasites, but also against the diseases that these parasites carry. Fleas carry diseases like Hemobartonella, other parasites like the tapeworm, and can cause systemic problems like anemia or allergies. Most commonly ticks carry Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever or Lyme disease. But did you know that they also carry a bacteria called Erlichia that infects the body’s white blood cells or sometimes cause skin infections at the bite site? Adult heartworms cause damage to the heart and lungs, weight loss, exercise intolerance, and death. Not to mention that the treatment to kill the heartworms is quite expensive and difficult on the dog during the long process.
Intestinal parasite coverage is included in many heartworm preventative products. For a review on why intestinal parasite coverage and dewormings are important, please see our previous blog post <a title="Intestinal Parasites" href="http://www web based project management tool.vmcfortmill.com/whats-all-the-stink-about-a-fecal-exam”>here.
Vaccinations are very important to prevent contagious and often deadly diseases. For a review over each disease, symptoms, and treatments, please see our previous blog post here.
Lastly, veterinarians often recommend a dental prophylaxis or cleaning, a procedure that the pet must undergo general anesthesia to have his/her teeth cleaned on an annual basis. A regular dental cleaning and routine dental x-rays are important to keep not only the teeth healthy, but also the pet. A buildup of tartar is a buildup of bacteria which can enter the bloodstream and affect organs causing illness. Gingivitis and abscesses are very common conditions that are prevented with regular cleanings. Brushing a pet’s teeth daily using a vet approved toothbrush and pet toothpaste will definitely help keep tartar from building up saving time the pet is under anesthesia as well as saving money.
Prevention is key to ensuring a pet lives a long, healthy, and happy life. They are a part of the family, after all.
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Checking a pets stool at any age is important to maintain the health of your pet and your family. Parasites can be present at any age even while your dog/cat may not even show symptoms (vomiting, diarrhea, decreased appetite, etc.). Some parasites can actually spread to humans through direct contact with the pet’s stools or even just by walking around barefoot!
We recommend checking a fecal sample at minimum once a year during your pet’s wellness visit. This is an easy screening for the most common intestinal parasites in dogs and cats. It is also important to rule out parasites any time your pet his having diarrhea and/or vomiting. The best way to prevent the most common parasites is to give your pet a monthly heartworm preventative which includes a dewormer. VMC carries Trifexis, Heartgard, and Revolution for our canine patients and Profender and Revolution for our feline patients.
Common parasites in pets include Roundworms and hookworms. Hookworms and roundworms can be harbored by your dog or cat and transmitted to children who are living in homes with pets. In some cases these parasites can cause blindness in humans. It is thought that 30% to 50% of dogs and cats carry gastrointestinal (GI) parasites and that 1 to 3 million people in the U.S. have infections from the same parasites carried by pets. Children, the elderly and immunocompromised people are at high risk. (www.veterinarypartner.com )
Dogs get infected with hookworms and roundworms by walking places where other dogs have defecated. The microscopic roundworm eggs and hookworm larvae end up on your dog’s feet. Your dog then licks his feet and infects him or herself with these GI parasites. Three weeks later, your dog is shedding hookworm eggs and larvae from his GI tract. If your dog licks his anus and then licks your child, or if your child pets your dog, he or she can become infected with these parasites. (www.veterinarypartner.com)
Ask your veterinarian about checking a stool sample next time your pet is in for an exam. Checking just gives you peace of mind that your pet is healthy and your family is safe from these parasites.
According to the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention (APOP), an estimated 52.7% of US dogs and an estimated 57.9% of US cats are overweight or obese1. Many owners are unaware or in denial that their pet is carrying a few extra pounds that can be harmful to the quality and longevity of the pet’s life.
What are some diseases or conditions that obesity can lead to?
Cruciate Ligament Injury
Type II Diabetes
High Blood Pressure
Heart and Respiratory Disease
So what can owners do to help prevent all of these conditions and keep their pet happy, healthy, and on the road to a long life? Talk with your vet at your pet’s next annual visit about the current diet and schedule that you are feeding. Prepare properly for the visit by providing the brand of food, exactly how much you are feeding (bring the scoop with you if you are unsure of the exact measurement), the times of day you are feeding, any treats/people food that is given, if there’s any access to other pet foods, and how much daily exercise that your pet receives. Your veterinarian will be able to calculate the appropriate amount of daily calories for your pet to be fed and get everyone on track for weight loss.
Just like with humans, it is important for our pets to live a healthy lifestyle as well. A great support system is always helpful to make sure that the diet plan is adhered to. Make sure that everyone in the home is on the same page to ensure that your pet is successful in your effort to shed the pounds.
Information derived from http://www.petobesityprevention.org/pet-obesity-fact-risks/