An Ounce of Prevention Is Worth a Pound of Cure
Regular wellness exams are one of the most important things you can do to keep your pet healthy. We believe strongly in preventive care and have developed wellness protocols for every stage of your pet’s life.
One of the most important reasons to bring your pet in on a regular basis is to monitor and treat conditions before they become untreatable. Since pets can’t vocalize how they are feeling, illness or disease may be present before you are aware of symptoms. The benefit of early detection allows time for steps to be taken to manage or correct a problem before irreversible damage occurs.
During a wellness exam, your veterinarian will ask for a complete history of your pet’s health, including:
- Eating habits
- Unusual behavior
- Vaccine status
Our veterinarian will also perform a comprehensive examination of your pet from nose to tail. Typical comprehensive wellness exams include obtaining a weight; temperature; ear, eye, and oral exam; abdominal palpation; chest auscultation; skin and hair coat exam; and more.
In addition, some tests may be recommended, such as:
- Blood work
- Intestinal parasite tests
- Vaccines may be administered (depending on your pet’s life stage)
Vaccinate to Protect Your Pet From Disease
All pets are susceptible to disease when left unvaccinated, especially puppies and kittens. Without the protection that routine vaccinations offer our cats and dogs, deadly diseases would still be commonplace. But thanks to modern vaccines, the incidence of disease has been greatly reduced and our pets can now expect to live a long and healthy life.
Common pet diseases and their vaccinations:
- Canine and feline rabies—This is a viral disease that causes acute encephalitis in warm-blooded animals. The disease is zoonotic, meaning it can be transmitted to humans from another species. The rabies virus infects the central nervous system, ultimately causing disease in the brain and death.
- Canine parvovirus, given annually—The canine parvovirus (CPV) infection is a highly contagious viral illness that affects dogs. The virus manifests itself in two different forms: intestinal form (which is characterized by vomiting, diarrhea, weight loss, and lack of appetite) and cardiac form (which attacks the heart muscles of very young puppies, often leading to death).
- Canine distemper, given annually—Canine distemper is a contagious and serious viral illness with no known cure. The virus affects the respiratory, urogenital, gastrointestinal, and nervous systems. This virus, even if the pet survives, can often lead to permanent neurologic damage.
- Feline distemper, given annually—Feline panleukopenia virus (FPV), also commonly referred to as feline distemper, is a highly contagious and life-threatening viral disease in the cat population. This virus affects the rapidly dividing blood cells in the body, primarily the cells in the intestinal tract, bone marrow, and stem cells of the developing fetus.
- Feline leukemia, given annually—Feline leukemia is a virus that can cause a cancer that spreads in the tissues of the body. The condition causes the white blood cells to multiple abnormally; a problem interferes with the immune system. The disease can spread from cat to cat through urine, blood, milk from the mother/female cat to kitten, saliva (high concentration of virus), or secretions that come out of the nose (high virus concentration).
- Canine leptospirosis (lepto for short)—Lepto is a serious bacterial disease of dogs. It generally attacks a dog’s liver and kidneys, and can lead to organ damage or failure.
- Canine bordetella/parainfluenza—Commonly referred to as “kennel cough,” this is a common upper respiratory viral and bacterial complex that induces respiratory and ocular disease in dogs. Symptoms often include coughing, sneezing, eye discharge, and, in severe cases, pneumonia. This disease is VERY contagious and spreads very rapidly.
Sensory changes in senior pets cause a general “slowing down.” As their major senses dull, you may find that your pet has slower responses to external stimuli. This loss of sensory perception often is a slow, progressive process, and it may even escape your notice.
Pets may also be affected mentally as they age, just as aging humans begin to forget things and are more susceptible to mental conditions. Most of these changes are rather subtle and can be addressed in a proactive manner.
The physical changes are generally easier to spot than the sensory changes. As the body wears out, its ability to respond to infection is reduced, and the healing process takes longer. Many of the signs indicating that animals are approaching senior citizen status are the same for both cats and dogs, but they can indicate a variety of different problems.
A very common and frustrating problem for aging pets is inappropriate elimination. Excessive urination or incontinence may be indicative of diabetes or kidney failure, both of which are treatable if caught early enough.
Many older pets benefit from specially formulated food that is designed with older bodies in mind. Poor diet or overfeeding can result in an obese pet, which in turn can predispose them to other problems, such as heart disease, diabetes, and arthritis.
In order to help with joint lubrication and increase mobility, nutritional supplements and/or Adequan injections might be recommended by the veterinarian as well.
Pet should definitely stay mobile as they get older. If they are cooped up or kept lying down, their bodies will deteriorate more quickly. An inactive pet is more likely to become overweight, which can make dealing with arthritis more difficult. Keeping some sort of exercise routine is good for both you and your pet. Walking, playing, even just rolling the ball for them to slowly jog over and pick up is good for them. Keep them active—mentally and physically—to keep them sharp and healthy.
Contact us today to schedule your pet’s appointment for a wellness check. A healthy pet is a happy pet, and a happy pet makes a good friend.