Keeping Your Pet Healthy Throughout the New Year

Preventative health care is a very important part of keeping your pet healthy all year-round. Check out our recommendations for meeting your pet's health care needs and increasing the length and quality of their lives.

NewYear

Physical Examinations. Regular examinations can reduce the prevalence and impact of disease. During examinations, doctors check your pet from nose to tail which includes evaluating the eyes, ears, teeth, throat, lymph nodes, abdomen, and skin. They also listen to the heart and lung sounds and evaluate a pet's weight and body condition. Dietary and behavioral issues are also addressed at this time. We recommend bringing pets in every six months for examinations. Because pets age much faster than people, this would mean that in human years their visits would occur about every 3 and 1/2 years. Internal Functions Testing. While comprehensive physical examinations are very important, they cannot tell us how healthy pets are internally. This is why we recommend annual blood testing which generally includes a complete blood cell count that screens for conditions such as anemia, infection, inflammation, and some types of cancer. It also generally includes biochemistry tests that check the blood sugar level and for signs of kidney and liver disease. Screening for heartworm disease is also done at this time. More comprehensive blood tests performed for older pets or when needed can help detect thyroid, pancreatic, and heart disease among other things. Intestinal Parasite Testing. Intestinal parasites are surprisingly common in pets. That is why we recommend biannual fecal testing. Even pets who live mostly or even exclusively indoors have been known to contract intestinal parasites. There are several different kinds of intestinal parasites, some of which can be transferred to people. Click here to read more about intestinal parasites. Vaccinations. Vaccines provide pets with important protection from harmful and deadly viruses. Some vaccines are recommended for all pets regardless of their lifestyle while others are recommended for pets depending upon their lifestyle. For example, cats who go outdoors or dogs who live in certain areas or go hiking require additional protection. Monthly Preventatives. Giving your pet a monthly preventative medication for heartworm, a few common intestinal parasites, fleas, and potentially ticks can keep them safe from a wide range of illnesses that can range from discomforting to life threatening. Providing your pet with this type of protection is like wearing your seatbelt every time you drive. It is a potentially life-saving preventative measure. Dental Cleanings. Dental care is very necessary for the overall health of pets. 70-80% of dogs and cats suffer from painful and inflamed gums caused by dental disease. While dental disease is very common, most pets do not show outward signs of pain or discomfort. Bad breath is the most common noticeable sign of it. Dental disease is not just a problem for the mouth, it can cause body-wide infections and can affect the liver, heart, and kidneys. The frequency of dental cleanings depends upon a number of factors including a pet's age and breed. For more information about dental cleanings and at-home dental care click here.   If you have any questions regarding any of this information we would be happy to discuss it in detail with you. We hope you and your pets have a happy and healthy year!