Standard of Care for Your Pet
We live in a transient society where members of our families live not only all over the U.S. but all over the world. Some of us are in a season of life when we would expect to have our grandchildren all around us, instead we may only see them periodically or maybe only once a year. Then there are those of us who don’t have children yet and just can’t resist a little puppy or kitten. Or yet others who have children and want to introduce them to the joy and responsibility of pet ownership. So it is not unusual for us to adopt “four-legged” children into our homes and lavish on them the need we have to share our love.
As loving and concerned pet owners, we all will seek medical care for our pets when we see that something is not quite right. A dog that may be listless or limping, a cat that goes into hiding for no reason, these are signs of concern for pet owners. But what about when everything seems to be going well, how can you be sure that nothing is happening where you can’t see?
One of greatest values that you will find in the preventative care that your veterinarian provides for your pet is the reassurance of your pet’s well-being and the ability to detect issues before they become a problems. There are many signs in our pets that are so subtle they go unnoticed. Other signs cannot even be seen because they are happening internally.
So what should you do? The best care is the standard of care that your veterinarian will tailor to your pet’s individual needs. A program for your pet should start with required vaccinations, followed by preventive care screening to establish a baseline of health for your pet, outlining a program of dental care, discussion of proper diet/weight maintenance, and preparing for age-related issues like joints or other internal concerns.
At both LCAH and TCAC we have set up Junior and Senior Preventive Care Studies that will insure a proactive approach to your pet’s health. Each study will gather information on your pet’s urine, blood, and internal organs. The Senior Study will also gather data from tests on blood pressure and the heart. The summary of these findings allows us to put together a total picture of your pet’s current health, which is especially helpful if your pet should become sick, injured or show signs of age-related problems.
The best course of action is always to be proactive with your pet’s care. Work in conjunction with your veterinarian to come up with a program to meet the ongoing needs of your pet from the beginning. Even if you have an older pet, it is never too late to start, you just need to DO IT!
The Disease that Know No Bounds
There is a highly contagious disease that has spread nationwide from an isolated event of respiratory disease. It is commonly called “Dog Flu” and is a major concern for all dogs.
· If you are not familiar with Dog Flu, here are some things to think about:
· Dogs have no natural immunity to this new virus
· It spreads easily as owners take their dogs with them wherever they go
· Boarding, daycare, grooming facilities and social parks are areas where your dog is at high risk for direct contact, from airborne droplets, and shared or touched objects.
As this disease spreads, more facilities are requiring Dog Flu vaccinations which have been show to control and reduce the impact of Dog Flu. Make sure your dog is protected. Ask your Veterinarian about a vaccination for Dog Flu that will help to keep your pet safe.
Beware the Snake....
When you are out for a walk with your pet this Spring, beware of the danger that lies beneath your feet. Snakes are common in our area and now is the time when they will become more active. Your excited dog could be in grave danger while sniffing around if they come across a snake coming out of hibernation.
If your dog is active outside, please ask your veterinarian about getting a rattlesnake vaccine which will reduce the likelihood of death, permanent injury and severe pain caused by snake bites in general.
KEEP THOSE PEARLY WHITES SHINING!
Now that National Pet Dental Health Month is over and you took advantage of the 25% off to get you pet’s teeth cleaned and in good shape, what can you do to keep them that way? Let us help you choose between several very good options:
BRUSH THE TEETH: It's not that easy to hold a squirming pup and try to brush a mouth full of needle-sharp teeth. Neither is it easy to stick a toothbrush into a kitten’s tiny, little mewing mouth. The whole process will take some getting used to and you need to proceed slowly with patience.
You can start by choosing a small brushing tool or finger brush that fits comfortably in your dog’s or cat's mouth, or a washcloth or 2”x2” gauze square wrapped around your finger . If they do not readily accept a recommended pet toothpaste, you might try letting your pet lick some peanut butter (or other accepted treat) while you are softly touching the gums with the cloth or brush. You are associating the cloth/brush and tooth-touching with the food. You are working to change your pet’s perception to associate teeth brushing with something pleasant. Other excellent dental home care options are:
CHEWS: Dental chews are also a good way to help your pet do some “self-cleaning”. Chews are most readily accepted by dogs and contain ingredients that help to inhibit plaque buildup.
TREATS: Cats are more apt to accept a chewable treat and your veterinarian can recommend those that will do the most good without overloading your pet with too many extra calories. These products work by introducing an enzyme into your pet’s saliva which works to inhibit plaque growth rather than a chewing action.
POWDERS: There are now palatable powders that can be sprinkled on your pet’s food as another means of entry into the pet’s mouth, working in a similar fashion to the enzyme action in treats.
ORAL RINSES: Rinses are squirted into the pet’s mouth by means of an angled pipette. Introduce slowly and out of the pet’s line of vision so they are not frightened by the container.
WATER ADDITIVES: These products work very well too and is arguably the easiest thing to do.
DENTAL DIETS: Another great option, Dental diets are high quality and meet all the pet’s nutritional needs and can also be used as healthy treats.
Of course, all of these methods work best when your pet is starting out with a clean mouth and teeth without plaque build-up. Therefore, home care is combined with professional dental cleanings done as needed. Combining home care options is appropriate because the more you do at home, the less often professional dental cleanings are required.
Although National Pet Dental Month is over, we continue to offer 20% discount when you refer to this newsletter.
DO YOU PRACTICE YEAR-ROUND PARASITE PREVENTION?
Generally, adult ticks are still a threat when temperatures hover around 45 degrees Fahrenheit. If you live in an area where you see deer regularly, ticks may drop off their host and hitch a ride into your house on you or your dog. There are several types of ticks common in our area and some are active at all times of the year. With the coming of Spring, we will experience “Spring Bloom” when most species of ticks are especially abundant.
This is why Veterinarians advise year-round parasite control and prevention not only for ticks but also for other important parasites including heartworms, fleas, and the major intestinal parasites. Studies show that clients only practice parasite control 5 months out of 12 and this is why heartworms have spread and include every US state and overall prevalence has increased despite very effective preventive products. In other words, the lack of year-round compliance is the biggest problem and why pets are still getting infected. It should then be an absolute must to get your pets fully protected.
We recommend the following as your BEST choices for year-round parasite prevention and control:
Trifexis with Scalibor 6-month collar or monthly topical
Advantage Multi with Seresto collar
Heartgard Plus with Nexgard or Simparica monthly chews/tabs, Bravecto quarterly chews or Seresto 8-month collar
ProHeart 6-month injection with monthly topical, Seresto, Nexgard, Simparica or Bravecto
Choices will depend upon your preferences for oral, topical, collar or injection. Contact LCAH or TCAC with questions and help in selecting the best options for you and your pet.