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The Importance of Taking Your Pet to the Veterinarian

October 10, 2014

Brought to you by Peterborough West Animal Hospital:

It has been proven many times over, at Peterborough West Animal Hospital, that preventive medicine and wellness testing is a great benefit to people and their pets. Avoiding disease in the first place is obviously superior to trying to reverse the course of illness when it occurs. Proper nutrition, vaccination strategies, disease screening, and prophylactic care such as dental cleanings are all vital to ensuring good health and longevity. Routine preventive care is key to a better quality of life overall.

Disease prevention starts at a very young age. Puppies and kittens are very susceptible to contagious parasites and viruses. They should be tested and treated for worms and protozoa that invade the intestinal tract. Parasites can cause anemia and death when present in large numbers. Many take weeks to incubate and begin shedding eggs in the stool, so several fecal analyses should be performed during the first 16 weeks of age especially if there is a problem. Most of the intestinal parasites are not visible in the stool with the naked eye. Doctors Scott Sargent and Andrea Giffen at Peterborough West Animal Hospital will request that you bring a fresh fecal sample to your first puppy/kitten appointment and at least annually thereafter to monitor for intestinal parasites.

Vaccines protect your pet from contagious disease. Between six and eight weeks of age, puppies and kittens lose their maternal antibodies that had kept them safe since birth. At Peterborough West Animal Hospital we like to start vaccinations at 7-8 weeks and booster every four weeks until 16 weeks of age. The immune system is not fully developed until then, so complete protection may not be achieved with the initial vaccines. During adulthood, vaccinations are boostered every one to three years depending on the specific disease risk in your area and the efficacy of the vaccine. At Peterborough West Animal Hospital the veterinarians will discuss your pet’s lifestyle and will also discuss canine titre testing, as we now have a reliable and affordable test available. This can be used to determine the need for certain vaccines in attempt to avoid “over vaccinating”.

Proper nutrition is very important in all stages of life. A balanced diet that is AAFCO approved (Association of American Feed Control Officials) will provide all the daily requirements of nutrients, vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants that your pet needs to stay fit and healthy. Table scraps are not balanced and tend to be high in fat and salt. They only contribute to an overweight, picky eater. Our veterinarians and veterinary technicians/assistants can make recommendations as to the type of food that is best for your dog and cat. If you have questions about the type of food you are feeding, please bring the bag/can with you to your appointment so the doctors at Peterborough West Animal Hospital can help you understand the labels.

Preventive dental care is proven to greatly reduce infection from the oral cavity which can travel into the heart and major organ systems. As well as teeth brushing, dogs and cats should have a professional dental cleaning before periodontal disease becomes established. Ultrasonic scaling and high-speed polishing of the teeth removes bacteria harbouring tartar that leads to infection, pain, and tooth loss. At Peterborough West Animal Hospital we have recently purchased a digital dental X-ray machine so we not only do a thorough job cleaning and polishing the teeth, but we can also take and save images of your pets’ teeth below the gum line. This helps us find problems that we could not visualize before.

Continued parasite prevention is important to avoid diseases that are transmitted by fleas, ticks, and mosquitoes. Adult pets can carry intestinal parasites without showing any outward symptoms. Mosquitoes transmit heartworms, ticks carry infectious organisms that cause Lyme disease and Ehrlichia, and fleas are thought to be vectors of hemotropic mycoplasma, a blood parasite that causes anemia in cats. Some of these illnesses are zoonotic (contagious to people). Our veterinarians will prescribe safe, easy to use, monthly preventive medications to keep your pet free of these harmful parasites and protect your family from serious zoonoses.

Early detection of illness starts with regular wellness examinations performed by the veterinarian. Dr. Sargent and Dr. Giffen may recommend tests that can discover early organ dysfunction or metabolic disorders like diabetes, thyroid disease, or Cushing’s disease.

At Peterborough West Animal Hospital we want to ensure that our senior pets have the appropriate tests and care required so that you can enjoy them as long as possible. For example, older pets will have their blood pressure checked and may have an ECG performed or an x ray taken if a heart murmur is detected. Catching a problem before there are any obvious symptoms greatly improves the prognosis and may even be reversible. Symptoms mean there is damage already being done to the body. Be sure to discuss any changes in water consumption, appetite, eliminations, and activity levels with the doctor. Peterborough West team members strongly believe that old age is not a disease!

Keep in mind that a pet ages at a much faster rate than a person. A trip to the vet once a year is the equivalent of a person seeing a doctor about once a decade. Many changes can occur in between wellness exams. Veterinarians are recommending twice a year check ups for dogs and cats; especially as they enter their senior years. Early detection of disease will greatly reduce the progression of damage being done and improve the outcome of treatment.

Contact us, your local animal hospital in Cavan Monaghan, ON!

At Peterborough West Animal Hospital we are

“Pawsitively devoted to your best friend…..”