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Pet Health


By Alexis Jaurique, Veterinary Assistant


Pets become family members who provide comfort and unconditional love, so it’s vital that we educate ourselves on proper pet care to ensure our furry friends are as healthy as possible. If you own a pet, or are considering bringing one home, keep reading for important health and wellness information about your companion.


The food you choose to feed your pet matters: 

There are numerous food options for your pet, and which one purchased by the average consumer is often chosen due to price, advertising, and even the packaging design can determine what an owner buys. However, there are only a few brands that have been tested by veterinarians to meet all of your pet’s nutritional needs. 


The following are the top choices:

Hills Science Diet

Purina Pro

Royal Canin.


These are brands that have licensed veterinarians to help formulate foods that aid in maintaining pet health. Veterinary recommended and veterinary tested are two separate things: you want the second. The brands above are confirmed to have been veterinary tested.


Pet insurance:

You pay for health insurance, car insurance, health insurance, life insurance. But you may not think about your pet needing insurance! Vet visits can be expensive, especially visits for accidents or illnesses, and the security of insurance can help alleviate financial strains. No one wants to be frugal when it comes to their pet, and insurance can save you from having to pick and choose what level of care your pet receives based on what you can afford. 


Some common pet insurance companies include:

Nationwide

Trupanion

Lemonade


The importance of vaccines:

Following protocol for vaccinating pets is vital for optimal health. Without propervaccines administered in the necessary time window, pets are at risk for serious illnesses and sometimes even death. It is important to know that vaccine timelines differ based on the type of vaccine, your pet’s age, and prior vaccine history Listen closely to your veterinarian about what vaccines are needed and if there are additional vaccine boosters required for effectiveness; especially for puppies and kittens. 



The most common vaccines are as follows:

Dogs

DAPP/DHPP vaccine - protects against parvovirus, transmitted through direct contact with an infected animal, and the surfaces that have come in contact with the virus. Parvo can lead to critical hospitalization and often death.

Leptospirosis vaccine- protects against leptospirosis, which is transmitted through fresh water, soil, or any other objects that have the urine of an infected animal present. Infections can cause fevers, diarrhea, lethargy, difficulty breathing, and if it progresses can lead to kidney and/or liver failure.

Rabies vaccine - protects against rabies, which is transmitted through saliva when an infected animal bites another and is extremely fatal.

Bordetella vaccine - protects against bacteria that is associated with respiratory disease, transmitted through close contact with other animals that carry the disease. Commonly referred to as “Kennel Cough”.


Cats

FVRCP vaccine - protects against respiratory diseases and Gastrointestinal diseases, which can be fatal.

Rabies vaccine - protects against rabies, which is transmitted through saliva when an infected animal bites another animal and is extremely fatal.

FeLV vaccine - protects against Feline Leukemia Virus, a viral cause of immunosuppressive diseases and cancer, spread through bite wounds and saliva. This disease shortens lifespan dramatically, and once they have the virus it cannot be eradicated.


Monitoring your cats:

Cats are finicky animals, and many of their common illnesses are related to urinary problems. It is imperative that owners’ check litter boxes regularly to ensure their cat is urinating at their normal frequency. If you notice your cat is suddenly urinating around the house, or the litter clumps are getting smaller, this can be a sign of a urinary issue. Male cats in particular are prone to urinary blockages, which can be fatal if not treated in a timely manner. Female cats can also experience urinary blockages, however it is more common in males.


Play with your pet’s paws, head, belly, and ears:

Sedation bills can be very expensive. Make sure that your pet is comfortable being handled by both you and friends. So when it’s time for their annual checkup, your pet is used to being touched in this manner. If an animal is deemed too difficult, veterinarians will need to sedate them, and the larger your pet, the more expensive it is. Avoid the fuss at the vet, work with your pet now and vet visits will go smoothly. 


Knowledge is power. Protect your pet’s health by educating yourself and you can enjoy them for years to come!

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