Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Things always come in sets of three...

Veterinarians see a multitude of cases in a day. Anything is up for grabs. It could be a new cuddly puppy or kitten visit or a very sick patient that may not make it and anyting between. That is why I like my job so much! It is always different. I have noticed over the years that one thing never changes. It appears the the old saying, 'everything happens in threes' , still holds strong.

Today I had three patients all limping on their right back leg. All three have had x-rays and, believe it or not, they all have ruptured ligaments in their knees and require surgery to repair. I always have to stop and chuckle when we have three black cats in a row, or three poodles, or three white cats and the list continues.

It is nice to know that even though time seems to fly right by us, we can always count on a few standards to complete our vision of normalcy.

Monday, January 9, 2012

Review of Annual Services

With the new year I thought it would be appropriate to review yearly recommendations for your pets. First off, we do recommend annual visits to the veterinarian for all your pets. Even if your pet is healthy, it is good to have them checked out as your veterinarian may find something out of the ordinary or can discuss preventative care tips with you. Things that will likely be discussed with you at your pets annual visit:

1. Vaccinations: There are a number of vaccinations available for dogs, but the main vaccines that we promote are against Distemper virus, Adenovirus, Parainfluenza virus, Parvo virus, Leptospirosis bacteria, and Rabies virus. For cats, we recommend vaccinations for Calcivirus, Herpes virus, Panleukopenia virus, Rabies virus, and possibly FELV virus (if outdoor). After the initial puppy and kitten vaccine series many of these vaccines can be given every few years, but some are required yearly to be affective. Every clinic is different, so recommendations may vary depending on where you go.

2. Heartworm testing and prevention (dogs): Heartworm disease is passed by mosquitoes and is prevalent in Illinois. We recommend year round prevention along with annual testing. The reason we test annually is that preventatives are not 100% effective (dogs spitting out pills, resistance of parasite to medication), so even with prevention there is still a small risk for a positive test.

3. Fecal floatation: Pets are known for eating things they shouldn't and unfortunately this can include dirt and other pet's feces. Hookworms, roundworms, and whipworms are common in the environment and can be picked up easily. Fortunately, many of the heartworm preventatives also protect against common intestinal parasites. However, there is still a risk of infection, so an annual fecal exam to look for parasite eggs is recommended.

4. Weight evaluation: Just like with people, obesity is a rampant problem in pets. With obesity comes increased risks for diseases such as diabetes, arthritis, heart disease, etc, so it is good to have your pets weight evaluated on a yearly basis. If your pet is overweight, your veterinarian can implement a plan to help get the weight under control. This typically involves recommending changes in diet and exercise. Just like with people, we need to have more calories expended then taken in to promote weight loss. Developing a plan with your veterinarian, implementing that plan, and following up with weight rechecks is important in your pet's weight control.

5. Teeth evaluation: Dental disease is very common in pets. It can range from simple tarter on the teeth to gingivitis to severe periodontitis with loose teeth. We try to prevent the latter by evaluating the teeth annually and getting pets in prior to progression of dental disease. Small breed pets tend to get worse dental disease than larger pets, but dental disease can happen to any pet. Some pets need annual cleanings, while others may need teeth cleaned every few years. To lengthen the time between cleanings in the clinic, we recommend home care of your pet's teeth with daily brushing with an enzymatic tooth paste.

6. Flea prevention: If anyone has every dealt with fleas, they know how much of a hassle they can be. We try to have you avoid this headache by being on an effective monthly preventative. There are a number of choices out there and you can discuss the options with your veterinarian at your annual visit.

In addition to these topics, you can also discuss any concerns or questions you have about your pet. As you can see, there are a number of issues to cover, so please remember to schedule your pet's annual visit to your veterinarian.