SATURDAY, FEBRUARY 28, 2015
This is a guest article by Dr. Kelli Gentis, doctor of veterinary medicine at North Side Animal Clinic. We have used the services of North Side for our office cats for several years.
“An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure”.... Ben Franklin
As with our health, the prevention of disease in your pets is easily attainable. There are many ways that preventative medicine comes into play in veterinary medicine. Starting as babies, animals are much like humans in that they also have weakened immune systems. Infants well into their late childhood require vaccines to boost their immune systems to help fight off various diseases. Young animals are also very susceptible to many diseases that can be avoided by following a vaccine protocol. Most dogs and cats begin this series of vaccinations at 6 weeks of age and continue until they are 16 weeks of age and boostered yearly depending on their own environmental risks.
Parasites, both internal and external, can be prevented by various methods and products available. Internal parasites can range from roundworms that cause upset stomachs to heartworms that can lead to the death of your pet. External parasites such as fleas and ticks to skin mites can also be prevented. Many of the parasites (internal and external) also pose a risk to humans. Preventing them on your pet will also help to avoid any cross contamination with a parasite or a disease that a parasite may carry.
Animals are also at risk for getting cancer. One way of decreasing the chances to have them neutered at an early age. Spaying a female before her first heat cycle (usually around 6 months of age) has been shown to cut down on mammary (breast) cancers by 85%. Spaying also eliminates unwanted pregnancies and the chance of a uterine infection that usually requires an emergency surgery for survival. Castrating a male around 6 months will cut down the risks of testicular and prostatic cancers. Castrating also helps to reduce aggressive behaviors in male animals.
All of us could benefit from healthier eating habits. Obese animals or those who are fed unhealthy foods are more likely to suffer from arthritis, heart disease, diabetes, dental disease, kidney and liver disease just to name a few of the more common problems seen in veterinary medicine. Keeping the weight off by limiting snacks, fatty food and people food is one easy way to avoid many of the problems mentioned above. What looks like a tiny bite to us winds up being a lot more to your pet when you compare body weight between you and your animal. Those little morsels can add on the pounds fast.
By having regular checkups your pet will be at an advantage to be on the preventative side of life versus the treatment side. Preventing diseases or other problems with your pet is easier and usually less costly than treating and there is always the possibility that you could end up with a pet that is not treatable. Please feel free to contact any of us at North Side Animal Clinic at (937) 593-6951 if you are interested in learning more about any of these topics.
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