Pets need preventive care.
Just like people.
No one would think of having a human baby and not taking it to a doctor, yet we get calls at our hospital all the time that start with, “My dog is “x” years old and has never seen a veterinarian because he’s never been sick.”
One wants to ask, “Did you wait until your children were ill before you took them to the doctor for the first time?”
Veterinarians spend a lot of time and money trying to educate pet owners about the need for regular examinations, vaccinations and heartworm preventive. We write pet-care newsletters, we write columns for newspapers and we appear on television.
State and national veterinary associations sponsor public education efforts.
Pharmaceutical companies advertise the importance of vaccines and heartworm preventive medications.
Still, somehow, the word doesn’t reach everyone.
Pet owners also sometimes offer the excuse that their pet never goes outside, and thus doesn’t need medical care.
While the trend to keeping cats totally indoors is growing, few dogs never see the outside, as most go out to defecate and urinate.
As we have stated many times, the physical examination is the most important thing that happens on each visit to the veterinarian. The importance of the examination is not reduced for the totally-indoor pet. Physical abnormalities ranging from ear infections to cancer occur to confined pets, and need early detection only regular examinations can provide.
Infectious diseases are often airborne, and may waft into one’s home uninvited through an open window or door. Most of these illnesses can be prevented with scheduled vaccinations.
It is a well-known fact that heartworm disease occurs in indoor cats at about the same rate as outdoor cats. Statistics are not available for dogs, as so few dogs are totally restricted to inside. Still, the principle is the same: mosquitoes that carry heartworms like the indoor environment, and will share their burden of heartworms just as readily with an indoor dog as with an indoor cat.
While it was once widely believed by laymen that all puppies and kittens were “born with worms,” we know that is not and never was true. Still, whether your little one has intestinal worms or not can’t be known without a test called fecal flotation. The danger of some intestinal parasites to people is real, and the danger cannot be overstated.
Has your pet never seen a veterinarian? If so, call today for that first appointment. Don’t wait until he’s sick, and certainly don’t wait until an illness has taken him beyond help.
And, kudos to those take excellent care of their pets, seeing their veterinarian at least annually. Nothing says love like really good care.
See you Monday, Dr. Randolph.