A healthy lifestyle is just as important for our pets as for ourselves. The human body functions better when it is healthy and properly nourished, and that is no different for a dog or cat. Preventive healthcare, a balanced diet and proper exercise are all keys to that healthy body.
Preventive healthcare includes wellness examinations, vaccinations, bloodwork as needed, control of internal and external parasites, dental and nutritional consults, behavioural support and open conversation as needed with your veterinary team.
Wellness visits with your veterinarian are important for your pet and yourself. Keeping the line of communication open with your doctor can help deal with issues if they arise. Wellness visits always start with a full physical exam including listening to heart and lungs, checking eyes, ears, teeth, skin and palpation of internal organs and legs for any potential abnormalities. Any concerns that you have can be discussed during the physical exam; lumps, bumps, itching, redness, weird smells, stiffness, changes in behaviour, etc.
There are multiple vaccines that dogs and cats should receive on a regular basis. After going through a series of boosters as a puppy or kitten, regular vaccines as an adult are done every 1 – 3 years depending on the vaccine. Your veterinarian will explain the different vaccines and what viruses they protect against. Vaccines are not 100% preventive but drastically reduce the instance of illness in our pets, just like in human medicine.
Routine treatment for internal and external parasites is also very important in pets. Both cats and dogs can carry internal and external parasites that are zoonotic and can affect humans. Even cats that live strictly inside can become infected with internal parasites by eating houseflies as they act as an intermediate host in the tapeworm lifecycle. If your pet travels to areas closer to large lakes and oceans in North America, your veterinarian can adjust your deworming protocol to protect accordingly. The prairies of Alberta and Saskatchewan offer a different array of internal and external parasites that can cause our pets issues.
Over the next few months, we will further explore the components of preventive healthcare in our pets to help give you more tools to keep your pets healthier.
If you have any questions, please give us a call at 403.527.2829.
Written by: Crossroads Animal Hospital