New Year’s Resolution: An Ounce of Prevention is Worth a Pound of Cure
Hard to believe that we’re approaching a new year. Since we are, I decided to talk about what we do every new year, make resolutions. Here’s a resolution I strongly recommend. Give your pet better preventative healthcare. These are my recommendations.
Annual exams. When you get that reminder card or email or phone call don’t procrastinate, make the appointment. If you need to change it later that’s o.k. we can accommodate. At these annuals your pet gets a physical examination, any due immunizations, recommended bloodwork, fecal (stool) checks for intestinal parasites, and a urinalysis if indicated. Any abnormalities, if found, will be discussed and treatment plans developed. This is your time and you’re paying for it, so bring your questions and concerns. Written lists are always helpful. Also, when asked, go ahead and schedule next year’s appointment. Once it’s on the books you don’t have to worry about remembering a year from now. You’ll get reminder calls from us in a timely fashion so that you can reschedule if needed.
Semi-annual exams. Once your pet reaches 7 years of age we recommend twice a year health care visits. At this age they are in their middle ages and since they age much more rapidly than we do once a year just doesn’t cut it.
Semi-annual exams, again. Like us, these guys age at different rates, but it is safe to say that at 11 years of age they are seniors. Monitoring blood work, urinalysis, and physical exams every 6 months allow us to monitor possible developing bad trends. Catching problems early allows for easier resolution. If the problem is a degenerative, age related problem, we can slow the process down and give your pet many more years of healthy, happy living.
Semi-annual exams again! 14 years and up are our super seniors. Twice a year visits are often not enough when addressing problems at this age. Arthritis, allergies, cancer, vision problems, neurologic and cognitive problems, kidney, and heart issues are only a few of the challenges they face. Taking a pet that is 14+ years of age once a year for a physical exam would be like going in for your ‘checkup’ every 5 to 7 years when you are 80+ years old. So, at the very minimum, we need to see them twice a year.
Make that dental appointment. The average pet needs dental cleanings annually. Many should have this done semi-annually. Good oral health is probably the easiest and most effective way to add years onto a pets’ life. The toxins in a diseased mouth cause damage to the kidneys, heart, and liver. I cannot say how many times I’ve heard owners say at dental cleaning rechecks that they wished they had the procedure done earlier. Suddenly the bad breath is resolved. If the mouth was severely diseased owners report that their pet is like a puppy/kitten again. This is a result of relieving chronic, low grade pain and getting rid of that constant bacterial shower into the bloodstream.
Stop putting off that spay/neuter. Avoid the hassles related to heat cycles, aggression in intact males, and a plethora of other dangerous problems that can occur in older, intact pets.
Start your pet on home dental care. Start brushing techniques in young pets and those that recently had cleanings. If hesitant about this, contact us and we will advise on training techniques. We can also advise on alternative dental aides for your pet if brushing isn’t an option.
Consider pet health insurance. This is not like human insurance. The cost is much more affordable and it allows you to make medical decisions for your pet without having to deal with decisions regarding finances.
Use us. We’re your pet’s healthcare provider. Yes, there’s a ton of information on the internet and nowadays much of it is good. But we know your pet. Often when you call with questions, you’ll be advised to bring your pet in. That’s because a diagnosis cannot be made on the phone (or internet). A proper examination and diagnostics are needed for an accurate diagnosis and resolution.
So, when making your New Year’s resolutions don’t forget your pets. You can actually make resolutions that are easy to keep!
And now for an unrelated, fun winter pet fact (maybe it is a little related): Once the winter solstice passes the queen cats’ brain and endocrine (glandular) systems start recognizing the slightly longer days and interpret them! Spring is just around the corner. Even though there may be 8 inches of snow on the ground and the temperatures dipping into the teens, female cats start cycling (coming into heat). Feral outdoor tomcats become more active and, voila!, your intact 8 to 10 month female house cat is doing all sorts of strange gyrations and contortions. She’s in heat! Get her spayed or else you will end up with a litter of spring kittens.
Also because of the active, outdoor toms we get many more calls related to abnormal behaviour in all house-cats. Spraying, vocalizing, and aggression are the most common problems. So, be aware cat owners, and call us for advice if this occurs.