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The Importance of Preventive Medicine
If you have been considering putting off a yearly physical examination for your pet, think again. In the long run, bringing your pet in for preventive care such as vaccinations and parasite control will help keep him or her in overall better health. In addition, the cost of preventive care doesn’t come close to the costs associated with treating serious illnesses. Preventive medicine includes regular physical examinations, vaccinations, and parasite preventives.
During an examination, your veterinarian will look at your pet to ensure he or she is in good health. We will talk to you about topics such as your pet’s activities, body condition, energy level, and food intake to see if any changes might indicate an illness. If we find any abnormalities, we will talk to you about these and make a plan for how to address them.
Treating problems early usually results in a better outcome than waiting until your pet is showing signs of disease at home. For example, finding mild tartar and gingivitis in your pet’s mouth during a yearly physical examination means that we can schedule a dental to clean your pet’s teeth. Early intervention prevents the dental disease from progressing to a point where teeth need to be extracted or bacteria in the mouth travels elsewhere in the body and causes disease. If your pet is overweight, we can discuss a weight loss plan. Losing weight will decrease your pet’s risk of developing weight-related conditions such as diabetes.
Vaccinations are routinely given to pets to prevent infectious disease. Many of these diseases can be fatal. Without routine vaccination or blood tests to check your pet’s immune status, your pet may be at risk of contracting what should be a preventable disease. In some cases, such as rabies, not vaccinating your pet also puts you and your family at risk because some diseases can be passed between pets and people.
Fleas, ticks, heartworms, and intestinal worms are all parasites that can make your pet ill. Some of these parasites, such as hookworms and roundworms, infect people as well as pets. These parasites can also carry diseases that people can catch like cat scratch fever and Lyme disease.
Monthly topical products are effective at preventing fleas and ticks. Monthly heartworm prevention tablets are an excellent way to prevent both heartworm and intestinal parasites.
Prevention is much less expensive than treating the diseases these parasites can cause, and also less debilitating to your pet. Flea allergies can result in large amounts of hair loss and skin infection which can take months to recover from. Heartworm treatment can be fatal to some patients depending on the number of worms they carry. Intestinal parasites can be difficult or impossible to remove from a property once their eggs have been shed in the soil. A contaminated environment puts both people and new pets at risk of contracting an otherwise preventable disease.
At Ridge Runner Veterinary Services, we recommend yearly physical examinations along with protecting your pet from infectious diseases through vaccination. In addition, we strongly recommend preventives for fleas, ticks and internal parasites year round. By making the choice to perform preventive care, your pet will be healthier and in the long run you will spend less on veterinary care.