Some pets spend much of their life chained in the back yard
waiting anxiously for the occasional pat and kind word.
They suffer from matted coats, fleas, flies, worms, and lack of companionship.
When they get ear infections or tooth abscess or kidney disease their owners don't even notice.
More and more, though, pets are being treated more like family members and are much more likely to live a pleasant life and get taken to the vet if something is wrong.
But new, better standards of care striving for a really high quality of life for our family members as well as our pets are now readily available. More and more veterinarians through- out the land ... including The FoxNest Veterinary Hospital ... are stressing Preventive Medicine and making it convenient and easy to provide.
Getting on board is more of an attitude change than any big break through in medicine. It simply means going from the attitude of pretty good care to striving for really good care now that it's available with only a little extra trouble and expense. Just like everything else in life where you go from mediocre to great, the difference in quality and satisfaction are exponential.
Get on board.
Most of our clients are already doing most of the things we consider important parts of a good preventive medicine regimen.
But please take a look at what you might not now be doing that would benefit you and your pet. There are lots of links where each topic is discussed in more detail.
Thanks, Roger Ross DVM
A Good Preventive Medicine Program for Pets Includes:
Regular Wellness Exams: Not long ago, once a year wellness exams for pets was the norm. Now the new standard of medicine is to recommend that pets be seen twice a year.
1. to get to know our patients better and have more time to discuss things like dental health, arthritis, diet, weight problems, and allergies.
And behavioral problems.
2. to detect uncomfortable things like a tooth ache or ear infection earlier. And to detect more serious problems like kidney disease earlier.
3. intestinal worms are a serious threat to humans ... especially children... and the worms that dogs and cats carry and disperse in their stool are getting resistant to our standard deworming medicines. So, in addition to the once a month parasite control you should be giving, we recommend deworming your pet with a different dewormer during the midyear wellness exam .... and then following up with a fecal exam to make sure there are no surviving, resistant worms.
4. we recommend that dogs under a year old get a $12 parvo booster vaccine during their midyear visit. we recommend that older dogs, if they are out and about, consider a midyear vaccine booster for leptospirosis.
5. since most people buy 6 months of heartworm prevention at a time ... or need to repeat the new ProHeart 6 month injection every 6 months, having a midyear wellness is pretty convenient.
6. just a reminder that pets age about 7 times faster than humans, so significant health changes can happen in 6 months
7. and finally, for those of you who are cynical, this is not a money making issue... the fee for midyear exams is just $15
Screening tests and radiographs: we have a pretty extensive and modern lab at our hospital, a really impressive commercial lab service at our disposal, and a really, really impressive digital X ray machine.
Take advantage of these laboratory and radiograph services:
For young pets, depending on the situation, we will recommend testing for heartworms, fecal parasites, and in stray cats, leukemia and Feline AIDS.
For cats over 7 years old, we recommend a chest radiograph to pick up early signs of heart disease. Heart disease is common in cats and usually undetectable during normal exams until it's too late. $85
For dogs over 7-10 years old, depending on their breed, size, and weight, we like to recommend radiographs of the joints, spine, abdomen, and chest. $85
For dogs and cats over 10 years old we like to get blood panels that pick up all kinds of problems such as diabetes, pancreatitis, liver problems, anemia, internal infections, thyroid disease, kidney disease, Addison's disease, Cushing disease, and electrolyte problems. $ 85 About 10% of the older pets we do blood work on that seem perfectly healthy on the outside have significant problems that we pick up by doing these tests.
Dentistry and Oral Hygiene: It turns out that unhealthy gums are the major route for bacteria into the blood stream. This bacteria leads to all kinds of problems to include heart disease, liver disease, kidney disease, joint disease, and auto-immune problems. We have lots of information about this on our Dental Page. But know that regular oral health care is a big part of preventive medicine and it starts young by providing fluoride treatments and dental sealants and dental chews and brushless tooth paste.
MicroChips: The number one cause of death in pets is getting lost and the subsequent consequences. Over 90% of pets with a Home Again microchip get returned to their owners.
Pet Insurance: Having a plan to pay for good medical care is also part of preventive medicine. Plans cost about $25-50 per month. You usually get a big portion of this back if you keep the policy up, because I can pretty much assure you that at least one expensive injury or illness will strike your pet at some point in it's life.
There are some great pet insurance companies out there. We have to euthanize a lot of pets because the owners didn't want to (or couldn't) afford a $5000 vet bill at the specialists. So far, pet insurance is not fraught with fraud or very complicated. Dishonest vets are a pretty rare occurrence, so the system is simple; You pay your vet and then submit your vet bill to the insurance company and they usually reimburse you without any hassle. It's kind of refreshing.
A Good Preventive Medicine Program for pets basically means:
Click on any of the above pillars of a good preventive program for more information and our recommendations.... but please read my comments about the importance of preventing disease and detecting disease early... rather than waiting until your pet is bady sick before coming to the vet.
We still spend the majority of our day doing what's called crisis medicine.
Which means treating pets in pain and discomfort
from things like ear infections, bladder infections, bite wounds
severe diarrhea, vomiting, severe skin disease, intestinal bleeding, lameness',
gun shot wounds, car accidents, and so forth.
But we're a progressive practice and live in a community with lots of well educated and successful people who love and treat their pets like family members.
So we also get to practice a lot of preventive medicine.
The whole idea of preventive medicine is that instead of waiting until your pet is obviously sick and then taking it to the vet, we take some reasonable steps to keep your pet from getting sick in the first place.
It means detecting problems early before much damage is done.
It means striving for a high quality of life.
a safe environment
Fun & fulfillment
Health & vigor
Good health and vigor doesn't just happen automatically. Pets not receiving veterinary care have an average life span of less than 4 years.
Good preventive veterinary care involves
Regular wellness exams to check closely for problems
An appropriate vaccination program
Effective parasite control
Screening tests and radiographs at middle age and for senior pets
Sensible supplements for senior pets and arthritic pets
And sensible precautions like good pet ID, microchipping, and maybe pet insurance for when bad things happen.
Here are some links for more details and information on our other pages:
Vaccinations saves thousands of lives each year, and keeping your pet well vaccinated is critical. But there have been some pretty big changes in the vaccines we recommend for pets and in the frequency of vaccinations for pets. Here's what we recommend:
Heartworm Prevention for both Cats and Dogs:
Heartworm disease is big. And preventing this disease is important. Even in indoor cats !
And read about our newly available 6 month injectable heartworm preventive
Intestinal Parasite Prevention: Worms keep getting resistant to our deworming products. Worms are a potential danger to people (especially children) and we need to take them seriously. Click here for our recommendations