Many pet owners fail to provide their pet with appropriate wellness care, because they have misconceptions about their pet’s health. Our Creature Comforts Veterinary Service team reveals the truth behind some frequently accepted pet-health myths, and we hope this information will help add years to your pets’ life.
Myth: My pet will let me know when they are sick
Truth: Pets are notorious for hiding sickness signs, because they don’t want to appear vulnerable to a potential predator. Granted, your pet doesn’t confront lions, tigers, or bears on a regular basis, but they retain their ancestors’ instincts to display strength. In addition, a pet with certain diseases does not feel unwell until the condition is advanced. This means that your pet should be evaluated by a veterinary professional on a regular basis to help ensure that health complications are detected early. All pets should see their veterinary care provider at least annually, and senior pets should be assessed every six months. Routine wellness exams help our veterinary team keep your pet healthy by:
- Evaluating your pet physically — A wellness exam starts with a thorough physical examination. Our veterinary team checks your pet’s eyes, mouth, nose, heart, lungs, skin, limbs, abdomen, and everything in between to check for abnormalities.
- Assessing your pet’s blood work — Our veterinary team performs a complete blood count and a biochemistry profile to check your pet’s overall health status. These tests help us screen your pet for conditions such as infection, anemia, diabetes, and kidney and liver disease.
- Examining your pet’s urine — Your pet’s urine can tell us a lot about their health. Abnormalities can indicate conditions such as urinary stones, urinary tract infection, diabetes, and kidney failure.
- Performing a fecal check — We perform a fecal check to look for parasites, such as roundworms, hookworms, whipworms, coccidia, and giardia.
- Tracking your pet’s normal baseline — Regular testing helps us know your pet’s normal baseline, so we notice changes and act promptly.
Myth: My pet’s breath is supposed to smell bad
Truth: Bad breath can indicate periodontal disease, which is a common problem that affects most pets by the time they are 3 years of age. When your pet eats, food particles that remain between their teeth attract bacteria, which form plaque that can harden into tartar. If the plaque is not removed, these bacteria invade under your pet’s gum line and damage their teeth’s supporting structures. In addition to bad breath, complications include swollen, bleeding gums, loose or missing teeth, and tooth root infections. These dangerous bacteria can also enter your pet’s bloodstream and injure organs throughout their body. Keeping your pet’s mouth healthy is a joint effort:
- Our responsibility — During a routine wellness examination, our team evaluates your pet’s mouth to determine if dental disease is present. If we find evidence of disease, we may recommend a professional veterinary dental cleaning to fully evaluate your pet’s oral health and remove damaging bacteria. These procedures are the only way to safely and effectively remove bacteria from under your pet’s gum line.
- Your responsibility — Between professional dental cleanings, you should brush your pet’s teeth daily to remove the accumulated plaque. Many pet friendly toothpaste flavors, such as beef, poultry, peanut butter, and seafood, are available to help your pet accept the process.
Myth: My pet never goes outside, so they don’t need parasite prevention
Truth: Fleas and ticks can easily hitch a ride on you or other pets, and mosquitoes can slip through open windows or vents. This means that all pets need year-round, lifelong parasite prevention to protect them from health issues, such as:
- Anemia — Fleas can ingest up to 15 times their body weight in blood, and pets, especially puppies and kittens, who have a heavy infection can easily lose too much blood.
- Flea bite dermatitis — The flea’s saliva is a common allergen that leads to excessive itching and extreme distress in many pets. In addition, your pet’s constant scratching can lead to skin excoriations and possibly infection.
- Tick-borne illnesses — Ticks transmit several debilitating diseases, including Lyme disease, Rocky Mountain spotted fever, anaplasmosis, and ehrlichiosis, which can be difficult to eradicate and may require long, expensive treatment regimens.
- Heartworm disease — An infected mosquito can transmit heartworms to your pet. These parasites can significantly damage your pet’s heart and lungs, leading to severe health issues.
Myth: Being a little overweight doesn’t hurt my pet
Truth: Overweight pets are at increased risk for several serious health issues such as cancer, diabetes, hypertension, kidney disease, respiratory problems, and arthritis. A healthy weight pet has a better quality of life, because they aren’t weighed down by excess pounds that prevent them from moving and breathing normally. Follow these recommendations to help ensure your pet stays fit and trim:
- Calculate your pet’s energy requirements — Determine your pet’s daily energy requirements with a pet calorie calculator, which asks for your pet’s age, weight, spay or neuter status, and activity level.
- Measure your pet’s food — When feeding your pet, use a kitchen scale or measuring cup to accurately measure their meal portion.
- Limit treats — Ensure treats account for less than 10% of your pet’s daily caloric intake.
- Exercise your pet — Keep your pet active with daily exercise.
Knowing the truth about your pet’s health should encourage you to provide the wellness care they need. Contact our Creature Comforts Veterinary Service team if you would like to schedule a wellness examination or professional veterinary dental cleaning, so we can help prolong your pet’s life.