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Pet Health Tips

1. Go See the Vet
This is #1 on the list for a reason.  All pets should go to the vet’s office at least once each year.  In fact, regular veterinary examinations are the most important component of any preventive health care plan.  These exams often result in the early detection of changes and problems, which allows for earlier intervention.

2. Vaccinate Your Pets
Keeping your pet up to date on their vaccinations helps to protect them, and in some cases you, from numerous infectious diseases.  Your veterinarian will work with you to create an individualized vaccination plan for your pet based on their specific needs and risks.

3. Take Heartworm Disease Seriously
If you do nothing else in 2013, please take heartworm disease seriously, as heartworms are endemic in our region.  The good news is that heartworm disease is essentially 100% preventable if you are compliant with the administration of heartworm preventatives throughout the year and regular blood screening tests.

4. Make Exercise a Priority
Obesity in dogs and cats in this country is a growing problem.  Just as in people, obesity can lead to numerous health problems in our pets, such as diabetes and arthritis.  Try to make walks with your dog or interactive play sessions with your cat part of your daily routine.  Your health will also benefit from the additional activity.

5. Spay or Neuter
This one is pretty straightforward.  Unless you are serious about taking on the significant time and financial commitment necessary for running a responsible breeding program, you should have your pet spayed or neutered.  The health benefits of this procedure greatly outweigh the risks.

6. Prevent Fleas and Ticks
These pesky pests are out there and preventing them with quality products can save you and your pets a lot of annoyance, not to mention illness, as many of these parasites also transmit numerous diseases.  Always consult with your veterinarian about what products are safe and effective for use on your pet.

7. Take Nutrition Seriously
Nutrition plays a key role in your pet’s overall health.  There is a lot of misleading and controversial information out there about pet nutrition and it is not my intention to enter that discussion here.  However, I will say that not all pet foods are created equal and the TV commercial or pet shop worker might not be the best source of information when it comes to pet nutrition.  Your veterinarian can teach you more about pet nutrition and help you select a quality food for your pets.

8. Blood Work
Laboratory testing, including blood and urine tests, gives us veterinarians a more complete picture of your pet’s overall health, beyond what can be evaluated with the examination alone.  Therefore, routine laboratory work should be run on your pet periodically throughout life, including prior to anesthesia and as a part of a wellness-screening program in middle-aged to older pets.

9. Microchip Your Pet
Microchipping is the most reliable way of having your pet correctly identified and returned to you if they are ever lost or stolen.  Remember, it only takes a brief moment for a pet to run through an open door or slip out of a collar.

10.   Indoor Cat Enrichment
Numerous feline health conditions, including bladder and behavioral problems, are related to stress.  Therefore, these conditions may be prevented or managed through enrichment activities, which may include changes to your cat’s environment, feeding practices, and interactions.  Ask your veterinarian for more information.

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