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As your veterinarian and veterinary staff, we always strive to be your pet's health experts. If you ever have a question feel free to call us.
Want a fun way to learn more about your pet's health from a reputable source? Check out the You Tube series "Cone of Shame" by Dr. Andy Roark.
Here are some categories of information we get asked a lot about. Hope it helps!
Fleas!... And Ticks! : Since we are in NC we highly recommend year around flea and tick protection. We still see cases of fleas in January. Fleas are annoying but can carry tapeworms and ticks can carry a range of diseases such as Lyme and Ehrlichia. Remember cats get both fleas and ticks as well and some ticks can live in a home without a meal for up to a year! Our favorite products on the market right now include: Simparica or Nexgard monthly flea) or Vectra 3D (monthly topical).
Nutrition: A very hot topic right now. As healthcare providers we look for companies that have the research to back up that their foods are nutritionally balanced and have high quality control to keep your furry child healthy and safe. While marketing companies have strongly pushed grain free diets in wake of the human allergies being recognized, grains are rarely the cause of pet's food allergies, one of their more common allergens is actually beef. If you think your pet has food allergies we should allergy test them or do a strict food trial to confirm the true allergen so you are not just falling prey to some heavy marketing. Some brands we trust are Royal Canin and Hill's/Science Diet
Vaccination: Vaccines work best for our populations when the whole group follows the recommendations. An example of when this fails is the measles outbreak in CA recently where many children weren't getting vaccinated because of parents individual decisions. Many children were affected by a relatively rare disease in our modernized country because they had not been vaccinated. We routinely recommend the following because the vaccines are typically very safe for most pets and the diseases are serious: Rabies! (required by law, we have many wild animals test positive in our state each year), a combination vaccine that covers Distemper Virus, Parvovirus, Leptospirosis, Canine Adenovirus, and a Bordetella vaccine (for kennel cough). There is also a Lyme vaccine that is being recommended due to the influx of Lyme cases we are starting to see in NC. Canine Influenza vaccines are also being recommended most recently due to outbreaks occurring in the mid-west (somewhat like the human flu sometimes it is only a mild respiratory disease but can be fatal for some individuals)
Heartworm Prevention: Another all year preventative is required for this bug! Heartworms are spread by mosquitoes and after a bite eventually end up in your pets' (yes both dogs and cats!) bloodstream and then heart. Over time the worms cause congestive heart failure in dogs and an asthma like syndrome in cats. We stock a monthly tasty chew, Heartgard as well as Proheart Injections (a simple injection under the skin that lasts for 6 months so there is no forgetting the pill a few days late and no one has to try to remember- we call when the next dose is due). If you prefer a topical we stock Revolution which covers heartworms and fleas.
Intestinal Parasite Prevention and Screening: Most of the heartworm preventatives will also give your pet some intestinal parasite deworming as well but the products do not cover all types of parasites your dog or cat could be exposed to. Also some pets can deal with problems of re-infestation due to lifestyle issues that may need to be addressed (a yard that has been heavily contaminated, a cat that likes to eat bugs that come in the house or birds in the yard, raw diets, a recent flea issue). For these reasons of keeping your pet's body parasite free as well as your own (many of these parasites can be transmitted to people!) we highly recommend bringing in a stool sample at least with your pet's annual preventative visit but more ideally twice a year to check. A specific dewormer can then be recommended to treat any present infestation and discuss any environmental problems.
Dental Health: It's of no surprise that as our pet's live longer and live more and more in our homes as part of the family we start to notice the bad breath and tarter. Like with people, numerous studies have been done about the overall health consequences of all that bacteria in the pet's mouth - it can affect cardiovascular health, organ function as well as discomfort and pain from gum irritation. We recommend maintenance care such as brushing or treats/foods that are specifically designed to help with dental disease- most contain an enzymatic as well as mechanical component. If your pet doesn't like these treats we have some other options such as powders to add to the food, water additives, and again diets that hide the ingredients quite well. By the age of 3 however most pets begin to have early signs of periodontal disease and should start receiving professional dental cleanings to prevent serious problems down the road and maintain a good, healthy quality of life.
Grooming: Regular brushing can be very beneficial for your pet's coat and is a good bonding activity if your pet enjoys it. If you are going to give your pet a bath we don't recommend it too much more frequently than once every other week as it can dry out their skin. Always try to use animal specific shampoos as their needs are different than ours. Get your pet used to having their feet messed with so you can trim their nails more easily. If you are going to clean your pet's ears again please use a pet specific cleanser do not put water, etc down your pet's ears as this can make things worse. When cleaning pet's ears it is usually best when you are on your own to use the cleansers and then follow by wiping with a kleenex or soft paper towel. Professional grooming is certainly wonderful but do be very careful to inspect where your pet is going and that the animals your pet will be exposed to in the building are current on all their vaccines (ie- they should ask for a current vaccine history from you).