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Proper small animal veterinary care

By Dr. Laurie Weiser
Posted Monday, January 29, 2007

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Pittsboro, NC - What constitutes "being a good pet owner" from the viewpoint of the veterinarian?

Heartworm prevention: Heartworm disease is transmitted by mosquitos. Yes it is true that the more time a pet spends outside the more contact he/she has with mosquitos and hence the greater chance of developing heartworm disease. However, a study was conducted recently testing cats that lived in highrise buildings (7th floor and above) and hence were definately strictly indoor only and almost 10% of those cats tested positive for heartworm disease.

Indoors does not mean no mosquito contact. Both cats and dogs develop heartworm disease and prevention is available for both. We test them yearly because no medication is 100% effective and I definately have seen dogs test positive that have been on regular prevention (one was a veterinarians dog!).

Spaying/ neutering: It is true that a main reason we wish for owners to "fix" their pets is to get a hold of pet overpopulation. As a person who deals with unwanted pets on a daily basis I can attest to the need for spaying and neutering. However, there are true health benefits to spaying and neutering as well. This has been confirmed by multiple clinical studies.

Female dogs CANNOT get ovarian and uterine cancer and her chances of mammary (breast) cancer decrease greatly to even zero if done young enough. Males cannot get testicular cancer and their chances of prostate cancer and prostatitis decrease greatly (approximately 85%). Yes, any surgery has its risks but the chances of a dog or cat developing these preventable cancers is far greater.

Vaccinations: Rabies vaccination of cats and dogs is not an option for pet owners, but a law, period. Rabies is a disease that can be transmitted to humans and is FATAL, no if, and or buts. That is why rabies vaccination is required and other vaccinations are not regulated by the government and can be given by their owners. Do not take chances with rabies vaccination.

Deworming: Your dogs and cats should have a fecal exam at least 1-2 times yearly. Internal parasites such as roundworms, hookworms, and tapeworms can be spread to you and your children. They can lead to organ disease and blindness in people. Taking good care of your pets can also benefit the health of your family.

I always hope through education that pet owners get factual information regarding healthcare for their pets.

Take care and here's to healthy and happy humans and pets.

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