A Lifetime of Wellness
Our veterinary team is here to help keep your pets healthy. The most important step you can take to help your new pet live a long healthy life is to provide regular preventive medical care. This is NOT just about vaccinations. While immunizations are key to preventing many infectious diseases, we also recommend performing routine blood and fecal tests to prevent common diseases, maintaining an ideal body condition score to prevent obesity, keeping your pet’s teeth clean to prevent dental disease and avoiding toxins to prevent poisoning.
Prevent Common Diseases
Prevent common diseases through routine vaccinations and testing. Your pet has already received some vaccinations during his stay at the Humane Society of Boulder Valley. Depending on your pet’s age and new lifestyle he may need additional vaccinations and/or screening tests.
- Heartworm Disease: Dogs may become infected with heartworms, a parasite spread by mosquitoes. Heartworm disease can be deadly if not detected and treated early in the course of the disease. A simple blood test is used to detect the presence of adult heartworms and then a convenient once-monthly flavored medication can be given to prevent the development of adult heartworms.
- Feline Leukemia Virus (FeLV) and Feline Immunodeficiency Virus (FIV): These viruses are spread through direct contact between cats. Depending on your cat’s activity and age, FeLV vaccination may be recommended.
- Intestinal Parasites: Your pet received at least one deworming medication while at the Humane Society. Some infestations of intestinal parasites require additional treatments. Fecal (stool) analysis is a simple test that can be performed to look for intestinal parasites.
- Leptospirosis: A bacteria spread in the urine of wildlife and dogs which can cause liver and kidney failure. This disease is zoonotic (it can spread from animals to people). Depending on your new dog’s activity, this may be a vaccination recommended by your veterinarian.
- Flea and Tick Prevention: Depending on where you live, your pet’s outdoor activity/exposure, and travel plans, your new pet may need flea and tick prevention seasonally or year round.
Prevent obesity through appropriate diet, feeding and regular exercise. We all know that obesity is a serious problem for people; the same is true for pets. When our furry companions are obese they are more prone to heart disease, breathing problems, diabetes, bone and joint pain and trauma, certain cancers and an overall shorter lifespan. The most common reason for pets to be overweight is usually our fault: we either feed them too much, feed them high calorie/low nutrient snacks, or we don’t allow them enough exercise. We need to strive to keep our pets at an “ideal body condition.” You should be able to feel your pet’s ribs through a thin layer of skin and muscle and you should be able to see a waistline behind the rib cage.
- Feed a well-balanced pet food in a proportion that is appropriate for your pet.
- Choose healthy treats in small amounts. Carrots, green beans and freeze-dried meats are low-calorie options.
- Work with your veterinarian for feeding amounts, body condition score assessment and weight monitoring.
- Provide your pet with regular exercise to keep him fit. For dogs, consider activities like walking briskly, jogging, swimming and retrieving. For cats, choose interactive toys such as feathers, balls or paper bags.
Prevent Dental Disease
Prevent dental disease with regular dental cleanings, brushing teeth, chewing activities and diet. Dental care is a critical part of your pet’s overall health management. When plaque and tartar build up on the teeth this leads to periodontal disease which causes pain, bad breath and tooth loss. The bacteria in plaque can spread through the blood to the heart and kidneys causing other serious medical problems.
- Brush your pet’s teeth daily starting at a young age.
- Use toothpaste specially formulated for animals. Human toothpaste can be toxic and is not recommended.
- Consider dental chews, diets, dental treats and water additives for pets who are hesitant to teeth brushing.
- Determine when a full dental cleaning is needed with yearly veterinary examinations.
Prevent poisoning by keeping your pet safe from these common animal toxins (this list is not comprehensive). If you suspect your pet has been exposed to any toxic substance, you should seek veterinary medical advice immediately.
- Household chemicals and cleaners – antifreeze, rodent baits, bleach, insecticides and fertilizers
- Human medications – ibuprofen, acetaminophen, cold medications and antidepressants
- Foods – chocolate, onions, grapes, raisins, macadamia nuts, avocado, xylitol (sugar substitute) and caffeine
- Household plants – lilies, tulips, azaleas, rhododendron and others
- Heavy metals – lead, mercury and zinc
- Recreational drugs
We hope our lifetime of wellness recommendations will start your pet on a good path for a long, healthy life.