At PVBA we help many pets that are sufering from preventable diseases. As the carer of a pet, we have the ability to take steps to ensure that our pets stay healthier for longer and do not expose themselves to risks. Lets discuss some of these.
All pets can be at risk of getting worms. There are many types and each type has its own effects, symptoms, and method of spreading. Worm infestation can cause your pets general health to deteriorate and can be fatal, not only that they are zoonotic (can be passed on between animals and humans) so if your pet has worms make sure you not only worm them, you worm your whole family. Most wormers are available over the counter from your vet clinic without a consult. They are a quarterly application in the form of a tablet. They should cost under $10 for one dose so are an affordable and easy to apply preventative measure.
This is the most common affliction suffered by pets. Many people do not think this is something that needs any treatment but the reality is that fleas are a parasite and they too can cause the deterioration of your pets health. Not only that, fleas also carry tapeworm eggs so if your pet has fleas they likely have tapeworm too and that means your whole family can be affected. If your pet has fleas it is a safe assumption that so too does your home and yard. The best way to break a flea infestation is to use a flea bomb treatment inside your home (or phone a pest controller), and to break the egg, larvae and adult flea cycle by using a topical treatment on your pet such as Revolution, Frontline, Advantage, or Sentinel. These products are applied as a drop on the back of their neck which protect them for a whole month. Some of them also will kill the eggs and larvae in the surrounding environment.
We do not advise the use of powders, collars, shampoos or sprays as they will only kill the fleas on the animal at that moment in time and as soon as they dry the fleas will return. Some shop varieties can also be harmful to animals and make them very sick. It is always in your pets best interest to get veterinary advice on what to try.
Two things to note:
a) some fleas have now built up a resistence to some brands of flea application, you need to check your pet regularly even after application of flea treatment to ensure it is working. Try another brand if the one you used has not worked.
b) every now and then there can be an animal that has a reaction to flea treatment, this is rare but worth being informed of. If your pet has any kind of reaction please seek immediate veterinary advise.
Like us humans, pets have many diseases that are preventable via vaccination. These diseases are ones that are very dangerous to the animal, and often fatal, if they are exposed to infection and are not vaccinated. If you have pet insurance, most companies will not cover any vaccinatable disease so you will not be able to claim any benefits for vet care resulting from these conditions. Please make sure you ask your vet for a vaccination plan and even ask if they have a Wellness Plan where you can pay a regular small amaount and your pet gets a discounted rate for all their annual health care needs.
You are what you eat. This applies to pets too!
5) REGULAR CHECKS AT HOME
There are small things you can do at home to be more aware of your pets general health. Some of these include:
a) Keep an eye on their urine (if they change frequency - more or less frequent can both be a good indication of illness. Change in colour and smell can also be an early warning to underlaying health issues)
b) Be aware of any changes in their poo (I know, this is not a fun part of parenthood but seriously, it is a good early warning sign of illness if there is any change in frequency, colour, and consistency)
c) always run your hands all over their body on a regular basis looking for lumps, bumps, hair-loss, cuts, rashes, parasites, and tender spots. Get your pet used to these checks regularly from the start.
d) Look into their ears and make sure they are clean, dry, and have no unusual odours.
e) Feel their paws and check their claws. Elderly or inactive cats can have claws that grow back into their pads. Dogs often get grass seeds between the toes.
f) check the mouth for clean healthy teeth, gums, and tongue. Any change to eating habits, breath, or gum colour can be a vital sign that your vet needs to know as this may be a warning sign of tooth decay, gum disease or oral tumours.
A benefit of getting your pet used to this is that when they do end up at the vet they are comfortable with a vet doing the same. It is very stressful for a nervous animal to have a check when they are not used to touch.
6) REGULAR CHECKS AT THE VET
Add yourself to your local vets facebook page and email list. They often have great specials you can take advantage of like 'Dental Month' and 'Seniors Month' where tests and check ups are a discounted rate. It is good to get your pet used to the vet clinic so that it is not nervous should it need to go for treatment. If you take your dog or cat for regular drives, stop by your vet and just ask the reception nurse to give it a quick pat or treat, so that they know that not all vet visits end in pain, treatments and surgeries.
An annual check up is advisable just to make sure your pet is always in peak condition.
A well groomed pet is not just for visual pleasantries, it is also for the well being of the animal. A knotted coat can restrict movement and harbour parasites and larvae, and it can also encourage bacterial infections of the skin as the animal can't easily get to that area to clean. In summer your longer haired animals may need clipping and shaving to better cope with a hot Australian summer. If you brush your pet regularly from early on, they will grow to love the bonding time it gives you together and the massaging effect a gentle brushing can give. Always keep nails clipped short, especially in indoor animals, and less active seniors who do not get the opportunity to wear their nails down. Check that ears are clean and always look in the mouth to check that teeth are clean and not chipped and broken and gums aren't inflamed and red or white. Get puppies and kittens used to being handled all over from young.
JUST FOR THE DOGGIES:
Preventative care includes providing your puppy with the appropriate socialisation, training and obedience classes. It is very important for you to have a well trained dog so that it minimises the chance of any issues whilst in public places. If you have trouble with recall, ensure your dog is always on a leash. if your dog is nervous, there are now wonderful collars and coats that alert other dog owners to this so they can be prepared and approach with respect to your dogs needs.
JUST FOR THE PUSSY-CATS:
There is a growing trend of wonderful people who are building cat enclosures and netting off their backyards to ensure that not only are their precious feline friends always safe and contained, but also so that wildlife and neighbours properties are being left in peace, free of straying cats who might cause some trouble in their path. There are some fantastic companies who can build cat enclosures for you (Such as Secureakat and Catmax) or you can build one yourself. It is the only way to ensure your beloved doesn't join the vast number of cats every day in Perth who go missing and are never found (despite having identification and it being totally out of character for them to even leave their yard).