OCTOBER 13TH IS NATIONAL PET OBESITY AWARENESS DAY
TWICE A YEAR FOR LIFE is the motto for National Pet Wellness Month. National Pet Wellness is the educational initiative designed to raise awareness about the pet aging process, disease prevention and the importance for twice-a-year Wellness Exams for all dogs and cats.
Our pets age much faster than we do. Many physical changes can take place in a very short time; some may go unnoticed by the owner. This is why the American Veterinary Medical Association advises pet owners to bring their pets in to their veterinarian twice a year for Wellness Exams. Twice-yearly exams help your veterinarian diagnose, treat, and ideally prevent problems before they become serious.
However, insuring wellness for your pet isn’t just about exams and vaccinations. Wellness includes working to maintain a healthy diet and weight, keeping teeth clean to avoid dental disease, bloodwork, utilizing the other preventive measures like Heartgard and Frontline, and blood pressure checks for at risk animals. Preventive Medicine is the most cost effective method to help your pet live a long and healthy life.
When your pet comes to see Dr. Sura for a Wellness Exam, she performs a nose to tail inspection. Upon your arrival the pet is weighed. Significant changes in weight, either up or down, may indicate a medical problem. The veterinary technician will then get a current history by asking you questions about diet, activity level and inquire about any noticeable changes in behavior. Temperature, pulse, respiration are also taken at this time. Prior to seeing your pet, Dr. Sura reviews the medical history from previous visits along with the current information provided. On examination, she looks for any signs of concern or changes in the pet’s physical condition. Listening to the heart and lungs, examining eyes, ears, and mouth and palpating the pet’s abdomen will provide Dr. Sura with additional information that is likely to be undetectable by the owner. The Wellness Exam is the first step in Preventive Medicine.
Annual Bloodwork will provide Dr. Sura with insight into your pet’s organ function. In puppies, kittens and young animals bloodwork will detect parasitic and congenital conditions. It also provides a baseline for organ function which may be useful when assessing future health issues. Early detection can make a tremendous difference in adding years to your pet’s life. If detected early, 75 % of common diseases in dogs and 63% of common diseases in cats can be prevented by dietary modifications alone over a one-year period.
- Kidney disease is one of the major causes of illness and death in dogs and cats, but symptoms do not usually appear until 2/3 of kidney function has been lost. If caught early, the animal can live with this condition for many years.
- If a Liver problem is detected at an early stage of the disease and proper treatment is given, the chance of your pet’s recovery is favorable.
- Early detection of Diabetes is extremely important because an early therapy regimen can be more effective and easier on the animal. Detecting and monitoring diabetes early can also prevent damage to other organs.
- Annual Bloodwork is also needed to monitor for possible side effects when your pet is on a chronic medication or monitor blood levels of certain medications. Animals may develops problems related to the administration of a chronic medication that necessitate alterations to their treatment plan, or they may need to have supplement levels adjusted with time.
Diet is another very important piece in maintaining your pet’s health and wellness. Not all pet foods are created equal. Because of their continuous nutritional research and innovation, Hill’s Science Diet is the food that Dr. Sura recommends. When your pet comes in for an examination, their body weight, age, size and medical conditions are considered before a specific diet is suggested. Hill’s Science Diet has very specific formulations to support the nutritional needs of every pet. Feeding your pets a diet with the appropriate nutritional balance and maintaining a healthy weight will help them live a full, happy life.
Dental Health is another vital piece in maintaining a healthy pet. Your pet could be suffering with mouth pain from excessive tartar, periodontal disease or tooth decay. Eating may be difficult and painful. Dental disease can also cause organ damage, specifically to the kidneys; liver, and heart. An annual dental for your pet will help maintain a healthy mouth and fresh breath, while thwarting needless organ damage caused by dental disease.