Prevention Pays

No doubt you share our goal of wanting your pet to live a long, happy, and healthy life. Dollar for dollar the most effective way to get there is with preventative medicine. Not waiting for something to go wrong, but instead encouraging healthier lifestyles, monitoring changes in blood and body chemistry, and preventing parasites. We’ll help you with this at their annual or twice yearly wellness exams, but it doesn’t hurt to be aware of the common conditions that your pet could develop. Click the images below to see a listing of each species’ frequent complaints.

What is your pet’s age in human years?

age years

Annual to twice yearly wellness exams (depending on the age of your pet) are the cornerstone of good health. At Indian Trail Animal Hospital, we take pride in our thorough examinations which help us prevent problems before they arise. We also aim to find problems early and offer solutions that help prevent discomfort and disease in the pet and save you money! The saying really is true – ‘an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.’ Too often we have clients transfer from other animal hospitals that say ‘wow – I didn’t know there was a problem – the doc never checked his ears (or eyes, or knees, etc) before’. Or, ‘yes – she’s had that ear infection for a couple of years, but we were told it was a chronic problem and there was nothing we can do’. If anyone ever gives up on your or your pet, please call us to schedule an appointment because we have been able to turn a lot of these cases around. Even better, come in for regular wellness examinations before your pet develops a chronic problem that can take longer to treat than it would have otherwise.

How many times should your pet visit the vet each year?

The AVMA recommends twice yearly checkups. Our animals are aging more quickly than we are, so it is important to check their health often to catch diseases before they progress.

The health of your pet and strength of the bond that you create for a lifetime is often determined by some very important factors in the first months of your relationship. It is common, but incorrect, to think that all a puppy or kitten needs is vaccinations (although those are important, too!). At each puppy or kitten visit, you meet with both a veterinarian and technician about not only medical topics, but we spend a lot of time discussing behavior, socialization, and preventative health care including easy inexpensive things that you can do at home to keep your pet happy and healthy for a lifetime.

We recommend microchipping your pet for permanent identification. This is the best chance of getting your pet back home if they should ever be lost. It’s a more common problem than you may think- 1 in 4 pets goes missing at some point in their lives- and should it happen to you, it will be a comfort knowing they have their best chance at finding you again. The procedure is quick and easy and they will be registered for life with no requirement of ongoing registration fees.

Heartworms:

Monthly heartworm is recommended for both dogs and cats. The incidence map of heartworm disease in our area (www.heartwormsociety.org) shows that we are in an area of highest risk of the entire United States. 1 in 50 dogs and cats test positive for this deadly disease in Union County. It is very important to protect your pet year-round and to not forget the cat! Heartworm disease in cats is devastating and cannot be treated –the most common clinical signs are vomiting and sudden death. We have seen too many wonderful pets taken by this easily preventable disease. PLEASE keep your pet on heartworm prevention monthly – our staff will be happy to advise you on recommended products and testing protocols.

Fleas:

We diagnose fleas every day of the year and the most common response that we hear from clients after diagnosis is ‘I’ve never seen a flea.’ Some pets are more sensitive to the effects of fleas than others, but they all carry disease. Tapeworms are transmitted via fleas as is Bartonella (the bacterial agent that causes ‘cat scratch fever’), so it is smart to keep your pets on prevention recommended by the veterinarians and staff of Indian Trail Animal Hospital every month year-round. It has become very confusing for clients to see flea products sold over-the-counter, even some that you have heard of before or generic options that seem like a good idea. Unfortunately, the generics may have the same names listed in the active ingredient but be a different grade of product that isn’t as effective. Plus, these are products where the inactive ingredients are also important because they must spread over your pet’s skin to be active where-ever a flea decides to bite. We have seen multiple cases of partial treatment of fleas when generic options are selected – the top half of the pet may be flea free, but the bottom half is covered! Please let us help you save money and save your pet discomfort by calling or dropping by for advice on monthly flea prevention. All of our staff members have an understanding of the flea life cycle and the products that our veterinarians recommend, so feel free to stop in or call to discuss what may be best for your family.

Vaccinations have been a cornerstone of preventative healthcare for the ages and vaccinology continues to improve as new diseases continue to arise. It is critically important to have a conversation with our veterinarians before vaccination, however, in order to select vaccines and a vaccine schedule appropriate for your pet. Without this critical component, some pets maybe over-vaccinated and some may be under-vaccinated. We will discuss the appropriate vaccines for your pet at the time of your annual wellness examination.

In recent studies a significant percentage (up to 23% depending on age) of animals were found to have disease that could only be detected by wellness blood testing. These pets appeared healthy to both owners and vets during a general exam, yet they were on the way to developing full-blown conditions that, when treatable, could be very expensive and painful. Well over half of these diseases, when caught early, can be prevented by dietary modifications alone, but we need to know about them in order to treat! That’s why wellness testing is so important. Download our brochures on wellness testing to learn more.

We provide FREE dental checks by a Veterinary Technician as part of our effort to keep pets healthy and happy. Periodontal disease is the most common disease that companion animals suffer from, and it can significantly limit the quality and length of your pet’s life. Routine dental examinations and cleanings are an important cornerstone of preventative healthcare. Learn more from our brochure on dental health and make an appointment for a dental check today!

A healthy mouth is paramount to a healthy and active pet, so prevention is key! Starting in the puppy and kitten series, we will discuss home dental care and prevention. Each annual wellness exam includes a dental assessment and further discussion of prevention items available at home. If you are concerned that your pet’s oral disease has progressed between veterinary visits, we offer FREE DENTAL TECHNICIAN EXAMS. Call our office today if you note bad breath from your pet’s mouth!

Did you know that your pet is probably carrying extra pounds which are limiting their comfort and life expectancy? Nutrition is the cornerstone of health and there is much confusion surrounding the best nutrition for your pets. At Indian Trail Animal Hospital, we discuss nutrition at each annual wellness visit as well as assess your pet’s body condition score and make a plan for weight loss if need be. Regular weigh-ins and consultations with technicians can help guide your nutritional efforts and weight loss plan.

Hills Metabolic Diet© is now available for dogs and cats who need to shed extra pounds. This food is designed to raise their metabolic rate and help them to lose weight. If your pet's health is endangered by obesity, ask your doctor if this diet could be an answer.

Pet insurance saves lives and helps families cope with the unexpected. It may be a 8 month old Labrador that requires surgery after eating a sock or a 10yr old cat that was hit by a car that he didn’t hear, but tragedies happen too often. At your annual wellness examination (or puppy or kitten series examination), you’ll have an opportunity to sign up for a FREE no strings attached 30-day trial of pet insurance with Trupanion. If you elect to continue coverage after the free trial, there are no waiting periods for accident or illness like there would be if you signed up on your own.