October is National Pet Wellness Month. This purpose of this awareness campaign is to help pet owners understand the importance of preventive care. Visiting McCulloch County Veterinary Hospital once a year when your pet is not sick or injured gives Dr. Pace the opportunity to check for unknown health issues, follow-up on previous treatment plans, and monitor her weight, growth, and behavior. We recommend bi-annual preventive care exams for senior pets due to their changing health needs. If you have a puppy or kitten, Dr. Pace will discuss the preferred vaccine and exam schedule at her first appointment.
How You Can Promote Wellness at Home
Here are several things you can do to promote health and longevity in your pet in addition to regular veterinary care:
• Feed him nutritious food specific to his species and avoid sharing food meant for humans. Train him not to beg for food and don't give in when he gives you sad eyes. Treats are fine as long as you give them in moderation. Manage your pet's weight by making sure that he gets daily exercise and feeding him a set amount at certain times during the day.
• Care for her oral health needs by brushing her teeth regularly and scheduling a dental cleaning and exam as part of her annual check-up.
• Spay or neuter your pet by six months of age. Not only does this prevent unwanted litters of puppies or kittens, altering a pet helps to decrease uterine and prostate cancer as well as aggressive mating behavior.
We Look Forward to Your Visit
Dr. Pace and the entire staff of McCulloch County Veterinary Hospital look forward to seeing you and your pet at her next annual preventive care exam. Together, we can ensure that your pet remains your faithful companion for years to come.
Although your cat probably thinks it should be every month, September is officially Happy Cat Month. The love and care you provide your cat makes a big difference in his longevity and overall well-being. Cats are wonderful companions who really ask for so little in exchange for the purrs, snuggles, and unconditional love. In honor of this special month, here are some things you can do to give your cat the happy life he deserves:
• Provide several places to sleep and hide throughout your home. Cats need a place to retreat when they feel fearful in addition to wanting privacy from time to time.
• Get your cat microchipped and provide her with a collar and identification tag. This greatly increases the chances of a happy reunion should she ever become separated from you.
• Feed your cat nutritious food, limit treats, and make him work for his food sometimes. Place it inside of a toy or in different places around the house to satisfy his natural hunting instinct. This also gives him much-needed exercise.
• Make sure your cat has plenty of toys and spend a few minutes each day playing with her. Cats are just as entertained batting at a piece of string as they are with an expensive toy from the pet store. Playing with your cat encourages exercise, mental stimulation, and the human-feline bond.
• Place scratching posts in a few different areas of your home to give your cat the chance to sharpen his claws as well as release the natural need to scratch. This saves your furniture too.
Regular Veterinary Care is the Most Important of All
A 2013 study by the American Association of Feline Practitioners indicates that more than half of all cats don't see the veterinarian regularly. Although more than 80 percent visit the vet during their first year of life, cat owners seem to only bring them in when they are sick or injured after that. At McCulloch County Veterinary Hospital, we encourage all cat owners to schedule a physical exam at least once a year. This is important for early diagnosis, monitoring, and treatment of feline diseases as well as to track your cat's growth. Dr. Pace looks forward to seeing you and your cat soon.
It's August, which means that National Immunization Month is here. Just like people, animals need vaccines to protect them from the devastating effects of several contagious diseases. Keeping up with your pet's regularly scheduled vaccines is one of the most important things you can do to ensure her long-term good health. This is true even if she mostly stays inside. Many serious animal illnesses are spread through airborne contact, which means your pet could pick up a virus through an open window. Germs can also spread quickly among unvaccinated pets in places such as grooming salons, boarding kennels, and dog parks.
Essential and Optional Vaccines for Cats and Dogs
The feline distemper shot, also called the FVRCP, protects cats against the serious and highly contagious diseases of Feline Viral Rhinotracheitis, Calicivirus, and Panleukopenia. The canine distemper shot, also called the DHPP, protects your dog from Distemper, Hepatitis, Parainfluenza, and Parvovirus. Most states also enforce mandatory rabies vaccinations for both cats and dogs.
For cats, Dr. Pace may recommend a vaccine for Bordetella, Chlamydia, Feline Immunodeficiency Virus (FIV), Feline Infectious Peritonitis (FIP), and Feline Leukemia based on your cat's lifestyle, breed, and other factors. For dogs, he may advise you to get a vaccine for Bordetella, Canine Influenza, Canine Virus, Leptospirosis, or Lyme Disease.
We also recommend the Rattlesnake Toxoid Vaccine due to our location. Each year, nearly 300,000 dogs and cats are bitten by venemous snakes and experience swelling, pain, tissue damage, disfigurement, and even death. Dr. Pace always takes your feedback into consideration when making these recommendations.
Kittens and puppies should start their FVRCP or DHPP series between six and eight weeks of age. This involves getting the original dose followed by several boosters to ensure strong immunity. If your adult cat or dog is behind on his shots, we can get him caught up at McCulloch County Veterinary Hospital. We are happy to discuss your pet's vaccination schedule at his next well visit exam, by phone, or through electronic messaging.