Mythbusters: Pet Wellness Visit Edition
Well-meaning but misinformed myths abound regarding wellness care for your furry friends. Our Harbor Pines Veterinary Center team would like to explain the facts, and bust four of those myths, to ensure your pets get the best possible care.
Myth #1: My pets rarely go outside, so they don’t need parasite preventives
It would be handy if a forcefield that could repel fleas, ticks, mosquitoes, and other pesky parasites, surrounded your house, but so far, that technology exists only in the movies. Princess may rarely set a pampered paw outside the door, but you, or a visitor, can bring fleas and ticks inside on your clothing, and mosquitoes can fly in open windows or doors. Your shoes can become an intestinal parasite egg dispenser if you stepped on a fecally contaminated surface outside, and then walked around in your house, so indoor-only pets can and do acquire parasites. Regardless of how much time they spend outdoors, protect your pet against these parasites:
- Mosquitoes — Mosquito bites are a mere annoyance to us, but can be deadly for pets, if that mosquito is carrying heartworm larvae that make their way to your pet’s heart, and cause significant damage and eventual death, if not treated. The American Heartworm Society reports that one in four cats diagnosed with heartworm disease were indoor-only, further proving that indoor pets need parasite preventives, too.
- Fleas — In addition to making your skin crawl, and turning your pet into an itchy mess, fleas can suck enough blood to make your pet anemic, and can also carry tapeworms, Bartonella (i.e., the organism responsible for cat scratch disease in humans), and Mycoplasma ( i.e., a blood parasite that causes anemia in cats).
- Ticks — A tick bite can transmit a myriad of dangerous diseases, such as Lyme disease, anaplasmosis, babesiosis, ehrlichiosis, and Rocky Mountain spotted fever.
- Intestinal parasites — Roundworms, hookworms, whipworms, and tapeworms can cause malnutrition, vomiting, diarrhea, anemia, and occasionally death, if left untreated.
The bottom line is that all pets should be on a safe, effective parasite prevention plan tailored to their lifestyle and risk factors. Contact our Harbor Pines Veterinary Center team for help in choosing the right products for your pet.
Myth #2: I don’t need vaccinations or preventives from my veterinarian when I can buy them from the pet store
While vaccinations are available from the pet store, this is a risky route, because you don’t know if the vaccinations were stored, handled, and administered properly to preserve their efficacy, and you may not select the correct vaccinations that will best protect your pet.
When you bring your pet to Harbor Pines Veterinary Center for a wellness exam, our team will discuss your pet’s lifestyle, risk factors, and prior history before making vaccination recommendations. For example, the social-butterfly dog who goes to doggie daycare, the groomer, the dog park, and the boarding kennel may need the core vaccinations recommended for every dog, as well as Bordetella and canine influenza vaccines, two risk-based immunizations administered to dogs who frequently mingle with other dogs. During a wellness visit, our veterinary team can also recommend an effective and safe internal and external parasite prevention program using veterinarian-approved products selected specifically for your pet. This level of protection is far superior to a potentially counterfeit, ineffective, or possibly dangerous parasite preventive bought at your local pet store.
Myth #3: I don’t need to schedule a wellness visit if my pet isn’t due for vaccinations
This goes hand in hand with Myth No. 2. At any wellness visit, whether or not your pet needs vaccinations, our veterinarians perform a thorough nose-to-tail physical exam to ensure your pet is healthy, and any potential problems are addressed promptly. Your pet may seem completely healthy when our veterinarian finds a new heart murmur, abdominal mass, or other change that would have remained undetected until it caused problems. A wellness visit also allows our team to perform blood, urine, and fecal tests in our state-of-the-art laboratory, to detect intestinal parasites, heartworms, organ failure, blood cell abnormalities, or other disease states before your pet shows any signs. Thus, scheduling wellness visits for your pets to ensure they are healthy inside and out, and to promote early detection of health concerns, is critical.
Myth #4: My pet is scared of the vet, so I should skip wellness visits
One of Harbor Pines Veterinary Center’s special services is making house calls for pets who would not be seen at a veterinary clinic without considerable anguish for the pet and their owner. During a housecall, our dedicated veterinary team can perform a complete physical exam, recommend and administer vaccinations, obtain blood, urine, or fecal samples, and discuss parasite preventives, much like we would at our physical location. If your pet needs any medications, they can be prescribed or ordered from our online store, again offering you first-class medical care without leaving home. If your pet is a nervous Nellie, and needs to come to our clinic for a procedure or test that cannot be done at home, our team can also prescribe medications to ensure they are as calm and relaxed as possible for the visit. Fear is no excuse to skimp on critical wellness care when you have these options available.
Whether you need to schedule a house call, or an in-house wellness visit for your furry friend, our Harbor Pines Veterinary Center team is here to help. Contact us, to start your pet on the path to good health.