Posts Tagged dog health

Does My Dog Really Need a Yearly Vet Visit?

BY DR. MARTY BECKER DVM
From VetStreet.com

Q. My vet won’t refill my dog’s heartworm medication if I don’t bring my dog in at least once a year. He says it’s for the good of my dog. I say it’s for the good of his bank account. Who’s right?

A. I have to side with your veterinarian on this one. Your vet would be doing your dog a disservice if he prescribed a medication to a pet he never saw. Your veterinarian also needs to follow both the law and the guidelines of ethical practice, both of which demand that prescriptions be written only for animals actively under his care — which they cannot be if they’re never in his exam room.

Prevention Is the Key to Good Health

Annual examinations (or at least twice-yearly for some pets) are the cornerstone of a good preventive care regimen, and preventive care is critical for your pet’s health. You may even save money when you can work with your veterinarian to tweak your pet’s care in order to prevent health problems from occurring (changing his diet, for example, to help prevent or reverse obesity), or to catch and treat illness earlier – hopefully before it can adversely impact your pet’s quality of life. The approval of another year’s worth of heartworm medication, as well as a review of all other medications, is part of that process.

I know many people accept the need for that first heartworm test, but balk at subsequent ones. They argue that they’ve given the medications as prescribed and their pets should be heartworm-free. Problem is, we’re only human. Studies show that not all pets get all their heartworm preventive doses, leaving room for infection. Your veterinarian needs to make sure your pet isn’t carrying these parasites despite your best intentions. That means you’ll need to take him in for a heartworm test at regular intervals.

Finally, there’s the question of where you buy your medications. These days it’s relatively easy to buy prescription medications from questionable Internet suppliers. The temptation to do so can be very strong, especially when money is tight. But the U.S. Food and Drug Administration warns against such purchases, noting that these operations may be selling expired, counterfeit or contaminated drugs. Not good! Work with your veterinarian to make sure your pet is taking the right medications and that you’re getting them from a reliable supplier.

In the interests of your pet’s health and your bank account, may I suggest a compromise? Schedule that all-important wellness check, and then ask your veterinarian about cost-saving options, such as price matching (some vets do), or writing a prescription for a reputable local or online pharmacy. Even better, your veterinarian may offer competitive prices through an Internet shopping portal.

The bottom line is this: Don’t skip that yearly visit. You’ll be doing your dog — and your wallet — a favor.

Posted in: dog flu, Dog Health, Dogs, Uncategorized, Westminster Veterinary Group

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Dental Health: How to comfortably brush your pet’s teeth By Dr Kim Tran

By Dr Kim Tran

Dental health WVG pet blog

(Above, a before picture of a dog with severe dental plaque and dental disease)

 Dental health WVG pet blog

Dental health is extremely important to the overall health of your pet, whether a cat or a dog! 

Tartar levels have been correlated with heart disease and kidney disease. We believe it is because the dental tartar creates a pocket of bacteria that are shed to the rest of the body through the blood stream. 

Dental tartar starts to build up earlier for small dogs, who can also be born with defects such as retained deciduous teeth, a condition where the baby teeth do not fall out. Tartar is trapped between the teeth and severe dental disease between them can cause the loss of both the baby teeth and adult teeth. 

Dogs with short faces can also have more crowding in their mouth. The close contact of the teeth can lead to food being trapped between them and eventually severe dental disease.

Dogs who overgroom and eat hair can get it stuck between their teeth. The trapped hair can collect food particles and cause severe dental disease. 

Routine dental cleanings can prevent painful, abscessed teeth, allow removal of diseased teeth, and keep breath smelling fresh and clean. 

Dogs are put under full anesthesia to allow us to clean under the gum line and remove severely diseased teeth. 

Keeping a pet’s teeth clean greatly enhances their quality of life. Clean teeth create fresh breath, and give you peace of mind.  

Teaching dogs how to accept having their teeth brushed can slow the progression of dental disease, and keep their teeth healthy longer. 

How to comfortably brush your pet’s teeth. Our technician Jesse demonstrates with her dog Hendrix, who loves getting his teeth brushed! 

 Dental health WVG pet blog

First, gently introduce the dog-specific toothpaste to your dog’s mouth. He or she often likes the flavor and will take it well. 

Dental health WVG pet blog

Now, gently introduce the brush to the front teeth and use gentle circular motions to clean the surface of the teeth. In general, without preexisting crowding, the front teeth tend to be cleaner than the back chewing molars.

Posted in: Blog, Cat Health, Dental health, Dog Health, Exotic Pet Health, Pet Health, Westminster Veterinary Group

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