“Doctor, what would you do if this was your pet?”

This is probably the question that I am asked most often during appointments and it is difficult to answer at times primarily because I often see animals that haven’t seen a veterinarian in years, the pet has severe dental disease, and the length of time of the current condition is unknown. I decided to let my clients know exactly what I do for my pets in order to keep them as healthy as possible.
1. Yearly exams:

Its the most important part of the “vaccine appointment”. I often find lumps or bumps, or issues that aren’t normally seen by someone who isn’t a vet, especially heart murmurs that may have significant consequences years down the road.

2. Keep up to date on our vaccine protocol:

With all the news about vaccines, and how they can cause problems, I don’t believe enough attention is paid to the lack of diseases out there because of vaccines. For example, Canine Distemper is a very rare disease now thanks to vaccinations. Rabies is required by law, even for indoor cats. If I have an unvaccinated or undervaccinated animal that could be exposed to Rabies, law requires that the client quarentine the pet under lock and key for up to 6 months. A vaccinated animal requires a Rabies booster vaccine if there is a potential of exposure with little to no quarentine.

3. Routine bloodwork:

Any animal that I own over 7 gets yearly bloodwork. Any chronic life-threatening disease is best managed as early as possible. Normal routine bloodwork allows me to establish a time frame for chronic diseases. Later, if an issue arises, I can say, “well, on this date, your pet’s bloodwork was normal, so we know that this is a recent issue…” which helps tremendously with telling my clients what outcome to expect.

4. Dentistry:

A routine dentistry at 5 or 6 will prevent an advanced dentistry at 10 or 12, where several teeth have to be removed.

5. Anesthesia:

Clients are often concerned about their pets going under anesthesia. Any pet I own that I put under anesthesia at any age will have routine bloodwork. Animals under 6 will have an optional basic preanesthetic profile. Animals over 6 will have a complete blood count, chemistry, and thyroid panel. Anesthetized pets will get IV catheters and IV fluids through the procedure. This will keep blood pressure up and smooth recovery time. It also allows for any emergency drugs given if needed intravenously rather then having to find a vein during an emergency situation.

6. Routine preventative care:

My pets receive flea and tick preventative, heartworm preventative for dogs (which deworms them monthly) and routine dewormings for my cats since one of my cats goes outside and hunts.

7. Quality foods and litter:

As for food, I have several that I recommend, but in general, you get what you pay for when it comes to pet food. Many problems with animals are a result of poor dietary choices. I recommend Cat Attract for cat litter. It is specifically formulated for cats that don’t use their litter.

8. Keep your pet thin:

Purina did a study of two groups of Laborador Retrievers. One group was fed to its “Body Condition Score”. The other group was fed “free choice”. The results showed that the dogs fed “free choice” on average had a higher incidence of chronic diseases like Diabetes and cancer. They required more anti-inflammatory drugs (which are expensive) and lived on average 2 years less than the dogs kept thin. Regular exercise is a must.