Prevention and Wellness
Most pets, if not all, will benefit from the prevention of certain common (and sometimes less common, but severely life threatening) diseases. Most times, reducing the chances of becoming ill is much easier and safer than treating an illness when it happens. This being said, not all pets must receive ALL vaccines available under ALL circumstances. We believe in tailoring a vaccine protocol to a pet’s individual needs as well as their risk factors.
In Atlantic Canada, parasite prevention is primarily concerned with fleas, ticks, and intestinal worms. Additional concerns that are less common in the area are Heartworm and Lungworm. These parasites can be anything from a nuisance to vectors for serious disease.
Flea infestations can lead to hypersensitivity reactions (allergies) while ticks spread tick-borne infections such as Lyme disease and Anaplasmosis, Intestinal worms can contribute to chronic diarrhea and in some cases anemia. Heartworm can lead to congestive heart failure, and Lung Worm can cause Kennel Cough like symptoms.
Parasite prevention is most effective when approached through the use of tested and approved prescription products known to be effective through clinical trials and found to have a low incidence of side effects. Natural remedies, while in some cases can be effective, are generally not put through the same rigorous clinical trials as prescription products. We therefore do not know the rate of side effects on our pets. Just because something is safe for humans, does not mean it is safe for our pets. We advise caution when using “natural” or other over the counter flea/tick/parasite treatments.
Checkups and Early Disease Detection
Annual checkups are a good idea for humans and animals alike. A lot goes on with the body in the run of a single year. An annual checkup is generally performed at the time of any annual vaccines coming due. At this time we assess all body systems that are able to be examined externally, as well as collecting a history from you (the owner) about how the past year has gone. We like to know if there have been any changes to appetite, energy levels, bathroom habits, any itching, ear odours, bad breath etc. Maybe your pet has recently become slower on the stairs, or one ear seems to bother him after swimming etc. We can learn a lot about a pets overall condition from a good history and physical exam.
Early disease detection is another aspect of wellness which is gaining traction with the availability of reliable diagnostic testing both in hospital and at external laboratories. This can be advantageous to all pets, but becomes more important in older pets. Annual screening for common age related changes to kidneys, liver, thyroid and other internal organs can often be identified, tracked and in many cases prevented, or delayed through supportive care, lifestyle changes and supplementation before your pet is showing any signs of illness.