Top Five Things Pet Owners Do Not Know About Their Pets | Family Veterinary Hospital of Stone Ridge

LWMJanFeb2015-smallfinal_Page_33Routine appointments with pet owners can often end in surprises, for the veterinarians and oftentimes for the pet owner. Veterinarians must be on the lookout for existing problems with the pet, and potential problems that can be avoided. The second part of most appointments is educating pet
owners about things they may not have known. The following are just 5 of the most routine topics that seem to catch pet owners unaware.

Pets Get Asthma and Allergies, too. Virtually every day vets are presented with pets exhibiting these symptoms, and practically all are caused by one culprit— allergies. Like April showers bringing May flowers, the increased pollen brings in a lot of suffering allergic pets to the vet. Management for your pet is very similar to management of people with inhalant allergies and eczema. Speaking as a mom with an eczema child, I can truly relate.

Water is our skin’s friend. One of my biggest pet peeve (as a vet) is to hear clients tell me that they were told not to bathe their pet but once every 2-3 months. This needs to be debunked. Bathing is one of the most important treatments in the allergy-suffering pet. Pets spend a lot of time outdoors.
Allergic pets not only inhale their allergens but wear it too—on their fur, when they are rolling around in the grass. Frequent bathing helps to wash off the allergens that may be making them itchy. It helps clean the skin and prevent a secondary skin infection resulting from constant scratching, licking or chewing.

Other allergy treatments include antihistamines, lotions and creams, antibiotics and antifungals for secondary skin infection and omega 3 fatty acids.

Virtually every day vets are presented with pets exhibiting these symptoms, and practically all are caused by one culprit— allergies. Like April showers bringing May flowers, the increased pollen brings in a lot of suffering allergic pets to the vet. Management for your pet is very similar to management of people with inhalant allergies and eczema. Speaking as a mom with an eczema child, I can truly relate.

Water is our skin’s friend. One of my biggest pet peeve (as a vet) is to hear clients tell me that they were told not to bathe their pet but once every 2-3 months. This needs to be debunked. Bathing is one of the most important treatments in the allergy-suffering pet. Pets spend a lot of time outdoors.
Allergic pets not only inhale their allergens but wear it too—on their fur, when they are rolling around in the grass. Frequent bathing helps to wash off the allergens that may be making them itchy. It helps clean the skin and prevent a secondary skin infection resulting from constant scratching, licking or chewing.

Other allergy treatments include antihistamines, lotions and creams, antibiotics and antifungals for secondary skin infection and omega 3 fatty acids.

Pets will eat the strangest things, and a good pet owner should pet-proof their home until they know what their 4-legged friend is willing to chew on. Yorkshire terriers seem to especially enjoy plastic. Second only to spays and neuters, retrieving objects from a pets stomach is the most common surgical procedure that a vet may do. Pets (cats as well as dogs) may ingest clothing, small toys, or objects which may have food on them, such as a spoon that may have been used to scoop wet pet food. Also, pets do not remember negative consequences of ingesting something they should not have.

It is not normal for pets to vomit, i.e. blaming that darn hairball again. If you have a cat, you know about hairballs. If you have a dog, you know about regurgitated food. While these may seem like normal behavior for pets, it could be indications of a need for a diet change or more severe medical problems. Even if your pet has always eaten the same food, over time your pet’s digestive system may become intolerant to what it normally eats. Your cat may need more oils in its diet to help pass hair it ingests. Your dog may have trouble chewing its food or swallowing due to soreness of its teeth caused by teeth cavities or fractures, resulting in your pet swallowing before the food is properly chewed.

What your pets can give you. Research has shown that owning a pet has a causal effect of lowering their owner’s blood pressure. Pets can also provide companionship, and in rare instances actually save their owners lives (like barking during a fire or protecting our homes.) However, a pet’s health is not completely independent of their owners. There are some diseases that can be spread from pets to humans, and from humans to pets.

Rabies is a well-known condition that kills many humans as well as pets worldwide. Vaccinating your cats and dogs, even if they are indoor pets is the law in many jurisdictions, and vets are often required to provide data to authorities concerning each pet’s rabies vaccine status. Due to the incredible risk of this deadly disease, a vet may refuse continuing care of an unvaccinated pet because of the risk posed to the staff. Being bitten or scratched
by an unvaccinated pet may mean quarantine of the pet for many weeks, and precautionary shots for the veterinarian and their staff until the pet is shown to be rabies-free.

Lastly the most common surprise among pet owners is two fold. Diagnose first and treat the symptoms second. Take the guess work out of the plan by prescribing with proper medication according to the Doctor, ordering x-rays and other tests when required and always follow up with a visit to your Veterinarian. It is all a part of as a part of preventive care your pet and your peace of mind.First, diagnosing a pet’s condition can be expensive, however prevention and early diagnosis is much cheaper than waiting too long. Asking a vet to guess rather than take that x-ray, or running the lab test, is akin to playing the lottery rather than saving for retirement. And your vet takes risks by “guessing”. Your veterinarian must be able to justify to the health department and DEA all treatments made and prescriptions written, and your vet cannot justify before a board of veterinarians that they had to “guess” on a diagnosis. Writing prescriptions for medication without an exam, treatments without proper diagnosis, these are all prescriptions for your doctor to lose his or her license. Also, it should be obvious now that just treating symptoms such as itching, vomiting, and sneezing are going to be more expensive in the long-run than getting that initial diagnosis of allergies, swallowing a foreign object, or having bad teeth corrected.

Veterinarians love challenges. It’s in our DNA as inquisitive pet lovers and doctors. We aim to make pet owners surprised only at how well their pets do with routine care.

By Dr. Hanh Chau, DVM, CCRT, CVA
Family Veterinary Hospital of Stone Ridge
703-327-8425

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