What your vet wishes you knew about your pets
Dr. Bryant was recently featured in Canton Family Life. She shared several tips for owners on care and animal behavior.
1) Regular physical exams are the most important thing you can do for your pet’s health. This allows you to tell your vet about symptoms or behaviors that might alert the doctor to problems. Animals naturally hide symptoms. By the time the illness is apparent to owners, it is often late stage and our treatment options may be limited. Clients frequently describe things they think are no big deal, but are signs of a possible underlying disease. Physical exams and blood tests can help identify many of these diseases.
2) Animals feel pain, just like we do. They can’t tell us what hurts and rarely cry or whimper. Animals tend to curl up and sleep to try to avoid pain.
3) Human medications such as Aspirin, Tylenol, Ibuprofen, other over the counter anti-inflammatories and decongestants are dangerous and potentially fatal. Always call your veterinarian before giving any medication to your pet. Many veterinarians will answer these types of questions over the phone.
4) Dental disease is real, and really hurts. Most animals won’t show signs of pain and will keep eating. However, owners describe how much more alert and spunky their pets act after those painful teeth are treated or removed. There are no shortcuts in dental care. There are many people out there in the business of selling shortcuts, but safe and thorough dentistry requires anesthesia and dental x-rays.
5) Heartworm disease is caused by mosquitos which are around all year long in Georgia. No winter breaks for them. Heartworms lead to heart failure and is nearly 100% preventable with a simple preventative every month, all year round. 80% of unprotected dogs in Georgia will get heartworms at some point in their lives. Cats get heartworms too.
6) Most people know chocolate is toxic to pets, but did you know grapes and raisins can cause kidney failure? Onions and macadamia nuts can cause problems as well. Xylitol is a common artificial sweetener in chewing gum, medications and other foods like yogurt. This can cause rapid and severe liver disease in pets. And it doesn’t take much. A half of a stick of gum can make a small dog sick.
7) Food does not equal love in your pet’s eyes. They may surely enjoy snacks. But they will still know how much you adore them, even if you minimize snacks to keep them at a healthy weight.
8) Speaking of foods… quality matters. Many of the less expensive, popular foods are high in fat. This is why your pet likes them so much. Better foods do cost more, but tend to have lower fat contents and less non-digestible materials. This often means less poo! Labeling on foods is notoriously untrustworthy. There are all kinds of gimmicks and loopholes in the claims they make. Just because it’s on the label, doesn’t mean it’s true.
9) Cat foods are a bit easier… the best food for most healthy cats: Canned Fancy Feast. Avoid dry foods when possible. Bottom line; ask your veterinarian for two or three good food options that are available in stores. The vast majority of our patients eat regular store foods and we are happy to make recommendations.
10) If your pet is drinking more than usual, urinating more than normal, vomiting, not eating, sleeping more than usual, is less active or having soft stools…don’t wait. At least call and ask for advice. Most veterinarians, or one of their veterinary nurses, will be able to talk to you and get you some basic information. Unfortunately, waiting to see if things get better on their own, or using old fashioned home remedies, often makes things much worse.
You can view the full article on Veterinary Care in Canton Life Magazine Here