Basic Health Care for Cats & Dogs

Vaccination

Many of the common diseases of dogs and cats can be prevented by keeping them on a good vaccination program.Vaccinations are one of the preventative medicine programs essential to your pet’s happy and healthier life.

Rabies

It is required by law to vaccinate your pets for rabies and to keep those vaccines current.

Rabies is a viral disease affecting the central nervous system. All warm-blooded animals are susceptible to rabies, which is transmitted through the saliva of an infected animal, usually through a bite. In North America, most rabies exists in wildlife, especially raccoons, skunks, foxes, and bats. If an unvaccinated dog or cat is involved in a fight with a wild animal, it should be a suspect for rabies. If rabies is diagnosed, the animal may have to be humanely destroyed.

Dogs: Puppies are vaccinated a four months of age, boostered in one year, then every one to three years, depending on the local laws.

Other Dogs Vaccines:

  • DHLPP & Corona
  • Bordatella
  • Lyme Disease

Cats: Kittens should be vaccinated once at four months and boostered annually. Although the rabies vaccine for cats is not required by law in most counties as it is in dogs, it is strongly recommended because most rabies in non-wild animals occurs in cats

Other Cats Vaccines:

  • FVRCP
  • Feline Leukemima
  • Feline Infectious Peritonitis

Fleas
Flea and tick shampoos, dips, sprays, powders, and collars have traditionally been the primary method of flea control. More recent developments in flea (and sometimes tick control) are topical products such as Imidacloprid (Advantage- fleas) and Fipronil (Frontline-fleas/ticks). These products are applied directly to the skin of dogs and cats between the shoulder blades, to the back of the neck and in the middle of the rump. They can be applied every one to two months. These products have been found to be extremely useful in the control of fleas and sometimes ticks with little or no adverse effects to the dogs and cats .

Ticks
If there are only a few ticks on your pet, they can be removed by applying alcohol or tick spray directly to the tick to kill it. Wait a few minutes and then grasp the tick as close to the skin as possible with a tweezers and carefully remove it from your pet by applying steady traction until it releases its hold. Because ticks can carry diseases that are infectious to humans, do not handle them barehanded. Occasionally the tick mouth parts remain attached to the skin of your pet that can not be removed manually. This may cause a local reaction that clears up on its own after a few days and is usually not a cause for concern. Seldom does a tick bite become infected. If your pet has a heavy infestation, then a commercial insecticide preparation should be used such as a tick dip. Multiple dips will probably be required. Topical Fipronil applied every month will help eliminate ticks on your dogs and cats. Be sure to talk to you veterinarian to find out the safest and most effective products for your pet.

Dental Care
Dental disease and gingivitis are one of the most common health problems in pets today. Eighty-five to ninety percent of dogs and cats more than three years of age, have some degree of periodontal disease. Geriatric pets are most commonly affected by dental disease which can be especially debilitating to their overall health. The bacteria from the plaque and tartar that build up can cause serious illness, including heart disease.

Fortunately, most dental health problems can be prevented. As your pet’s caretaker, you can recognize the signs of early dental disease so that the problem can be treated and prevented from reoccurring. The signs to look for include foul breath, tartar build up on the teeth, gums that are sore, reddened, and receding from the teeth. There may also be pockets of pus from infection and loose or missing teeth.

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