Yearly vaccinations, parasite dangers and seasonal allergies, the spring season delivers a host of pet health concerns, marked by routine veterinary visits and seasonal treatments.
Dr. John Robb, veterinarian and founder of the national organization Protect the Pets, says it’s an important time for pet owners to be educated about the care they’re getting.
To help keep your pet healthy and safe, Dr. Robb, shares some important information you should know when handling your pet’s health care:
Take Heartworm Testing Off of Automatic Pilot:
Yearly heartworm testing has been a regular practice, and expense for dog owners during spring exams, but Dr. Robb believes testing is not necessary for dogs taking medication all year. “If your pet’s been on prevention medicine all year round, than its unlikely he/she would become infected with heartworms,” says Dr. Robb. He believes the decision should ultimately lie with the pet owner but points out that many veterinarians still require annual testing before giving pet owners more heartworm medicine, even if they have been giving the medicine all year. “This essentially forces pet owners to put their dog through the unnecessary pain of drawing blood and the unnecessary expense of running tests,” he says. If your veterinarian requires a test without talking to you and letting you decide, then make sure to bring it up at your next visit.
Cut-out Cortisone Treatments for Allergies:
Seasonal allergies in pets can cause chronic skin reactions such as severe itching and rashes, and are commonly treated with cortisone shots. Dr. Robb warns that cortisone injections can ultimately kill animals by causing Cushing’s disease in dogs, diabetes in cats and other ailments.
“Cortisone injections must be used judiciously, not as a first line defense. Many times, cortisone treatments only mask the problem ending up costing the owner more money and the animal more suffering in the long run,” he says. If your pet suffers from allergies, ask your veterinarian to run allergy tests, consider allergy shots or food elimination diets, check for mites and also, consider consulting with a veterinary dermatologist.
Know the Dangers of Feline Vaccinations:
It’s proven. Yearly vaccinations like Feline Leukemia, and Rabies, can cause cancer in cats and have been cited to have caused thousands of deaths. Dr. Robb says your veterinarian should warn you of their potential side effects, and help you evaluate the exposure to disease versus the risk of cancer in determining your pet’s vaccine schedule. “Vaccinations are not only costly; they can be deadly,” warns Dr. Robb.” If your veterinarian is not discussing this with you, then you should seriously examine the care you’re receiving.”
Beware of Toxic Tick Control:
Ticks thrive in spring and fall’s cool wet weather, threatening your pet with fatal tick-borne illnesses. Treat your yard to reduce the tick population and your pet’s exposure, and apply preventative medicine to your pet to decrease the risk of tick infestation or transportation into the home. But be cautious when shopping for tick treatments on your own. Some are toxic to cats and not clearly marked as such on the packaging, warns Dr. Robb, who has seen many cats die from the mistake. To be safe, Dr. Robb advises speaking with your veterinarian to get his/her recommendations.
For more information about your pet’s health and getting the best in veterinary care, visit www.protectthepets.com or contact Dr. Robb at 203-312-9419.