While we enjoy the warmer weather (or at least a wonderful break from those cold winter temperatures!), pet owners should plan to make a spring visit to their veterinarian for an annual check-up for their pet. Springtime can mean increased exposure to other animals (in your local dog park or the wildlife in your backyard) and it is important to make sure your pet is up-to-date on all their vaccinations. Additional healthcare may include a dental check-up, clipping nails, testing for heartworm and/or resuming a heartworm prevention program.
The veterinarian may also want to assess your pet’s overall health such as body condition, and it is a great opportunity to mention any behavior that your pet has exhibited that you have questions about (i.e., change in activity level, decreased alertness, persistent scratching of a body part) that may be unusual for your pet. If your pet will be exposed to other pets on a regular basis (such as in a dog park or boarding kennel) then you may want to consider additional preventative vaccinations or flea control.
There are a variety of diseases which your pet can be vaccinated against. While no vaccine can guarantee an animal from getting sick, vaccines have been proven to be the simplest, safest and most effective way of protecting your pet.
For dogs, the list of diseases for which they can be vaccinated for include:
* Parvo virus
* Lyme Disease
* Corona virus
For cats, the list includes:
* Feline calicivirus
* Feline rhinotracheitis
* Feline leukemia
* Feline infectious peritonitis
(List excerpted from the Ontario Veterinary Medical Association)
Your vet will be able to determine which vaccines are necessary for your pet to have. They may also suggest some additional vaccines that could benefit your pet depending on your geographic location and exposure to wildlife and other pets.
It is important to note that preventative healthcare is the best kind of healthcare, and avoiding or delaying routine veterinary checks or vaccines could cause major health problems down the road, as well as extremely costly emergency vet care.
A useful tool is to have a record of your pet’s healthcare, which includes a list of vaccinations as well as dates administered, any trips to the vets and any illnesses or medications prescribed by your veterinarian. It can be also helpful to keep track of your pet’s weight and current diet, as the information can be extremely helpful down the road if your pet becomes ill.
It is very important to have a healthcare routine for your pet, to keep them active and healthy in your home. If you haven’t been to your veterinarian in a while, now is the time to make an appointment. Preventative healthcare is important, and your pet will thank you for it!