One of the most important things owners can do for their pets is giving or applying preventative medications. These “preventatives” help protect our pets from all sorts of yuckky things. Below is some information on preventatives.
These are some of the parasites that can be avoided with the regular use of preventatives!
Preventatives cover parasites inside and outside of the body. Flea and tick preventatives like Nexgard also help prevent tapeworms (which are carried by fleas), and Interceptor also has a basic dewormer included to take care of hookworms, roundworms, and whipworms. We see all 4 types of intestinal parasites here in Frederick! Worst of all, some of these are zoonotic parasites, which means they can be shared with people too.
Cats need preventatives, too! Feline friends who go outdoors, or who live with dogs with known flea problems, can really benefit from preventatives. Frontline will address the fleas and ticks, but Revolution (another topical medication) also prevents heartworms and certain mites.
Preventatives need to be given monthly in order to do their job. This means once every 30 days! There is no “carryover,” which means once every 2 months isn’t protecting the pet for the second month. Most manufacturers of preventatives will guarantee their products, but ONLY if they are given monthly!
Flea and tick prevention is just as important over the winter as it is during the summer. Ticks in Maryland do not die off in the cold, and in fact are searching harder for a warm furry body to live on. If the winter stays temperate, the fleas don’t die off either, and here at Kingsbrook Animal Hospital we have indeed seen pets with fleas over the winter!
KAH’s own Dr. Cook displays Nexgard, a safe and effective oral flea & tick preventative.
Preventatives cost much less than treatment for parasites. Fourteen years’ worth of heartworm preventatives still cost less than one round of heartworm treatment, and usually dogs need 3 treatments. Unfortunately, heartworm disease in cats is fatal since they can’t tolerate the medication used in dogs. Fleas can take up to 6 months to be completely eradicated from the environment, which means washing all fabrics in the house several times and treating all pets (even indoor-only cats) who live there.
*Nutrition Feeding a good quality food that is appropriately formulated for your pets life stage and size is a very important consideration to keeping your cat or dog healthy and living comfortably. Nutrition in our pets has all the same benefits that eating mindfully have for us. Lean meats, fruits and vegetables, grains and lowfat dairy products are all components of a healthy diet for humans. We have faith in the pet food manufacturers that invest in nutritional research that provides our pets with nutritionally viable and complete diets for youth, adult and senior maintenance as well as addressing the specific nutritional needs of patients who suffer from a variety of diseases.
*Healthy weight Feeding your dog or cat the right portion of food daily to maintain a healthy body condition where ribs are easily felt but not seen, and where a waist line is appreciated. Overweight or obese animals suffer all the same ailments that we as people suffer when we are heavier than we should be. Common ailments are diabetes, joint disease, heart and lung disease and problems with gastrointestinal function. All of the discomfort and expense related to these problems can be avoided by feeding an appropriate portion of food and if you notice your pets weight increasing talk to a veterinary health professional about how to reduce calorie intake to promote weight loss and then maintenance.
*Preventative care Taking your pet to see a veterinarian on an annual or semi-annual basis and keeping your pet current on preventative care such as vaccinations, deworming, heartworm prevention, proper grooming, skin and ear care, fecal and bloodwork exams and dental care is a great way to facilitate your pets good health and most importantly maximize their comfort and quality of life.
If you have questions about how to provide these three basic concepts to your pet, we welcome your interest in your pets health and would be glad to answer questions or help you come up with a plan that meets your pets needs as well as your own.