Everyone with pets knows how much fun they are but did you know that having pets is actually healthy for you? They have been shown to actually lower heath care costs for their humans! Our pets have been able to lessen depression (don’t you feel better when being greeted by your dog or cat at the front door after coming home from a long day at work?). Then this leads to lower stress levels which certainly has remarkable benefits for your health. And who can turn down a request to go for a walk by our canine family members? This gets us out moving and helps out with our cardiovascular health and also lowering stress levels. The more you look, the more these furry guys are actually benefiting us! I’m sure you can add many things to this list.
Keeping our pets healthy therefore is going to be extremely beneficial to both them and us. The best way to do this is through regular examinations, proper preventatives (ex. vaccinations, flea / heart worm preventatives), screening blood work and plenty or TLC. Once again, the importance of regular examinations, even if your pet “appears healthy” can not be stressed enough. Early detection / preventative medicine is still the best way to help out our pets. We do it for ourselves, why not for our pets?
Most veterinarians these days should recommend yearly examinations for all patients under the age of 7 and twice yearly exams for those over 7. This allows the veterinarian to have the chance to detect things earlier and therefore make most conditions easier to control or treat.
Another important part of the preventative program that a veterinary team can help with is screening blood work. Many times veterinary patients hide outward signs of illness very well so seeing what is going on internally is very important. Monitoring kidney, liver, and other biochemical functions will help identify problems earlier than if strictly looking for a “sick” animal. Once again, this early detection can lead to better, more efficient treatment plans and better outcomes for your pet. Sometimes, radiographs or other imaging procedures are recommended during the preventative examination to help identify sub clinical disease in your pets.
Proper parasite preventatives are also a somewhat overlooked part of keeping your companion at their peak health level. Flea / tick and heart worm preventatives are recommended for year round use by most veterinarians. Living in the Florida, these are extremely important because of the warmer climate which is a perfect place for these parasites to thrive.
Lastly, proper diet and exercise for your pet plays a major part in keeping them healthy. Just like their human counterparts!
By doing these things, your pet will maintain a healthier lifestyle and therefore help you do the same!
Alexander Weber, veterinarian at Beach Park Animal Clinic in Tampa, FL