Dental health in our pets can be easily overlooked, allowing serious dental disease to develop.
In young animals, looking for misaligned and retained teeth that can lead to problems is important. As animals age, cleaning away build up and maintaining periodontal health becomes the focus.
By the time we notice the smell of bad breath or halitosis in our pets, dental disease is already significant.
Just like in humans, regular brushing of our pets’ teeth is ideal, but can be difficult. Starting this habit with young pets is a great idea and very effective. If not removed, dental plaque hardens to tartar within 24-48 hours and starts to build on the teeth.
Our pets can hide serious and painful dental disease that can only be found with a thorough dental exam, including x-rays. Anesthesia is usually necessary in most pets to allow a complete examination and cleaning to remove tartar and calculus from the teeth, smooth the surface of the enamel, and address the crucial area below the gumline.
Your veterinarian can help your pet maintain a healthy mouth and nice breath that you will notice every time they greet you.
Ticks cause very serious diseases in dogs, cats, and people. Tick control is important not only for our pets, but for us as well.
Lyme disease, Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever, and Ehrlichiosis are some of the diseases that ticks spread. Ticks transmit Bobcat fever, or Cytauxzoonosis, to cats, which is a fatal disease found mostly in Eastern Oklahoma, Arkansas and Missouri.
Ticks are hard to manage in our companion animals because, unlike fleas, they don’t reproduce on the dog or the cat. They have a life cycle stage in the environment on other animals that we have no control over. Tick control products, available as topical solutions or collars, work well but their effectiveness is reduced over time.
Physically checking your pet for ticks at the end of the day is important in tick infested areas. Ticks need to be attached for a few hours to transmit disease, so it is important to remove any attached ticks quickly. By checking your pet for ticks, particularly in the ears, around the neck, and between the toes, you can prevent disease before it starts.
Talk with your veterinarian about tick control to prevent ticks and all the diseases they carry.
Heartworms are very common in our area and can cause fatal disease in our pets.
In dogs, these large spaghetti-like worms live inside the heart, and lead to progressive heart disease. Adult heartworms produce their tiny larvae that circulate through the bloodstream to the surface of the dog’s skin. Mosquitoes transfer heartworms by ingesting the larvae with their blood meal, and then injecting them into the next animal they bite.
When the larvae are transferred to cats they migrate through the lungs and produce a serious asthma like condition. In cats, even one adult worm in the heart can be fatal. Heartworms can even cause disease in people when their immune systems aren’t functioning normally.
All it takes is a single bite from a mosquito for heartworms to enter the body and start their damage. Preventative medications for both dogs and cats are available from your veterinarian. These preventatives are given monthly to eliminate the larva before they develop. Yearly blood testing is done to ensure the worms are not present.
Protect your pet from the devastation of this disease by working with your veterinarian to prevent heartworms.
As temperatures rise on a hot day so does the risk of heat stroke. Heat stroke can affect us and it can affect our pets.
Unlike their human friends, our pets lack sweat glands to help them with evaporative cooling of their bodies. Panting is the primary means by which our pets cool themselves, and is a sign that they are feeling hot. Plenty of shade and fresh water are a must, but sometimes are not enough.
Heat stress can progress to heat stroke very rapidly, especially in animals that have other health issues. If you suspect your pet is suffering from heatstroke, immediately move it to a cool location and dampen its body to help promote cooling. Call your veterinarian and let them know you’re on your way, so emergency treatment can be started as soon as possible.
Above all, prevent heat stress and heat stroke by providing your pet fresh clean water and a cool place to rest. Let’s keep it safe during the “dog days” of summer.