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Why should I microchip my pet?
Each day pets wander from home, escape through and open gate, and one way or another, become lost. Collars fall off and many pets are never found again. If the pet is picked up and taken to an animal shelter or a veterinary hospital that does have a microchip reader, than once the pet is scanned, the pet can be returned back to you, the owner. A microchip is a small chip that is encoded with a series of numbers that can be traced back to the owner through a central tracking system. Once the owner is identified, the owner can be called and the pet can be reunited with its owner. So, even if you think your pet will not stray from home, accidents happen and this is a safe and inexpensive way to give your pet the best chance of getting back home to you.
Why should I have a fecal (stool) test done on my pet? I check the stool and I do not see any worms.
Most of the parasites that pets have live in the intestinal tract and are not commonly passed out as a whole worm. The purpose of the stool check is to examine the feces of the pet under the microscope to look for eggs of the parasites. The eggs themselves are microscopic, hence, very small, and cannot be seen with the naked eye. Some of the parasites that pets might have are called protozoa and these may only be a cell in size (very small!). These are parasites but not the wormlike creatures that we think of when we think of intestinal worms, but they still exist and can be present in the pet's stool.
Should my pet be on flea control?
Fleas are a pesky little parasite that lives on the skin of may warm blooded animals. Fleas bite the pet, walk around on the pet's body and cause a lot of irritation and bother to the pet. These days there are new flea products that make flea control much easier on the pet and easier on the owner to apply or administer. Most of these products are used only on a monthly basis. A once a month application is quite a change form years past when flea control involved baths, dips, and sometimes-daily application of topical insecticides. In our area of Southern California where the climate is warm and nice most of the year, we recommend that pets be on flea control the entire year. For those of you in northern climates, where you have a true winter, flea control will only be necessary in the warm and hot months of the year.
What flea control is best?
Each veterinary hospital will have different recommendations for flea control. At All Pets Medical Centre, we carry two products, Advantage and Program. Different pets may benefit from one or the other or sometimes use of both of the products, hence I would have to say that there is not one "best" flea product in my mind. Generally, we suggest that most pets be on Program year around and then add Advantage if the pet has an allergy to fleas. Many of our clients add Advantage to their flea control regimes during the summer months and this seems to help greatly.
Is it ok to free feed my dogs and cats?
The answer to that question all depends on the individual dogs and cats. Many pets do not do well with this system as they overeat and become obese. Once the pet is overweight, weight loss is not an easy task. Hence, as with many situations, prevention is the key. Other pets only eat when hungry and will not become overweight. If you elect to feed your pet set meals rather than free choice, than two meals daily rather than one is best. This way the pet is not hungry a lot of hour in the day.
When should I have my dog or cat spayed?
We recommend all dogs and cats that are not being bred or showed be spayed. In the past, it was recommended that a dog should go through a first heat cycle prior to spaying. It has since been shown that there is about a 300 time less chance that a dog will develop mammary or breast cancer later in life if the dog is spayed BEFORE the first heat cycle. As dogs generally come into heat between 5 and 10 months of age, we recommend spaying when they are 3 to 4 months of age, so that the pet will be spayed PRIOR to the first heat cycle. Cats should also be spayed 3 to 4 months of age as they can start their heat cycles at 5-6 months of age also. Pets spayed at young ages appear to handle the procedures well and we strongly recommend spaying for both health reasons for the pet in addition to helping with population control.
Should I do annual blood work on my dog and cat?
Preventive medicine is the key for both our pets and us. The reasons for annual blood work are to uncover sub clinical problems before they are evident. When pets get older, performing blood work twice a year should also be considered.
I recently noticed a growth on my pet. What should I do?
We recommend that anytime you find a growth on your pet that your pet has a physical examination with your veterinarian. Depending on the type of pet, the age of the pet, the way the tumor looks and feels and how fast it is growing, will determine whether the tumor should be removed or not. Generally speaking, tumors that are rapidly growing should be removed and biopsied.
Does spaying and neutering a dog or cat cause that pet to gain weight?
For reasons not completely understood, about 50% of dogs and cats that are spayed or neutered will gain weight following the procedure. As with people, exercise and dietary restriction can prevent a pet's weight from becoming a problem.
At what age should I switch my pet to d senior diet?
Recommendations vary for breed and sizes of dogs as to when to switch a dog to a diet formulated for senior pets. As a general rule, the giant breeds should be switched to a senior food at 7 years of age, and all others at 10 years of age. These numbers are not magic, but as pet ages, their nutritional needs change and hence their diet should change also. Cats should be switched to a senior diet at 10 years of age. Once again, no magic, but that is my recommendation and that of many others.
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