Tonawanda News

Features

February 11, 2013

CRITTER COMPANIONS: Pets and vets

Tonawanda News — I will admit that at times I get skeptical about taking my pets to see a veterinarian as often as the vet office would like to see them. Much like going to a human doctor, I get displeased with the co-pay, bill, stress, proximity of sick patients and the wait time for the mundane results of: “Looks good to me.”

Some caregivers might wonder why their pet would need a vet if they are monitoring their health on a daily basis. I could write an essay on why veterinarians are important and some caregivers would still bypass their pet’s doctor visit. Instead I will discuss when vet visits are essential, for the frugal pet owner.

An important aspect of pet health is preventative care. Vaccinations should not be overlooked due to health concerns and local laws. The rabies vaccination is vital because the virus can be deadly to both pets and humans. Some states require yearly vaccinations and other areas strongly urge the vaccine. The New York State Department of Health requires the rabies vaccination for all dogs, cats and ferrets.

Most vets use a vaccination that is good for three years.

Other common immunizations include a distemper combination vaccination that also includes adenovirus, parvovirus and often parainfluenza. These viruses cause respiratory infection, neurologic disease, liver disease, vomiting, diarrhea and death. Both are available in one-year and three-year vaccines. Many pet boarding services require distemper inoculation and kennel cough.

Veterinarians, like any good doctor, can read the vitals. Blood work can reveal minute changes in your pet’s chemistry, alerting you of dangers that can be fixed before they become something problematic. A complete blood count, kidney, liver and glucouse levels can be recorded to have a baseline in the event that your pet does get sick. Another vital vets can listen to are the lungs for respiratory problems and the heart for palpitations.

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