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Resist Dr. Google

For Pet Care, Avoid The Wild, Wild World Wide Web

 

The digital information age has put a supercomputer in almost every hand, with smart phones and instantaneous connectivity to the Internet.

To someone who used six-inch floppy disks at the start of college, I can tell you much has changed, but the caveat of knowing where your information comes from – reliable source versus good intentioned but misinformed versus advertising – hasn’t changed. In fact, with the Internet, I think it has become harder to discern what is good information.

For pet information, always rely on your veterinarian – it’s what we do day in and day out with our training in medicine and physiology. Life is moving ever faster at the speed of thumbs, but so has animal medicine.

Here are a few facts to consider:

Myth 1: To help save cost, monthly oral heartworm preventative can be given every 60 days rather than 30.

Fact: WRONG! This is so dangerous for our patients. Oral heartworm preventative should be given every 30 days – if later than 35 days, there is a risk for being infected by a heartworm-carrying mosquito. There are longer acting treatments such as ProHeart6 injections, which are given every six months. But if your pet is on an oral preventative, plug in to your phone a reminder to give every 30 days.

Myth 2: A warm nose means my dog or cat is sick.

Fact: A warm nose is a warm nose – normal body temperature range for cats and dogs is 100 to 102.5 degrees, so they will feel warmer to touch without having a fever. Better to monitor for concerning signs of illness such as persistent loss of appetite, decreased energy/activity, vomiting, diarrhea or other clinical concerns.

Myth 3: Animals eat grass to make themselves vomit.

Fact: This is variable. Some definitely may eat grass to induce vomiting as a means to helping with an upset stomach, but the majority likely eat a little grass as salad due to some of the nutrients in grasses like potassium and chlorophyll. Just make sure if your cat or dog is a grass nibbler, that what they eat has no sprayed chemicals or pesticides.

Myth 4: Dogs and cats don’t need dental care.

Fact: This is so very wrong. Just like us, pets suffer from periodontal disease, broken teeth, enamel defects and more.

If left untreated, these will lead to painful infections, loss of teeth and can promote damage and disease in the heart and kidneys. Regular dental examinations with professional veterinary dental cleanings under anesthesia are best in combination with daily home dental care.

Myth 5: My cat or dog was vaccinated as a kitten or puppy and doesn’t need more vaccinations.

Fact: Again, this is wrong. The vaccinations given to our pet cats and dogs are for common diseases and a single vaccination does not give lifetime protection. Rather, immunity to life-threatening diseases such as rabies is created by appropriate boostering to “remind” the immune system of potential threats.

Not every pet needs all vaccinations, but every pet deserves to be protected with a vaccination plan to accounts for their age, lifestyle risks and regional disease pressures.

Dr. Margot can be reached at parkhillvet.com.


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