Preventative Care: A Path to Wellness

At Diamond Hill Animal Clinic, we believe preventative care is the cornerstone of a long, healthy life for your pet. An annual exam, coupled with parasite prevention, can help detect health issues early and allow your pet to receive the best care possible. The doctor will perform a full examination of their ears, eyes, heart and internal organs to ensure their overall wellbeing. The veterinarian will also discuss issues such as anxiety, dietary needs and dental care. Annual examinations are important for all animals, from puppies and kittens to senior dogs and cats. Puppies and kittens even require extra visits during their first few months of life for very important vaccinations. For senior pets (pets that are seven years of age or older), we recommend yearly blood work as a proactive step in prevention of and/or early treatment for illnesses that tend to affect our pets as they get older. We strongly recommend that all dogs and cats visit the veterinarian’s office at least once every year. In addition to their annual exam, you as a pet owner can provide preventative care year round from parasites, both internal and external.

Heartworm Disease

Contrary to popular belief, heartworms are not worms that you can see in your pet’s stool – they don’t live in the gastrointestinal tract. Heartworms live in the blood of an infected animal. Heartworms are transmitted through the bite of an infected mosquito. If treatment is not delivered promptly, heartworm disease can be fatal for dogs. There is currently no effective treatment for heartworm disease in cats.

To prevent a heartworm infection, all dogs and cats should be on a monthly heartworm preventative such as Sentinel or Revolution.  All puppies and kittens should start a heartworm preventative regimen around 8 weeks of age and continue that regimen year round for their entire life. Heartworm preventatives are available by prescription only and are not available over-the-counter.

All dogs over one year of age are required to have an annual exam with a heartworm test in order to purchase heartworm prevention. All cats are required to have an annual exam in order to purchase heartworm prevention.

Fleas and Ticks

These external parasites are not only a pain for pets, but also for pet owners. Fleas can infest entire homes in a very small period of time and ticks are a source of illness for pets and humans alike. The best way to prevent fleas and ticks is to use a monthly preventative.

Many pet owners mistakenly believe that flea and tick preventatives are only required during the warmer months of the year. This is not true: fleas simply move inside during the winter time and ticks are almost always present in New England year-round. It simply doesn’t get cold enough in our climate to completely eliminate them. They can survive in sub-zero temperatures!

For topical preventatives, Diamond Hill Animal Clinic recommends Nexgard or Parastar Plus for dogs. For cats, we recommend Revolution*, as it is the most effective topical flea  preventative in felines.

We do not recommend using pet store brand flea and tick preventatives such as Hartz, Biospot or Sentry as these products are not rigorously tested and we have seen them cause severe medical problems in dogs and cats.

Intestinal Parasites

Intestinal parasites are organisms that live in the gastro-intestinal tract of cats and dogs. Some common intestinal parasites include Roundworms, Tapeworms, Hookworms, Whipworms, Coccidia and Giardia. We recommend a yearly fecal test to rule out or identify parasites early. Most parasites are fairly simple to treat with a prescription de-wormer over the coarse of a few days or weeks. However, if left untreated, intestinal parasites can cause illness, including vomiting, diarrhea and dehydration in pets.

1-800-PETMEDS and Other Online Pharmacies

We understand that you may want to purchase your pet’s preventative care products online. Diamond Hill Animal Clinic recommends one online pharmacy, VetSource, as this is the only online pharmacy that works directly with your veterinarian’s office. Any other online pharmacy is not purchasing their product direct from the manufacturer. We believe this practice is risky: you don’t know where the medications are coming from and you don’t know if they are being properly stored. In addition, when purchased direct from the manufacturer, your pet’s medication may have a guarantee.

While we do not endorse the use of these online pharmacies, we will fill these prescription requests so long as your pet is up to date with an exam and the required testing to receive the medication.

Copyright by Diamond Hill Animal Clinic 2017. All rights reserved.