🌟Ways to Prevent Pet Disease
When our beloved dogs and cats fall ill, it’s not just the pets that suffer, but their owners too. Navigating the world of veterinary medical care (Figure 1) can be financially taxing, and the emotional toll of seeing our pets unwell can be overwhelming. But as Erasmus wisely noted,
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> ‘Prevention is better than the cure.’
Fortunately, many common pet diseases can be prevented with the help of veterinary professionals. By putting in a little effort, you can ensure the well-being of your pets and avoid unnecessary heartache
So how do pet owners prevent disease? There are several essential things that veterinarians recommend to pet owners to prevent disease.
## 1) Regular Checkups
One of the ideal ways to prevent disease is to be aware of the slightest symptoms. Regularly taking the pet to the vet doctor for a checkup can be the key to saving time and energy. During the annual consultations, the vet will perform a thorough physical examination (figure 2). The general physical exam consists of checking the ears, eyes, mouth, and coat condition, checking for fleas, and ticks, checking the heart and lungs by auscultation examination, palpation of the abdomen, and checking the body temperature. If something is suspicious, the vet doctor will perform additional exams like blood work, x-rays (figure 3), or ultrasounds. Either way, a physical examination is a fundamental step to achieving optimal health.
## 2) Preventative medication and vaccination
Veterinarians can prevent many conditions by using the right medicine. Regular preventative deworming is advisable by all vet doctors to help prevent diseases caused by parasitism. There are two types of deworming. External deworming (figure 4) prevents bites from fleas, ticks, mosquitos, and flies, and internal deworming, as the name says, is for the prevention and treatment of parasites inside the pet, for example, intestinal parasites.
There is a broad spectrum of medications with different administration methods, such as spot-on (figure 4) or pills for external deworming. The same happens to internal deworming. Since dogs and cats experience the environment with their mouth, they have a high probability of being infected with intestinal parasites via the ingestion of parasites’ eggs from the environment. Pet owners should do internal and external deworming at regular intervals concerning the medicine instructions. Some medications provide months of protection while others only a month or even 24h. The vet advises owners which medicine their pet should take and how to take the deworming medication, so pay attention. The deworming is done regularly, but the time between deworming administrations should be adequate for the pet’s lifestyle; for example, if a pet is an indoor/outdoor pet or a person in the family immunocompromised, the vet doctor will decide the frequency of administration.
Vaccination is also preventative for diseases (figure 5). It is vital to keep the vaccination of the pet updated and respect boosters’ shots. If owners do not respect the vaccination schedule, it may not be effective. It is up to the vet doctor to decide, but compliance is fundamental for effective vaccinations.
![Color green flea spot-on is being put in the skin of a black hair dog.](https://miro.medium.com/v2/resize:fit:1108/1*68aNzrjWNWmS4jLM2hHEMw.png)
_Figure 4. Owner using a spot-on product on a dog for external deworming. The skin must be visible to put the product in direct contact with the skin. If the product is put on the fur and not directly on the skin, it will not spread efficiently._
## 3) Exercising With Your Pet
Take the dog for walks or let it play in the yard. Play catch with cats also. Just as for us humans, exercising helps pets’ physical and mental health. A few times a day makes a long way to increasing pets’ life expectancy and the bond between the pet tutor and the pet.
## 4) Nutritious pet food
“Food is the best medicine.” Food is the fuel of life. If owners want their pet to have a more robust immune system and prevent disease, good quality pet food is of utmost importance. The quality of pet food is essential, and the type of food, meaning it is crucial to choose the right pet food for the pet’s physiological status. For example, give the pet food adequate for the pet age. If it is a puppy, adult, or senior, neutered or not, if it is a working dog and very active, these are examples of different physiological requirements, which can be fulfilled by nutritious pet food. Talk to the veterinarian doctor to check options since there is an enormous diversity (figure 7) of pet food in the market.
## 5) Good Hygiene
Good hygiene is the key to preventing disease since it removes bacteria, fungi, and viruses. The pet should also have “personal” hygiene. Every week I advise the tutors to groom the pet and clean their eyes and ears and clip the nails if necessary. This way, the fur is well maintained and will also prevent ear/eye disease. Doing this also helps check the pet and notice some abnormal physical changes since owners know their pets, for example, lumps on the skin. Bathing also complements hygiene and should be given with an excellent physiological shampoo. Some breeds require bathing every week; for example, dogs are predisposed to allergies. These dogs need to take a bath with a high-frequency shampoo, while most dogs only need a bath every three months.
Dental hygiene can also prolong the pet’s life expectancy. With the development of pet food, which is mild and soft to chew, it is customary to accumulate plaque. Plaque is a film of bacteria that coats the teeth of the pet. In time, it contributes to gum disease and decay. Owners can use a baby toothbrush with appropriate pet toothpaste (figure 11) to clean their pet’s mouth, or if the pet does not let you clean with the toothbrush, some products have enzymes that can help dissolve the plaque.
In the feeding area, owners should clean the food bowl should every day. The water bowl should also be changed every day. The dry or wet food must be adequately stored not to spoil, go rancid, or acquire grain storage mites (figure 12). For example, dry food should be well-sealed to not contact with air.
## 6) Environment
A stress-free environment is suitable not only for people but also for pets. For example, cats are susceptible to stressful situations (figure 13) like another pet or human, changing houses, and other environmental alterations. Cats can develop diseases very quickly, like, for example, feline idiopathic cystitis, where even without bacterial infection, the bladder becomes inflamed. Dogs can also show signs of stress-related behaviors; for example, in noisy environments or with children running after them, they can start to lick and bite their paws, which leads to dermatitis.
Taking care of a pet is a better way to prevent diseases that can be avoidable. Regular check-ups, a good hygiene routine, and a stress-free environment are the foundation for a happny, healthy pet.
Contributed by MissGorgeousTech
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