2012-06-15 / Columnists

Paws For A Moment

Ask The Vet: A Life Stage Plan For Your Pet
Commentary by Karina B. Salvo, MS, DVM

As summer edges closer the residents of the Rockaways begin to venture out with their family companions and spend time at various events within the community, or simply strolling along our beautiful streets, visiting family and friends. Some of us have recently welcomed newcomers into our homes as others have had their pets for several years. As our pets enter our lives, grow, age and become our ‘man’s best friend’ there are questions that inevitably come up along the way.

Families that have recently welcomed new pets into their homes are often overwhelmed with what their new little friend has now brought with them ... responsibility of sorting out the fine print! Which vaccines are needed and when, should they spay or neuter and when, which food should they feed, which treats can they use, types of toys, types of flea/tick and heartworm prevention, training techniques and kenneling. Who said this would be easy?

As our pets mature and ‘find their place in our lives ... they test the waters of life. Some pets are more adventurous than others and can find themselves in precarious situations! Dietary indiscretion is one of the most frequent reasons that pets visit the emergency room. Even the most careful owner that has ‘proofed’ their home can have the sneakiest of pets! During the earlier stages of a pet’s life comes the time for decision making of choosing preventative measures, obedience training and socialization that will ensure a healthier life for your pet. Dangers exist in making the wrong decisions for our pets that can affect their life in the immediate future and well into their geriatric years. When our pets reach their ‘middle age’ years ... healthcare is just as important during this time as it is anytime. This is the time of life that the years of proper preventative measures prove their worth. During these years, cancer can develop due to lack of spaying or neutering, bad habits are now a ‘way of life’ if appropriate training has not been done and this is the time that disease prevalence increases. What do we do to ensure a healthy life for our pets? What can be done now?

As the years press on ... our pets seem to grow slower with age. Some develop lameness as the years prior they may have undergone knee surgery or have various arthritic changes or trauma. Some pets are predisposed to diabetes, endocrine disorders, cancer and so on due to environmental factors, weight, age or genetic reasons as well as others. How do we change what our pets may be predisposed to in the future? How do we deal with what ails our pets now that they are elderly?

As our pets pass through various stages of their lives, we are faced with choices and as many decisions. Today, there are numerous ways to obtain information about our pets’care and what we should or shouldn’t be doing ... and why. Pet owners are often educated by misleading information that can lead them to making the wrong decisions for their pets based on that information. The Internet can be a great source for information, but can also be dangerous, as there is a plethora of wrong information as well. Today, pet owners are more aware of healthcare needs and options available to them. With the information obtained from media, Internet, trainers, books and videos ... a pet owner can make an informed decision ... but maybe not the best for their individual pet. Not every pet is the same and not every pet “reads the books” or “follows the rules”! It is always best to contact your veterinarian before making any potential life altering decisions for your pet. Your veterinarian is the one who is best educated in veterinary care that includes every stage of your pet’s life. They have the capability and knowledge by working with you in coming up with a lifelong plan for you and your pet.

We welcome any question or comments about our approach to our patient’s healthcare regimen. We will listen to your expectations for your pet and work on a life stage plan that meets you and your family pet’s needs. You can contact us at 718-474-7297 for more information and are welcome to follow our facebook page for useful tips, informative commentaries and articles!

Looking forward to meeting our neighbors!

Dr. Karina Salvo and Staff at Paw- Prints Animal Medical Centre P.C.

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