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Your Pet's Wellness: The Perfect Gift

By: Kat Tigas-Dela Torre, DVMYour Pet's Wellness: The Perfect Gift

Animals may be completely oblivious to the festivities but let them enjoy the extra generosity we feel during the holiday season too. Put your bonus to good use and allocate a small portion of it for your pet. And instead of giving them something frivolous like a frilly doggy tutu, give them the gift of wellness.

Ask your vet about the following:

Deworming – This is one of the earliest treatments your pet should receive after birth. Despite having minimal access to the elements, young animals are still dewormed because some species of gastrointestinal parasites can be transmitted by the dam to her young through her milk. Your veterinarian will know when and what to give your pregnant or lactating pet and her young. Deworming is done on a regular basis, even for fully grown pets. They come in different forms like suspensions, tablets, and even topical preparations.

A type of internal parasite called heartworms can also affect your pet (dogs and rarely, cats). Heartworms are transmitted via mosquito bites and are difficult to control. Heartworm preventive medications are available and relatively convenient to administer. To start, your vet may take a small sample of blood to make sure that he or she is not yet infected with these parasites. Once the test is done, your vet can now give the go signal to start the preventive program. 

Vaccination – A simple way to maintain your pet's well-being is to have him or her vaccinated against common diseases. Most of us are aware of the importance of having our pets vaccinated against rabies, but other types of vaccines are also available.

For dogs, another type of vaccine is what is popularly known as the ‘5-in-1’. This vaccine provides protection against five diseases – parvovirus, distemper, infectious canine hepatitis, leptospirosis, and parainfluenza. Out of the five, leptospirosis has extra importance since humans can acquire this disease from infected animals. It is important to note though that there are different types of serovars of the Leptospira bacteria and not all types are present in commercially available vaccines. Kennel cough vaccine can also be given to your dog, especially if he or she is regularly exposed to other dogs.

The most common vaccines for cats are against the following diseases: rabies, viral rhinotracheitis, feline panleukopenia, and calicivirus.

Treatment against external parasites – Nothing will ruin your holiday cheer faster than a flea outbreak in your household. Not only are flea infestations extremely uncomfortable for your pet but they have also been known to cause an itchy form of dermatitis for susceptible humans. Fleas live off pets by sucking their blood and are the carrier for tapeworms.

Another common parasite is the tick. They are those raisin- or crab-like creatures you may have seen attached to your pet. Ticks also survive on our pet's blood and are the carriers of dangerous diseases, the most common of which is ehrlichiosis. Dogs with this kind of infection may die if left untreated.  Severe infestations from ticks and/or fleas can cause anemia and may result in death.

There are various products that treat against infestation and help control these parasites, such as medicated collars, bath products, topical solutions, and sprays. Before buying, please consult with your veterinarian as these products have contraindications depending on the age, health status, and condition of your pet.

Grooming – There are numerous grooming facilities around the metro that can give your pet an instant makeover. If your pet is extra fluffy, you can even go the extra mile and ask for a ‘lion cut’ or a ‘bear cut’. These will surely rack up some likes and hearts on your social media account too!

Nutrition – Your pet should be given a healthy meal on a daily basis. With the ever-rising prices of daily commodities, budget will surely come into play when considering what food to give your pet. Good nutrition may help protect you against future expenses by decreasing the chances of your pet getting sick and needing treatment and/or hospitalization.

Everybody deserves a little pampering during the holidays. But instead of focusing on just a single month out of the whole year, do Santa proud and be generous to your loyal companion every day so you can look forward to spending a lot more Christmases together.

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