June 13, 2023

Insights from Our Small Animal Vets: 6 Key Things They Want You to Know

As pet owners, we all want what's best for our furry friends. They bring us joy, companionship, and unconditional love. In this blog post, our Small Animal veterinarians, Dr. Childers, Dr. Fuller and Dr. Coval share 6 insights that can significantly contribute to the overall health of your beloved pets.


1.    Effective Pet Care Relies on Open Communication

For our veterinarians to provide optimal treatment for your beloved pets, transparency is crucial. Be it the duration of missed medications, the accurate amount of food intake, exposure to other animals, any recent travel, changes in the household or the exact moment you spotted an unusual bump, sharing the complete story enables us to offer the best assistance. Remember, the more information you provide, the greater our ability to aid your pet.


2.    Navigating the Internet Mindfully: Rely on Reliable Sources

While the Internet can be a valuable information hub, it's crucial to approach it with discernment. When seeking reliable information about pet illnesses or veterinary advice, it's important to consult reputable sources. Here are some of the best sites for pet owners to learn and educate themselves:

American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) -The AVMA website provides a wealth of resources, including articles, guides, and educational materials on various pet health topics. They offer trusted information and guidelines written by veterinary professionals.

WebMD Pets - WebMD's pet section offers a wide range of articles and resources covering pet health conditions, symptoms, treatments, and preventive care. They collaborate with veterinary experts to ensure accurate and up-to-date information.

PetMD - PetMD is a comprehensive online resource for pet health information. They provide articles, guides, and expert advice on various pet-related topics, including diseases, medications, behavior, nutrition, and more.

VeterinaryPartner - VeterinaryPartner is an extensive database of articles written by veterinarians and veterinary specialists. It covers a wide range of topics, including pet health, diseases, medications, and behavior. The information is reliable and accessible for pet owners seeking in-depth knowledge.

ASPCA - The ASPCA website offers a dedicated section for pet care and health. It provides informative articles, guides, and resources on topics such as pet nutrition, behavior, common illnesses, and emergency care. The information is backed by the expertise of the ASPCA's animal welfare professionals.

Remember, attempting to diagnose your pet solely based on online information is not advisable. Similarly, refrain from treating your pet based on web suggestions alone. It is always wiser to seek guidance from your veterinarian as the initial course of action.


3.    Proactive Pet Care: Act Before Illness Strikes

Timely action is key. It's advisable to reach out as soon as possible. Keep an eye out for signs indicating your pet's discomfort, such as increased lethargy, decreased appetite, decreased enthusiasm for food, vomiting, alterations in fecal matter, and more. By being vigilant and promptly seeking veterinary attention, you can address potential issues before they worsen.


4.    Follow-Up Exams: A Vital Component of Pet Care

It's imperative to understand that follow-up exams hold equal importance to annual exams in safeguarding your pet's health. These exams serve several important purposes, including:

Monitoring ongoing health conditions: If your pet has a chronic illness or is recovering from a previous health issue, follow-up exams allow the veterinarian to assess the progress of the condition and make any necessary adjustments to the treatment plan. These exams help ensure that your pet's condition is being properly managed and that their health is improving as expected.

Post-operative care: If your pet has undergone surgery, follow-up exams are crucial for monitoring their recovery. The veterinarian can evaluate the surgical site, check for any complications or infections, and provide guidance on post-operative care to ensure optimal healing and a successful recovery.

Medication adjustments: If your pet is on medication, follow-up exams enable the veterinarian to assess the effectiveness of the treatment and make any necessary adjustments. They can evaluate the medication's impact on your pet's condition and overall health, ensuring that the dosage is appropriate and that any potential side effects are managed.

Regular follow-up exams foster a collaborative partnership between you, as the pet owner, and your veterinarian.By closely monitoring progress during follow-up exams, you and your veterinarian can review any changes or trends that may require further attention or adjustments to optimize your pet's health.


5.    The Value of Diagnostics: Investing in Accurate Answers

While it's true that diagnostics can incur costs, their importance should not be overlooked. Diagnostics provide us with precise insights into the root cause of an issue, enabling us to develop the most effective plan of action for your pet's well-being. By investing in diagnostics, we gain access to invaluable information that greatly enhances our ability to provide optimal care. For instance, sending samples to a laboratory can unveil crucial details such as antibiotic resistance patterns or the presence of heartworms. This information is instrumental in determining the most appropriate course of treatment, ensuring that the medications prescribed are effective and tailored to your pet's specific condition.

One notable tool we’ve invested in recently, is our VETSCAN IMAGYST™ machine, which allows us to send electronic samples to board-certified doctors for analysis. With a turnaround time of less than two hours, it provides rapid and accurate results to aid in making prompt and informed decisions about your pet's care. This innovative technology enhances veterinary diagnostics, ensuring efficient and effective treatment for your beloved companion. We are super excited about VETSCAN IMAGYST™ and have already seen its benefits in providing valuable diagnostic information in various areas, including:

Blood analysis: Reads blood smears and supplements CBC (complete blood count) results and may identify abnormalities such as "abnormal white blood cell count, low platelet count, and changes associated with anemia".

Urine analysis: Enables comprehensive urinalysis for dogs and cats at the point of care.

Fecal analysis: Detects parasites (eggs in fecal/different kinds of worms, etc) that maybe affecting your pet's health.

Cytology: Analyzes cell samples obtained through fine needle aspirates or other means to identify abnormalities or indications of cancer, infections, or inflammatory conditions. Who wants to wait a week or more to find out if your pet has cancer? We sure don't.

Dermatology: Examines skin samples, helping to diagnose skin infections and skin-related conditions.

While diagnostics may involve expenses, their benefits far outweigh the costs. We gain precise answers, personalized treatment approaches, and the ability to make timely and well-informed decisions.

6.    Embrace Preventive Measures for Pet Health

One of the most effective approaches to keeping your pet healthy is through regular preventive care. By prioritizing preventive measures, you can often avoid the need for complex and costly treatments. For instance, consistent prevention methods can help safeguard your pet against common issues like heartworms, fleas, and ticks. Monthly medications like Heartgard and Simparica Trio can be administered to protect against heartworms, while also providing defense against fleas and ticks. These preventive measures significantly reduce the risk of your pet contracting these harmful parasites, saving both you and your pet from potential distress.

Countryside's Small Animal Vets: Dr. Coval, Dr. Fuller and Dr. Childers

Additionally, regular exams play a crucial role in preventive care. By scheduling routine check-ups, you provide an opportunity for your veterinarian to track and monitor your pet's health over time. These exams create a valuable medical history that serves as a reference point in case any concerns arise in the future. Through these regular visits, your veterinarian can address emerging issues early, offer appropriate guidance on proper diet and exercise, and ensure your pet receives the necessary vaccines to prevent common diseases. By practicing prevention, you actively promote your pet's well-being and reduce the likelihood of more significant health problems down the road. Remember, prevention is often more convenient, cost-effective, and less stressful for both you and your beloved companion.