Resolve to bring your pet to an annual exam

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By Dr. Bob Barnes

Special to the Daily Reporter

As is the norm for this time of year, many of us have decided to make resolutions to improve or change something about ourselves or our lives. The same thing can be done with our pets.

Making a point of taking better care of our pets is a very worthwhile endeavor. This, in pets and people, can be anything from training classes to losing excess weight. The possibilities are quite varied and extensive.

Preventative care for your furry, four-legged companions is important. Yearly veterinary visits to check overall health and condition is probably the most important thing that you, as an owner, can do. Minor health issues can be found during a routine physical exam, which may become a major issue if left unnoticed for a while. Dental problems, ear infections and skin issues are commonplace problems that are often noticed during exams.

Vaccinations from the major diseases that can cause serious, even fatal, problems are usually given with a yearly physical exam. These vaccines have been utilized for many years by veterinarians in order to greatly reduce these highly-contagious diseases, especially distemper and parvovirus. Not all situations and lifestyles are the same, and a discussion should be had with your veterinarian in order to determine the best protocols for vaccines for your pet and the potential health problems that can be addressed early on.

The cases of canine heartworm disease, a disease transmitted by a mosquito, have also been drastically reduced by routine testing and availability of preventative measures. This is a routine health maintenance issue that is also done at the veterinary office.

However, the most important aspect of a yearly heath visit is the opportunity to discuss, with a trained professional, any concerns that you may have with your pet. With the availability of information through the Internet, some pet owners have read a bit of information from somewhere that may or may not be true. In some cases, these ideas or therapies may be detrimental to your pet and cause more problems than helping. If you have a concern with your pet, the veterinary office is always the best source of information.

Being proactive to prevent diseases has increased the life expectancy and well-being of our pets a geat deal. It’s overall less expensive to us as owners and, most assuredly, better for our pets.

Dr. Bob Barnes is the owner and practitioner of Mt. Comfort Animal Hospital, 5537 W. U.S. 40. The office can be reached at (317) 894-2800.

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