Notes from the Vet – Dr. Jim Lowe: Some Things Pet Owners Should Know…At Least This Veterinarian Thinks So

  1. Your veterinarian prescribes a strength of a specific antibiotic for a determined amount of time to best support overcoming the diagnosed infection. Under-dosing or not giving the entire course prescribed promotes resistant microorganisms.
  2. It has been suggested that aspirin is the most common medication that owners self-treat their pets with, yet do not tell their veterinarian. Aspirin is a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medication and administering another medication in the class concurrently can cause harm to your pet. Full disclosure ensures that appropriate and safe therapy can be instituted.
  3. Flea hypersensitivity is the most common cause of scratching in animals. Unless your pet is on a solid flea prevention protocol, it is very likely that flea irritation/allergy needs to be ruled out before searching for additional causes of skin problems. The presence of even one flea can be enough to create severe skin issues in sensitive animals.
  4. No matter how secure a home is, it is likely that mosquitoes will find their way indoors. Their presence puts your pet at risk for heartworm disease. Heartworm prevention is indicated even in those animals who "never go outside".
  5. Just as in the human population, the majority of the pet population is overweight. When assessing your dog’s body condition against the population, your "skinny" dog may actually be in shape. Clinically poor body condition mandates thorough physical examination and diagnostic tests.
  6. Except for tapeworm segments that resemble pieces of rice and can be seen in the stools, most intestinal worms shed microscopic eggs that require a microscope and fecal flotation technique to discover. Not seeing worms in your pet’s stool does not mean parasites could not still be present.
  7. Alcohol can be very irritating to a red, inflamed ear, causing great discomfort to your pet. Many ear infections may also involve the ear drum (or tympanic membrane), and if the drum is affected, it can allow ototoxic substances (like alcohol) into the middle and inner ear, causing potentially permanent damage. A red, painful, smelly ear demands a visit to your veterinarian. Routine cleansing with a product that cleans, dries, and acidifies the canal promotes healthy ears.
  8. The "cup" you use to feed your dog may be a 20 ounce plastic cup purchased at the ballpark last time you attended, or one-half of a coffee can. Use a standard measuring cup to ensure you are feeding the recommended daily amounts of food for your pet’s weight and age. Overfeeding promotes obesity.
  9. Animals exhibit pain in any number of ways besides vocalizing. Decreased appetite, decreased activity, hiding, or aggression might all indicate discomfort. Be on the lookout for these behaviors that indicate your animal may be hurting quietly.
  10. The solution for some behavioral issues may be easier than we might think.  If your dog tends to bite your neighbor, and only your neighbor whenever they visit, isolate your dog when said neighbor comes over.  If your animal gets aggressive when nervous, consider boarding when having large numbers of people over for holiday parties or events.  Such times can make certain animals very nervous and anxious.  If your pet gets car sick when traveling, consider if their presence on the trip is absolutely necessary.  They may enjoy a couple of days at the doggie spa much more.