Q: How often should my pet have an exam and blood work?
A: At Southshore Animal Hospital, we believe that the best way to prolong the relationship you share with your pet is to identify disease processes early and prevent the progression of chronic illness, before it becomes a problem. To keep tabs on your pet’s overall health, it is important to maintain annual exams and blood work. We recommend an examination by your veterinarian every 12 months for healthy pets under the age of 7, and every 6 months for healthy senior patients. Those pets with chronic disease or mobility issues may require examination on a more frequent basis. We also recommend annual blood work profiles to provide a continuous record for our veterinarian to identify trends and specific areas to focus on in an effort to prolong the duration and quality of life of our patients.
Q: Why does my pet need a dental procedure?
A: Periodontal disease (disease of the structures around the tooth--the gums, bone, and connective tissue) is one of the most common problems that we deal with on a daily basis at Southshore Animal Hospital. Periodontal infections, tooth fractures, and oral masses can be sources of serious discomfort for your pet. Additionally, untreated periodontal infections can cause damage to major organs of the body including the heart, liver, and kidneys. Proper veterinary dental care can help prevent your pet from developing painful dental conditions, and can extend their life expectancy as well.
Q: How important is nutrition for my pet?
A: Pets, like people, are unique and individual; they have different needs based on their size, age, and health issues. But no matter what their individual needs are, it is important that pets maintain a healthy weight, eat a nutritious diet, and receive adequate exercise to promote living longer with fewer health issues.
When pets are overweight, it creates a tendency towards diabetes, heart disease, joint problems, and other chronic health conditions. Using our nutritional counseling services at Southshore Animal Hospital will help simplify just what your pet should be eating and how much.
Q: What should I do if I notice visible parasites on my pet?
A: If you notice visible parasites on your pet, call us today and schedule an appointment so that our veterinarians can recommend the appropriate treatment for your pet. Flea and tick preventatives have improved greatly in recent years. These preventatives are safe and effective and come in a wide variety of forms. At Southshore Animal Hospital, we fit the preventative product to the pet's problem and environment.
Q: At what age should I have my pet spayed or neutered?
A: There are several factors that help determine the best age for spaying and neutering including your pet’s breed (larger breeds wait longer) and individual health status. Prior to any surgery at Southshore Animal Hospital, all pets undergo a physical exam and a pre-anesthetic blood screening to determine overall fitness for the surgical procedure. Current vaccinations are required at the time of surgery.
Typical spaying and neutering for most pets not used for breeding purposes is usually recommended between 4 and 6 months of age. Spaying and neutering help with animal population control and prevent unwanted pets. Just as importantly, spaying and neutering can improve the overall health of your pet, and help in avoiding certain reproductive diseases, and some types of cancer.
Q: What are heartworms, and how can I prevent my pet from getting them?
A: Heartworms are a serious, year-round parasitic threat to your pet’s health. After an infection occurs, treatment is not only very expensive, but can also be life threatening.
Heartworms are extremely common in the warm, humid environment in southeast Louisiana, and can infect both our canine and feline companions. Heartworms are spread when a mosquito bites an infected animal and then transfers the larvae when it bites a healthy animal. Unless your pet is taking a heartworm preventative, these immature worms can grow into adults that can cause serious damage to your pet’s blood vessels, lungs and heart, and may even cause death.
There are several options available for prevention of this potentially life threatening disease. A monthly preventative can keep your dog or cat healthy and is much less expensive than having to treat adult heartworms. Our veterinarians at Southshore Animal Hospital will determine which preventative is right for your pet, based on needs and lifestyle.