Our thanks to Dr. Patrick Mahaney for this article!
Happy New Year! Have you made any New Year’s resolutions for you and your pet? The coming year is a great time to commit to improving your pet’s health. One way to do that is by scheduling regular veterinary exams.
Routine exams will help you keep your pets in good shape, make any necessary changes, and catch any medical conditions early so they can be treated.
Do you have an annual wellness exam with your human doctor? You should, as your medical practitioner can observe any illness trends to readily diagnose and treat disease.
Apply the same principle to your pet’s health by scheduling a wellness physical exam by your veterinarian at least once every twelve months.
Geriatric pets–usually greater than seven years of age–and those having any ongoing health issues, including arthritis, endocrine disease, cancer, and allergic skin disease should be examined more frequently.
Resolve To Go To The Vet
Commit to immediately resolving any health problems your veterinarian discovers before irreversible damage occurs. One of the main examples which I proactively address in my clinical practice is periodontal disease.
Dr. Jan Bellows, Diplomate of the American Veterinary Dental College, defines periodontal disease as “the disease process that begins with gingivitis (inflammation of gingiva, or gum tissue) and progresses to periodontitis (erosion of the teeth’s supporting structures) when left untreated.”
The oral cavity is a source of infection and inflammation that can also adversely affect the health of internal organs–the kidneys, liver, heart, pancreas, and others–and the immune system.
According to a study done by Purdue University School of Veterinary Medicine professor of epidemiology, Larry Glickman, a statistically increased incidence of heart disease in dogs is associated with increasing severity of periodontal disease.
Your pet will benefit from habitual teeth brushing along with an anesthetic or non-anesthetic teeth cleaning pending your veterinarian’s evaluation. I brush my dog, Cardiff’s, teeth three times a week using a “retired” Sonicare toothbrush and CET Toothpaste, and Cardiff gets a non-anesthetic dental cleaning every four to six months.
Have you made any New Year’s resolutions to improve your pet’s health? What steps are you going to take? Let me know in the comments below!
Dr. Mahaney graduated from the University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine and is also a Certified Veterinary Acupuncturist. He lives and practices in Los Angeles, California, and works closely with local rescue organizations. He also writes for Los Angeles Pet Care Examiner column.