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5 Pet Diseases You Can Prevent With Routine Wellness Care

5 Pet Diseases You Can Prevent With Routine Wellness Care

As a responsible pet owner, you want your furry companion to lead a happy and healthy life. Although you can’t prevent every illness and injury, there are steps you can take to safeguard your pet against many health problems. Routine wellness care provided by our Boca Midtowne Animal Hospital team is the best way to protect your pet from many dangerous—and possibly even deadly—diseases. In this blog, we’ll explore five pet diseases you can prevent with routine wellness care.

#1: Dental disease

Dental disease is one of the most common health issues in pets, with up to 80% of dogs and cats affected by 3 years of age. The problem starts with the accumulation of plaque and tartar on your pet’s teeth, which can lead to a range of problems if left untreated. Although unsightly tartar and bad breath may not seem serious, dental disease can cause severe pain, infection, and tooth loss. Additionally, bacteria can enter your pet’s bloodstream and travel to important organs, such as their heart and kidneys. 

Fortunately, routine dental care can help prevent dental disease in your furry companion. During your pet’s wellness exam, our team can identify dental issues early, allowing for prompt treatment. This can save your pet from suffering and minimize the cost of care in the long run. Regular dental cleanings performed by Dr. Man will remove plaque and tartar buildup, and prevent mild dental disease from escalating to more severe disease and pain. 

#2: Heartworm disease

Heartworm disease is a serious condition in dogs and cats that is caused by the parasitic worm, Dirofilaria immitis. This parasite is transmitted through mosquito bites. Once a pet is infected, microscopic worm larvae travel to the heart and lungs, slowly maturing over six to seven months. Once the worms are fully grown, they accumulate and cause significant damage to the heart, lungs, and blood vessels, which can lead to severe health problems. Without treatment, the disease is fatal.

Preventing heartworm disease is much easier and more affordable than treating an infected pet. Every dog and cat should receive year-round prevention medication. Many forms of medication are available, including a yearly injection we can give so you won’t need to worry about giving monthly pills. Our team will gladly help you decide which type of heartworm preventative is best for your pet.

#3: Lyme disease

Lyme disease is caused by the bacteria Borrelia burgdorferi, which can be transmitted to dogs through a bite from an infected tick. Lyme disease can cause a range of symptoms including lameness, joint pain, fever, lethargy, and loss of appetite. Left untreated, the illness can result in kidney damage, heart issues, and neurologic problems. 

Year-round tick prevention plays a critical role in preventing Lyme disease, and our team can recommend a safe and effective preventive for your pet. Additionally, we recommend the Lyme disease vaccine for dogs who spend time outside, and especially for those who go hiking or camping with their families.

#4: Parvo

Parvo is a highly contagious and devastating illness that causes severe gastrointestinal disease in dogs characterized by vomiting, bloody diarrhea, lethargy, loss of appetite, and severe dehydration. Left untreated, parvo can be fatal, as severe damage to the intestinal lining allows bacteria and toxins to leak into the bloodstream. The illness also suppresses the dog’s immune system, leaving them vulnerable to secondary infections.

The virus that causes parvo is resistant and can survive in the environment for years, so all dogs are likely to be exposed at some point. Puppies and unvaccinated dogs are most likely to become infected and develop severe disease. Since exposure is inevitable, vaccination is the most effective way to prevent infection. Puppies should receive a series of vaccinations starting at 6 to 8 weeks of age, with boosters given every few weeks until they reach 16 weeks. Adult dogs should receive regular booster shots to maintain their immunity. 

#5: Feline infectious respiratory disease

Infectious respiratory diseases, including feline herpesvirus (FHV-1), feline calicivirus (FCV), and feline chlamydia (Chlamydophila felis), can cause significant issues for affected cats. These diseases cause a range of symptoms including:

  • Lethargy
  • Sneezing
  • Nasal discharge
  • Coughing
  • Fever
  • Conjunctivitis
  • Loss of appetite

The severity of symptoms can vary, but in some cats, especially kittens or cats with compromised immune systems, pneumonia and severe respiratory distress can develop. Feline herpesvirus can cause lifelong infection, with intermittent respiratory illness and flare-ups throughout a cat’s life.

Routine vaccination is effective in preventing infectious respiratory disease in cats. Core feline vaccines include protection against these diseases and should be part of your cat’s routine wellness care. By ensuring your cat receives the recommended vaccinations, you help keep them healthy and minimize the risk of them contracting or spreading respiratory infections to other cats.

Routine wellness care is essential for your pet to prevent serious and deadly diseases. If your pet is due for vaccine boosters or parasite prevention, schedule an appointment with our Boca Midtowne Animal Hospital team to keep your pet disease-free.

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