Ask Dr. Anna: Preventative medicine with your pets

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A major portion of my job is devoted to keeping pets healthy with preventative medicine.  Preventative medicine includes vaccinations, at least one yearly comprehensive physical exam, nutritional consultation, and intestinal parasites and heartworm medication.  With the proper wellness plan your pet can live longer, avoid painful conditions and by detecting problems early your pet can live a happier, healthier life.  Today’s modern veterinarian wellness programs are so much more than mere vaccines and should be tailored for each individual pet.

Anna Coffin is the Veterinarian at Guthrie Pet Hospital and can be contacted at (405) 282-8796.
Anna Coffin is the Veterinarian at Guthrie Pet Hospital and can be contacted at (405) 282-8796.

Vaccines are an important aspect of preventative medicine.  All puppies and kittens should have three series of vaccines typically at 8, 12 and 16 weeks of age.  The mother’s milk provides antibodies to protect puppies and kittens from contagious disease.  These antibodies start to decrease between 8 to 12 weeks of age and that’s why we start to vaccinate during this time frame.  We are trying to stimulate the animal’s immune system to develop protection on their own before the mother’s protection is completely gone and most importantly before they are exposed to the real disease.  Adult animals should be vaccinated on a yearly basis.

The physical exam is the most important aspect of the visit.  A comprehensive physical exam involves checking every aspect of the animal from head to tail.  During puppy/kitten exams your veterinarian is primarily looking for congenital birth defects and parasites.  Animals age faster than we do, so an annual exam to them is like you going to the doctor every 7 years.  Annual examinations help us to detect and treat diseases early before your pet starts showing symptoms.

In animals, parasite prevention is as important as vaccinations.  34% of dogs in the United States are infected with intestinal parasites.  1-3 million people are infected with hookworms from their pets each year.  The CDC recommends at least once a year deworming for intestinal parasites.  It’s also important to keep the environment free from all fecal material to prevent infection from you and your pet.  Heartworms, a blood parasite, are easily prevented with monthly medication that is only available through a veterinarian. There are 244,000 dogs diagnosed with heartworms every year in the United States. Heartworm prevention cost an average of $6.00/month.  Heartworm treatment can cost $500-$1000 and left untreated heartworms can be fatal. 

Unfortunately, I diagnose multiple cases of parvo virus and heartworms disease every year.  These diseases are easy and inexpensive to prevent and yet pets die from them every day.  Preventative medicine is about increasing your pet’s life span and improving your pet’s quality of life.  If you own a pet, you owe it to them to give them the best lives possible!

Please e-mail me with your questions at ACoffin@aol.com and put “Ask Dr. Anna” in the subject line or mail your questions to 123 West Harrison Guthrie, OK73044.

One Response to "Ask Dr. Anna: Preventative medicine with your pets"

  1. Ggpdf.com   May 23, 2013 at 8:43 pm

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