Better than a cure

Preventative medicine

Much of what a vet does on a daily basis is preventative medicine. Carrying out procedures and informing clients on how to keep their healthy pet just that way

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Vaccines are generally annual although these days we are heading towards a three yearly vaccination routine following on from recommendations from a vaccine working group of the World Small Animal Veterinary Association - WSAVA - when? It all depends upon when the vaccine manufacturers produce the necessary vaccines with guaranteed 3 years duration of immunity

Vaccines confer protection against potentially killer diseases. One of the greatest benefits of the annual vaccination is also the check up. Indeed you will note that 90% of the annual visit consists of a health check. Giving of the vaccines takes little time

We have both an e-mail and snail mail reminder system for this important visit. If you miss them we do catch up reminders the two following months

In our area core vaccines only are needed. For cats this means a yearly F3 vaccine, since the cat flu vaccine (yearly booster) is in the same bottle as the enteritis vaccine - requiring only a triennial booster

For dogs the kennel cough vaccine is required yearly and the C3 - distemper, hepatitis and parvovirus components - triennial

Worming is essential from the community responsibility angle. Worm larvae can infect children and in extreme cases lead to blindness. Worms can also lead to death of pets (e.g. through severe dehydration and vomiting or even abdominal crises such as intussusception). The general rule of thumb is worm your pet every 3 months. For kittens and puppies do this every 2 weeks until vaccines are completed, then move to the adult regime. During pregnancy worming is particularly important for the mother, but it must be done at the right time. Pregnant bitches should be treated from day 40 of pregnancy to 2 days post-birth. The frequency of worming depends upon the product used. Check the label. Worming a queen cat at around the time of birth is important, do this at the same time as you worm the kittens

In NSW tick poisoning is a big killer of pets. Prevention is paramount. During the tick season of September to March we strongly recommend daily tick searching of your animals and the use of effective tick products. Clipping down your dog or longhaired cat will help in this respect, with the added benefit of keeping your pet cooler in the hot summer months. Note that nothing is 100% effective against ticks and vigilance is important

Please read more in our

in depth tick article

Fleas are probably responsible for more than 90% of skin disease in pets we see in general practice. Persistent exposure to flea bites often leads to Flea Allergic Dermatitis (allergy to flea saliva) which results in chronically itchy skins, and for some pets this is a real debilitating condition. At times it may seem that nothing is working! This often indicates an environmental problem exists and needs addressing, in addition to treating animals

in depth tick article

Given that a year in a cat or dog's life is roughly equal to 7 human years it is not surprising that we recommend that older pets have two routine checks a year (indeed in the USA three health checks a year is becoming the norm). One of these visits is at the annual vaccination time (or the more correctly termed annual health check) and the other occurs 6 months later, the so called 7-plus health check, since we have instigated this for all our patients when they exceed 7 years of age. When your pet has its annual health check, we automatically generate a Seven-Plus reminder six months down the road. These are either snail-mailed or e-mailed out (depending upon your preference), when they fall due

Heartworm is a killer disease transmitted by mosquitoes in Australia. Good compliance by most owners means that its incidence locally is low. Heartworm is a particularly nasty disease and difficult to treat. Prevention is essential, and we should not become complacent, otherwise it will return. Heartworm can also kill cats; however it is a more subtle disease in this species. Prevention consists of monthly oral or topical medication but today the most popular method is a yearly Proheart injection that is performed along with the annual health check and vaccination

These days de-sexing is almost mandatory in the urban environment with a large percentage of animals having these procedures carried out. We de-sex at prices about 70% below the surgical value of the procedure in order to encourage clients to adopt this responsible step. It greatly reduces the numbers of strays in the community, and the resultant sadness of their necessary euthanasia. De-sexing also reduces the risk of many age-related diseases such as pyometra, testicular cancer, prostate cancer etc. So there are real benefits to de-sexing beyond the social benefits. At SVH we recommend desexing at 6 months of age for both cats and dogs, males and females. You do not have to remember as our software reminder system will generate a letter that will be e-mailed or posted to you at the correct time

To Castrate or not

To Spay or not

Why is good oral hygiene important? Just as in humans, your pet's teeth require continuous care. Poor oral hygiene leads to the accumulation of dental plaque that induces a painful inflammatory response in the supportive periodontium (gums, ligaments and bone supporting the teeth) known as periodontal disease. Signs to look for include: bad breath, accumulation of dental plaque near the gum line, changed eating behaviour e.g. loss of appetite or difficulty chewing food. Red, swollen or bleeding gums. Loose teeth or exposed root surfaces We are assiduous in detecting dental disease at any regular health check. It is one area where prevention is much better than cure, once teeth are lost, they do not grown back

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As Vets our concern is the increased disease risk and reduced quality of life that comes with excess weight. We are not making an aesthetic judgment of your pet. An animal's weight is relative and your veterinary surgery is best qualified to make an unbiased judgment on your pet's weight status. Pets become overweight through overfeeding (and to a lesser extent through insufficient exercise). Very rarely will it be hormonal! If your vet assesses your pet to be overweight then consider enrolling them in our nurses Weight Clinic. If has many advantages over attempting to diet the animal yourself
Microchipping is rather simple to do but is an essential ingredient in good health care. A microchip may mean the difference of life and death to your pet! In NSW it is now compulsory to have your dog microchipped. Dogs or cats cannot be legally sold without a microchip. Existing dog and cat owners by law must get them microchipped and register with the local council. Failure to do so may incur a significant financial penalty