There are many parts to preventative medicine: exams, Heartworm prevention, Flea/Tick prevention and vaccinations. Regular visits to the Northampton Veterinary Clinic are an excellent way to keep your companion healthy. Dogs and cats frequently mask illness and pain. Having our veterinarian perform a complete physical exam annually allows us to detect early warning signs of underlying disease. We recommend exams every 6 months for our geriatric patients since their supportive care needs are greater and aging changes happen more rapidly. Examinations allow our veterinarians to make individualized plans for diagnostics and treatments that will help keep your companion happy, healthy and comfortable.
Vaccinations are an excellent way to prevent against life threatening illness. We understand that every pet has different needs and risks of exposure. We individualize a vaccine treatment plan for each of our patients depending on their risk. We have selected the vaccines that are safe and effective, trying to minimize the risk of any adverse effects. At the same time, like any medication, there are rare complications and risks associated with vaccination. Our goal is to work with you to determine the best way to keep your companion healthy while avoiding unnecessary vaccination risks.
Heartworm disease is spread by mosquitos, which is a very invasive and life threatening disease that slowly attacks your pet’s heart. Luckily, there are monthly preventatives available to protect your companion! We recommend prevention for all dogs and for cats if they go outside. There are different brands available, whether you want a topical, flavored chewable or tablet. Using a monthly prevenative can also treat intestinal parasites and worms, this in turn will prevent diarrhea. For dogs and outside cats we recommend monthly prevention year round for life.
Flea and Tick Prevention
Fleas and ticks are not just pesky critters, they also pose a health risk to your pets. Both fleas and ticks can carry and transmit disease, including Lyme and “Cat Scratch Fever”, which could have serious health complications. Luckily, there are numerous safe flea and tick preventatives available for cats and dogs. The most common preventative delivery methods include topicals, orals or collars. Once applied, topical products are distributed throughout the lipid layer of the skin. When fleas and ticks come in contact with the active ingredients, their neurologic system is altered, leading to death.
Oral preventatives offer a different delivery method. These products can be easier to dose to wiggly and fluffy animals, and can give us peace of mind when our other pets or humans want to cuddle after application. These products were created using different components than the topicals, making them safe for our dogs to ingest. They are absorbed systemically into the blood stream, and distributed into the plasma fluids of the skin. Similar to topical preventatives, when fleas and ticks contact these products, they are killed.
Flea and tick preventatives are not “one size fits all”. The age, lifestyle, coat, breed, health status, and other factors play a role in selecting an appropriate product. Please consult the Northampton Veterinary Clinic for help choosing the best product to ensure your pet is safely and properly protected.
You may have seen recent news about certain flea and tick medications causing neurologic issues. However, we wanted to clear a few things up because people are misinterpreting this information.
The products are safe and effective, though the labeling does not list this as a possible side effect because it is extremely rare. We want to emphasize that the products are safe and that the possible side effect is not considered a significant risk.
If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact us or click here to learn more from the FDA.