Educational Info

How to Brush Your Pet’s Teeth

You know the importance of dental hygiene for humans, but did you know that dogs and cats also need regular attention to their pearly whites? Poor dental hygiene in pets can lead to periodontal disease, a bacterial infection which causes bad breath, drooling, tooth decay, and tooth loss. When the infection is left unchecked, it can eventually enter the bloodstream causing significant damage to the liver, heart, and kidneys. In fact, poor dental hygiene is a leading cause of serious health problems in companion animals.  Roughly 70 to 80 percent of dogs and cats have periodontal disease by the time they’re three years old, yet it’s one of the most preventable and/or treatable health problems. By brushing your pet’s teeth at least once a week, and ideally every day, you can stop periodontal disease in its tracks, or keep it from ever starting. Make sure to use a pet-size toothbrush and a pet-approved toothpaste only, as human toothpaste can make your pet sick.  Watch the video above to see one of our Wisdom patients, Pav, have his teeth cleaned by his own guardian. And, as always, if you have questions about your pet’s dental or health care, please contact Wisdom Pet Medicine for advice.

Checkups

Veterinarian with an otoscope examines the ear of a dog

Regular checkups are a key factor in pet wellness, and can often unearth problems that could lead to health issues down the road. The American Animal Hospital Association recommends annual checkups for cats and dogs, and checkups every six months for senior cats and dogs. Annual checkups are also recommended for birds, rabbits, ferrets, reptiles, rodents, and other exotic pets. During the checkup, one of our experienced Wisdom vet techs will obtain a health history and ask about any recent problems or observations you’ve made regarding your pet’s health. The vet tech will also measure your pet’s weight, temperature, pulse, and respiration rate. A Wisdom veterinarian will then follow up with a complete “head to tail” examination, checking the entire body for any signs of parasites, lumps, hair loss, redness, infection, and other symptoms or maladies. At the end of your pet’s exam, we’ll take a blood sample to test for a wide range of conditions and deficiencies. The cost of a pet’s wellness exam each year is well worth the investment – and can often lead to savings down the road, when an illness is caught early and thwarted.

Senior Pets

Senior Jack Russell Terrier with cataracts

Senior pets generally require more medical attention than their younger counterparts, just as senior humans do. So when is a pet considered “senior”? Your Wisdom veterinarian can answer that, but, in general, small dogs live longer than large breeds, and cats live longer than dogs. A small dog might be senior at the age of ten, whereas a giant breed, such as a Great Dane, would likely be considered senior at the age of six or seven. It’s important that your pet receive a full senior wellness exam every six months that includes a urinalysis, comprehensive blood screening, and a fecal test. Seniors are prone to weight and mobility changes, osteoarthritis, kidney, heart, and liver disease, tumors and cancers, and hormone disorders, such as diabetes and thyroid imbalance – and senior testing can help slow down the progression of, or even prevent, certain conditions. Our pets are living longer and healthier lives, thanks, in part, to modern veterinary medicine, and also because pet guardians are more aware and educated about how to care for their pets, especially those in their senior years.

Break the Deadly Heartworm Cycle

Illustrated concept of heartworm life cycle

Heartworm is a serious illness where worms invade the heart of an otherwise healthy pet, after the pet has been inflicted with a bite from an infected mosquito. If you live in a location where mosquitoes are common, and/or your veterinarian has indicated that heartworm is a local threat, it’s important to get your pet on heartworm preventative medication. Your pet must have a blood test to ensure he or she tests negative for heartworm before being given the medication, as the drug can be dangerous to an animal who is already infected. Heartworm is completely preventable by administering the medication, as it interferes with the heartworm life cycle, killing the microfilariae before they develop into worms. Contact your veterinarian to see if heartworm prevention medication is right for your pet.

Vaccinations

Recommended vaccinations for dogs and cats

Dogs and cats are susceptible to a variety of illnesses that can be completely prevented by following the appropriate vaccination schedule. At Wisdom, we approach vaccinations on a patient-by-patient basis, depending on the health and age of a pet, while also taking into account the vaccination schedules published by leading veterinary medical schools. Talk to your veterinarian about vaccinations for the most common preventable illnesses in your dog or cat. For dogs, this includes core vaccines for rabies, distemper, parvovirus, and adenovirus, as well, as non-core vaccines including bordetella, parainfluenza, lyme disease, leptospirosis, and canine influenza. For cats, this includes core vaccines for rabies, feline distemper, feline herpesvirus, calicivirus, and non-core vaccines including feline leukemia and bordetella. Your veterinarian will discuss the vaccination timeline with you. On request, we’ll also perform blood titers to assess the level of protective antibodies in your pet’s system, if you’re concerned about vaccinating an older or health-comprised pet.