We veterinarians have quite a bit of education and experience about many aspects of animal health about which we want our clients to best understand. Unfortunately, some messages are not conveyed with enough emphasis or the client does not comply. Here are the aspects of day to day pet health promotion that I wish dog and cat owners better underwood. See Top 10 Pet Healthcare Topics Your Vet Wishes You Knew More About
By Dr. Patrick Mahaney, VMD
Having been in clinical practice since 1999, I’ve observed trends of both illness and wellness in my canine and feline patients. I’ve survived the intensity of an internship, experienced the variety of presenting illnesses in general practice, witnessed the extreme states of sickness seen on an emergency basis and now provide an integrative approach to holistic health and pain management on a house call basis. All of these experiences have developed my perspective on what I feel are the most important aspects of pet healthcare that pet owners should prioritize. I’ve developed this list to help you make well-informed decisions for your pet’s health. 1. Obesity is Easy to Prevent Through Calorie Restriction and Exercise Exercise is a very important factor in your pet’s overall health. 52% of dogs and cats (approximately 89 million pets) in the United States are overweight or obese according to the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention (APOP). Being overweight puts your pet at risk for a variety of health problems, including arthritis, cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, inflammatory bowel disease and hypothyroidism. Pets who maintain a healthy body weight are at a reduced risk for health problems. Fortunately, The Ohio State University College of Veterinary Medicine Body Condition Scoring Chart helps pet owners and veterinarians determine a dog or cat’s Body Condition Score (BCS). To prevent weight problems:
- Use portion control when feeding your pet.
- When deciding how much to feed your pet, err on the side of feeding less.
- Research has proved that dogs consuming calorie-restricted diets live two years longer than those lacking calorie restriction.
- Make physical activity a daily priority for your pet. Exercise reduces weight and strengthens the pet-owner bond.
- Environmental modification: making your home safe for pets
- Administering nutraceuticals: omega fatty acids, joint support products, antioxidants, etc.
- Maintaining a lean body condition score with portion control and exercise
- Providing whole-food based diets rich in non-processed or synthetic nutrients
- Pursuing physical rehabilitation, such as massage, stretching, and range of motion, and acupuncture treatment including laser, moxibustion, and electrostimulation.