Here it comes.. that pesky reminder post card that shows up whenever your pet is due for this or that. There are a variety of ways you can utilize your veterinary reminder card, my father for instance prefers to use his as a coaster for his morning cup of tea, but why is it so important to prevent disease in our pets via routine wellness care? I know what you are thinking.. so the veterinarians can stay in business, right? Although there is truth to the fact that a large part of a veterinarians job is to prevent diseases in our pets, thereby keeping them in business the answer lies in our own safety.
The preventative care that your veterinarian provides for your pet also protects your family from zoonotic diseases, which are diseases that can be passed from animals to people. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) work with veterinarians to provide helpful advice for pet owners. With simple preventative steps and regular veterinary care for your pets, you can enjoy a healthy, happy, carefree relationship with your pets.
The zoonotic disease that most people are familiar with is the rabies virus. This is a very dangerous disease that affects the neurologic system of animals and people. It is passed to people by way of scratch or bite from an affected animal. This is the reason that an adequate Rabies vaccination program is so important to your familys health as well as for your pets.
Ticks and fleas can also serve as hosts that spread disease from animals to people. Lyme disease is a good example of this. People are also at risk of infestation if exposed to the eggs or larvae of very common dog and cat roundworms and hookworms. Human infection occurs when people (especially children) unknowingly ingest infective eggs from contaminated areas or items such as soil, hands or toys. Infection can occur in your yard, parks or playgrounds, or anywhere that dogs and cats have access. Most puppies and kittens are born with these types of intestinal parasites, taking special care of them-as well as an adequate deworming program- a must.
The CDC and American Association of Veterinary Parasitologists offer this advice on ways to prevent zoonotic disease:
- Deworm puppies and kittens at an early age (four, six and eight weeks of age).
- Have your veterinarian perform a regular (at least yearly) fecal test to scan for parasites.
- Clean up and properly dispose of pets feces, whether you are at home or in a public park.
- Give your pets preventative medications to protect against intestinal parasites, ticks and other hosts that can carry disease.
- Cover sandboxes when not in use to prevent pets or wildlife from leaving infected feces hidden in the box.
- Wash your hands handling animals (especially puppies and kittens) or having contact with feces.
- Neuter your animals to help reduce the number of stray dogs and cats and promote responsible pet ownership.
- Provide your pet with routine veterinary care.
By following these steps, you can effectively limit the spread of certain diseases from pets to people. Ask your veterinarian about zoonotic disease and what preventative approaches you should take.
Charlotte Weir is the Office Manager of Sunset Blvd Animal Clinic. Sunset Blvd Animal Clinic is located at 2525 Sunset Blvd, Houston, Texas 77005 and is now open 24 hours a day/ 7 days a week! Visit them at SunsetAnytime.com