Part of being able to determine when an animal is sick or injured is knowing what is normal for that pet. Owners should monitor their pet’s behavior daily and perform brief physical examinations monthly so they can recognize when something has changed.
- Run your hands over your pet’s body to feel for any new lumps or bumps that should be checked out by the veterinarian. Also, ruffle your pet’s fur and look at the skin for fleas and ticks, redness, scaling, etc.
- Look at the color of your pet’s gums. Keep an eye out for dental disease or any masses in the mouth.
- Examine ears, eyes, nose, nails, feet and the anogenital region for anything unusual that may have developed since your last exam.
- Weigh your pet monthly and record the information so you can pick up any unexpected weight gain or loss as early as possible.
If you find anything out of the ordinary during your examination, contact your pet’s veterinarian with any questions or concerns.
Some users of popular once-a-month flea control treatments question if fleas are developng a resistance to the treatments after seeing fleas persist on their pets. Veterinarians are put in a difficult spot trying to decide whether there is actually a resistance or if it is due to improper application or the environment. More often than not, the Veterinarian prescribes a new spot-on and the issue continues. In a recent article in Veterinary Practice News, Michael Dryden, DVM, Ph.D., a professor of veterinary parasitology in Kansas State University’s Department of Diagnostic Medicine and Pathobiology says, “I have investigated homes that by owner description sound like there could be a resistance problem but found, when I looked closer, there was always a reason for the failure. None was ever resistance.” Veterinarians need to take the time to educate clients about what to expect from these medications and how to properly use it.
“Sometimes clients are simply mistaken about their compliance. One client swore she was doing everything as instructed, but when we asked her to come to the clinic to demonstrate her application technique, we found that she hadn’t opened the pipette.” As seen by Jay Stewart, DVM, of the Companion Animal Parasite Council and the owner of Aumsville Animal Clinic in Aumsville, Oregon. It is important to pay close attention to the results of spot-on insecticides in order to determine if ever a resistance does occur. There are more than 400 North American flea species that can carry a plethora of diseases for pets and humans. The leading topical flea treatments include Frontline Plus, Advantage, and K9 Advantix.