Keeping Our Furry Friends Healthy

Veterinary clinical diagnostics

Humans like to think of themselves as the most special or gifted of all the animals. However advanced we might think we are, we still keep close to other animals, even if we think we don’t. We keep dogs and cats in our homes, we ride horses, we rely on animals for all kinds of products (and not always fairly, either). But the truth is we love these animals and because of this we want to keep to keep them as healthy as possible. What follows is a list of common household or domesticated animals and the intricacies of how to keep them safe from regular illnesses. Just as we take care of our sick, we owe the same care and attention to the animals in our lives. More-so, in fact, because unlike humans, they can’t always understand or take care of themselves. All it takes is a little effort, forward-thinking and love to keep everybody safe.

    We start with dogs, of course. The most common household pet, the best-friend of all humankind. Dogs are particularly susceptible to something called heartworms which are, as they sound, parasitic worms that take up nefarious residence in the heart. The most common and efficient way to test for these worms is a canine heartworm test which often involves a heartworm antigen test. These tests, which should be performed every few months, will ensure that your dog is safe, healthy and under no threat from any type of worms. Many vets and veterinary laboratory procedures are available to test for these worms and eliminate them if necessary. Of course, while you’re there, you might want to test for lyme disease and other, subtle diseases as well. Dogs are, by nature, natural roamers and they love to explore their environments down to the last detail. While this exploration is fun and instructive for them, as their owner you should take precautions that they don’t get their curious noses hurt while they’re out on these adventures. The heartworm antigen test is a good place to start testing for health along with any other tests your vet recommends. The doctor knows best, after all.
    Like dogs, cats are natural roamers that travel far and wide in order to better understand their surroundings. Unlike dogs, however, cats are generally more equipped for long-term survival and outdoor living. As the old saying goes, there are outdoor cats and indoor cats. Indoor cats, while still possibly rambunctious, are easy to care and keep track of. Like dogs, they ought to get a regular heartworm antigen test to ensure that they are as healthy as they can be. Outdoor cats, on the other hand, can be a little trickier. If they only come around once in a while, it can be hard to know where they’ve been or what they’ve gotten into. If you can get them into the vet (if they are domesticated enough to go) you should do it as often as possible. Outdoors cats are more susceptible to injury and disease due to their wilder lifestyles so they should be checked twice as often. Be sure to give them a regular heartworm test kit to make sure they haven’t picked up anything from whatever strange or dangerous things they’ve eaten- dead birds, mice, etc. Be extra vigilant and your cat, however wild she is, will be happy you did.
    It’s a little harder to take care of horses due to their size and strength but it’s just as important. Horses are working animals and, as such, they are more susceptible to work-related illness and injury. Take them to the vet often and make sure they’ve gotten all their medication. Horses don’t get often get heartworms and so don’t need a specific heartworm antigen test but they are prone to other illnesses. Be sure to check for these every time you get your horse a check-up. Especially if your horse is bred for work or riding, you want to make sure she’s in top shape. Horses are intelligent animals. They’ll know and respond to the care if it’s given properly.