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8 Things You Should Ask a South Coast Veterinarian About Pets

8-things-to-askIf you have pets in the South Coast region of New England, which encompasses Southeastern Massachusetts and Rhode Island, there are certain things that you will want to speak to your local veterinarian about regarding the care and feeding of pets in the northeastern states. While many of the methods applied in veterinary care in Massachusetts are the same as they are in the other 49 states, there are some issues faced here by pets and pet owners that are not a concern throughout the rest of the country. This article includes a list of the eight top items that you will want to discuss with your South Coast veterinarian the next time you visit the local Dartmouth animal hospital for a regular veterinary check-up.

#1 – Vaccinations and Preventive Treatments
Ask the local veterinarian if your pet is up to date on all vaccinations, including Bordetella, Rabies and anything else that you might need depending on your unique situation. Dogs that visit dog parks, go into boarding situations or visit a groomer on a regular basis, will sometimes benefit from Bordetella vaccinations, which help to prevent the spread of what is commonly known as the “canine flu” or “kennel cough” in the veterinary community. Make sure to explain to your South Coast veterinarian about the typical activities that your pet is involved in to make sure you are getting all of the required shots. Preventive treatments, such as heartworm, flea, tick and other parasite or pest control products, should also be given as part of the normal care and feeding of pets. Speak with your vet about which products would best work with your particular pet and situation.

#2 – Weight and Food Issues
Make sure that your pet is at a healthy weight to avoid issues that can happen if a pet is under- or over-weight. Believe it or not, there is actually an Association for Pet Obesity and Prevention in this country, as many pet owners over-feed their pets with human food, treats and other rich foods that can contribute to weight gain. To avoid under- or over-feeding your pet, make sure to ask a specialist in veterinary care in Massachusetts about the type of nutrition, brand of pet food and amount of food and treats that should be given on a daily basis. This will vary greatly, depending on the breed and size of your particular pet, as well as the stage of your pet’s life, their lifestyle and any health conditions.

#3 – Strange Behaviors
All pets do crazy little things from time to time – the Internet is full of videos as proof! However, if your pet starts doing something unusual all of a sudden, such as breathing or wheezing after running around, coughing when walking to the backdoor to go out or becomes very lethargic and seemingly “lazy” out of nowhere, it is time to visit your local Dartmouth animal hospital for a check-up. These behaviors could be symptoms of serious issues.

#4 – Blood Screenings
Should your pet get regular blood tests and screenings when you come in for your annual check-up? In most cases, the answer to this will be YES, however in some situations, regular blood screenings should be part of veterinary care in Massachusetts for pets more frequently than an annual check-up due to the lifestyle, living conditions and health of the pet. Blood tests can reveal many different issues, such as cancer, diabetes, kidney disease, liver diseases and other dangerous illnesses. Keeping a “baseline” of healthy testing can also help your South Coast veterinarian spot changes in your pet’s health over time.

#5 – Dental Issues
Another area where many pet owners are unsure of how to proceed is with regard to dental care. Taking care of your pet’s dental health should be a part of your normal routine for the care and feeding of pets throughout their lifetime. Your local Dartmouth animal hospital can help with dental check-ups, cleanings and can even help you get onto a schedule for at-home brushing, regular screenings for periodontal disease and any treatments that might be needed. Untreated dental issues can lead to complications in your pet’s health, including heart, liver and kidney problems that could affect your pet’s life.

#6 – Rectal Exam
Many pet owners assume that when their pet gets a temperature taken rectally, that it includes a rectal exam. However, most veterinarians will not perform a rectal exam, which can screen for rectal or prostate cancer, unless you ask for one. If caught early enough, both of these conditions can be treatable in most situations, however you need to make sure that you include rectal exams as part of your regular veterinary care in Massachusetts in order to catch them before they worsen.

#7 – Bumps, Lumps and Rashes
When you take care of your pet on a regular basis, you notice little things that other people might not notice, as you groom, pet and love on them. Bumps, lumps and little rashes that pop up on backs, bellies, heads and sometimes even legs or tails, should be submitted to your South Coast veterinarian for examination. Don’t just try to treat them on your own, make sure to bring your pet to the Dartmouth animal hospital to determine whether or not it is indicative of other issues.

#8 – Check-Up Frequency
How often should you bring your pet into the local veterinarian for a check-up? The answer will depend on the age, lifestyle, health and breed of your pet, as well as a variety of other issues. While most people bring their pets to the local South Coast veterinarian to stay on top of issues related to the care and feeding of pets, others prefer to do seasonal check-ups in the spring and fall to catch problems that crop up during the winter months and after the summer, when pets tend to be outdoors more.

Contact Anchor Animal Hospital in Dartmouth
If you are interested in setting up an appointment for veterinary care in Massachusetts for your dog, cat or pocket pet, contact Anchor Animal Hospital by calling 508-996-3731. Our team of veterinary professionals can help answer your questions, provide treatment to assist in the care and feeding of pets, as well as get your pet on a schedule for check-ups, vaccinations, preventive treatments and more to keep them healthy and happy for many years to come.