When should you take your pet to the vet? Some pet parents call the veterinarian about everything they notice: sneezes, long claws, or dirty ears. Others visit the vet only when the pet is on the brink of death. Both annual exams and emergencies warrant vet visits. Of course, puppies and kittens require more frequent check-ups during the first year. Annual visits can identify problems before they are too big to resolve. These visits also provide the opportunity for preventive care, such as heartworm medicine. If heartworm doses are missed, a test is required to determine if the pet is infected. Info on how to prevent heart worms Some people think traveling vets provide adequate care. These vets offer required shots and some tests, such as a heartworm test, but they don't offer "check-ups" or exams. Administering shots is only part of an annual visit to the veterinarian. What happens at a check-up? An annual veterinary visit includes examining the skin, eyes, ears, mouth, teeth and abdomen. Fecal and urine cultures can detect harmful bacteria, parasites, or infections. The vet also asks questions about behavioral changes, what kind of food and treats the pet eats, and changes the owner has noticed. Specific breeds require attention to traits such as hip dysplasia or ear infections. Veterinarians bring experience and  examine through the eye of an experienced animal practitioner. What additional care might be necessary? Veterinarians provide dental cleanings beyond what owners can do at home. Oral health becomes more important as the pet ages. Bad breath should be addressed with your veterinarian because malodor can indicate infected gums and tartar build-up. As with humans, infections can enter animals' bodies through unhealthy teeth and gums, resulting in a weakened immune system. The body is more susceptible to disease with compromised immunity. Poor tooth and gum health can cause pain that prevents pets from eating or dogs to snap if the mouth is touched. What other reasons would you go to the vet? If your pet exhibits signs of pain, discomfort or behavioral changes, call your veterinarian. Allergy symptoms such as runny eyes and noses or scratching are another reason to contact your vet. Also, if the pet gains or loses weight in a short time period, consult your vet. Pet Tech™, the first international training center dedicated to  CPR, First Aid and Care for dogs and cats, recommends an immediate visit to the vet if any of the situations below occur. Call your vet to let them know you are on the way in an emergency. Your vet might redirect you to a specialist or emergency veterinarian. Quickly getting the pet to the appropriate doctor is critical. What requires an emergency vet visit? 1. Trauma to head, chest or abdomen 2. Seizure, first time or prolonged 3. Arterial bleeding 4. Fractures 5. Poisoning 6. Shock - Symptoms include weak, rapid, shallow breathing; confusion; pale gums and weakness. The pet can be conscious or not. 7. Respiratory distress 8. Inability to walk 9. Bloat 10. Unconsciousness Time is of the essence in an emergency. Call the vet right away so that your pet is treated immediately. Know your vet's telephone number and address, as well as how to get there. Take time to write down and perhaps record on your phone Your vet's NAME ___________________ Address ___________________ Phone number ___________________ Any other specialists the dog sees NAME ___________________ Address ___________________ Phone number ___________________ Maintain a list of medications your dog takes, such as heartworm medicines, flea control, daily meds and glucosamine. Record immediately all medications you administered since the pet showed signs of injury or illness (Benedryl, pain reliever, Pepto Bismol, etc.) NOTE: Pepto Bismol and Kaopectate formulated with the ingredient bismuth subsalicylate are harmful to cats. As a responsible owner, you should take your pet to the vet for annual visits, as well as concerns for its health and emergencies. If you don't have a vet you like or trust, we can refer a provider for your pet. At Fluffs of Luv, your pet's care and comfort is our primary concern. We are trained in pet first aid and will take your pets to the vet in an emergency. We are also happy to transport pets to scheduled vet visits at the owner's request. (Schedule the additional vet visit.) Call us or visit fluffsofluv.com today to schedule visits. Resources pettech.net By: Beth Crosby Copyright ©2016 Fluffs of Luv. All rights reserved. If any part of this publication is reproduced, distributed, or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, or stored in a database or retrieval system, full credit must be given to Beth Crosby and Fluffs of Luv. No part may be used for commercial gain without the express written permission of Fluffs of Luv.

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