An Ounce of Prevention…

By Mel Cown, DVM

One of the greatest frustrations shared by most veterinarians is the lack of compliance from pet owners concerning preventative health care. Veterinary science has made great strides at preventing disease and extending quality of life for our furry family members. In fact there is so much available information, and there are so many product choices, that the average pet owner can easily become confused and overwhelmed. Clients should talk with their veterinarians and choose those drugs or products that best fit the lifestyle of the pet and the time constraints of the owner.
There are no reasons why any dog or cat should suffer from fleas and ticks. There are both topical and oral products available now that are so easy to use. There are also products that will protect your pet from these external parasites from 1 to 8 months! These treatments range from monthly “spot on” topical products, to the new and improved collars that offer protection for over 6 months. There are also tablets that can be given either monthly or quarterly. The days of “flea dips” are over!vet 22
Heartworm prevention is very important here in the South. This parasite is transmitted by mosquitoes, and it is very common to find this disease in unprotected dogs and cats. Yes, heartworm disease occurs in our feline friends as well. Heartworm disease is fatal if left untreated, and the drugs required to eliminate the disease are expensive and necessitate hospitalization and patient aftercare. New combination products that contain both flea and tick protection, as well as heartworm prevention and deworming medication, make it easier than ever to address multiple pet health issues all in one dosing!
Immunizations are the cornerstone of preventative medicine. They prevent infectious diseases, decrease mortality in puppies and kittens, and prevent human exposure to diseases such as Rabies. It is important to remember that puppies and kittens require a series of vaccines for protection. One vaccine is as protective as no vaccines-ZERO. Not every pet is given every vaccine. Immunization is based on the lifestyle of the dog or cat (traveling/outdoor activities), the risk of exposure, the number of pets in the household, and the owner’s use of pet grooming and boarding kennels.
Protect your pet…Go see your vet!


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Mel Cown, DVM is the owner of Athens Animal Hospital. He is an ‘87 graduate of the UGA College of Veterinary Medicine. His practice is limited to companion animal medicine and surgery. Dr Cown is an avid supporter of the Athens music scene.