You play a crucial role in keeping your pet healthy, and routine wellness care is one of the most effective tools in your arsenal. Several pet diseases can be prevented or managed with regular veterinary check-ups, vaccinations, and preventive measures. Our Driftwood Animal Hospital team outlines five common pet diseases that you can prevent with wellness care to help ensure your pet leads the happiest, healthiest life possible.

#1: Dental disease

Do you know that dental disease is one of the most common health issues in pets? Without regular dental care, up to 80% of pets will develop dental dental disease by 3 years of age. Regular dental check-ups and cleanings are essential to prevent periodontal disease, which can lead to tooth loss, pain, and systemic health problems. 

Our veterinarians assess your pet’s oral health during every wellness exam, and we will let you know if your pet is due for a professional dental cleaning. Signs of dental disease that you can watch for include:

  • Bad breath
  • Tartar accumulation on your pet’s teeth
  • Red or swollen gums
  • Blood in your pet’s food or water bowl
  • Difficulty chewing
  • Shying away from being petted on the head

Once your pet’s teeth are cleaned, you can begin daily toothbrushing at home. While toothbrushing cannot remove tartar that is already on your pet’s teeth, the practice significantly reduces future tartar buildup. Most dogs—and cats, too—learn to accept and even enjoy toothbrushing sessions when they are paired with tasty rewards. Opt for a Veterinary Oral Health Council-approved dental chew for an added boost to your plaque-prevention plan.

#2: Parasites

During your pet’s annual wellness appointment, our veterinary team will screen your pet for parasitic disease and recommend preventive medications. The following parasites commonly affect Florida pets:

  • Heartworms — Heartworms are transmitted by mosquitoes and cause deadly heart and lung disease in dogs and cats. Year-round heartworm prevention is vital for your pet’s health, especially in our temperate climate where mosquitoes are active through the winter. 
  • Fleas — In addition to causing itching and irritation, fleas can transmit tapeworms and other diseases.
  • Ticks — Ticks can transmit various dangerous diseases, including Lyme disease, Rocky Mountain spotted fever, ehrlichiosis, and anaplasmosis. Year-round prevention products can keep your pet safe from a variety of ticks and fleas.
  • Intestinal parasites — Intestinal parasites like roundworms, hookworms, and whipworms can cause vomiting, diarrhea, and weight loss. Many heartworm preventives work double duty to also protect your pet from these pesky parasites.

#3: Obesity

Pet obesity is a growing concern, with almost 60% of the pet population considered overweight or obese. Extra weight can lead to various health problems, including diabetes, arthritis, and heart disease in pets. Regular check-ups allow us to monitor your pet’s weight and provide guidance on a healthy diet and exercise plan to help you maintain your pet’s ideal weight.

#4: Respiratory infections

Pets are susceptible to many different infectious respiratory diseases. Cats can develop respiratory infections caused by viruses, such as feline herpesvirus and calicivirus, as well as bacteria, such as Chlamydophila felis. Common canine respiratory pathogens include canine influenza and parainfluenza viruses, and the bacteria Bordetella bronchipetica. These infections can cause sneezing, coughing, nasal discharge, and appetite loss, and occasionally progress to more serious issues, such as pneumonia. 

During your pet’s annual wellness exam, we will recommend vaccines based on their lifestyle and risk. We recommend vaccination against common respiratory pathogens for most pets to protect them from these infections.

#5: Parvo

Parvovirus is a highly contagious disease that is particularly dangerous for puppies. The virus attacks the intestinal lining and is shed in the feces of infected dogs. Affected dogs develop severe vomiting, diarrhea, and dehydration that can become fatal without prompt treatment. 

Routine vaccination is crucial to prevent this devastating disease since the virus lives for years in the environment and exposure is virtually unavoidable. Puppies should receive a series of parvo vaccinations to build strong immunity, and adult dogs should receive regular booster shots to maintain their protection.

Keeping your pet safe from preventable diseases through routine wellness care is an essential part of pet ownership. At Driftwood Animal Hospital, we’re here to support you in your mission to keep your pets healthy and happy. Give us a call to schedule your pet’s next wellness appointment.