How to Prioritize Pet Preventative Care
Published on November 14, 2020 by arothstein
Being a vet tech is rewarding. It offers the chance to help pets, learn about different species, and educate owners about providing compassionate care. One issue that you will discuss with owners, as a vet tech, is prioritizing pet preventative care.
What Is Preventative Care for Dogs and Cats?
Preventative care for pets involves a detailed veterinary evaluation of a dog or cat’s overall health. A veterinarian examines a pet to determine the overall health and determine if there are risk factors for potential health issues or diseases. Based on the vet’s findings, a pet owner may get recommendations regarding:
- Nutritional needs
- Care of teeth and gums
- Tick and flea protection
If an owner’s dog or cat is at risk for diseases like joint and muscle problems, digestive issues, or diabetes, you will educate the owner about the necessary medications, diet, and lifestyle changes.
Veterinarians recommend annual wellness exams for pets for the same reason doctors recommend them for their human patients. A wellness exam can detect a health problem early and recommend precautions before it gets serious. Based on the findings of a pet’s wellness exam, the veterinarian can devise a wellness program based on:
- Pet’s age
By following the veterinarian’s recommendations, an owner can ensure their dog or cat has a healthy, happy life. They may also avoid having their pet treated for serious diseases in the future that can be costly.
Vaccines are essential for dogs and cats to prevent serious diseases. A vaccine’s purpose is to trigger an immune response by protecting pets from agents that cause disease. Vaccines can prevent infectious diseases or lessen how severe they are. Vaccines have prevented contagious diseases and death in millions of pets. Although some conditions aren’t as common in pets as they once were, it’s advisable to educate pet owners about vaccines for their pets.
Spay and neuter surgeries are essential for all cats and dogs. Fewer litters born each year means fewer cats and dogs entering shelters. Spay/neuter surgeries have a lot of health benefits for pets. The surgery can prevent animals from developing certain types of cancer and severe infections. Many owners see an improvement in their pet’s behavior following the surgery. As a vet tech, you can educate owners when their puppy, kitten, or adult pet should be spayed or neutered.
A pet’s dental health has a profound impact on their overall wellbeing. When a pet develops periodontal disease, organisms that cause the problem may get into the bloodstream then into the kidneys, liver, and heart, where they can cause significant problems. You will recommend to an owner that their pet has their teeth cleaned every one to two years. However, the timing of dental cleanings may depend on underlying health problems.
Bathing and Grooming
Keeping dogs and cats clean and groomed helps them to feel and look their best. Brushing a cat or dog is an excellent way to check underneath their coat for any abnormalities that may have to be checked out by the vet. A pet’s skin produces natural oils. When the owner brushes their pet, it brings out the oils in their skin, helps distribute them, and makes their coat soft and shiny. Spending time grooming a pet is also a special way for pet owners to bond with their pet.
The Association of American Feed Control Officials established nutritional guidelines for dogs and cats. Manufacturers of pet foods use these guidelines and may use the association’s label on their packaging as long as they contain all the necessary ingredients.
Dogs and cats have different nutritional needs. To stay healthy dogs and cats need proper nutrients including:
- Amino Acids
- Dietary Fats
Nutritional Needs for Dogs
The most common ingredient in dog food is meat. However, dogs need nutrition from grains, fruits, and vegetables too. The nutrients in dog food should be suited for the dog’s age, size, breed, and health issues. You should educate owners about feeding their dog based on the calorie content. A pet owner may have concerns about their dog’s diet, so talk to them during annual exams and other pet appointments about pet nutrition.
Nutritional Needs for Cats
Meat and water are the primary sources of nutrition for cats. Many cat owners feed their cats and kittens dry food. However, wet cat food has a higher moisture content, and the amino acid taurine helps to metabolize fats. Dry cat food is usually higher in carbohydrates, which aren’t always as healthy for cats. Taurine is excellent for keeping a cat’s heart and eyes healthy.
Why Is Preventative Care Important?
Preventative care can save a pet from suffering disease or illness, it can be a less expensive option, and the pet owner will have a happy and healthy pet.
Discussing the pet’s lifestyle, eating habits, and behavior with the owner can provide you with information on their pet’s health. Sometimes pet parents aren’t aware there could be a problem until they discuss their pet’s habits with you. If a pet’s dietary habits change, if the pet has itchy skin, is sneezing, coughing, or has mobility problems, it can indicate that changes should be made. Getting a diagnosis and recommendations to follow can be an important way to help a pet’s health improve.
Preventative Care for Farm Animals
Small animal practices don’t always provide large animal care. However, farm animals need veterinary care as much as domestic pets. These are the services large or farm animal veterinarians offer for their clients on ranches, farms, and sanctuaries.
Not only do domestic pets need vaccines, but farm animals also need protection from severe and potentially life-threatening diseases. Vaccinating farm animals prevents the spread of illness through herds and keeps animals healthy. Vaccinating farm animals can also prevent the spread of infections. They also safeguard millions of people who own farms and depend on their animals for their income.
In many areas, farmers must have a permit to allow free-range animals on their land. Requirements state that the animals must have adequate shelter. There may also be limits on the number of animals that are permitted. Free-range animals have nutritional needs like domestic pets. As a vet tech, you can educate ranchers and farmers about the best feed to keep their animals healthy.
A proper diet is essential for sustainable and profitable farms. The diet that farm animals consume has an impact on the animal’s health and production. Feed that’s high quality provides the nutrition farm animals need and ensures healthy herds. It is also better for the environment.
Most states require that farm animals live in clean and humane conditions and have proper shelter from extreme weather conditions. The shelter must be constructed to be compatible with the animal’s health.
Dairy farmers usually have standing, weekly appointments with their veterinarian and vet tech to check their herds for any signs of disease, and check cows that are pregnant. Chicken or turkey farmers typically consult with their veterinarians about their food, egg production, and birds’ weight gain. Beef or pig farmers don’t always have regular visits from their vet. Visiting several beef or pig farms in succession could cause a spread of infection by transfer on clothing or shoes.
Managing Issues Quickly
Farmers depend on healthy animals for their livelihood. If one animal appears sick, the vet and vet tech should be contacted immediately. It may be a minor problem that can be handled relatively easily. However, a disease or infection that affects one animal can quickly spread through a herd and must be addressed in the early stages.
Vet Tech Skills to Properly Educate Pet Owners
There are many skills that a successful vet tech will need to properly educate pet owners. The common skills include good communication, attention to detail, and empathy.
Skill #1: Communication
As a vet tech, you must have good communication skills and be diplomatic when discussing pets with their owners. You must be able to handle any situation. When a pet isn’t feeling well, the owner is naturally stressed. You must reassure the owner and answer all their questions in a way that helps to alleviate their worry. Some pet owners are reluctant to discuss issues with their pets. You must know how to ask the right questions to help draw out information about the pet so you can address it.
Skill #2: Attention to Detail
Every pet and owner are different. As a vet tech, you must use your knowledge to address nutrition, health issues, training, spay/neuter, and vaccines. For example, when a pet has had surgery or an illness and is prescribed medications, you are the person who explains the proper administration of the medication and any possible side effects. You must convey the veterinarian’s instructions to the pet owner in a clear and precise manner.
Skill #3: Empathy
As a vet tech, you must always be professional. When discussing any issue that an owner has with their pet, it’s essential to show empathy for the owner and the pet. When an animal isn’t well, the owner is naturally stressed over the challenges of dealing with it. As a vet tech, you must always speak in an authoritative but sympathetic voice to reassure the owner that you’re doing your best for their pet.
Did learning about how to prioritize pet preventative care interest you? Ready to start a vet tech program? With an Associate Degree in Veterinary Technology, you’ll gain the knowledge, qualities and skills you need to start an entry-level career as a veterinary technician. Broadview University has been part of the community for more than 40 years, so we’ve developed connections that can help move your career forward. After completing our accredited degree program, you’ll be eligible to sit for the Veterinary Technician National Exam (VTNE). Passing the VTNE allows you to become a Certified Veterinary Technician (CVT), a designation that will give you a competitive advantage when you enter the job market.
Contact us today to learn more about becoming a veterinary technician and working in veterinary technology.
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