VCA Animal Hospitals

October is National Pet Wellness Month

Published: Oct 19, 2012

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While it's easy to fall in love with an animal, pet health experts are urging all pet owners to take their animals' health into account, especially during National Pet Wellness Month, which takes place each October. The special designation is made to remind people that preventive care is the best way to help their animals to live longer, healthier lives.

"Yearly visits to your veterinarian are an essential part of keeping your pet healthy," said Dr. Barry Kellogg, senior veterinary advisor for the Humane Society Veterinary Medical Association. "Preventative care allows for early detection of problems and often saves money on overall veterinary costs by treating problems before they become serious."

The American Animal Hospital Association and the American Veterinary Medical Association recommend that cats and dogs should have an annual check-up with a vet. However, it's important to note that kittens and puppies as well as senior pets will likely need more frequent veterinary visits. In addition, more frequent appointments with a pet health expert are advised based on illnesses, behavior changes and other factors. Talk to your veterinarian about how often you should bring your cat or dog in for an exam.

A yearly trip to the vet will ensure your pet's vaccinations are up-to-date and help detect any problems, illnesses or diseases. Additionally, as your pet ages, your vet will help you determine the best course of action regarding his daily care and routine.

Managing your pet's weight in between visits to the vet is another crucial part of keeping him healthy. According to the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention, 53 percent of adult dogs and 55 percent of cats were classified as overweight or obese by their veterinarians.

Obesity in dogs and obesity in cats is a serious issue that can affect the long term health of your pet. According to VCA Animal Hospitals, an obese pet is at an increased risk for a variety of chronic diseases including diabetes, heart disease, osteoarthritis and certain forms of cancer.

One of the best ways to help maintain your pet's weight is to feed him a balanced, nutritious diet. Commercial dog and cat foods make it easy for your pet to get all of the vitamins and minerals they need to stay healthy. It's important to remember that while some pet owners like feeding their pets human foods, some table food can be dangerous if ingested by animals.

Another important part of preventative care for your pet involves his teeth. Your vet will evaluate his dental health during routine visits. However, it's also important for pet owners to monitor changes in their dog's or cat's teeth, gums or breath. Keeping your pet's teeth clean by feeding him special treats or by brushing them is also recommended.

National Pet Wellness Month isn't the only special designation this month. October is also National Breast Cancer Awareness Month. According to the Star Exponent, both dogs and cats can get breast cancer, although canines are particularly prone to the disease. One of the best ways to help cut down on the risk of your pet developing breast cancer is to have him or her neutered or spayed.

Neutering or spaying a cat or dog also provides additional benefits such as reducing the risk of uterine infections, improving behavior and preventing pet overpopulation.


General Practice

We have over 540 animal hospitals in 41 states that are staffed by more than 2,000 fully qualified, dedicated and compassionate veterinarians, with more than 200 being board-certified specialists. The nationwide VCA family of general practice hospitals give your pet the very best in medical care, providing a full range of general medical and surgical services as well as specialized treatments*: Wellness, Spay/neuter, Advanced diagnostic services (MRI/CT Scan), Internal medicine, Oncology, Ophthalmology, Dermatology, Cardiology, Neurology, Boarding, Grooming

*services may vary by location.

Our family of pet hospitals stands out by delivering the greatest resources in order provide the highest quality care available for your pets. By maintaining the highest standards of pet health care available anywhere, we emphasize prevention as well as healing. We provide continuing education programs to our doctors and staff and promote the open exchange of professional knowledge and expertise. And finally, we have established a consistent program of procedures and techniques, proven to be the most effective in keeping pets healthy.

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Specialty Care

Sometimes sick or injured pets need the care of a veterinary medical specialist. When that happens, VCA specialty hospitals work closely with the general practitioner veterinarians who refer cases to us in order to provide seamless veterinary care to your pet. When your pet is facing any kind of serious illness or injury, our specialty referral hospitals will provide the compassionate and expert care your beloved pet needs.

Our goal is to make sure that when you and your pet are in need that you have access to board certified specialists who are up to date on the very latest developments in their field. In our state of the art hospitals, our specialists also have access to the most sophisticated diagnostic and treatment tools and techniques from ultrasonography and endoscopy to CAT scans and even MRI.

We have twenty-eight specialty hospitals across the US so there may be one near you. Our specialized services include: cardiology, critical care, dentistry, dermatology, internal medicine, neurology, oncology, ophthalmology, radiology and surgery.

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Emergency Care

In case of emergency, please call us immediately. If it is after hours, check with a local animal hospital emergency clinic.