Do Vets Have Pets?

I have many!! I can fully relate to pet owners who find vet care to be expensive – it is. As a veteran veterinarian (translation = old), I have adopted many needy patients over the years, so I own pets with complicated, chronic medical conditions.

I know how frustrating it can be to have an itchy dog who continues to have outbreaks, no matter how many visits, how many medications and how many products you try. I have lost beloved cats and dogs to kidney failure, cancer, stroke in the middle of the night, and mega-esophagus of unknown origin. Even with all the money and knowledge in the world, we still lose them to “mystery diagnoses” because we just don’t know everything yet. There is more research to do!

As one of my friends frequently says, “it is what it is.” He also points out to young people on a regular basis that life is unfair, and the sooner they realize it, the happier they will be. Sometimes, in spite of all our best recommendations and attempts at preventive care, bad things happen. But the preventive care DOES help keep them happier and healthier for longer, so that money is definitely NOT wasted on our wonderful furry friends.

I often get questions about diet and preventive care in my own household and I am happy to share this information with you. At DIAH, we study literature constantly to keep abreast of the best evidence and most current recommendations, and we do follow them in our own homes.

Revolution: my cats all live strictly indoors and get monthly Revolution – a topical medication that prevents internal and external parasites. Even indoor cats get fleas – I guarantee it! They just hide it well.

Diet: my dogs and cats eat Royal Canin, Science Diet or Purina foods. I am aware that there is a lot of public opinion about pet food ingredients, most of it quite passionate - but these are the companies I trust to purchase quality ingredients and to formulate diets using the scientific information we actually KNOW about nutrition. This is one area that needs a lot of research and these are the companies spending millions of dollars doing it. The more “natural” pet foods are based on theory, not science.

Supplements: my dogs and cats each take an Omega 3 fatty acid supplement (AllerG-3) and a joint supplement (Dasuquin) daily. These supplements are at levels far higher than food companies can put into their diets (they go rancid.) We have great evidence to show they reduce the effects of arthritis, heart disease and some cancers. These brands have been tested in pets, so we know they actually get into their systems and do have positive effects. The Costco or other generic versions are not regulated and we just don’t know even if the ingredients are listed accurately, let alone whether they are bioavailable to our pet species.

Canine heartworm and flea control: my dogs take Sentinel and Comfortis monthly because they do not have a tick risk. When I take them to my parents’ farm, I put Preventic collars on them. If my dogs were exposed to ticks regularly, I would use Sentinel and Frontline Plus.

Dental Care: the absolute best care is daily brushing, but I cannot commit to that because of the number of pets I own (don’t ask!) Dr. Rainwater is a model pet owner – she brushes regularly. Instead, I use Aquadent water additive so that when my cats and dogs get a drink of water, they are also getting an antibacterial rinse. I give them Science Diet Prescription T/D Diet as treats daily – the kibble is large and requires chewing and is formulated to clean the teeth as they eat. We now know that canned and dry diets accumulate tartar equally on the teeth, so only dental treats or diets formulated specifically to clean as pets chew actually make a difference.

My rabbit and guinea pig are fed Oxbow brand food and I even purchase my Timothy hay from Nebraska because the quality is so much better than anything I’ve seen locally. Rabbits and ferrets also need monthly Revolution; Guinea pigs do not need parasite control.

I hope this has been interesting and informative for you. I want you to know that when we make recommendations, these are things we believe and understand to be accurate based on our years of education and literature review. We also are passionate about dog and cat health, and are not in the business of selling. Daniel Island Animal Hospital is just that – an animal hospital providing medical, dental and surgical care to pets. We carry most products we recommend for your convenience, not as an income-provider for us.

We’d love to have your thoughts and feedback and are happy to answer questions!