Critical Health Care Regimens and Support for Pets

Regular health care for pets is a crucial part of their ongoing development, health and well-being. Outside regular exercise and a healthy diet, your pet needs routine health care to ensure it has a long and happy life. Regular, routine health care should include proper grooming, good dental care, parasite prevention and regular visits to the veterinarian’s office. To learn more, read on.

Ongoing Veterinarian Visits

Your adult cat or dog should see the veterinarian at least annually. Puppies and kittens should have a vet visit at least once a month for the first 4 months and then as needed until they’re ready for annual check-ups. Cats and dogs over 7 or 8 years old should see the veterinarian every six months.

Your veterinarian may recommend an ongoing wellness program for your pet, including routine blood work to monitor for problems such as early kidney or liver disease. They will also look for signs of illness, possibly prescribe medication and may administer disease vaccinations.

Prevention of Parasites

Cats and dogs are both susceptible to internal parasites like tapeworm, hookworm, whipworm, and roundworm. Worms will not only cause irreparable damage to the digestive tract, they can leave your pet feeling fatigued and undernourished since they deplete the digestive tract of nutrients.

Fecal samples should be tested periodically – this is typically done at your annual veterinarian checkup or on an as-needed basis.

Heartworm is another type of internal parasite that is almost always deadly. The worms are contracted by mosquito bites, then the eggs later hatch and live in the blood vessels around the lungs and heart. It is painful and deadly, but also preventable. During mosquito season and sometimes year-round, your veterinarian will prescribe preventive heartworm health care for pets in the form of a pill.

Other external parasites include mites, ticks and fleas. These pests cannot only irritate your pet, but also cause infection. So, check your animal regularly for signs of flea bites, and treat for it accordingly.

Regular Tooth Maintenance

Just like humans, dogs and cats are vulnerable to tooth decay and gum disease. You can prevent this common problem by brushing your pet’s teeth regularly. While dogs may need daily brushing, cats are usually fine with an occasional sweep.

Another way to keep your dog’s gums and teeth healthy is by purchasing dental chews or bones designed to keep their teeth clean.

Good Grooming

Matted hair can be a major problem for pets – causing hair balls, inflamed hot spots and general irritation and stress. To avoid mats, be sure to groom your pet on a regular basis.

Remember, health care for pets goes beyond treating a disease or health problem once it occurs – it’s also about preventive action and ongoing health maintenance. So, provide your pet with a long and healthy life through ongoing grooming, good dental care, parasite prevention and regular veterinarian visits.

Heart Disease And Cholesterol

For years, the medical community has held that a high level of cholesterol causes heart disease. While few will dispute this belief, there are other factors that may lead to severe and even fatal heart conditions.

Conducted by medical experts, the Framingham Heart Study determined that high blood cholesterol is a contributing factor of CHD, or coronary heart disease. These study results showed that people with higher levels of cholesterol were more likely to develop coronary heart disease. On the other hand, it is unusual for people with low cholesterol to suffer from CHD.

This connection between high blood cholesterol and heart disease was also confirmed by another group of experts, whose studies showed that lowering the total LDL cholesterol (bad cholesterol) level could actually reduce the risk of coronary heart disease. A recent series of cholesterol trials using statin drugs suggested that lowering both total and LDL cholesterol levels could greatly reduce the chance of experiencing heart attack, angioplasty (a surgical bypass) or death due to a coronary heart disease-related cause.

In addition to high cholesterol levels, there are other risk factors that can increase the risk of developing heart disease. Even though some risk factors can be lowered with diet, medication or lifestyle changes, others cannot be altered. The more combined risk factors you have, the higher your chance will be of experiencing heart disease.

The greatest unchangeable risk factors are as follows:

* Your age. The greatest risks are faced by women over 55 and men over 45

* Family medical history. If you have parents or a sibling who died from heart disease at the ages stated above, you face a higher risk

Fortunately, some risk factors can be changed:

* Cholesterol. Limit your high total cholesterol and your high LDL or “bad” cholesterol. Lower your levels of HDL or “good” cholesterol

* Reduce your blood pressure

* Stop smoking

* Diabetes (diabetics face a higher risk of developing heart disease)

* Little or no physical activity

* Lose excess weight

If you have one or more of these high-risk factors, see your physician to find out how you can take action and reduce your chances of suffering a heart attack.

Some experts believe that high blood cholesterol and heart disease are indeed connected. On the other hand, there are those who hold that too much animal fat resulting in high cholesterol is the contributing factor to heart disease. These experts argue that there may or may not be “good” and “bad” cholesterols. They also believe that factors such as physical activity, mental stress and a change in body weight may influence the levels of the blood cholesterol, and that high blood cholesterol is a simply reflection of an unhealthy lifestyle, but not dangerous.

Experts may disagree on the factors of cholesterol and heart disease. The one thing everyone agrees on, however, is that we all need to reduce the risks and increase our quality of life.

Special Care At The Dental Office For Heart-disease Patients

Close to 60 million Americans suffer from some form of heart disease, and according to the American Heart Association (AHA), it has been the leading cause of death since 1919. You probably know someone who has cardiovascular disease – one in five Americans have some form of the disease, and someone dies every 33 seconds from heart disease.

After understanding how many people are affected by heart disease it is not surprising that 62 percent of dentists see signs of heart problems in their patients. Heart disease patients need special treatment at the dental office because they may react differently to dental treatment. Consequently, the American Dental Association and the AHA have written guidelines for dental professionals when treating heart disease patients.

The AHA recommends heart disease sufferers do these three things:

Establish and maintain a healthy mouth by practicing good oral hygiene and visiting your dental office regularly.

Ensure your dental professionals know you have a heart condition.

Follow the instruction of your doctor or dental professional when they prescribe antibiotics and other medicine.

The patients (including children) who are most at risk of developing infective endocarditis include those who have:

A previous history of endocarditis
Prosthetic heart valves
Congenital and acquired heart defects
Surgically constructed pulmonary shunts
Valvular and rheumatic heart disease
Mitral valve prolapse
Used intravenous drugs

Antibiotics may be required prior to treatment when gum bleeding is a possibility. Examples of these treatments include:

Tooth cleaning
Procedures on hard and soft tissues
Periodontal (gum) surgery

There is a Vicious circle of Heart and Periodontal Disease. The problems with the heart can affect conditions in the mouth. And vice versa,if your gums become diseased, there can be adverse reactions to the heart. So, it is wise to do everything you can to keep your teeth and gums plaque free, especially if you have a heart condition.

There are several side effects of heart disease medication. While anti-coagulants and high blood pressure medications can ease the symptoms of coronary artery disease or hypertension, some side effects could impact dental health.

According to The American Academy of Periodontology, some of these medications have been known to cause conditions such as dry mouth, increased plaque and enlarged gum tissue. The side effects may seem insignificant, but they could have serious implications if left untreated.

Infective endocarditis is a rare, but a potentially life-threatening disease that can occur when bacteria from plaque is released in to the bloodstream. This can happen during simple acts like brushing your teeth and flossing. If your gums bleed, bacteria called streptococcus sanguis can enter the bloodstream and stick to damaged heart tissues or values, resulting in fever, anemia and even death.

Brush twice a day!Because of the severity of infective endocarditis, it is vital that every precaution is taken. We strongly advise anyone who is at risk from developing this condition keep their mouth as plaque free as possible. Protect your heart by thoroughly brushing your teeth for at least two minutes twice a day, especially after meals, and flossing daily.

Denture wearers should pay particular attention to the fit of their dentures. If sore spots develop, call your dentist for an appointment without delay. If these spots become infected, the risk of infective endocarditis increases.

When patients with heart disease make a dental appointment, especially for procedures that may cause gums to bleed, your dentist will evaluate their medical history to see if there is a risk for infective endocarditis. He must also know whether there are any drug allergies or if any medication is being taken. If there is a concern, your dentist may prescribe the appropriate antibiotic and provide instructions for frequency and dosage.

Performing dentistry on patients with heart disease should be no problem, providing your dentist have all the relevant information regarding their condition. Please tell your dentist at the beginning of your dental visit if you have been diagnosed with, or suspect you may have a heart-related condition. Your dentist may work with your physician to ensure you receive the optimum care. If you have any questions or concerns, please contact your dental office.