Like people, animals can experience complicated conditions, and one illness may put pets at risk of another. However, veterinarians know that with preventive care, routine checkups, chronic disease management and compassionate care at the end of life, companion animals with a variety of health conditions can live their best possible lives. This Special Report focuses on complete companion animal health, including a reader poll for insights from your own practice. Look for a follow-up later this month.
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The companion animal vaccine market continues to trend upward as people realize the importance of protecting their pets against diseases that spread among animals or between animals and people, according to Transparency Market Research. Worries about zoonotic disease is among the factors fueling the market, which is especially robust in North America and Europe.
Vaccines prime cats' and dogs' immune systems to fight off infectious diseases, and they provide critical protection against canine parvovirus, distemper, canine hepatitis and rabies for dogs and feline distemper, feline calicivirus, feline herpes virus type I and rabies. Pets may need other immunizations as well, depending on age, breed, medical history, environment and lifestyle.
Routine exams may uncover signs of cancer, particularly as improved wellness care allows animals to live long enough to develop malignancies. Stereotactic radiosurgery offers "unprecedented precision" in difficult cases involving brain, spine, liver and prostate lesions in regions where the technology is available, writes veterinarian Lawrence Gerson.
As people tip the scales, so do their pets, and the consequence for dogs has been higher rates of chronic disease. The number of dogs with diabetes is up more than threefold over the past three decades, but veterinarian Courtney Campbell says risk can be lowered by keeping pets at a healthy weight by not overfeeding and ensuring they receive adequate exercise.
Guidelines from the American Animal Hospital Association and the International Association for Animal Hospice and Palliative Care provide clinics with resources for developing end-of-life plans that integrate the needs of patients, clients and staff. The guidelines acknowledge the medical, emotional and ethical challenges associated with end-of-life decisions as well as the grief clients experience and the risk of compassion fatigue among clinical team members.
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