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Ask A Vet: Pawp Online Vets Discuss Spaying & Disease Prevention

Pet parenting commonly relies on experience and doing what your parents did before you. But sometimes you don’t have the right answers, sometimes you need someone who can accurately answer your questions. Pawp offers a 24/7 talk to a vet service. Text, call, or video chat with an online vet anytime day or night. If you do need to head into a clinic, you can access your Pawp Emergency Fund for $3,000 towards an emergency vet bill. Talking to a vet should be easy and as painless as possible.

Each week, Pawp’s online vets answer questions from pet parents about cats and dogs. In last week’s Ask A Vet, we discussed pet registration and vaccinations. This week, Pawp’s vets will talk preventative measures to protect your pet.

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Should you spay or neuter your pet?

Whether you spay or neuter your pet is a personal choice and there are certainly pros and cons for both. While it’s up to you, many vets will recommend spaying/neutering your pet because of population problems and how many cats and dogs end up in shelters every year. Spaying may also reduce health risks for things like mammary cancer. If you are going to spay/neuter your dog, it’s recommended to do so around six to nine months. If you are going to spay/neuter your cat, it’s recommended to do so around four to six months.

What are the most common diseases in dogs?

The most common diseases that affect dogs are canine distemper, canine influenza, canine parvovirus, external parasites, heartworm, and intestinal parasites. Many of these can be treated with preventative measures. Protection from distemper, influenza, and parvo are all a part of dog’s core vaccines. External parasites, heartworm, and intestinal parasites can be both prevented and treated with medications.

What are the most common diseases in cats?

The most common diseases that affect cats are cancer, diabetes, kidney disease, Feline Immunodeficiency Virus (FIV), Feline Leukemia Virus (FelV), heartworm, rabies, and worms. Some of these can be treated with preventative measures. There are vaccines for FIV, FeIV, and rabies. It’s also recommended to keep your cat inside to reduce the risk of exposure to these contagious diseases. Feeding your cat a healthy, balanced diet with lots of water and regular vet checkups will help prevent diabetes and kidney disease. There are both preventative measures as well as a treatment for heartworm and worms.

How do you know if your dog has canine influenza?

This infectious disease is similar to the strain of influenza in humans. Similarly, it’s spread through respiratory droplets when your dog barks or sneezes. It can also spread through surfaces that have been infected with said droplets. Signs your dog has the flu include: sneezing, fever, runny nose or eyes, or breathing problems. There is a preventative vaccine for the flu. There is no cure, but a little TLC, plenty of fluids, and anti-inflammatories to help reduce your dog’s fever.

How do you know if your cat has heartworm?

Heartworm is generally caused by mosquito bites that leave larvae from other infected animals in the bloodstream. It takes about eight months for heartworms to develop in your cat’s body in which time they will move and settle in vital organs like the lungs and heart. Signs your cat has heartworms include vomiting, diarrhea, and difficulty breathing. Heartworms can cause serious damage and are best managed by preventing them in the first place, especially if you live in humid places where mosquitoes thrive. There are several preventative medications to try as, unlike with dogs, heartworms in cats are mostly untreatable.

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