Dog at veterinarian.

We’ve probably said it before, but we’ll say it again: prevention really is worth a pound of cure. This is especially true when it comes to your pet’s health. Take heartworm, for example. Heartworm prevention medication costs $150 to $200 a year. A yearly heartworm screening typically comes in at around $45 to $75. 

Heartworm treatment, on other hand, requires chest X-rays at $125 to $200+ apiece, echocardiograms at $500 to $1,000+ apiece, and a series of injections that costs $500 to $1,500+.

And that’s only for dogs in the earlier stages of heartworm disease. The cost of surgery to remove heartworms is in the thousands—and it doesn’t always work. 

That’s why our team at Sunrise Boulevard Animal Hospital wants to share the top five health issues that benefit from preventive care and early diagnosis. 

The Top 5 Most Common Pet Health Issues 

1. Parasites

Heartworm is one of the most devastating parasites, but it’s far from the only one that can plague our pets. Fleas can cause severe allergic reactions in some dogs and intense discomfort in others. Ticks can carry serious diseases like Lyme disease, Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever, and Hepatozoonosis. These parasite problems can largely be avoided with flea, tick, and heartworm medication.

2. Dental Problems

A large majority of dogs and cats have dental disease by the time they’re four years old. Without treatment, infections in the mouth can spread throughout the rest of your pet’s body, leading to serious health complications. 

The best way to prevent dental problems is to give your pet comprehensive dental care, including: 

  • Daily or weekly brushing
  • Dental treats 
  • Water additives
  • Yearly dental cleanings at a vet’s office 

Prevent that plaque from hardening into tartar and you’ll avoid a slew of toothy troubles. 

3. Obesity 

Chunky pets are kinda cute, but the health problems obesity can bring are not. Obesity can put a lot of stress on your dog or cat’s joints, leading to painful arthritis. It can also contribute to heart disease, respiratory distress, cancer, diabetes, and other serious health conditions. Avoid obesity by feeding your pet a balanced, nutritious diet and making sure she gets exercise every day. 

4. Allergies

Allergies aren’t exactly preventable, but there’s a lot you can do to manage them. If you notice your dog or cat scratching or licking themselves more often than usual, bring them in for allergy testing. Pets can be sensitive to mold, pollen, meat proteins, dander from other pets, and more. Your vet can work with you to get to the bottom of the problem and help the itchy symptoms go away. 

5. Arthritis 

The American Animal Hospital Association estimates that one in five dogs will develop arthritis in their lifetime. Millions of cats live with the condition, too. Pets can start to develop arthritis early in life, so it’s important to look out for signs of the condition. Keep an eye out for limping, stiffness, and a reduced willingness to jump or play. 

Arthritis is best addressed early with weight management, joint supplements, and pain management techniques. Avoiding frequent, high-impact exercise or overly long walks can help, too. Stick to multiple shorter walks several times a week instead. If your pet is at risk for developing arthritis, try a no-impact exercise like swimming! 

To learn more about how you can help your pet avoid these common pet health issues, contact our veterinary team. We look forward to hearing from you!