先跟大家談談狗狗常感染的心絲蟲。心絲蟲是由帶有心絲蟲幼蟲的蚊子，經過叮咬狗隻而傳播。初期感染的症狀並不明顯，所以不易察覺。我建議狗隻在 6 個月大前，開始每月定期服用預防心絲蟲的藥物。有些狗主可能因經濟問題，會中斷狗狗的預防藥物，若果狗狗感染心絲蟲症，長期治療的費用不但昂貴，病程嚴重的更可造成永久性的傷害。
Prevention is better than Cure
Prevention is better than cure - we have all been hearing this age old saying since we were young. It is also something I mention to owners from the time they first bring their young pets to me; puppies and kittens having their first vaccinations. Disease may seem far off and irrelevant when you are looking at a lively young animal but that is why it is the perfect time to be thinking about and applying 'prevention' - before there are conditions and ailments which need to be 'cured'. Once disease has arisen, applying a cure can often be difficult, whether it is the struggles of giving medication to your cat, or having to see your beloved dog in discomfort due to the increased severity and complications of disease, as well as the added time and costs to cure established disease and control chronic symptoms.
Let me use heartworm prevention as an example. Heartworm is a parasite that is transmitted by mosquitoes and primarily affects dogs. Dogs can be carriers of heartworm without showing any symptoms and the disease can be fatal by the time it is diagnosed. Monthly heartworm preventatives should be commenced for young animals before they are 6 months old and continued through life. Due to the continued costs of regular prevention, some owners are tempted to forgo the use of monthly heartworm prevention. However, if the pet becomes infected with heartworm, treatment could require months of veterinary care along with severe risks and health complications as well as a massive cost to the owner amounting to much more than the cost of using regular monthly prevention.
Another common problem which I emphasize prevention for is obesity. Many pets can become obese before they reach one year of age due to overfeeding of puppy/kitten food or a tendency to 'spoil' pets with treats and human food. Even we humans know very well that it is easy to put on weight but much harder to lose it! Preventing obesity is important to avoid the development of joint disease, diabetes, respiratory and cardiac disease - all of which are extremely difficult to cure and often lead to chronic symptoms requiring lifelong management.
When our pets enter middle and older age we would place more emphasis on preventing kidney and heart disease from developing. This can be achieved by feeding a diet lower in sodium, phosphorous and protein. These components can increase stress on the kidneys and the heart which are more prone to disease and decline as the animal gets older. It is therefore important to switch to a senior dog/cat food as your pet transitions from middle to older age. A trustworthy, genuine senior food would provide balanced nutrition using a reduced quantity of high quality protein and would select the ingredients to ensure that it is low in phosphorous. Diet, exercise, water intake and weight management are all essential in preventing disease in older animals.
The examples mentioned above are only a small selection of the many diseases where prevention can be commenced early to avoid the need for a laborious, costly and potentially incomplete cure. From a veterinarian who has unfortunately encountered too many cases where the owners regret their delay in commencing disease prevention, I hope that more owners will act now to ensure that their beloved pets are protected from disease and always remember - prevention is better than cure!
楊巧兒獸醫 Dr. Anita Young
Bachelor of Veterinary Medicine (University of Cambridge, UK)
Master of Arts (Cantab) (University of Cambridge, UK)
Member of Royal College ofVeterinary Surgeons (UK)
Certificate of Veterinary Acupuncture (International Veterinary Acupuncture Society, USA)