By the Cayman Islands Veterinary Medical Association
Preventative medicine consists of measures taken for disease prevention, as opposed to disease treatment. Preventative medicine is just as important in animals as it is humans and it will keep your pet safe, prevent painful and deadly diseases, and high veterinary bills in the future. Many diseases that affect animals in Cayman are preventable; below are tips on how to prevent them.
Heartworms come from many species of mosquitos, some of which very common in Grand Cayman. These mosquitos bite your dog while they are outside playing or on a walk, injecting heartworm larvae into the blood stream. Within 50-70 days of that mosquito bite, that heartworm grows big enough to live in the dog’s heart. This is called heartworm disease. This disease causes heart failure quickly and is very deadly if not treated.
Heartworm diseases is very preventable. Products such as Heartgard or Revolution, offered at veterinary clinics in Cayman, are given monthly to all dogs. These monthly medications kill the larvae before the heartworms can develop in the heart, preventing heartworm disease.
Examples of external parasites are fleas and ticks. Fleas and ticks harm animals by attaching to their skin causing skin disease, allergic reactions, blood diseases and intestinal parasites. These parasites can kill animals over time, especially small and young animals. There are products offered at veterinary clinics in Cayman to prevent these parasites from attaching to your dog’s skin. The products work by killing the parasite if the animal is bitten or by preventing them from biting the animal. These products including, Frontline, Revolution, Nexgard and Bravecto, and are all offered at veterinary clinics in Grand Cayman. Don’t forget to exterminate your yard or house as this will help control the parasite from living around your pets.
Examples of internal parasites are hookworms, roundworms, tapeworms, whipworms, giardia, coccidia, and many more. These parasites cause a range of diseases in animals and can cause death. A monthly deworming is recommended for all dogs and can be found at any veterinary clinic in Cayman. Deworming is important for puppies of a young age, as young as 4 weeks old.
Spaying and neutering your pet at the correct time is important to prevent unwanted litters, pregnancy complications, uterine infections, ovarian cancer, uterine cancer, testicular cancer, prostate cancer, and many more diseases. Spaying and neutering helps your pet live longer without any complications.
Vaccinating your pet against deadly bacterial or viral diseases commonly found in Cayman is very important. It is important to ensure safety of your pet, but also for the safety of all animals in Cayman. Some of the diseases that are vaccinated against are not curable or are very difficult and expensive to treat. The most common diseases vaccinated against in Cayman are distemper, leptospirosis, adenovirus, bordetella, influenza, parvovirus, rabies, feline leukemia, calicivirus, rhinotracheitis, panleukopenia. Puppies need many more vaccines than an adult dog due to the development of their immune system. Ask your veterinarian about your animal’s vaccination protocol.
Unfortunately, simple preventable diseases are commonly forgotten about. Keeping your animal supplied with adequate water, shelter and food, and away from all predators, is important. Disease processes such as attacks by other animals, being hit by cars and heat stroke are commonly seen in veterinary practices around Cayman.