"An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure"
Preventative Medicine is the "heart" of Veterinary Medicine. At Memorial-610 Hospital for Animals, we believe that prevention of disease is the best policy. Routine physical examinations are the cornerstone of early detection and treatment of disease. These examinations, coupled with vaccinations against infectious agents, provide an effective defense against disease. These steps are especially crucial for the young animal as the immune system is not always able to overcome infections. When animals are born, they nurse from the mother and receive a portion of her immunity to certain diseases. This immunity, however, is short lived. As the level of immunity to these diseases declines, the animal again becomes susceptible to infection. Vaccination against these diseases is an effective way to prevent them. Several vaccinations are usually given in the first few months of life to provide a strong immunity against these agents. One reason many vaccinations are repeated is because the immunity passed on from mother to the young animal may not be strong enough to prevent a certain disease, yet strong enough to destroy the vaccination. In other words, the slight amount of immunity still present prevents the vaccination from stimulating the immune system adequately. An excellent example of this is parvovirus. It has been found that maternal immunity to parvovirus may still be present in puppies at 20 weeks of age. This immunity is not great enough to prevent this horrible disease, yet may actually prevent a strong immune response from occurring after vaccination. We are always revising our vaccination protocols in accordance with new scientific information regarding duration of immunity. With newer vaccine technology, we will be able to immunize the animals fewer times, but achieve the same, if not greater, level of protection against infectious diseases. As animals grow older, certain body systems begin to show signs of aging and deterioration. Arthritis, decreased kidney function and liver function are a few examples of these processes. Occasional blood tests in the mature animal (greater than 7 years of age) to screen for various diseases is another component of preventative medicine. Early detection of kidney, liver or heart disease can signal the need for treatment of these conditions and thus improve the length and quality of your animals life.