Whether you have a service dog or a pet, their health and well-being are always at the heart of what you do. From feeding a healthy diet to ensuring they get enough exercise, we all make efforts to care for our service dogs or pets each day to ensure a long and happy life.
To maintain your dog’s health, veterinary care is critical. Regular visits to your veterinarian have been proven to extend the lifespan of your dog, mainly by preventing serious health concerns before they even start.
How Veterinarian Care Differs for Service Dogs
The most common thing that people think of when they hear the term veterinarian is someone whose job is diagnosing and treating illnesses, injuries, and diseases for pets. While this is undoubtedly an essential role of a veterinarian, the responsibilities of veterinary care extend far beyond that with working animals, service animals, livestock, wildlife, etc.
Service dogs have unique responsibilities and skills that require extra consideration regarding veterinary care. Their needs take the veterinary care provided to a household pet to another level.
Veterinarians must think outside the box often regarding the care of service animals. The animal’s life is dedicated to work or tasks directly related to an individual’s disability. Service dogs frequently go to places where pets aren’t found, exposing them to other potential ailments.
In turn, service animals can also serve as potential spreaders of diseases, especially if they are around immunocompromised people, so the level of veterinary care needs to be superior to keep the service dog and the people around them safe.
Working as a service dog can potentially put extra stress on the dog’s body compared to your average household dog, so being able to anticipate any potential pathologies and focusing on a preventative therapy catered to each dog is also something that is at the forefront of a veterinarian’s mind when it comes to caring for service dogs.
Preventative Care for Service Dogs
Preventative care for service dogs has many things in common with the preventive care that regular pets receive, such as vaccinations to prevent diseases, internal and external parasite prevention, routine physical examinations, routine blood work to monitor organ function, testing for specific diseases based on the dogs’ location and exposure levels, dental care, weight monitoring, etc.
Early detection can help treat a disease in its beginning stages, leading to eliminating that disease or a maintenance protocol to prevent the illness from severely affecting the pet.
A myriad of illnesses can be detected early on and prevented from worsening, ranging from ear and skin infections, dental disease, internal parasites, and muscle/bone issues to debilitating heart or neurological conditions and even cancer.
With regular veterinary visits, your veterinarian will have the opportunity to catch the signs of these issues and begin treatment before the problem becomes more serious.
How Often Does My Dog Need to Be Seen by the Veterinarian?
The frequency of veterinary visits for your service dog or pet will depend on the dog’s workload, previous or current health conditions, etc. In general, it is recommended that a dog gets a physical examination by a veterinarian at least once a year. At that time, they can also focus on the above-mentioned preventative care.
Some vaccinations require twice-yearly administrations, and some testing is recommended to be performed twice a year. Be sure to speak with your local veterinarian, who will help you determine the frequency of visits for your dog’s specific health needs.
Veterinary Care at Guardian Angels Medical Service Dogs
At Guardian Angels Medical Service Dogs, proper veterinary care is a priority for the service dogs we train. Our Veterinary Care Department does a fantastic job caring for our service dogs and paired teams, ensuring they have the care they need to continue their work for their recipient. Our veterinary staff is available during business hours for questions and care of your service dog. They are also available after business hours for emergencies. If you experience an emergency after hours, our paired teams call our emergency line for assistance.
We also operate the Borden Veterinary Hospital on our campus in Williston, FL, headed by Dr. Charlotte Rogers. This on-site, non-profit hospital oversees and provides care for all the dogs on our campus. It also provides oversight and guidance to our teams nationwide and cares for our local teams.
To learn more about our mission, visit our website today!