Today, I would like to talk about dogs. I am so happy to see that many Japanese families have dogs, and all of them are very well-cared for! I truly have a high regard for people who have a kind heart towards animals and treat them like family. It’s amazing to think that animals are now leagues away from where they used to be years ago. At some point in history, these creatures were thought of as nothing more than tools – their fur provided warmth, their teeth or bones were used as crude weapons, and the animals themselves served as food or protection. However, with time and the formation of civilized living, they have become our best friends. Now, they perform more modern functions! Some of them are our home buddies, while others take on significant roles like police and rescue work, medical work, and therapy.
Veterinary medicine has become more widespread as well. There are now more colleges offering the course, and more people who are willing to get their dogs professionally treated. However, veterinary medicine is still considered to be novel, and as such, services remain quite expensive until now. After working in a small animal hospital for over three years, I’ve come to appreciate how important preventive healthcare is in order to avoid the huge expenses that come with having an ill pet. In the Philippines, preventive healthcare is mainly composed of core vaccinations, deworming, heartworm prevention and screening, and tick and flea control.
Rabies and DHPPiL (Distemper-Hepatitis-Parvovirus-Parainfluenza-Leptospirosis) vaccines are absolutely essential and are first on the list of recommendations for new dogs. This is because rabies is 100% deadly, but also preventable. Considering its importance (since it can be transmitted to humans and any other mammal), rabies is prioritized in our country. However, it is not the first vaccine that dogs receive because it must be given at 12 weeks of age or older. The first vaccine needed by a puppy is the DHPPiL. As described above, the DHPPiL can help prevent the common deadly diseases in dogs, so it is necessary to comply with the vaccination and booster guidelines for optimum protection.
Next on the list is deworming. Gastrointestinal worms are able to cause a lot of damage inside a dog’s body, so deworming them is a simple and easy step to avoid this. Dogs that have regular exposure to outdoor settings are advised to be dewormed more frequently. Heartworm, on the other hand, is a very real threat to dogs, but it is something not quite monitored and prevented properly in my country. The heartworm larvae are transmitted by mosquitoes and take a significant time to develop, finally lodging in the heart when they mature into adults and causing significant internal damage and even death.
Tick and flea control is also overlooked by some people. Although these parasites may seem harmless in few numbers, they can transmit diseases to our precious friends. Some fleas can carry tapeworm, while ticks can carry blood-borne diseases that may be life-threatening. Blood parasitism is possibly the most common illness in my city, as there is a huge dog population but a lack in responsible ownership. Too many dogs have died due to these types of illnesses. It is a very sad matter.
Dogs bring so much joy into our lives, but they are only around for a very short time. With this in mind, I am motivated to educate people in prioritizing basic preventive healthcare to ensure a good foundation for their pets. I have been offering home service veterinary care since the start of June, and I am so happy to be with animals again. I feel very fortunate to have a supportive family and partner cheering me on, helping provide whatever I need, and being by my side even as we face our global crisis. Cheers to all the pets making who are taking away some of our problems during these difficult times! I wish them a long and wonderful life.