National Pet Week

In honor of National Pet Week, we are promoting veterinarians, veterinary technicians, and those who help keep pets healthy and happy!  We are hosting VEZU day here at Potter Park Zoo Saturday, May 8 from 12-4pm where you can meet and interact with a variety of veterinarians, veterinary technicians and animal care professionals.

We know that pets are an important part of many families and we love to promote that.  In line with that, I would like to add that the animals at the zoo also receive very similar care to pets.  We use the same vaccines and they get very similar or even more thorough examinations than pets.  Pets, just like people, need to have a physical examination at least once a year.  At that time your veterinarian can give the various vaccines that are due and needed to keep your pet healthy.  Further, examinations for parasites, including heartworm can also be done.  Michigan has had cases of heartworm occur, so it is important to keep your pets checked for this and to use medicine to prevent them from acquiring it. It is always better to keep your pets healthy and free of disease than to treat it later.

In zoos, it is even more important to have regular examinations of the animals since we cannot touch them daily and know if a bump or lump is developing.  Further, I rely on our expert zoo keeping staff to monitor the animals daily and notice very small changes in the animal's behavior, eating, sleeping, or walking which could indicate early symptoms of something much larger.  If we diagnose a problem early, it may be easier to treat it.  We also vaccinate the animals with the same types of vaccines that are used for dogs, cats, horses, or cattle as they do not make vaccines specific for tigers, eagles, or bongos!  This preventive medicine program, or diagnosing and preventing diseases before they become a problem, leads to prolonging the lives of our animals, sometimes long beyond life-expectancy and keeping them healthier much longer!

I hope to see you at VEZU day this week, but otherwise, happy pet week!

Dr. Tara