Tens of millions of Americans own companion animals and livestock. It’s estimated that people in the U.S. own as many as 80 million dogs and up to 96 million cats. An additional 2 million horses are owned. And that doesn’t even count all the livestock on farms. With that amount of animals, it is important to take care of them properly.
With any companion animal, it is important to take it to the vet regularly and get regular vaccinations. All dogs and cats must get rabies shots, and other pets may need them as well. Additional vaccines and testing also are necessary. For example, dogs are at risk for heart worms, which can cause serious damage and even death. It’s estimated that up to one million dogs are infected with heart worms each year. Doing a heartworm test is very important to ensure your dog does not have the parasite or gets treated if it does. A canine heartworm test is very important for dogs. For cats, feline leukemia can be a fatal disease and is important to get a test for.
Livestock also have disease and other issues and need to get checked out by a vet. Horses face a disease threat called equine infectious anemia virus. The virus can be very serious and can spread among horses that are confined together in a barn. Horses that contract the virus can die in less than three weeks.
Disease symptoms in animals are much less apparent than in humans, and often the only way to know the animal is sick is to do diagnostic testing. Veterinary clinical diagnostics involve sending the tests off to a lab to have a technician examine them for the presence of disease or other issues. Veterinary clinical diagnostics often are done on a contract basis, as most veterinarians do not have their own lab equipment. With so many companion animals and livestock, the veterinary diagnostics market is a very lucrative one.
If you own a pet or you have livestock, you have a responsibility to take care of them. That includes regular vet checkups and whatever vaccinations they need to keep them healthy.