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Wellness Care

 

Examinations

Annual examinations are an important measure for keeping your pet healthy. Wellness exams should be scheduled at least once a year. Adolescent and senior pets, or pets with special health concerns such as obesity, may need to have exams a little more often.

Routine examinations allow us to make sure your pet is healthy and happy, and discover any potential problems in their initial phase when they are most treatable. Even if your pet has no signs of illness, check-ups should not be skipped over. You can never know what is going on underneath the surface without some routine tests! A physical examination can be very informative, but beyond this procedure we also aim to perform a fecal exam and blood work once a year.

Here are a few procedures that you can expect during your pet's wellness exam:

  • Checking the central nervous system
  • Checking and cleaning the ears, treating if required
  • Checking joints and mobility
  • Checking skin and coat condition
  • Checking urinary and reproductive systems
  • Examining the teeth and gums
  • Examining the eyes
  • Listening to the heart and lungs
  • Observation of alertness and response
  • Palpating the abdomen checking for painful areas and/or growths or tumors
  • Checking the body for unusual lumps
  • Weight check

Other tests that your pet may be given include:

  • Heartworm testing, otherwise known as blood parasite screening.
  • Fecal testing allows the veterinarian to check for the presence of internal parasites such as hookworms, roundworms and whipworms.
  • Blood work tests screen for infection or disease that may not otherwise be detected through a physical examination. Blood work also allows a veterinarian a comprehensive assessment of your pets' health.

During the wellness examination, we will take every measure to make sure your pet feels as comfortable as possible, including petting, sweet-talking, and treat-giving. We know that trips to the vet can seem like traumatic experiences for our animal friends, but there is no need for this to be the case!

 

Vaccinations

No one likes getting shots, but they are essential for protecting your pet, and the pet population at large, from contracting potentially fatal diseases. Vaccines expose your pet to small amounts of a disease; this way your pet's immune system has a "learning opportunity" to create antigens to fight the particular disease. If your pet's immune system ever comes across the disease again, they will be ready to defend themselves.

When to Vaccinate?

Puppies and kittens are usually protected from infectious diseases by their mother's milk, provided she has been adequately vaccinated. However, this protection only lasts for a short period of time before they need to receive vaccinations themselves.

  • Puppies should be vaccinated at 8 and 10 weeks.
  • Kittens should be vaccinated at 9 and 12 weeks.
  • Boosters should be given 12 months after the date of the first vaccinations.
  • If you have an older pet, your veterinarian will be able to advise the correct vaccination protocol that you should follow.

 

Dogs:

Dogs should be routinely vaccinated against:

  • Canine distemper
  • Canine parvovirus
  • Infectious canine hepatitis
  • Leptospirosis
  • Bordetella

If your dog is going to be around other dogs frequently, like at a dog park or boarding facility, you should enquire about getting them vaccinated against kennel cough. The vaccine is usually given via the nostrils and protects against bordetella bronchiseptica and parainfluenza virus. Dogs going abroad will also need a rabies vaccination.

 

Cats:

Cats should be routinely vaccinated against:

  • Feline calicivirus
  • Feline herpes virus
  • Feline infectious enteritis
  • Feline leukemia virus

Current guidelines recommend that only at risk cats be vaccinated against feline leukemia virus. Those deemed at risk include kittens, immune-compromised cats, and cats that share a home with other cats who have feline leukemia virus.

 

Rabbits:

Rabbits should be routinely vaccinated against:

  • Myxomatosis
  • Rabbit (viral) haemorrhagic disease (RHD)

If your pet is having single vaccines then the myxomatosis vaccine should be given from 6 weeks of age, and the RHD vaccine from 8 weeks. Single vaccines cannot be given simultaneously. After this time, myxomatosis boosters should be given every 6 months.

Combined vaccines offer annual protection against both diseases and can be given from 5 weeks of age.

If you are unsure about anything to do with pet vaccines, consult your veterinarian. We will advise you on the best vaccination protocol to follow.

 

Parasite Control

A parasite is an animal that has evolved to subsist by deriving energy and nutrients at a host's expense, almost always to the detriment of the host. Pesky parasites like fleas, ticks, heartworms, and intestinal worms are present in nearly every environment. Year-round fecal exams in addition to preventative measures are necessary to protect your pet from contracting a parasite infestation.

We help our patients stay protected by aiding in the selection of a preventative measure that best suits the pet'’'s needs, lifestyle, and risk of exposure. These can be in the form of topical treatments, pills, or tasty chewable treats.

Parasites are an all-too-common phenomenon among our pets; they can compromise their health and sometimes even ours. This is because some parasites are zoonotic, or capable of infecting humans. If you suspect your pet has parasites, take precaution by using gloves when handling pet waste and washing the hands frequently. Children in particular are vulnerable to contracting parasites, because they are less likely to practice these precautions, and may play in areas which are contaminated unbeknownst to them.

 

Fleas

These parasites are not only annoying, they can pose a real risk to your pet's health. In addition to causing itching they can cause serious infections or even anemia. Fleas can also be a vector for intestinal parasites like roundworms. Watch out for fleas in the summer months particularly and make sure your pet is on a continuous preventative. Keeping a clean house and yard can prevent them from reaching you and your family.

 

Ticks

In this area, ticks are no joke. They are plentiful and can carry the dreaded Lymes disease, along with a myriad of other nasty and dangerous maladies. They are most prevalent in grassy or wooded areas. To prevent ticks, try to check your pet for them after they play outside and make sure they are on a year-round preventative.

 

Heartworms

These parasites are carried by mosquitoes. Their natural host is dogs, but cats can also be affected. Once bitten, the heartworms slowly but steadily multiply, causing irreversible organ damage and eventually proving fatal to their host if left untreated. In the beginning stages, symptoms may seem minor. They can include, coughing, wheezing fatigue and weight loss. To prevent heartworms, preventative medicine is required year round.

 

Intestinal Worms

Some common intestinal worms include roundworms, hookworms, flatworms, whipworms, and tapeworms. Puppies and kittens are most often affected because their immune systems are not fully developed. Humans can even contract intestinal worms from affected pets without proper hygiene! In order to treat worms, deworming medication can be provided by a veterinary professional.

 

Microchipping

How will your pet make their way home if they ever become lost? It might be scary to think about-- but when an emergency strikes, you will be glad you had a plan.

Microchips are one of the most foolproof and effective methods for identifying lost pets. With just a little light paperwork, an individual microchip is programmed with your contact information. It is inserted between your pet's shoulder blades quickly and painlessly in a routine office procedure. Your pet will not need any anesthetics or recovery time, because the procedure for insertion of the microchip is tantamount to a routine vaccine injection.

Once inserted, the microchip will stay with your pet for the rest of their life. Unlike ID tags, there is no chance it will be separated from them. Of course, we do recommend using all forms of identification at your disposal, including ID tags, for maximum security in addition to microchips. And if your contact information ever changes (like during a move), remember to update your contact information registered to your pet's microchip.

If your pet does not have a microchip yet, feel encouraged to ask your veterinarian about one today. After one quick office visit, they can be implanted with a permanent form of identification for the rest of their life.

 

Nutrition & Weight Management

Did you know that approximately 35% of dogs and cats are overweight?

Many pet owners in this day and age are concerned about this their pet’s nutrition and weight management. In addition to overweight animals, there are many pets who have other special diet considerations. If your pet has diabetes, allergies, cancer, or a thyroid disorder, you may want to consider discussing a specialized diet with your veterinarian.

At different phases of the life cycle, there are differences in necessary pet nutritional needs which are important. For example, puppies and kittens need food to help them grow strong, and older animals may benefit from a food that provides them with more joint support.

Pet obesity in particular is a common issue that can be dangerous to pet health. Overweight pets have a decreased life expectancy, and their quality of life also suffers. But do not despair if your pet needs to lose weight; we are here to help.

Tips for Getting Your Pet Back to a Healthy Weight:

  • Select a Clinically Proven Pet Food. We have several pet foods in office, which our veterinarians recommend for weight loss.

  • Celebrate Success. Weigh your pet at the beginning of their weight loss journey, and document their progress as they reach their goal. Also, take pictures for a visual reminder of how far they have come.

  • Don't Stray from the Path. Follow the daily recommended feeding guide to ensure that your pet is set up for success. Do not overindulge them with treats. Praise and love can make a special moment or reward just as sweet!

  • Exercise Together. If you have a dog, take them to the park to walk and play. Most cats and other small animals can reach their daily exercise needs with toys. The experience will not only be good for their health, it can increase your bond with them and be fun too!

  • Food Puzzles. These can be a great tool to slow down your pet's rate of eating, which will improve their digestion and make it easier to stick to their diet. Make them work for their dinner!