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Canine Preventive Health

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Preventive health care is important in all stages of a pet’s life. Our adult pet wellness programs are designed to help keep your doggies and kitties happy until they reach their golden years.  Focusing on keeping our pets healthy, as opposed to waiting until they get sick, can help your dog live a longer, healthier life, and possibly even save you money in the long run.

Annual physical examination

The physical exam is the most important part of your dog’s annual visit. We perform a comprehensive evaluation of all of the body systems to check for any potential abnormalities or problems. This is your opportunity to discuss any particular issues or questions you have with the veterinarian.

We will evaluate your pet’s weight and body condition using a body condition score, to determine if he or she is underweight, overweight, or ideal. We can then make specific recommendations related to your pet’s nutritional needs.

We always pay close attention to your pet’s dental health as well. The number one disease seen in our companion animal friends is periodontal disease – a disease which is usually completely preventable. We will be able to discuss all of the different options for dental homecare, and discuss booking your dog in for a dental cleaning procedure.

Vaccinations

All dogs are routinely vaccinated for the “core” diseases to which they can be exposed: distemper, hepatitis (adenovirus) , parvovirus, parainfluenza and rabies. After dogs reach one year of age, these vaccinations only need to be given every three years in most dogs.

Other vaccines, such as bordetella (kennel cough) and leptospirosis are given yearly to those dogs who will possibly be at risk for these problems. Kennel cough is an extremely contagious disease similar to whooping cough in people. Any dog that might go for boarding, grooming, obedience classes, doggy day care, or any dog that plays regularly with other dogs should be vaccinated for kennel cough. Leptospirosis can cause liver and kidney failure, and is caused by a bacteria that is transmitted through an infected animal’s urine. Wild animals like skunks and raccoons can be carriers of this infection as well as other dogs. Any dog that likes to wander through damp, wet areas with stagnant water (camping, hunting, ravines, parks) should be vaccinated against this disease.

Wellness blood profile

Animals can’t talk to us (if they could, it would make our job here a lot easier). They can’t complain verbally of aches and pains, or if they just don’t feel right. Some pets, to their own detriment, are very good at hiding signs of illness until the problem becomes quite severe. For this reason, it is important that we regularly screen them for health problems, to uncover any potential hidden illness.

Our wellness blood profile consists of a complete blood count, and blood chemistry tests to assess all the major organ systems.  In addition to screening for problems, these tests provide us with a “baseline” set of normal values for your pet, and can be compared to test results as your pet ages to see if there are any changes or trends over time.

Heartworm testing

Between the last half of April and the end of May, all dogs need to have a heartworm test performed, to screen for exposure to heartworm from previous years.  No medication is one-hundred percent effective all of the time, so even if you swear that you faithfully administered all of the doses of heartworm preventive medication on time the previous year, your dog still needs to be tested before going on prevention for the new season.

Heartworm, flea and tick prevention

In this part of the country, all dogs are placed on a heartworm and flea preventive medication from June 1 to November 1. These medications are extremely safe and highly effective against heartworm and fleas.  If your pet is at significant risk of tick exposure, then we recommend starting prevention in mid May. For more great (and funny) information about ticks, how disgusting they are, and how they can be prevented, see our blog post about ticks and lyme disease by cliicking here.

Different options for prevention exist, including topical preparations that are squeezed onto the back of the neck monthly, or a pill that is given once a month. Some of these products also protect against other parasites, such as ear mites, scabies and intestinal parasites. We will discuss your pet’s unique situation to determine which product is most suitable for you.

Fecal examination

Any pet whose feet (or nose) touch the ground are at risk of becoming infected with intestinal parasites. These parasites can not only cause illness if left untreated, but they can also be passed on to other animals, and sometimes even to humans (especially children or immune-compromised adults). For these reasons, it is imperative that all dogs have their stool analysed for intestinal parasites at least once a year.

Click for information on our Preventive Wellness Package for dogs.