The American Veterinary Medical Association recommends that every pet be seen annually by a veterinarian to get a complete physical examination. During these exams, we assess your pet’s body condition and make dietary and exercise recommendations to help your pet maintain its ideal body weight. In addition we will perform a head to tail examination assessing the core body systems including your pet’s teeth and gums. We will also update your pet on any vaccinations he/she may require.
Annual physicals are recommended as pets age quite a bit faster than people do (between 5-7 years each calendar year). This suggests health problems can progress five to seven times faster in your pet. Most diseases, if caught early are readily treatable and can extend the life of your companion.
HEARTWORM AND TICKS
Heartworm is a parasitic disease that is carried by the mosquito. Spread of this disease occurs when a mosquito feeds on an infected host (dog, cat) and draws blood infected with the larval stages of parasite into its body. The heartworm parasite then develops into the infective stage in the mosquito so that when it bites a healthy dog or cat transmission of the parasite occurs. The parasite then goes on to infest the pulmonary artery and chamber of the heart causing serious and often fatal health problems such as heart failure. Annual screening and preventative medication is recommended.
The tick panel screens dogs for three of the four major tick borne diseases in the Midwest, Lyme, Anaplasmosis and Erlichia. These diseases are transmitted when a tick feeds from an infected host such as a deer, dog, or raccoon. The infected tick then lays eggs that hatch and form infected adolescent ticks. The infected ticks feed on healthy animals and transmit the disease through the bloodstream. These diseases can cause serious health conditions even though your pet may show no clinical signs of infection. For this reason annual screening is recommended.
Complete blood counts and mini/full chemistry panels are recommended if your animal is undergoing any surgical procedure, is ill, or is under a certain lifestage category (adult, senior pet, etc). A complete blood count looks at the major cells types in the blood including the red blood cells, white blood cells and platelets. These cells give us information about the body’s ability to deliver oxygen to major organs, fight infection and stop any bleeding. A mini/full panel looks at the major organ systems of the body such as the liver and kidneys to determine whether they are functioning appropriately.
A fecal examination is recommended annually to determine if your pet has gastrointestinal parasites. These parasites can be transmitted through ingestion of contaminated materials, licking an area that is or was contaminated, or eating an infected animal like a rodent. You pet may have an infection but may not show clinical signs. Parasites can be avoided through the use of preventative medications but active infections can also be easily treated.
A urinalysis is a physical, chemical and microscopic examination of a urine sample. Using this test we can determine the overall health of your pets’ entire urinary system. Additionally this test is used to screen for several other disorders including kidney disease, diabetes, urinary tract infections, and urinary crystals/stones.
Vaccinations fall into two major classes; core and non-core. Core vaccines are vaccinations that all dogs and cats should receive at recommended intervals to prevent serious and often fatal disease. Non-core vaccines are vaccines that every dog or cat may not need. In these cases the decision to vaccinate is based on risk assessment (how likely is it that an animal will contract or come into contact with the disease in question). Vaccinations are also species dependent and are therefore different in dogs and cats.
Vaccines for the dog that are considered core are Rabies virus, Distemper virus, Parvovirus, and Adenovirus-2. These diseases are serious and can be life threatening. The non-core vaccines we currently recommend for dogs are the Bordetella, Lyme, and Leptospirosis vaccines. Bordetella vaccination should be considered if your dog is groomed at a commercial facility, boarded, or frequents locations where there are large groups of dogs like parks. Lyme disease is spread by ticks and is therefore recommended in areas where tick prevelance is high. The Midwest has seen a dramtic rise in tick population so it is recommended that any dog that tests negative for Lyme disease be vaccinated. Leptospirosis is bacterial in origin and Is typically spread via infected urine, soil or stagnant water. This organism can cause serious illness including liver damage. We recommend vaccination for any dog that hunts or frequents areas that have stagnant water present such as ponds, marshes, swamps, or lakes.
Vaccines for cats that are considered core are Rabies virus, Panleukopenia Virus, Herpesvirus-1, and Calicivirus. These diseases are highly fatal in cats. The non-core vaccination in cats is Feline Leukemia. This vaccine should be considered if your cat is allowed outdoors for any period of time. This vaccination requires testing before administration.
The easiest form of identification is a collar or harness with tags that is placed on your pet when it is outside so that if your treasured friend wanders he/she can be easily reunited with you. What happens should the collar or harness fall off, if the tag comes loose, or your pet slips outside without one on?
We recommend microchipping your pet. A microchip is a small electronic device inserted under the skin near the shoulder blades. The microchip gives each pet a unique identification number that is linked to your information through a company database. Should your pet become lost and taken into a humane society, veterinary hospital or other pet facility your pet will be scanned and you will be contacted.