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.
FELINE LEUKEMIA (FeLV) AND FELINE IMMUNODEFICIENCY VIRUS (FIV)
Feline leukemia virus is one of the most common infectious diseases in cats, affecting about 3% of cats in the United States. This rate drastically increases however (up to 30%), for rates in cats that are ill or at risk. Cats that are persistently infected with FeLV serve as sources of infection for other cats. The virus is shed in saliva, nasal secretions, urine, feces, and milk of infected cats. Cat-to-cat transfer of the virus occurs most commonly through a bite, mutual grooming, or an infected mother cat giving birth to or nursing her kittens. Cats at greatest risk of FeLV infection are those that may be exposed to infected cats, either via prolonged close contact or through bite wounds. Kittens and older cats that have compromised immune systems also are more at risk to contracting this disease. It is recommended that all cats be tested for FeLV before being placed with other cats in the home and that all cats going outdoors are vaccinated.
FIV prevalence in the United States is between approximately 1.5 to 3 percent of healthy cats. Again infection rates rise significantly (15 percent or more) in cats that are sick or at high risk. The primary mode of transmission is through bite wounds. Casual, non-aggressive contact does not appear to be an efficient route of spreading FIV; as a result, cats in households with stable social structures where housemates do not fight are at little risk for acquiring FIV infections. On rare occasions infection is transmitted from an infected mother cat to her kittens either while birthing or nursing kittens.
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.