In providing general pet medicine, our veterinary staff is capable of diagnosing and treating a variety of pet medical needs. Our approach to diagnostic and therapeutic services is meant to allow you and your pet increased comfort while maintaining confidence that you are in capable hands. At our veterinary office, we take corresponding safety precautions and observe all sanitation standards. Our goal is to provide quality pet care and exceptional customer service. As a general practitioner, we can diagnose and treat a variety of health problems. However, if diagnostics or treatment lies outside our veterinary specialty, or requires a veterinarian specialist, we may refer you to one of our partnered veterinarians. We work closely with other practices that can further assist you in achieving optimum pet health care.
General pet medicine includes the following:
- Senior pet care
- Vision care
If you witness your pet exhibiting any of the following symptoms, please schedule an appointment to have them evaluated, as the condition might require prompt treatment:
- Anxiety that causes noticeable emotional changes.
- Decreased appetite.
- Difficulty standing up, climbing stairs, or walking long distances.
- Excessive itching.
- Excessive weight loss or weight gain.
- Foul odor in or around ears.
- Foul smelling breath.
- Inability to control bodily functions.
- Increased dehydration.
- Increased eye or nose secretion.
- Increased urination.
- Lumps in the skin that have increased in size or are entirely new.
- Tiny cuts across areas of the skin.
- Unexplained exhaustion.
- Wounds that will not heal.
Prolonged Condition Management
In some instances, pet care requires more than just a single day’s visit. Our staff can provide a comfortable setting for pets receiving ongoing care that requires hospitalization. If your pet requires attention around the clock, our facilities are equipped to house them throughout the extent of the treatment.
If you have any questions, or need to schedule a medical visit, please call our office.
Possible indications of heart disease:
What do cardiology diagnostics involve?
Diagnostics could involve a variety of different procedures. Upon examining your pet, the veterinarian will decide which method is necessary under the circumstances.
Blood Pressure – Routinely checking blood pressure at pet wellness exams is critical. High blood pressure can cause heart failure.
Blood Tests – Blood tests examine hormone levels. Changes in certain hormones indicate heart failure.
Digital X-rays – X-rays allow the veterinarian to examine the heart, lungs, and bones. From an X-ray, your pet’s physician can determine enlargement of the heart or fluid build-up in the lungs. X-rays can also be used to determine placement of pacemakers.
EKGs – An EKG allows the physician to monitor heart rate and rhythm, allowing for detection of abnormalities.
Ultrasound – Ultrasounds let the physician see a 3-dimensional image of the heart and its chambers. From this image, they can observe blood flow and check for any heart murmurs.
Reasons for regular dental check-ups:
- Avoid tooth loss due to periodontal disease.
- Help your pet avert unnecessary pain.
- Help your pet maintain healthy and functional teeth.
- Improve foul breath.
- Prevent potential damage to the brain, heart, liver, lungs, and kidneys.
What does a pet dental exam involve?
Pets can experience many of the same dental issues that humans do, including gingivitis, periodontal disease, necessary tooth extraction, and deep scaling. Regular dental exams and cleanings can help you avoid the costliness of involved dental procedures and can help prevent your pet from unnecessary suffering.
Pet dental exams are similar to human dental exams and involve teeth cleaning and buffing. Additional services offered include sedation dentistry and dental X-rays. If more serious conditions are discovered, root canals, tooth extraction, etc. might be required.
During your pet’s teeth cleaning, a dental technician will gently clean the surface of the teeth with an ultrasonic scaler that cleans using the vibration of sound waves and water. The waves push the water creating tiny scrubbing bubbles that implode on tooth surfaces and kill microbes as they separate plaque from the tooth structure. After scaling the teeth, the technician lightly buffs and polishes your pet’s teeth to complete their dental cleaning.
After the cleaning, we will provide you with a comprehensive analysis of your pet’s oral health. You will receive at-home oral hygiene tips specific to your pet, and if any serious dental conditions exist, you will be notified prior to any treatment planning.
Some simple home hygiene tips are:
- Brushing your pet’s teeth as little as one time a week can cut down on 50-60% of tartar build-up.
- Dental products specifically designed for pets, including Oravet and CET, can help protect gums and lessen tartar.
- Dry pet food is better for teeth than canned food; it causes abrasion to tooth surfaces when chewed, helping remove tartar build-up. Other treats such as raw-hide can also help remove built-up plaque.
- There are many pet toys that support dental health. Buying your pets these toys not only entertains them, but offers a dual purpose in helping clean teeth.
Remember, creating a smooth clean tooth surface makes it more difficult for tartar and plaque to build up!
If you would like to schedule a professional dental cleaning for your pet, call our office to schedule an appointment, and allow your pet to experience a healthy smile!
Reasons for diagnostic imaging:
- Assess facial swelling and dental problems.
- Detect possible bladder infections.
- Determine the location of broken bones or bone fractures.
- Evaluate the status of a pet’s pregnancy.
- Help identify if a pet has heart disease.
- Help obtain a biopsy sample.
- Locate foreign bodies that a pet might have swallowed.
Types of diagnostic imaging
CT Scan – CT scans provide 3D digital images that give the veterinarian a better view of soft tissues. When compared to other forms of imaging, CT scans depict more precise details.
Digital X-rays – Radiographs (X-rays) are usually the first test administered to evaluate your pet. Our office utilizes digital X-rays because they are more accurate and display a higher contrast. Because of their accuracy, technicians are able to take fewer images resulting in less pet discomfort. Digital X-rays also project less radiation than traditional X-rays, which allows your pet to avoid unnecessary exposure.
Ultrasound – Ultrasounds are another form of 3D imaging. This diagnostic is perfect for pets in sensitive situations (e.g. pregnancy), pets that might be suffering immense pain, or pets who are partially immobile. Ultrasounds are very gentle and are typically used to examine the abdominal region.
What does diagnostic imaging involve?
The process for getting images of your pet depends on what type of diagnostic that is being performed and the size of your pet. For smaller pets, images are often taken with the pet lying down in various positions that allow our veterinarians to examine the problem area.
Pets with a disease or condition often feel increased anxiety and stress. Because of this stress, they can be uncooperative during digital imaging procedures. In these situations, our staff patiently tries to make your pet feel comfortable and guide them to cooperate. If a pet is aggressive or remains unwilling, the veterinarian may opt to mildly sedate your pet while performing diagnostic imaging. Also, for tests that require a pet to be absolutely still, anesthesia is typically administered.
If you have any questions about digital imaging services, please feel free to contact our office.
When being euthanized, pet owners are welcome to be in the room as their pet passes, and if they prefer, a pet can be sedated prior to administering euthanasia. The final injection is a chemical that mimics an overdose of anesthesia, allowing your pet to fall into an eternal sleep. As it enters the bloodstream, the chemical targets the brain and heart, first preventing nerves from sensing pain, then gradually stopping the heart from beating.
While the decision to euthanize is heart-wrenching, it is important for a pet owner to consider the pet’s suffering before their own. In circumstances where putting your pet to sleep offers them relief from physical anguish, ending misery can be the best decision you can make for your pet.
Common reasons for euthanasia:
- Behavioral problems, namely aggression, which cannot be corrected.
- Illness that would cause suffering if the pet were kept alive.
- Inability to afford involved medical procedures.
- Organ damage that cannot be repaired.
- Euthanizing pets in shelters when homes cannot be found.
- Terminal illness such as cancer.
What happens after euthanasia?
After putting your pet to sleep, you can decide to take your pet home with you, have your pet cremated, buried from a pet funeral home, or you can opt to leave your pet with the veterinarian. Because saying goodbye is difficult, we recommend having after death plans arranged prior to your visit for euthanasia. No matter what you decide to do, don’t feel pressured to choose one option or another; choose the option that is best for you. Some pet owners feel that an urn with their pet’s remains helps the grieving process. Others think leaving the pet with the vet is easier for them emotionally. Because your pet has peacefully passed, it is now your decision to do what is best for you.
The bereavement process is different for every pet owner. Some only take a couple days for mourning while others take months. It is completely normal to mourn the loss of your pet, and you should never feel obligated to put a time limit on what is the “right” amount of time.
If you have any questions about the process of putting a pet to sleep, or want to schedule an appointment to see if it would be beneficial for your pet’s condition, contact our office at your convenience.
As pet care specialists, we are proud to extend surgical services to our patients. Our skilled physicians and technicians are proficient in a variety of surgical procedures, allowing your pet to obtain precise care. Prior to scheduling surgery, we will discuss all treatment options available to you and your pet. Our goal is to allow you to fully understand the benefits and potential risks of surgery and make an informed decision about your pet’s care. Patients will also need to complete a full physical evaluation and blood work panel to ensure there are no preexisting conditions that could negatively affect pet health when anesthesia is used. Once your pet has cleared their physical exam, surgery can be scheduled.
Common reasons for pet surgery:
- Declawing felines.
- Foreign body removal.
- Spay and neuter.
- Trauma repair.
- Tumor or skin biopsy.
What does surgery involve?
Surgery for pets is very similar to surgery for humans. During the pre-operative appointment, the necessary preparations for surgery will be discussed. If your pet is having anesthesia, fasting will be required, and we request that you inform us of any medications your pet is taking. With some surgeries, an overnight stay at our facility is necessary so we can continue to monitor your pet’s recovery. If this is required with your surgery, you will be notified during your pre-operative appointment.
We believe that pain management is a critical aspect of recovery. We make an added effort to provide your pet with superior comfort. If we feel that post-operative pain management would be beneficial to your pet, we will prescribe additional medication.
Upon the completion of surgery, you will be informed of all care instructions for recovery. If you have any questions or concerns about your pet’s surgery, or would like to schedule a surgery, please contact our office.
TYPES OF SURGICAL PROCEDURES
In an effort to help your pet live a healthy life, we provide spay and neuter services. Choosing to spay or neuter your new pet is one of the most responsible decisions you can make as a pet owner. Spaying and neutering pets is estimated to add years to your pet’s life in decreasing or eliminating their chances of getting certain cancers; it also helps decrease the amount of animals in shelters and the number of euthanized pets each year.
With statistics indicating that nearly 4 million pets in the United States are put down annually, we believe spaying and neutering animals is a productive initiative. In providing these services, we hope to prolong pets’ lives and help the community in preventing pet overpopulation.
Reasons to spay or neuter your pet:
- Decrease aggressive behaviors in male pets.
- Decrease desire for pets to roam and find mates.
- Decrease pet overpopulation and pet euthanasia.
- Decrease risk of mammary gland tumors.
- Eliminate heat cycles, bleeding, and yelling for a mate.
- Eliminate or reduce marking and spraying.
- Reduce risk of ovarian and uterine cancers.
- Reduce risk of prostate cancer and testicular cancer.
What does spaying or neutering involve?
Both spaying and neutering are surgical procedures that prevent an animal from reproducing. Spaying and neutering are typically recommended for pets that are at least 6 months old and are not going to be used for breeding. Spaying is performed on female animals and involves surgically removing the uterus and ovaries to prevent pregnancy. Neutering is implemented on male animals and encompasses removing the testicles to eliminate fertility. While each of these surgeries sound involved, they can usually be completed within a few hours and do not require an overnight hospital stay.
Your pet may experience increased discomfort in the days following surgery. Depending on your pet’s surgery, pain medication can be prescribed. These tips should be followed to ease your pet’s recovery:
- Do not allow your pet to run or jump for the next few days.
- Examine the incision daily to ensure proper healing.
- Keep your pet confined from others, and allow them to have a quiet resting place.
- Prevent your pet from licking the surgical site by keeping close watch or by using an Elizabethan collar.
- Wait at least 10 days after surgery to bathe your pet. If your pet’s incision has opened or if you notice excessive swelling, redness, or discharge, contact our office immediately.
If you have further questions about the spay and neuter procedures or would like to schedule the surgery for your pet, contact our office at your convenience.
Cesarean Section (C-Section)
Whether you are a breeder or have an accidental litter, you might be faced with the need for a Cesarean section (C-section). There are many reasons that female pets require a C-section, ranging from a narrow birth canal to an awkward positioning of the litter. In some cases, a C-section can save the mother and litter’s lives. Our skilled surgeons are proud to offer our patients scheduled and emergency Cesarean section services.
Reason for a Cesarean section:
- Fetal distress.
- Irregularity of a particular breed, namely size or shape of newborn.
- Litter consists of a single offspring.
- Litter is in awkward position and cesarean section might be necessary to save litter.
- Mother is having difficulty with natural birthing, and C-section becomes necessary.
- Mother’s pelvic shape or size.
- Mothers that have previously had litters via cesarean will likely have future litters similarly.
What does a Cesarean section involve?
A Cesarean section is usually straightforward. In cases where the lives of the mother and her offspring are in danger, emphasis is placed on extracting the newborns hastily. In all cases, great precision and care are taken to ensure the safety and health of all patients. Initially, the mother’s abdomen is cleaned and shaved to reveal the surgical site. The mother then receives an injection of local anesthesia around the proposed incision site to numb the area and lessen the total amount of general anesthesia necessary for the surgery. An IV sedative is then introduced to allow the mother to completely relax. For their safety, we only implement mild sedative medications to protect the lives of the mother and her offspring. The midline incision is then made, exposing the uterus. Each newborn is gently extracted from the uterus and placed in neonatal care where breathing is stimulated, the amniotic sac is removed, fluid is taken out of their lungs, and their umbilical cords are tied. The mother’s incision is then sutured closed.
The mother and her litter remain under neonatal care for the next few days. Because the mother did not undergo the natural whelping process, she is more likely to reject her newborns and must be introduced to the process of nurturing her offspring. With the help of our trained staff, the mother will be guided in nurturing her litter and will be taught typical mothering techniques. After she begins to take motherly initiatives, the mother and newborns can be released to their owner.
If you have any questions about Cesarean section surgeries or would like to schedule a surgery, please contact our office.
Foreign Body Removal
A foreign body surgery is a procedure to remove an object from a pet’s digestive tract that will not pass through on its own. Diagnosis of a foreign body is usually made by physical examination and radiographs (X-rays). This is typically an emergency procedure that must be performed before injury occurs to the esophagus, stomach, or intestines.
What Is a Foreign Body Surgery?
Pets aren’t picky eaters. It’s common for them to eat objects, such as string, toys, rocks, and articles of clothing. Smaller objects may pass through the digestive tract uneventfully. Objects that don’t pass through easily may cause obstructions that can damage or perforate the digestive tract, which can lead to death. A foreign body surgery is an emergency procedure to retrieve an object before it damages the esophagus, stomach, or intestines.
What Types of Objects Are Typically Involved?
Dogs are more likely to eat foreign objects than cats. Common foreign objects found in dogs include bones, rawhides, corncobs, and fishhooks. Some types of glue are particularly troublesome, because if a dog chews on the glue bottle, the glue expands in the stomach and can be difficult to remove. Of course, large or sharp objects and those containing poisonous substances should be removed as soon as possible.
For cats, eating string (such as dental floss or yarn) is especially dangerous. String can become lodged in the digestive tract and cut through the tender tissue as the continual motion of the intestines attempts to push it along. While most hairballs generally pass through the digestive system, some may become large enough to cause a blockage.
What Are the Signs of a Foreign Body?
The signs may vary depending on the location of the foreign body. If the object is in the esophagus, the pet may gag, cough, salivate, or gulp as if attempting to swallow. If the object is in the stomach or intestines, the pet most likely will vomit and may be lethargic (tired) and/or have a loss of appetite, vomiting, or diarrhea.
How Is a Foreign Body Diagnosed?
In some cases, the veterinarian may be able to feel the object with his or her hands while gently pressing on the pet’s abdomen during a physical examination. Usually, radiographs, or X-rays, are required.
While some objects, such as bones and metal, are obvious on radiographs, others, such as clothing, are not. In these cases, the veterinarian may have the animal swallow barium, which is a liquid that is visible on radiographs. A series of radiographs enables the veterinarian to watch the barium move through the digestive tract. The barium may actually surround the object and make it visible, or the barium may stop moving, indicating the possible location of the obstruction.
If an animal shows signs of having eaten a foreign object but the radiographs are inconclusive, a veterinarian may recommend an exploratory surgery. While this surgical procedure may enable the veterinarian to locate and remove the foreign body, occasionally, no foreign body is found.
How Is the Surgery Performed?
In most cases, animals suspected of having a foreign body undergo an abdominal surgery under general anesthesia. Depending on where the object is, the veterinarian may need to open the stomach and/or the intestines to remove it.
If the foreign body is in the esophagus within the chest, the veterinarian may recommend endoscopy to remove the object. In this procedure, the animal is anesthetized, and a flexible tube with a camera is placed down the animal’s esophagus. The camera enables the veterinarian to see the object and manipulate prongs or a basket at the end of the tube to grasp and retrieve it.
The advantage of endoscopy is that it is noninvasive and your pet will require less recovery time. If endoscopy is not available, the veterinarian will need to open your pet’s chest.
What Are the Risks and Benefits of the Surgery?
There are always risks associated with anesthesia and surgery. Performing blood tests will provide the veterinarian with information that will help him or her stabilize the pet before surgery.
A foreign body surgery is an invasive procedure that involves opening the abdomen or chest, as well as making incisions into the digestive tract. In addition to the risk of infection, there is always the possibility that the sutured area of the incision may come apart, requiring the veterinarian to perform another surgery.
Without emergency surgery, however, an obstruction caused by a foreign body can be fatal. Prompt diagnosis and surgical treatment can help eliminate the problem and set your pet on the road to recovery.
The best way to prevent a foreign body surgery is to remove small or chewable objects from the floor and yard. Keep strings and rubber bands in boxes or drawers, and cover wastebaskets to prevent curious pets from eating the contents.
Any pet involved in a motor vehicle accident or attacked by another animal should be assumed to be in shock. They may also have suffered internal injuries, head trauma and have severe bruising. There can be active bleeding on the outside of your pet, but the real danger is the internal bleeding that cannot be seen. Trauma can result in injuries to various internal organs. For example:
- Punctured lung: air and blood can leak into the space between the lungs and the rib cage causing difficulty breathing because the lungs cannot expand
- Bruised lung: bleeding into a traumatised lung (pulmonary contusions) can stop that part of the lung from being able to absorb oxygen
- Ruptured liver or spleen: damage to these highly vascular organs can lead to excessive bleeding into the abdomen. This is known as a haemabdomen and sometimes surgery is required to repair the damage
- Ruptured diaphragm: The diaphragm is the muscle that separates the chest from the abdomen. If ruptured, organs such as the stomach or the liver can be pushed into the chest making it difficult for your pet to breathe
- Ruptured bladder: If urine enters the abdominal cavity (uroabdomen) your pets’ body cannot excrete toxins and wastes leading to severe dehydration, shock and toxicity. Surgical repair is required
- Head trauma: Brain damage can occur and the long-term complications are only identified once your pet has become stabilized
- Fractures: Limb and pelvic fractures are extremely painful and can cause excessive blood loss
- Puncture wounds: Imagine that bite wounds from animals are like an iceberg. The outside puncture is like the tip of the iceberg and may seem small. However the trauma underneath these wounds can be massive (and may “sink your boat” if left unattended). These wounds often require surgical exploration, washing out (lavage) and antibiotics
Trauma can cause life threatening shock and injuries, seek veterinary attention immediately.
Symptoms of trauma
Pale gum, or blue/purple colour
Fast heart rate
Bleeding on the outside
Non-responsive to commands
Signs of pain (whimpering, crying, shivering, hiding)
Emergency Treatment for trauma
If your pet is unconscious, check if they are breathing and that they have a heartbeat. If not, perform CPR.
In order to minimize movement that can cause more damage and pain, place your pet in a cage, crate, washing basket or on a board.
Stop active bleeding by placing a clean cloth over any open wounds and applying firm pressure
What to expect at the vet
Intravenous fluid therapy – this is needed if your pet is in shock.
Pain relief – traumatic injuries are painful and need to be managed immediately.
IV medications – to treat shock, to prevent further damage to organs and to treat potential infections.
Radiographs (x-rays) – to assess extent of injuries.
Blood transfusion may be required if blood loss is severe.
Surgery may be needed to clean wounds, repair ruptured abdominal organs and to stabilise fractures.
Traumatic injuries are often more extensive than they may first appear, and for this reason you should always seek veterinary attention even if your pet initially appears normal. Many puncture wounds, especially from animal bites, will require antibiotics and the sooner these are started, the better. Patients that have suffered severe injuries and are in shock may need extended hospitalisation for treatment and recovery. With appropriate and timely treatment, most traumatic injuries can be managed with a successful outcome.
Tumor and Skin Biopsy
A biopsy allows your veterinarian to determine the types of cells in a tissue sample. Biopsies are commonly used to determine if growths are cancerous but can also help determine the severity of a disease. The tissue removed during a biopsy is examined under a microscope by a veterinary pathologist, a specialist in examining cells and tissue samples. Some form of anesthesia is generally required to perform a biopsy.
What Is a Biopsy?
A biopsy is a surgical procedure in which a tissue sample is removed from the body and examined under a microscope. In some cases, only a small sample is removed for analysis. In other cases, several samples may be removed, or an entire growth may be removed and examined.
What Is a Biopsy Used For?
Dogs and cats commonly develop lumps and growths on their skin. Sometimes these lumps are cancerous, but in other cases, they are simply warts or other noncancerous (benign) growths. Examining a lump does not always give your veterinarian enough information to tell whether it is cancerous or not. A biopsy may be recommended to obtain more information about a suspicious lump.
A biopsy can also be used to diagnose a condition or determine the severity of a disease.For example, if an animal has liver disease, a sample of the liver can be removed (during a biopsy) and examined under a microscope to help determine the cause and extent of the liver damage.
How Is a Biopsy Performed?
Some form of anesthesia is generally required to perform a biopsy. Depending on several factors, including where the tissue sample(s) is/are located and how many areas need to be sampled, your veterinarian will decide whether to use local anesthesia, sedation, or general anesthesia. Local anesthesia usually involves injecting a medication in and around an area of the body to make it numb. If local anesthesia is used, your pet will likely be awake during the biopsy. In contrast, if sedation or general anesthesia is used, the patient is heavily sedated or completely asleep during the procedure. Sometimes, if a growth is on the surface of the skin and is very small, your veterinarian may be able to perform a biopsy using local anesthesia. However, if the area to be biopsied is within the abdomen, for example, or if multiple areas will be biopsied, general anesthesia is usually recommended.
Your veterinarian has a few options when deciding how to perform a biopsy and how much tissue to remove. In an incisional biopsy, a small sample of tissue is removed from a larger mass. In an excisional biopsy, the entire growth is removed and submitted for biopsy. Once the tissue is removed, your veterinarian will submit it to a diagnostic laboratory. There, a veterinary pathologist (a specialist at examining cells and tissue samples) will examine the tissue under a microscope to make a diagnosis. Results are generally available within several days.
What Are the Benefits and Risks of a Biopsy
Biopsies are very important for helping to confirm a diagnosis. With many types of cancers, early diagnosis is helpful for determining the course of treatment and can help increase the chance of survival. Biopsies can also help to confirm causes of other conditions, including skin lesions as well as diseases of the kidneys, liver, or bone marrow.
Your veterinarian will take many precautions to help ensure that your pet is safe during the biopsy and fully recovers afterward. To help reduce the risk of complications associated with surgery or anesthesia, your veterinarian may give your pet a full physical examination and check your pet’s blood work before the biopsy. Biopsies are very safe, routine procedures. The risks associated with a biopsy depend on several factors, including the overall health of the patient, the location of the area to be biopsied, and how many samples are taken. Be sure to discuss any questions or concerns with your veterinarian.
Our goal is to nurture happy, healthy pets. Our preventative program relies on the cooperation between pet-owner, pet, and our physicians to communicate and work as a team. To maintain essential pet health, we recommend a combination of routine check-ups, balanced nutrition, regular vaccinations, and early disease detection.
Preventing pet illness is the duty of a responsible pet owner, and we strongly recommend adopting this attitude toward veterinary care. We are an American Animal Hospital Association (AAHA) accredited pet hospital and follow all standards and guidelines implemented by the AAHA.
Contact our office today to schedule your pet’s next routine exam.
Deworming your pet is an integral aspect of pet care. While nearly 85% of kittens and puppies are born with parasitic infections, most animals develop immunity over time. However, illness and stress can weaken the body’s response to fight off these parasites and can awaken any dormant larvae living in your pet.
Intestinal parasites affect growth and development and can be transferred between pets and pet owners. If you think your pet might be suffering from a parasitic infection, we can perform fecal exams to detect microscopic parasite eggs and determine an infection.
Common internal parasites:
Whether purchasing your deworming medication from your vet, online, or from a local store, be sure to consult with your veterinarian about which dewormer is best for your pet’s age, infection type, and current medical status. Different dewormers target different parasites – you cannot buy any medication and assume it will work. It is also important to administer the medication as prescribed. While the anthelmintic (active ingredient in the medication) is a poison meant to directly target the parasites, pets weakened by parasitic infection might be too fragile for the toxicity of the medication and an overdose is possible if directions are not followed.
Typically, newborn puppies and kittens are dewormed every two weeks starting at the age of 2 weeks old. They should be continually dewormed every two weeks until they reach 6 months of age. The mother should also be dewormed along the same schedule as her offspring to prevent infection when drinking her milk.
How to control parasites
Parasites are known for their ability to continually re-contaminate their host. In order to control parasites, destroying the eggs and larvae before re-infestation is critical. To achieve this, pet owners must maintain clean and dry living areas for their pets.
Pets should be kept in areas that are easy to remove waste from, wash out, and keep clean such as cement or gravel. Dirt and grass should be avoided when possible. Pet waste needs to be removed daily, and fleas need to be exterminated.
Pet Wellness Exams
Pets age faster than humans. While their lives progress more quickly, serious medical conditions do too. Annual pet wellness exams can help detect serious medical conditions and allowing our facility to treat them before their status becomes unmanageable. In seeing your veterinarian annually, you have the opportunity to discuss your pet’s future health outlook, and ask questions about any existing conditions. Prior to your pet’s wellness exam, note any severe changes that have occurred with your pet including: vomiting, diarrhea, coughing, weight gain/loss, excessive thirst, or increased aggression. If your pet is experiencing any of these symptoms or has developed any abnormal behavior since their last wellness exam, please inform the veterinarian.
During your pet wellness exam we can perform:
- Complete dental exam.
- Full body physical exam.
- Heartworm check.
- Lab tests (blood work, urine/stool testing, and parasite evaluation).
Puppy and kitten exams
Because puppies and kittens have less developed immune systems, they are far more susceptible to disease and parasitic infection. During puppy and kitten wellness exams, vital statistics are taken and recorded. Depending on the age of your pet, we might also perform lab work to provide a comparative chart for future visits. We also examine your pet from head-to-tail, checking the vital organs for bloating or pain, and joints for any limited range of motion or discomfort. If you get a new pet, a wellness exam is recommended to detect any existing illness so we could promptly begin treatment.
Adult pet exams
Similar to a younger pet exam, our physicians will examine your adult pet from head-to-tail, inspecting all of the central organs, checking joint functioning, and recording vital statistics to ensure normality. If there are any pressing irregularities, lab tests or X-rays might be necessary. During adult exams, it is also a good idea to discuss diet and nutrition, as diet plays a vital role in maintaining good health. Pet owners are encouraged to consult with the veterinarian about their pet’s current diet and eating habits, and discuss healthier options (if any).
Senior pet exams
Senior pets require more care than their youthful counterparts. Because older pets are more susceptible to age-related illnesses, it is recommended that elderly pets receive a wellness exam twice each year, with complete lab work performed once per year. During senior pet exams, our physicians take your pet’s vital statistics and perform a complete head-to-tail exam of internal organs and joints, accessing any abnormalities or pain your pet might be exhibiting.
To schedule your pet’s wellness exam, contact our office today!
While nursing, pets receive antibodies and nutrients from their mother’s milk. When nursing stops, pets become more susceptible to illnesses because their immune systems do not have the same support they once did. As part of a preventative care routine, pet vaccinations can help protect your pet from life-threatening diseases.
For most pets, routine vaccinations start around the age of 6 to 8 weeks old and continue regularly throughout adulthood. Some vaccinations are even combined into a single syringe so a pet experiences fewer injections. After being vaccinated, most young pets take about 5 days to build protective antibodies with complete protection taking place after 14 days. Some vaccines require multiple dosages given over a short period of time, and most require booster shots every 6 months to 3 years. Pets who have been vaccinated have an advantage over those who have not. When a disease is detected, your vaccinated pet’s immune system quickly responds, decreasing severity of the illness or preventing it altogether. While it is rare, some pets do not develop immunity from their vaccinations and still become ill. If your pet has been vaccinated, is current on all of their booster shots, and has never shown signs of illness or disease, it has likely been successfully vaccinated.
Pet owners should note that vaccinations are preventative, not curative. A vaccination will prevent an illness, but if your pet is already suffering from a disease, a vaccine will not cure them.
Core and non-core pet vaccinations
There are several pet vaccinations that are necessary for all pets and others that are recommended only under special circumstances. Core vaccinations are those that are commonly recommended for all pets, and non-core vaccinations include those that are only administered to pets considered to be “at-risk.” Necessary vaccines depend on local regulations, geographic location, and your pet’s lifestyle. Your pet will be vaccinated according to their risk of exposure and your veterinarian will discuss the best options for your pet.
Bordetella (kennel cough) – This is also a non-core vaccine, and your veterinarian might not consider your pet to be at risk. The vaccination is first given to puppies when they are 9 weeks old, and it is repeated a full 3 weeks later. Booster shots are then given every 6 to 12 months, depending on the dog’s exposure.
Distemper, Hepatitis, Parainfluenza, Parvovirus (DHPP) – These vaccines are considered core vaccines. Your puppy will receive their first vaccination between 6 and 8 weeks old, and booster shots will be given once every 3 weeks until your puppy is 15 to 18 weeks old (depending on when vaccinations were started). A booster vaccination is administered after the first year and every third year following that.
Heartworm – Heartworm prevention is considered a non-core treatment and is given to a puppy/dog monthly for the extent of their life. Usually, a routine Heartworm test is performed at the 1 year exam. If Heartworm is detected, treatment is implemented.
Leptospirosis – This non-core vaccine can be given to a puppy aged 6 months or older and is an annual vaccination that is intended to prevent bacterial infections in the kidneys, liver, and other major organs. Depending on your dog’s risk of exposure, this vaccination could be unnecessary.
Lyme – The Lyme vaccination is a non-core vaccine that is first administered when the puppy reaches 12 weeks old. The first booster is given to the puppy at 15 weeks old, and annual boosters are recommended for dogs that reside in areas with increased exposure to ticks carrying Lyme disease.
Rabies – The rabies vaccine is considered a core vaccine, and many states require pets to have it by law, but there are a few exceptions. The initial vaccine is first given when the puppy reaches 16 weeks old. A booster shot is necessary after 1 year, then typically every 3rd year following that.
Feline Herpesvirus, Calici Virus, Feline Distemper – These vaccines are considered core vaccines. Your kitten will receive their first vaccinations between the ages of 6 and 8 weeks, and they will need to be repeated once every 3 weeks until your kitten reaches 15 to 17 weeks old (depending on when vaccinations were started). A booster vaccination is administered annually for Feline Rhinotracheitis and Calici Virus. Feline Distemper boosters are given every 3 years.
Feline Leukemia (FeLV) – Feline Leukemia is a core vaccine and the disease is the number one cause of death in cats. The first vaccine is given when a kitten is 12 weeks old and the first booster is administered when the cat reaches 15 to 16 weeks old. Booster shots are recommended to be updated annually at pet wellness exams.
Rabies – This vaccine is also a core vaccination for kittens. The initial vaccine is first administered between 12 and 16 weeks of age. A booster shot is necessary after 1 year, then typically every 3 years following that.
Non-core vaccines for felines include Chlamydia, Feline Infectious Peritonitis, and Ringworm vaccines, but their use is only considered for pets with a high risk of exposure.
Preventable canine diseases and symptoms:
- Adenovirus – a life-threatening disease that causes hepatitis.
- Distemper – also a life-threatening disease that causes diarrhea, pneumonia, seizures, and vomiting.
- Heartworm – a life-threatening parasite contracted through mosquito bites. These parasitic roundworms reside in the lungs and if left untreated, spread to the heart. Early symptoms include coughing and exhaustion, especially when exercising. Rarely, the roundworms get lost within the host and spread to other parts of the body, causing blindness, immobility, or seizures. Without treatment, roundworms build up in the lungs and heart, causing a pet to cough up blood, faint, and lose significant weight. It eventually results in congestive heart failure.
- Leptospirosis – a life-threatening disease that causes severe liver and kidney damage and hemorrhaging within the lungs. Symptoms include loss of appetite, yellowed eyes (jaundice), vomiting, lethargy, and urine that is dark brown in color.
- Lyme – a disease transferred through ticks. It is most common in the northern hemisphere which is why the vaccination remains “non-core”. Symptoms include circular skin rashes, depression, fatigue, fever, and headaches. Lyme disease can be treated with antibiotics if it is caught in earlier stages.
- Parainfluenza and Bordetella – both are illnesses that are highly contagious and cause kennel cough. While it is generally not life-threatening, symptoms include a non-stop runny nose and excessive coughing.
- Parvovirus – a potentially life-threatening disease that results in diarrhea, vomiting, and deterioration of the white blood cells.
- Rabies – a fatal disease attacking the central nervous system. Because there isn’t a cure for rabies, animals that contract the disease are euthanized. The greatest risk of keeping the pet alive is that the disease can be spread to humans.
Preventable feline diseases and symptoms:
- Feline immunodeficiency virus (FIV) – a retroviral disease (one that duplicates itself and integrates with the host’s DNA) that causes immune suppression. Most cats that have the illness appear normal for years until the disease eventually depletes the immune system entirely, resulting in death.
- Feline Leukemia Virus – a potentially life threatening virus that causes chronic immune suppression, leading to frequent infection and illness. It often results in cancer.
- Herpesvirus and Calicivirus – highly contagious illnesses that cause fever, malaise, runny nose, and watery eyes.
- Panleukopenia (also known as Feline Distemper) – a life threatening disease that causes pets to suffer dehydration, diarrhea, low white blood cell count, and vomiting.
- Rabies – a fatal disease attacking the central nervous system. Because there isn’t a cure for rabies, animals that contract the disease are euthanized. The greatest risk of keeping the pet alive is that the disease can be spread to humans.
Pet vaccination concerns
Similar to human vaccinations, pet vaccinations do carry a risk of side-effects. While negative side-effects do exist, it is important to note that your pet is statistically more likely to develop a life-threatening illness when not vaccinated, than to suffer adverse results from a vaccination. None-the-less, it is important to remain informed so you can ask your veterinarian the appropriate questions at your pet’s appointment.
After being vaccinated, the injection site can be swollen or sore. Some pets also have a reduced appetite, fever, and experience lethargy. These side-effects should diminish over the next 24 to 48 hours. If you notice your pet’s side-effects are not subsiding, please contact our office. Very rarely, pets develop an allergy to a vaccine. Allergies can be detected within minutes of receiving a vaccination and if left untreated, can result in death. If you witness any of the following, contact our office immediately: collapse, non-stop diarrhea, continual vomiting, difficulty breathing, itching, or swelling of the legs or face.
Regulations regarding rabies vaccinations
While the federal government does not mandate pet vaccinations for rabies, most states implement their own laws regarding pet vaccination. Vaccination laws also vary from country to country, so if you plan on moving, be sure to check necessary requirements to ensure a smooth transition for your family.
States in which your pet can receive exemption from being vaccinated include: Alabama, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Illinois, Maine, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey (dogs only), New York, Oregon (dogs only), Vermont, Virginia, and Wisconsin. All other states require rabies vaccinations by law – for all pets.
If you have any questions about vaccinations or scheduling new pet vaccinations, you may contact our office at your convenience.
Nutrition, including controlling your pet’s weight, seriously affects pet health, especially as your pet ages. Weight management is one of the most critical factors in maintaining pet health. Giving your pet unlimited access to food (free feeding) is one of the worst things you can do. The standard serving for felines and canines is 120-170 calories per pound of body weight. If you’re trying to help your pet gain weight, increase caloric intake, and if you’re wanting your pet to lose weight, decrease caloric consumption. During a routine exam, we can discuss the exact amount of food to add or subtract from your pet’s diet based on breed, activity level, and current weight. Remember that overweight pets are more likely to suffer from arthritis, certain cancers, diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, and skin problems.
Pet food classifications:
The following pet food classifications are as defined by the Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO).
By-products – Pet food that contains by-products which are declared clean and free from foreign substances and bodily waste.
Natural – Natural pet food is defined as having ingredients that are obtained entirely from plants, animals, and/or mined sources. Natural pet food is free from all chemical processing.
Organic* – Organic pet food is, at minimum, 95% produced and handled in observance of all USDA National Organic Program requirements.
*If advertised as 100% organic, then 100% of the ingredients (including additives) must be organic.
Keep in mind that a pet food classification does not dictate superiority. Many pet food manufacturers market their natural or organic foods as being better than pet foods with by-product, but that isn’t always the case. Some organic and natural foods lack the vitamins and minerals that a food with by-product can offer. The main goal of pet food is to maintain a nutritious and balanced diet; this can be obtained with the right pet food, regardless of what category it fits into. If you need help choosing proper pet food, our veterinary staff will happily provide you with our recommendations.
Medicated diets are created to augment nutritional needs for pets dealing with illness or disease. A variety of manufacturers design pet food specifically for pets suffering from allergies, arthritis, cancer, diabetes, kidney disease, liver disease, pancreatitis, and more. If you think a medicated diet would benefit your pet, contact our office today.
As your pet ages their need for phosphorus, sodium, calcium, and protein lessen while their need for fiber increases. Dietary supplements can help meet your pet’s needs as they age. Supplements also offer therapeutic function. Vitamins and glucosamine are just some of the beneficial supplements available for your pet. Please inform your veterinarian if you think dietary supplements would be helpful for your pet.
Common pet food concerns
Q: Is there a significant difference between puppy food, adult dog food, and senior dog food? Or is there a substantial difference between kitten food, adult cat food, and senior cat food?
A: Young pets, adults, and elderly animals all have different nutritional needs, and therefore need different diets. Puppies and kittens need higher proteins and more fats, while elderly pets need more supplements integrated into their diet. Neglecting to acknowledge your pet’s specific nutritional needs could result in negative health effects.
Q: How do I know if my pet has a food allergy? And what do I do next?
A: Most food allergies result in ear infections or skin problems, both of which can be difficult to detect in your pet. One of the tell-tale signs is excessive licking of the paws. Most pets (namely dogs) lick their paws due to an allergy, whether grass or food. Try changing their pet food to a higher quality brand, or change the flavor of food. For example, often pets are allergic to chicken or lamb, but not both. Wait 2-3 weeks after introducing the new food to see if your pet’s habits change. If you are still having issues and can’t find an appropriate food, our veterinarians might be able to offer a medicated diet.
Q: Can my pet benefit from a raw diet or homemade meals?
A: Because raw meats can contain E. coli and Salmonella it is recommended that you do not feed your pet raw meat. While a raw diet can provide an abundance of protein, it lacks in other vital nutrients and can be harmful to older pets.
Homemade meals can be beneficial for your pet when prepared by a licensed pet nutritionist. Many of us believe that because homemade meals are healthier for humans, they must also be healthier for pets. When properly balanced, a homemade diet can be beneficial, but unless you have extensive knowledge of pet nutrition, preparing your own meals can be harmful to your pet.
Q: Are there pet treats meant for obese animals?
A: While most pet treats are usually high in fat and calories, there are options for overweight animals. Many gourmet pet treats are sweetened with honey rather than sugar which cuts down on the carbohydrate content. There are also weight management dog treats available at most national retailers that offer low-sodium, sugar-free, or grain-free (low carb) options. Other pet treats include dehydrated natural vegetables, such as sweet potatoes, and for hot days, you can offer your pet frozen vegetables (peas, carrots, soy beans). A good rule to follow is that treats should never consume more than 10% of your pet’s total food consumption.
Q: There are many TV commercials that state corn is unhealthy for my pet’s diet. What is wrong with corn?
A: It used to be a common belief that corn was the number one cause for pet food allergies. However, current studies show that less than 3% of pet food allergies are caused by corn, and more than 70% are the result of chicken, beef, dairy, or wheat. If your pet is not allergic to corn, it is highly beneficial to include it in a pet’s diet, because it offers several antioxidants and is an excellent source of proteins that help with muscle and tissue growth.
Even the most responsible pet owner could leave the garage door open or forget to close the gate, resulting in a lost pet. Microchipping your beloved pet could be the difference between having your pet returned and not being able to find them. While it is estimated that nearly 3 million pets in shelters are euthanized annually, some of those animals are pets whose owners were unable to find them. AVID, one of the major microchip manufacturers, states that approximately 1,400 pets with microchips are reunified with their owners per year, saving them from euthanasia.
The pet microchip technology continues to evolve. Currently, microchip implants are designed to last the extent of your pet’s life and are also composed of biocompatible elements that can coexist with your pet’s body tissues without causing harm. Currently, microchips can be placed in a variety of pets, including reptiles, dogs, cats, horses, ferrets, and birds. You also do not need to worry about someone stealing your information from the microchip or reprogramming it – only a veterinarian, animal shelter, or animal control center can scan the microchip.
Reasons for microchipping a pet:
- It can help return a lost animal to their proper owner.
- Microchips help animal shelters avoid the unnecessary expense of boarding an animal that belongs to a loving home.
- Microchips provide a permanent method of identifying your pet. If your pet is lost/stolen and its collar is removed, a vet/shelter can still return your pet home.
- Some countries require a microchip that must also be cross-referenced with an up-to-date vaccination record before an animal is allowed to enter the country.
- They can help distinguish the legal owner of a pet when the ownership of the animal is in dispute.
What does microchipping involve?
Implanting the microchip is a quick and easy process that is relatively painless for your pet. We prefer to implant the chip during a vaccination series because the sensation is very similar to getting a shot. The microchip is about the size of a single granule of long-grained rice and is injected under your pet’s skin with a needle and syringe. The standard injection site is between the shoulder blades, and there is no anesthetic involved when implanting the microchip. While the chip can migrate from the initial injection site, trained technicians know to scan a pet’s entire body before determining whether your pet does or does not have microchip identification.
How are pets found?
More often than not, pets are recovered at animal shelters. Whether your pet was brought into a veterinarian’s office, an animal shelter, or was recovered by animal control, all agencies are trained to scan all pets upon receiving them. After scanning the implant site with a radio frequency identification (RFID) scanner, the technician will be able to see a unique identification number that coordinates with your contact information, your pet’s name, your pet’s veterinarian, and the animal shelter they were adopted from, if any. You will then be contacted and informed of where you can pick up your pet.
If you have further questions about pet microchips or would like to schedule an appointment for microchipping, contact our office at your convenience.
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When our dog suddenly couldn't walk one day we were able to get our dog in to see the vet right away. She is doing well now! Staff were very friendly and helpful!
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We love Thunderbird. Everyone with a pet in our family takes them to Thunderbird. They are caring, practical and well priced. No pressure to perform unnecessary procedures to make sales higher. Instead, they provide the care our dog needs and charge a reasonable price.
8/27/2018Brian . Cynthia McKay
They've done a great job with helping us with our new kittens and getting them to be cats for the past year. They gave us practical advice for new kitten owners. They were most kind when one of our kittens got an unusual boo-boo. We really appreciate their kindness, and their willingness to offer alternatives when something isn't working for one of our "princess" kitties. We would definitely recommend them.