We know that optimizing the health of your pet is an utmost priority.
We also know that our pets age much faster than humans do, so it is very important for physical exams to be completed on an annual basis. There are many problems that, if caught early, can even be managed with altering a pet’s diet or giving medication. Our goal is for our patients to live longer, healthier, happier lives with their families.
Wellness is all about prevention, early detection, and education!
Our animal hospital recommends that your pet have a complete physical exam at least once a year. The doctor will check you pet from nose to tail, to identify any potential problems. This preventative veterinary service is a crucial piece of maintaining optimal health!
We recommend annual blood work be performed, as problems can exist inside the body that cannot be felt or heard (ie. stethoscope) by the doctor. Blood testing can detect problems such as diabetes and anemia, as well as evaluate your pet’s liver and kidney function. Many problems pets can develop may be managed with a simple diet change or medication, especially if caught early.
Yes, our pets can develop high blood pressure as well, due to several underlying conditions. Blood pressure can be evaluated in our dog and cat patients.
Intestinal Parasite Screen
Our animal clinic is always on the lookout for harmful organisms, including intestinal parasites. Companion animals are susceptible to infection with several intestinal parasites by exposure to the environment, with the most common being hookworms, roundworms, whipworms, coccidia, and giardia. Consequently, your pet will be screened for these by examining the feces, with the results obtained within minutes. Dogs and cats are also commonly infected with tapeworms, either through the ingestion of fleas or less commonly the ingestion of certain rodents.
It’s important to screen pets for these parasites for their health reasons, but also because humans are susceptible to some of these same parasites and we can be exposed through association with our pets.
Our hospital recommends yearly testing and monthly, lifelong preventative medication for heartworms in our dog patients, and preventative medication in our cat patients. We live in an “endemic” area of the country for heartworms, which means heartworms are naturally prevalent here, and dogs and cats are highly at risk of becoming infected by them them. If a dog becomes infected by heartworm, we do have a treatment available that will kill those heartworms, but unfortunately there is no treatment available for cats.
For more information on heartworms, visit American Heartworm Society.
Heartworm Life Cycle
When a dog has a heartworm infection, the female worms produce larvae (called microfilaria) that circulate in the dog’s bloodstream. A mosquito bites this dog, and some of the larvae will be ingested along with the blood meal. After a few days in the mosquito, the larvae will mature into a form which is then able to migrate to the heart and lungs of another dog or cat which is bitten by that mosquito. There the larvae will mature into a thin, elongated worm about 4-6 inches long. Heartworm preventives are drugs that target the incoming larvae, and kill the larvae before they reach the heart.
Heartworm disease is generally a chronic one in dogs and cats, although acute illness can also occur. Most dogs will exhibit symptoms such as difficulty breathing, cough, weight loss, and a poor appetite, although some have the more serious signs of fainting, collapse, and fluid accumulation in the abdomen (belly). Cats can have variable symptoms, from an asthma-type cough or vomiting, or even acute death with no prior symptoms.
Vaccines and Tests
Progressive innovations in veterinary vaccines allow your pet to be protected from most major diseases. Many immunizations and preventive treatments are available that did not exist just a few years ago. Vaccine protocols are continually updated and modified based on current veterinary research. Our doctors will work with you to help determine which vaccines and tests are most beneficial for your pet based on age and lifestyle. When appropriate, we use an extended length vaccine protocol to reduce the frequency of administration. Lake Olympia Animal Hospital offers our feline patients the only FDA–approved, non-adjuvanted rabies vaccine. Recent studies support the use of this vaccine to help prevent vaccine-induced fibrosarcomas.
The professionals at AAHA offer these articles about the topic of disease prevention in pets:
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We pride ourselves on care and quality across our veterinary services, and our staff is committed to delivering premier care to you and your pets!