Dogs Core Health Needs

 

Your dog is an important member of your family and, as such, maintaining its health is vitally important.  There are many diseases and parasites that are a threat not only to dogs but also to humans.  Many diseases and parasites are transmissible from your dog to you.  Therefore, preventive health care is not only good for your dog–but essential to the health and well being of you and your family!    

         Core Health Needs

  • Complete Physical Examination
  • Titer Testing
  • Heartworm, Flea, and Tick Prevention
  • Dental Care
  • Fecal Examination
  • Diagnostic Health Screens
  • Vaccines when indicated
  • Socialization and Obedience Training

Complete Physical Examination:  A complete physical examination is one of the best tools for early detection is disease processes.  This allows us to diagnose and treat your pet before serious damage occurs.  During the examination we will check for the presence of any external parasites such as fleas, ticks, lice, mange and ear mites as well as for any evidence of ringworm.

Titer Testing:  After your dog receives its first series of vaccinations for distemper/hepatitis and parvo virus we will test it to determine when additional booster vaccinations for distemper/hepatitis and parvo virus are necessary.  We now know that most dogs do not need annual boosters as once was thought.  In fact, we now know that annual boosters may actually harm the immune system leading to an increase in allergies and immune mediated diseases later in life.  We will titer test (take a blood sample) to determine when your pet needs a protective booster.  This optimizes the good that comes from a vaccination and minimizes the harm that comes from too many vaccines.

Dental Care:  Dogs need dental care too!  Dental care is vitally important to your pet’s overall health.  Excessive plaque leads to gingivitis and periodontal disease. This in turn can lead to extensive tooth loss and pain as well as being a source of infection leading to heart, liver and kidney disease.  Brushing your dog’s teeth with approved dog dental products daily is the best prevention possible to greatly reduce, possibly eliminate, any plaque build up.  When plaque forms and is allowed to build it becomes necessary for your dog to have the teeth cleaned and polished.  Ultrasonic scaling, polishing and complete oral exam is performed.  When indicated we have state of the art digital x-ray to detect changes below the gum line including at the tooth root level.  This allows us to take appropriate measures to stop further damage and to preserve the integrity of the teeth and the health of the mouth.

Fecal Examination:   Dogs and puppies commonly carry gastrointestinal parasites (worms) that are not always visible to the owner.  These worms live inside your pet and produce eggs that are discharged in the dog’s stool.  These eggs “hatch” and become infective in the soil and some may reside on your pet’s hair.  People coming into contact with these infective forms of worms can also become infected as well.  It can lead to serious illness, including blindness, depending upon the parasite that infects you.  Annual examination of your dog’s feces (stool) is critical to detect these parasites and to treat appropriately to remove them is a must for the protection of your pet and your family.

 

DIAGNOSTIC HEALTH SCREENS:

Mosquito Borne Disease:

Heartworms and Fleas :  All dogs are at risk for contracting heartworms!  Many owners wrongly assume that since their dog spends most of its time inside that it is not at risk for heartworm disease.  This is a false assumption and could cost your dog its life!  Heartworms are one of the easiest parasites to prevent and one of the most damaging, if not deadly if contracted.  ALL DOGS SHOULD RECEIVE HEARTWORM PREVENTIVE MEDICATION EVERY MONTH, 12 MONTHS OF THE YEAR AND BE ANNUALLY TESTED TO INSURE EFFECTIVENESS OF THE PREVENTION.  Contact us for further details regarding the seriousness of the disease and the guarantee provided by the company for their heartworm prevention products.  Flea infestation is not only irritating to your dog but fleas also carry other disease organisms that can make your pet extremely ill.  Monthly protection, all year long is the best practice for a healty pet.

TICK BORNE DISEASESPrevention of infestation with ticks is of greatest importance in preventing these diseases.  We will assist you in making the appropriate choices for your pet.

Lyme’s Disease:  This disease is transmitted by the deer tick and causes generalized illness, muscle soreness, and if untreated severe arthritis and organ failure.  Although a vaccine is available there is some concern that the vaccine may actually lead to complications for your dog later in life.  Annual testing and early detection and treatment are the most effective and safest way of protecting your dog from this serious threat.

Ehrlichia canis:  Infection with this organism causes destruction of circulating granulocytes (white blood cells) particularly monocytes, macrophages and lymphocytes and cause clinical illness that manifests with nonspecific signs (fever,lethargy, loss of appetite) and significant drop in white blood count.  Affected dogs often show fever, joint pain, abdominal pain, swollen lymph nodes, enlarged spleen and ataxia (difficulty walking).

Anaplasma phagocytophila: Infection with this organism causes destruction of circulating granulocytes (white blood cells) particularly neutrophils and cause clinical illness that manifests with nonspecific signs (fever,lethargy, loss of appetite) and significant drop in white blood count.  Affected dogs often show fever, joint pain, abdominal pain, swollen lymph nodes, enlarged spleen and ataxia (difficulty walking).

Babesiosis:  This tick borne parasite infects the red blood cells of dogs and causes hemolytic anemia (loss of red blood cells)  and thrombocytopenia (drop in platelet count).   Affected dogs will present with lethargy, depression, weakness, shortness of breath due to severe anemia and bleeding episodes related to drop in platelet count and function. 

Age Appropriate Health Screens:   Although the adage 1 year of a dogs life equals 7 of a human is not exactly correct it does relay this important fact, our dogs age much faster than we do.  With this in mind we now know that even in younger dogs there may be early signs of organ failure or disease that, if caught early, can be treated.  As with humans, dogs can also have inherited disease processes that can be treated as well when diagnosed early.  We will help you formulate a plan for age appropriate testing that will help maximize the enjoyment you experience with your pet.

Vaccinations: 

  • Rabies:  A fatal disease to you and your dog!  All dogs over the age of 12 weeks are required by law to be vaccinated.  Your pet will receive its initial vaccine with a follow-up vaccination the following year and then every 3 years there after.
  • Distemper/Hepatitis:  Highly contagious, often fatal to dogs, all puppies receive an initial series of vaccines the first year.  Depending upon the age at first inoculation they will receive a series of 2 or 3 vaccines every 4 weeks.  Each year thereafter we will titer test to see when the next vaccination is needed and provide it at that time.
  • Parvo virus:  Also highly contagious and sometimes fatal, parvo virus is easily prevented with timely inoculations.  The first year your puppy will receive a series, just as it will with distemper/hepatitis  and each year thereafter we will titer test to see when the next vaccination is needed and provide it at that time.
  • Leptospirosis:  The Number 1 disease dog owners contract from their dogs!  It causes severe kidney and liver damage to owners and their dogs and can be fatal.  It is contracted by coming into contact with leptospira organisms in the urine of infected animals as well as contaminated water in streams and ponds and low lying moist soil areas.  Wildlife (deer, raccoon, opossum, squirrels, mice, rats, fox, rabbits, squirrels, coyote, as well as domestic livestock, etc) are carriers of this disease.  Urban and Suburban areas have had increasing numbers of infection every year for the past 5 years.  Wildlife abound in our areas and come into our lawns at night.  They urinate in these areas and when our dogs explore the next morning they sniff and lick these areas left the night before, thus being exposed to leptospirosis.  If your dog contracts the disease it too will shed the organism and you could become infected.  All dogs should receive vaccinations against leptospirosis.  It consists of a series of 2 the first year followed by annual boosters.  Do not ignore this serious human health hazard!

Socialization and Obedience Training:  The number one reason dogs are surrendered to animal shelters is for behavioral problems!  Many of these end up euthanized, put to death.  Developmentally the prime opportunity for socialization and early training is from 8 to 16 weeks of age.  Think of this phase of a puppy’s life as Kindergarten and elementary school.  The brain is still developing and the learning pathways are open to increased opportunity for development.  You are laying the foundation for future learning for your pet as well as developing emotional security and social skills.   This is why it is very important to get your puppy from a reliable breeder.  When you select your puppy you should be able to see the mother and possibly the father.  If they are aggressive or fearful and not friendly then a puppy from those parents may act similarly.  Do not accept any excuses from the breeder for poor behavior.  They are just that–excuses and you should seek a puppy from another source.  PET STORE PUPPIES ARE AT INCREASED RISK FOR POOR SOCIAL SKILLS AND BEHAVIORAL ISSUES LATER IN LIFE.  Many of these puppies are taken away from their mother too soon and then go to a wholesaler and then to the pet store during this very impressionable stage of their life.  This is extremely stressful and frightening and can permanently scar the puppy for life!   Once your puppy is beyond 16 weeks of age this window of opportunity is gone.  Additional learning can occur but not nearly to the degree as in properly socialized puppies.  We will assist you in enrolling your pup in appropriate socialization and training classes so that your pet develops into an emotionally stable, enjoyable member of the family!

 

Contact us today to implement a customized health plan

for your beloved pet!

219-663-7515