We recommend a dental with possible teeth extractions because on your pets last visit the doctor noticed some teeth that looked like they may need to be removed. Removing these affected teeth may help alleviate pain in your pet’s mouth, allow him to eat better, chew on toys again, decrease the potential for infection to spread throughout the body, decrease bone loss, etc. We have removed teeth from pets before and have seen them turn in puppies again because they are much healthier and painful without the affected tooth.
We recommend spaying your pets, which is the removal of the ovaries and uterus. This helps decrease different kinds of health issues including decreasing likelihood of breast cancer, prevention of pyometra (life threating infection of the uterus), and unintended pregnancies. For cats we recommend spaying between 3-6 months and they must weigh 3 pounds. For dogs we recommend 4-6 months for dogs at a mature weight under 50 pounds and 1 year for dogs over 50 pounds.
We recommend neutering your pets, which is the removal of the testicles. This helps decrease different kinds of health and behavioral issues including certain types of cancer, territory marking, desire to roam and fight, and aggression. For cats we recommend neutering between 3-6 months and they must weigh 3 pounds. For dogs we recommend 4-6 months for dogs at a mature weight under 50 pounds and 1 year for dogs over 50 pounds.
We recommend checking your pet's thyroid every 6 months when your pet is on thyroid medication (thyroxine or methimazole). This medication dosage may need to be altered up or down based on how your pet’s body tolerates the drug overtime. This allows us to ensure your pet is on the most threptic dose.
We recommend dental cleanings every year. Most of us do not brush our pet’s teeth twice a day like we do to our own teeth. This means they are a lot more likely to get tartar and plaque buildup. Even if we do brush their teeth there is still potential to get a buildup of tartar and plaque. This can be caused by the alignment of their teeth or simply because some breeds are more predisposed to it. Dental cleanings remove the tartar and plaque and also allow for the doctor to get a good physical exam on the mouth to check for abnormalities, such as masses, infections or teeth that need to be removed. With yearly dentals you decrease the likely hood of your pet needing teeth removed, which means a happy, healthier pet!
We recommend checking a fructosamine level on your pet every 6 months. This is a simple blood test that tells us more information about how your pets diabetes is being controlled. Although a very variable tool, Spot glucoses give us only the values of their glucose that day. Fructosamine levels tell us how well your pets glucose level has been controlled for the last 2-3 weeks, like a summary.
We recommend applying a dental sealant every 6 month. This sealant helps prevent your pet from forming tartar and plaque. The reduction in tartar and plaques helps keep both your pets mouth and whole body healthy. This decreases the likelihood your pet will need extractions. An unhealthy mouth can lead to other health issues including infections and negative effects on the organs. Yearly dental cleanings and 6 month dental sealant applications are best way to be proactive about your pets teeth.
We recommend a physical exam by a doctor every 6 month to provide the best quality care to your pet. Pets age much faster than humans and in some instances 1 year in “human years” can be up to 7 in “dog” or “cat years”! A physical every 6 month helps to check for any new health issues or check on any existing issues to make sure they have not worsened. These exams help to keep your pets healthy and provide to them the best quality of life.
We do not recommend doing titers, but if an owner would like to do a titer for Distemper and Parvo we can. The problem with doing titers is that it is only checking titers for two of the 9 things in our DHLPP vaccine. So the animal could have immunity for Parvo and Distemper stilll, but not for Adenovirus or parainfluenza and we would have no way of knowing. Lepto always needs to boostered every year because it is a bacteria not a virus and does not stay in the immune system memory for longer than a year. It will not hurt their immune system to get another vaccine if their titers are still good. For these reasons, we recommend doing a DHLPP vaccine yearly because it covers all of these scenarios.
Lyme disease is a tick borne disease that 1 in 10 dogs in La Porte County test positive for. We highly recommend this vaccine. The company will cover the cost of testing and treatment if your dog comes back positive on their Lyme test after being on this vaccine consistently. The bacteria can lay dominant in the body for years with no symptoms. The main symptom we see in dogs are limping, painful joints and lameness. This vaccine can be started at 9 weeks of age and requires a booster 2-3 weeks later. A yearly booster is required and MUST be done at least 13 ½ months after the last vaccine or the company will not cover it and the vaccine series will need to be restarted for the company to guarantee it.
Heartworm & Tick Test
This checks for heartworms and three tick diseases (Lyme disease, Anaplasmosis, and Ehrlichiosis). Heartworm is a very painful and deadly in dogs if not treated Symptoms we see are coughing and lethargy. It is a lot more cost effective to keep the dog on yearly heartworm prevention then it is to treat the dog for heartworm disease. This test should be done when the dog is at 1 year of age if they have been on heartworm prevention since they were a puppy. If they have not been on heartworm prevention as a puppy, it should be done at 6 months of age. Heartworms will NOT show up on test until 6 months after exposure to them because the test can only check for adult heartworms. Yearly heartworm tests are required for surgeries and to pick up heartworm prevention. If the dog has not been on yearly heartworm prevention, we recommend retesting them 6 months after their last month of potential exposure. So if they were not on heartworm prevention from December to February, we recommend testing 6 months after February so in August.
Canine Influenza Virus (combo) - Virologist recommend vaccinating dogs against both strains (H3N2 and H3N8). If a dog gets exposed to both strains of the virus, there is a potential for the virus to mutate in their body because they are so similar. This mutation may be resistant to treatment or may be able to infect other species. Both strains have been found in over 40 states with ongoing outbreaks. We are now vaccinating our patients towards both strains. Given to dogs over 8 weeks of age as a two series vaccination, 2-4 weeks apart; and then yearly after that. If overdue by more than 6 months needs to restart series. If a pet has been only vaccinated prior with a N8 strain, we will need to vaccinate with the combo then booster that in 2-4 weeks. If a patient was only vaccinated prior with just a N2 strain then you can booster with the combo; no revaccinating necessary.
Bordetella and Parainfluenza are two of the viruses that causes kennel cough. Kennel cough is a general term used to describe an infection that causes a bad cough as the major symptom. There are more than two virus that cause kennel cough, but the two in the vaccine are the main ones we see. This is an intranasal vaccine that MUST be given in the nose. Can be done at 6-8 weeks and only needs yearly boosters.
Also referred to as just Canine Distemper (includes distemper, adenovirus, parainfluenza, parvovirus). This vaccine protects dogs from a lot of different diseases they can pick up from animals outside and other canines. Can start this vaccine at 6-8 weeks. Given every 2-4 weeks until 16 weeks of age. Boostered at 1 year of age, then boostered every three years. Dogs >4 months of age will receive 2 initial vaccinations; boostered a year later, then every 3 years. Revaccination can be done as early as 10 days and at the latest 30 days, but general we recommend coming back between 2-3 weeks to do boosters.
The Lepto vaccine prevents against Leptospirosis. Leptospirosis is a bacteria that is spread from the urine of other infected animals. It is carried by wildlife and can become an issue when wildlife comes into your backyard. The bacteria is able to survive in the environment in standing water or soil for long periods of time. Pets contract this bacteria from drinking leptospirosis infected standing water or broken skin coming into contact with the bacteria. This bacteria can seriously affect the kidneys and liver, and can also be fatal. This bacteria can actually be passed to humans as well. We recommend vaccinating your pet yearly for this bacteria. If you received a Distemper vaccine from us, it does protect your dog from this bacteria for 1 year. If you were vaccinated elsewhere or was given a 3 year distemper shot, your dog may not be protected. 3 year distemper shots may include leptospirosis, but studies show that leptospirosis needs to be revaccinated yearly so if your dog had a 3 year distemper vaccine, you should still booster leptospirosis once a year. Your dog may not have been vaccinated against this bacteria because some breeders say it is too risky to give due to a very small portion of dogs having vaccine reactions. We are able to pretreat high risk dogs to make the possibility of vaccine reactions even smaller. We feel the risk of getting this potential deadly bacteria is higher than the risk of vaccine reactions. If you are unsure if your dog is protected or have more questions, please our office for more information.
Fecal test does check for tapeworms, whipworms, hookworms, coccidia, giardia, and roundworms. You can carry some of these parasite into the on your shoes, while other times some parasites can lay dormant for years with no symptoms; however some can be caused by eating fleas or mice. All intestinal parasites can negatively affect an animal’s health. Some intestinal parasites can be transmitted to humans. Puppies & kittens should have two negative fecal tests, and these are generally performed on their first and last visits. If this is not performed at these visits fecal test should be done 6 weeks apart for most accurate results. It is important to note that we can only see parasite eggs, not adult parasites. This means sometimes we will get a negative fecal on the first test (because all the parasite were adults so we didn’t know they were there) and a positive fecal on the second test. It is like going fishing, just because we don’t catch any fish doesn’t mean the pond is empty.
This vaccine is required by law and there is no treatment for this virus. This virus can be transmitted to humans and it is deadly when contracted in both animals and humans. The patient must receive a 1 year vaccine the first time a patient receives the vaccination. Yearly boosters are required thereafter or you can elect to have a 3 year vaccination performed.
Feline Rhinotracheitis, Calicivirus, Panleukopenia, Chlamydia - this vaccine is sometimes called the “feline distemper”, but actually helps protect cats from upper respiratory diseases which is one of the main illness cats visit the veterinarian. This vaccination can be started at 6-8 weeks of age. This requires two boosters after 10 weeks of age. So if the patient starts the vaccine at 6 weeks of age he/she will get 3 vaccines when they are finished with their series. If the patient is 10 weeks they will only need 2 vaccines. Revaccination can be done as early as 10 days and at the latest 30 days, but general we recommend coming back between 2-3 weeks to administer boosters.
If an adult cat is on yearly heartworm prevention and an inside only cat, we recommend checking a fecal yearly and not performing deworming. Heartworm preventions also prevents intestinal parasites. It is important to note no dewormer kills all parasites, thus the need to check fecals yearly. Kittens should be dewormed their first 3 visits and then start on heartworm prevention at 8 weeks. Generally we use a broad spectrum deworming like strongid.