Why does my pet need a health exam?

For millions of health-conscious Americans, the annual checkup has become a routine practice. Like people, dogs and cats can benefit from routine wellness exams too. But with one important difference – pets age faster than people. On average, most dogs and cats reach adulthood by age two. Because dogs and cats age seven times faster, on average, than people, significant health changes can occur in a short amount of time. And, the risks of cancer, diabetes, obesity, arthritis, heart disease, metabolic problems, and other serious conditions all increase with age. Many pet owners are not aware that taking a dog or cat to the veterinarian once a year is the same as a person seeing their doctor or dentist once every seven years. Pets need to have a wellness exam every six months so that veterinarians have the opportunity to detect, treat or, ideally, prevent problems before they become life-threatening. “Prevention is the real goal of twice-a-year wellness exams. When veterinarians see a pet on a regular basis, they can help pets avoid some preventable illnesses and diseases. We want twice-a-year exams to prevent or minimize disease and enhance your pet’s quality of life and increase the length of their life.” – Dr. Corona

Why is blood testing necessary?

We run tests to confirm that your pet’s organs are functioning properly and to reveal any hidden health conditions that could put your pet at risk. We may screen for some of the following conditions: kidney, liver , anemia and internal infection. These conditions will help in determining your pet’s health status and ability to tolerate anesthesia. For example, a pet can lose up to 75% of kidney function before showing any visible signs of illness. Testing helps us evaluate your pets health up front, so we can avoid problems related to anesthesia.

Why are Heartworm and Flea prevention so important?

a) First of all, flea control and flea prevention is the priority. In order to prevent fleas and flea bites we need to fully understand what they are. Fleas have the ability to transmit tapeworms and create allergic reactions which can results in scratching, hair loss, and infection. It’s extremely important to keep your dog away from fleas. After all, fleas enjoy thriving on your dog’s blood which can result in anemia and other medical disorders. They fester in moist, warm, and shady areas such as patios, porches, and dog houses.

b) One important step towards maintaining good health is preventing potentially fatal diseases such as Heartworm disease. We, as veterinarians, feel that Heartworm prevention is ESSENTIAL and NECESSARY for your pet to enjoy a good, long, healthy life! Heartworm can be a devastating disease. Dogs with moderate or severe infestations display a chronic cough and can’t engage in much activity, as worms choke their heart and major blood vessels, reducing their blood (and thus oxygen) supply. The disease often leaves its victims incapacitated, incapable of doing much more than a slow walk without gasping for air, and kills many dogs. Even the treatment for Heartworm disease can be deadly, regardless of which method is used, so it is important to understand the risks that you take if you choose not to give your dog Heartworm preventative. (Heartworm preventatives can cause serious side effects in some dogs, including depression, lethargy, vomiting , anorexia, diarrhea, dilation of the pupil, loss of balance, staggering, convulsions, and hyper-salivation.)

Is dental health really important?

Many veterinarians stress the importance of oral hygiene because tooth and gum problems are common medical conditions seen in pets. If left unchecked, an unhealthy mouth can affect the liver , kidneys, heart and even the brain. So when you lean in to give your pet a smooch, ask yourself “ Does my pet need a breath mint?” Studies show that 98% of pets with bad breath are suffering from severe plaque build up. Bad breath not only means that your pet’s mouth may be a warehouse for unhealthy bacteria, tartar and plaque, but it can also contribute to the status of your pet’s breath. Low quality food can cause digestive problems, thus promoting bad breath. Your vet will clean and polish your pet’s teeth, removing the build up of plaque and bacteria. These annual checks are even more important if you do not regularly brush your pet’s teeth. If your pet’s gum disease is caught in the early stages, the veterinary surgeon can treat the condition effectively. Looking after their teeth is an important part of preventive health care, whether it is a cat or dog.

Why are castration and spays important?

a) Castration may be performed for many reasons, including population control and treatment of certain medical and behavioral problems. Medical problems that may be prevented or resolved by castration include testicular cancer, prostatic disease, certain hernias, and some skin diseases. Behavioral problems that may resolve include roaming, attraction to females, and certain dominant, aggressive attitudes. Castration is a surgical procedure. It is performed with animals under general anesthesia, and animals suffer little pain during recovery because we use pain relieving medications following surgery. The swelling should go away after several days. It is very important to prevent your pet from damaging the incision site by licking at the area.

b) Spaying is performed for a variety of reasons, including population control and treatment of disease. Medical reasons for spaying include treatment of uterine infection, cancer of the uterus, ovaries, and mammary glands, and some skin conditions. Also, evidence suggests that some animals with diabetes and seizure disorders respond better to medication if they are spayed.

Why do we need to prevent parasites?

There are six major intestinal parasites of dogs and cats. Two types of examinations are used to identify these. A fecal flotation exam will help to identify hookworms, roundworms, whipworms, tapeworms, and coccidia. A direct fecal smear may also reveal these parasites, but is more commonly used to identify giardia infection and bacterial overgrowth. Intestinal parasites can cause severe internal problems such us pet having diarrhea, weight loss, increased scooting, a dull coat, or if you see worms under its tail, in its bedding, or on its stool. A routine fecal test by your veterinarian will detect the presence of parasites.


Dog and Cat Parasite Eggs As Seen Under The Microscope In A Stool Sample Analysis

Why should I not feed my pet table food? Which foods could be dangerous for my dog?

We know how much your pet means to you, so we put together some common hazards to keep you pets out of danger. This guide is to provide you with important pet safety information. Some foods which are edible for humans, and even other species of animals, can pose hazards for dogs because of their different metabolism. Some may cause only mild digestive upsets, whereas, others can cause severe illness, and even death. Common food items that should not be fed (intentionally or unintentionally) to dogs is listed HERE. This list is, of course, incomplete because we can not possibly list everything your dog should not eat.