Wellness Exams

Pets age different from us and we need to be aware of this to provide the best health plan for our best friends.  Health concerns for all species become more challenging as our pets age.  Consider a baseline blood panel and urinalysis when our pets are their healthiest.  In dogs consider age 3-6 and cats age 3-8.  Important to establish a baseline. This aids to detect common diseases earlier before treatment becomes more challenging and costly.

Fecal Test
In many communities fecal tests are required because of the zoonotic potential to people, and particularly children. The Chicago Park District Dog Friendly Parks, Day Care, and Boarding Facilities require a fecal test annually to attend. Most common question from hi-rise cat owners is my cat never goes outside like dogs, but they will lick the moisture off of your shoes and many owners see cats do this when they keep their wet shoes by the door.  This can be a good vehicle to contract these worm eggs.

Heartworm Test
Several drops of blood to test for adult heartworms. Oral and topical preventative will kill the pre adult stages of heartworm. If monthly preventatives are bought from us the manufacturer will guarantee the product and pay for the treatment for heartworm your pet contracts the condition after having been on the preventative. Dog/puppies under 6 months of age can be placed on heartworm preventatives without a test, but the manufacturers guarantee may not apply in this case without a negative test.

Why do we do this? Heartworm tests detect the parasite in its adult stage. The preventative will kill the microfilaria (pre-adult heartworm), which reach the adult stage in 6 months. So puppies placed on preventatives given before 6 months should kill the microfilaria before they become adults.

Heartworm positive dogs are examined and radiographed for enlarged hearts and congestion in the lung fields. The most common clinical sign is a coughing dog. Treatment involves an injection (Immidicide) intramuscularly in dorsal muscle in the lumbosacral area near the spine, overnight observation at a veterinary hospital, and injection again in several weeks. An overnight stay will allow for observation for stroke-like symptoms. Adult heartworms will die and breakup in the bloodstream and may cause strokes. These dogs will then be placed back on the preventative to kill young heart worms.

Blood Panel
Blood work is the key to establishing a medical history for your pet. When your pet is healthy, a baseline panel will establish your pets values at this time in life. Later when your pets health may change, the doctor can better assess the change to establish the prognositic indicators of disease. We suggest that a panel be considered before your pet is 5 years old. Each pet ages differently and is based on species and size. This can be discussed with your veterinarian on each annual exam.

Urinalysis
What Does It Tell Us? It’s important to consider doing a urinalysis even if your pet has no history of urinary problems. WHY: Urine can be an important component in assessing your pets overall health. It tells us important information that can be an early sign of kidney disease, diabetes, and bladder stone formation. We look for crystals, bacteria, bilirubin, and other cells in the sediment of your pets urine, and analyze its pH and SG (specific gravity). Collecting urine can sometimes be difficult to do. If the urine is collected as a free-catch, then it may be exposed to external bacteria. If the urine is gathered via cystocentesis, or directly from the bladder, then bacteria should not be seen on the analysis.

Parasitic Considerations
Ectoparasites (fleas, ticks, mange mites, ear mites etc.) are easily managed using medications such as Frontline Plus, Nexgard,  Revolution, Comfortis, Tri Fexis. Be careful with products over the counter, and flea collars are not as effective as once believed.

Endoparasites such as Roundworms, Hookworms, Whipworms, Tapeworms, as well as Giardia, a protozoan, can all be ingested from outside sources via fecal-oral processes, or possibly transmitted by fleas (tapeworms).

Heartworm is a parasite transmitted by a mosquito bite, which then travels thru the blood and colonizes in the heart causing heart disease and coughing. Heartworms can be easily prevented by doing a heartworm blood test and then using monthly medications, usually in the form of a chewable treat. We now advise year round treatment as recommended by the National Heartworm Association.


Vaccinations

Dogs/Cats/Ferrets

Rabies (Required by Law)
Required by law in the United States and most foreign countries. There are several places in the world that are rabies free (Hawaii, Austrailia, Iceland, Japan, New Zealand, Sweden). Most common carriers of rabies virus are skunks, raccoons, foxes, and bats. Cats are the most frequently reported domestic animal diagnosed with rabies, followed by dogs, cows, and horses.

When your cat, dog, or ferret bites someone, a veterinarian is required by law to examine your pet for clinical signs of rabies. If your pet is currently vaccinated, the pet is examined by your veterinarian, then re-examined after 10 days. A report will then be sent to your county/city. If your pet is not current on rabies, the pet must be examined and stay at the veterinary hospital for a 10 day observation period. In 10 days, the animal is given a rabies vaccination and report is sent to the county/city. The owners are responsible for the costs of the examinations, vaccination, and boarding for the 10 day observation period (if required).

All vaccinations available in the US provide either 1-year protection or 3-year protection. Animals that are getting their first vaccination cannot get a 3-year vaccination until the anniversary of their first 1-year vaccination. Owners that may be planning an overseas move or move to a rabies-free country, or Hawaii, should consider doing 1-year vaccinations to ensure an adequate titer value from a blood sample sent to Kansas State University’s School of Veterinary Medicine. If your pet has had a rabies titer evaluated at KSU (with adequate values) and has continued to be vaccinated annually for rabies, they will not need to be titer tested again with proof or history of the rabies vaccinations/certificates.

All adult cats and dogs should be vaccinated. Some facilities such as Day Care, Grooming, Boarding, Training Classes, and Dog Friendly Parks have requirements before your pet can be admitted into these facilities/activities. Lets look at the different vaccinations and what they vaccinate for.


 

Common Puppy Vaccination Protocol

8 Weeks: Exam, first Distemper DHPPC, first Deworming, discuss nutrition, behavior, manual manipulation of the gums/ears/paws, check for fleas and ticks and treat if necessary.

12 Weeks: Exam, second Distemper DHPPC (may add the Lepto or DHLPPC, flu vaccination), first Bordetella and second Deworming, discuss Microchipping/spay or neuter/nutrition/behavior, discuss Heartworm Disease and Lymes Disease (if owner wants to vaccinate, consider first of 2 shots given)

16 Weeks: Exam, third Distemper DHPP (or second Lepto/DHLPP, second flu vaccination), second Bordetella, Rabies Vaccination 1-year, a Fecal Test to ensure ALL intestinal worms are treated, second Lymes Vaccination if given at 12-Weeks or first if never given.


 

Common Adult Dog Vaccination Protocol

Rabies (required by law)
1-year or 3-year if previously vaccinated, Distemper DHPP or DHLPP, depending upon level of exposure to Leptospira, Bordetella (Kennel Cough) depending upon level of exposure to Boarding, Day Care, or Grooming facilities (may be required every 6 months in some cases), Fecal Test required by all Boarding, Day Care facilities, and Dog Parks (Chicago Park District), Heartworm Test required annually to purchase Heartworm Preventatives, Bloodwork is an option usually reccommended once during early life to establish a baseline blood panel to compare to panels taken when dog ages. Sometimes promotional panels which include heartworm test and urinalysis are available at a promotional rate, ask your veteriarian. Urinalysis is a good idea to establish early age values to compare later in life.

Bordetella (Kennel Cough)
Bordetella bronchiseptica vaccination, which aids in the control of canine infectious tracheobronchitis (kennel cough) can be administered by an intranasal (liquid administered into the nose) method or a subcutaneous injection. Vaccination will last for 6 to 12 months, which is why some boarding, day care, grooming and training facilities require it every 6 months. Mothers that were vaccinated prior to breeding allow protection for their offspring during their first 4-6 weeks after birth.

Distemper
DHPPC, or Canine Distemper-Adenovirus Type 2-Canine Infectious Hepatitis-Parinfluenza-Parovirus-Coronavirus, or 5-in-1 vaccination. Given to dogs at 6 weeks or older as a subcutaneous injection.

DHLPPC, or Canine Distemper-Adenovirus Type 2-Canine Infectious Hepatitis-Leptospira Bacterin sp. (Canicola, Icterohaemorrhagiae, Grippotyphosa, and Pomona)-Parinfluenza-Parovirus-Coronavirus, or 6-in-1 vaccination. Given to dogs at 12 weeks or older as a subcutaneous injection.

Giardia
An organism living in the mucous which protects the lining of the intestine. A vaccination is available but only protects shedding of the disease and not the disease itself.

Lymes
Borrellia Burgdorferi Bacterin. Given to dogs 9 weeks of age or older as a subcutaneous injection. Tick-borne bacterial disease causing arthritis, kidney damage, and death in both people (Zoonotic) and dogs.

Fecal Test
In many communities fecal tests are now required because of the zoonotic potential to people, and particularly children. The Chicago Park District Dog Friendly Parks, Day Care, and Boarding Facilities require a fecal test annually to attend.

Heartworm Test
Blood sample to test for adult heartworms. Oral and topical preventative will kill the pre adult stages of heartworm. If monthly preventatives are bought from us the manufacturer will guarantee the product and pay for the treatment for heartworm if he/she contracts the condition after having been on the preventative. Dog/puppies under 6 months of age can be placed on heartworm preventatives without a test, but the manufacturers guarantee would not apply in this case without a negative test.

Why do we do this? Heartworm tests detect the parasite in its adult stage. The preventative will kill the microfilaria (pre-adult heartworm), which reach the adult stage in 6 months. So, preventatives given before 6 months should kill the microfilaria.

Heartworm positive dogs are examined and radiographed for enlarged hearts and congestion in the lung fields. The most common clinical sign is a coughing dog. Treatment involves an injection (Immidicide) intramuscularly in dorsal muscle in the lumbosacral area near the spine, overnight observation at a veterinary hospital, and injection again in several weeks. An overnight stay will allow for observation for stroke-like symptoms. Adult heartworms will die and breakup in the bloodstream and may cause strokes. The dog will then be placed back on the preventative to kill young heartworms.

Blood Panel
Bloodwork is the key to establishing a medical history for your pet. When your pet is healthy, a baseline panel will establish your pets values at this time in life. Later when your pets health may change, the doctor can better assess the change to establish the prognositic indicators of disease. We suggest that a panel be considered before your pet is 7 years old. Depending on the aging factors such as size and species, the frequency of comparison is decided with your veterinarian. This can be discussed upon your annual visits.

Urinalysis
What Does It Tell Us? It’s important to consider doing a urinalysis even if your pet has no history of urinary problems. WHY: Urine can be an important component in assessing your pets overall health. It tells us important information that can be an early sign of kidney disease, diabetes, and bladder stone formation. We look for crystals, bacteria, bilirubin, and other cells in the sediment of your pets urine, and analyze its pH and SG (specific gravity). Collecting urine can sometimes be difficult to do. If the urine is collected as a free-catch, then it may be exposed to external bacteria. If the urine is gathered via cystocentesis, or directly from the bladder, then bacteria should not be seen on the analysis.


 

Cat

Rabies
Cats can have injection site reactions, and the rabies vaccine has been implicated to form fibrosarcomas in some cases. Getting a purevax vaccination can greatly reduce or eliminate this reaction. Rabies vaccinations are given as a subcutaneous injection in the right hind leg/thigh.

Feline Distemper
Feline Rhinotracheitis-Calicivirus-Panleukopenia Virus, or FVRCP. Given as a subcutaneous injection in the left hind leg/thigh.

Feline Rhinotracheitis-Calicivirus-Panleukopenia Virus, FVRCPw/Chlamydia. Given as a subcutaneous injection in the left hind leg/thigh.

Feline Leukemia
FeLV vaccination can have some injection site reactions and in many cases is only given if the cat is at risk of contracting feline leukemia. Feline leukemia is transmitted by saliva between cats. Vaccination is given as a subcutaneous injection in the left hind leg/lower thigh.

Heartworm Test
Blood sample to test for adult heartworms. Oral and topical preventative will kill the pre-adult stages of heartworm. If monthly preventatives are bought from us, the manufacturer will guarantee the product and pay for heartworm treatment if he/she contracts the condition after having been on the preventative. Kittens under 6 months of age can be placed on heartworm preventatives without a test, but the manufacturers guarantee would not apply in this case without a negative test.

Why do we do this? Heartworm tests detect the parasite in its adult stage. The preventative will kill the microfilaria (pre-adult heartworm), which reach the adult stage in 6 months. So, preventatives given before 6 months should kill the microfilaria.

Heartworm positive cats are examined and radiographed for enlarged hearts and congestion in the lung fields. The most common clinical sign is a coughing cat. Treatment for heartworm-positive cats are different than that for dogs. The cat is placed on preventative to keep more adults from growing, as well as an anti-inflammatory steroid (usually predinsolone) to reduce inflammation in the vessels, where the worms attach in the lung/heart region. The cat is monitored and retested every 6 months to a year.

Fecal Test
Fecal analysis is important because intestinal worms in cats are considered zoonotic, or contagious to humans. An annual test will insure that your pet is free of these parasites.

Blood Panel
Bloodwork is the key to establishing a medical history for your pet. When your pet is healthy a baseline panel establishes your pets early medical history. Later when your pets health may change, the doctor can better assess the change to establish the prognositic indicators of disease. We suggest a panel be considered at 3 to 7 years of age. Consultation with your veterinarian is important, as test results can vary on age, size, and species. These factors can be discussed during your annual visit.

Urinalysis
A Urinalysis is especially important in cats because they are predisposed to urinary problems, possibly due to stress and the anatomical differences in the feline urinary tract versus that of a dog.

It’s important to consider doing a urinalysis even if your pet has no history of urinary problems. WHY: Urine can be an important component in assessing your pets overall health. It tells us important information that can be an early sign of kidney disease, diabetes, and bladder stone formation. We look for crystals, bacteria, bilirubin, and other cells in the sediment of your pets urine, and analyze its pH and SG (specific gravity). Collecting urine can sometimes be difficult to do. If the urine is collected as a free-catch, then it may be exposed to external bacteria. If the urine is gathered via cystocentesis, or directly from the bladder, then bacteria should not be seen on the analysis.

FeLV Test
The test can determine the cats exposure to the Feline Leukemia virus, which is prevalent in feral and rural cat populations. When active, the disease is life-threatening and reduces the cat’s life span. The disease can be contracted by casual contact through saliva, so it is important not to expose your cats to others with unknown exposure. A vaccination is available for Feline Leukemia and is quite effective. It can in some cases cause a fibrosarcoma at the injection site. The vaccination is given in the rear left hind quarters to identify the problem and vaccinations should be limited to at risk cats.

FIP (Feline Infectious Peritonitis) Test
FIP is a contagious disease in the feral and rural cat populations which is difficult to detect until the cat is sick. It is a important to understand the clinical signs. Consider finding out more at a number of websites. Website: www.vet.cornell.edu/FHC/ or www.marvistavet.com/html/fip.html There is currently a vaccination to prevent FIP, but it’s efficacy is questionable so it is not usually given.

FIV (Feline Immunodeficiency Virus) Test
This virus causes a condition similar to human AIDS, but is not infectious to humans. There is a test that can be done to see if your cat is positive.

Toxoplasmosis Test
Recommended for women considering a family and wanting to get pregnant. Your cat can be a carrier of this disease, which can cause birth defects in children if exposed to a cat during pregnancy. Testing your cat prior to pregnancy is advised, and proper management of litter pans during pregnacy is important to reduce exposure.


Surgery / Ultrasound

Our clinics provide routine spay, neuter and soft tissue procedures. We can provide more complicated procedures for pets with special needs. Some orthopedic surgeries are offered or we can refer your pet to a specialty center.

We provide abdominal ultrasound by appointment and cardiac ultrasound by a board certified cardiologist who visits our clinic.

Call for more information.


Dental Care

Baby (deciduous) Teeth fall out between 5 to 9 months of age. When they are falling out this can become painful and food can easily lodge between them causing bad breath. This should be dealt with early to avoid dental decay and even enamel erosion.

Teeth begin to wear from chewing foreign objects and may affect the enamel which protects the tooth surface. Gentle massaging of the gums during the first year of age will help get your pet used to wiping their teeth thereafter. A gentle wiping of the outside surface of the upper teeth can aid and prevent tooth decay, it can be done once a week or more frequently if tolerated.

Dental Cleanings are important to improve the health of your pet. Ask during annual examinations how your pet’s teeth look.  Bad breath is good sign of poor dental health. Entrance of bacteria at the gum line with severe gingivitis can affect the heart, and murmurs may occur by affecting valve involvement.

We provide comprehensive dental cleanings for our patients with extractions if necessary. Specials are available during dental month in February. Ask for details.


Preventative Care

Preventative care is essential to continue your pet’s health. It is important to be affordable with manufacturers’ guarantees. We provide our online store to purchase preventative care products. Go to our website tomyvet.com and register to shop online.