Annual Comprehensive Physical Examination:
A comprehensive annual physical examination is the basis for your cat’s health. Senior cats (over 10 yrs of age) will greatly benefit from twice yearly (semi-annual) health check-ups. Since our cats age so much more rapidly than we do, health problems may arise in seemingly short periods of time. By 6 months of age, your kitten is the equivalent of a 3 year old child and by 8 years of age, your cat is the equivalent of a 50-60 year old person! You have probably heard it said that diseases in people such as high blood pressure, diabetes, and heart disease may be SILENT KILLERS. This is because often times there are NO obvious clinical signs until severe illness develops. Likewise, cats have many “silent killer” diseases that afflict them. Many people believe that indoor cats are not susceptible to disease. Infectious diseases certainly are less likely to afflict indoor cats, but they have NO immunity to silent killers like heart, kidney, and dental disease. EARLY DETECTION through a comprehensive annual examination is the key to your cat’s well being.
Feline Leukemia & Feline Immunodeficiency Virus Test:
Feline leukemia (FELV) and feline immunodeficiency virus (FIV or Feline AIDS) are two of the most important infectious diseases affecting cats today. Both are incurable and both may be fatal. It is extremely important to blood test your cat to make sure that your cat is not a carrier of one or both of these diseases. Kittens may be born with these diseases or may acquire them shortly after birth if the mother cat is affected. Cats may harbor these diseases hidden in their bone marrow for years before ever becoming sick. Always test a new cat BEFORE introducing it to a resident cat in your household!
Kittens should begin their vaccination (immunization) series at 6-8 weeks of age. Additional booster vaccines are given every 3-4 weeks until they are at least 16 weeks of age. Adult cats that have no prior history of vaccination need to be given an initial vaccine followed by booster vaccinations 3-4 weeks later.
“Core” vaccinations are those vaccinations that are currently recommended for ALL CATS. These include feline viral (RCP) rhinotracheitis, calicivirus, panleukopenia, and rabies. Other vaccinations, like the feline leukemia virus vaccination, are currently recommended for all kittens, and then recommended to be continued for adult cats based on their lifestyle.
FYI: A poorly understood problem in cats is a vaccine induced growth called a fibrosarcoma. While the incidence of this problem is low, studies have shown that the risks of developing a vaccination associated fibrosarcoma are most often correlated to the 3 yr Rabies vaccination and the feline leukemia vaccination. As a result of this, we use a line of vaccinations specially formulated for cats in an attempt to limit the precursors that may cause the formation of fibrosarcoma. Because of the special formulation of these vaccines- the Rabies vaccination is only approved to guarantee immunity for 1 year. We also limit our recommendations for vaccinating against feline leukemia to those cats that are outdoors for any time period, or being housed in the same environment that houses other cats that may be (or have been) exposed to the virus.
Intestinal parasite control:
The center for Disease Control (CDC) recommends that ALL kittens be routinely dewormed for roundworms at least 2-3 times whether or not eggs for this parasite are found in the stool. This parasite commonly infects kittens prior to birth by migrating across the placenta of the mother cat. Not only are these parasites dangerous to the health of your kitten, but the immature worm is capable of infecting people (primarily children) as well. It is for this reason that the CDC makes the recommendation to deworm. Annual fecal exams are necessary to check for a variety of other intestinal parasites that may affect your cat. If you are not able to provide stool sample at the annual exam time, we recommend prophylactic deworming your cat.
The mouth is the gateway to the rest of the body. A healthy, clean mouth helps to insure a healthy body. Tarter and plaque on teeth harbor a wide variety of bacteria that may cause infections elsewhere in the body such as in the heart, liver, or kidneys. The practice of home dental care should be started with your kitten to get him/her used to having its teeth cleaned at an early age. Brushing is the most effective method of home dental care, but if this is not possible, other options may be beneficial such as the feeding of a specially formulated diet or offering treats impregnated with an enzyme that helps remove plaque. Regular dental exams along with professional dental cleanings are an important part of your cat’s good oral hygiene.
Flea and Tick control:
These parasites are capable of causing extreme skin irritation to you and your cat as well as potentially transmitting dangerous diseases. The bite of an infected flea is capable of transmitting blood parasites, and the ingestion of a flea can cause tapeworms. Not all over-the-counter topical products are safe for cats. Please let us advise you on what type of product may be safe and effective for your cat.
Studies now show that cats may become infected with heartworms. Heartworms are transmitted by the bite of a mosquito. Although the incidence of heartworms in cats is much lower than dogs, the result of heartworm infection may be sudden death. At this time, diagnosis and treatment of feline heartworms is much more difficult in cats than in dogs. For this reason, if you have a cat that is “at risk” (ie. outdoors, etc) then placing your cat on a heartworm preventative is the best course of action.
Spaying and Neutering:
Cats may be spayed or neutered at any age, but the preferable age is approximately 6-12 months of age. It is of no health benefit to allow your cat to go through a heat cycle or to breed once prior to being spayed or neutered. Spay and neutering prevents annoying sexual behavior, prevents certain cancers and infections, and generally leads to a happier, healthier cat.
Annual Comprehensive Wellness Examination
An annual comprehensive physical examination is the basis for your dog's health program. Senior dogs (over 8-10 years of age) will greatly benefit from semi-annual health check-ups. Since our dogs age so much more rapidly than we do, health problems may arise in seemingly short periods of time. By 6 months of age, your puppy is the equivalent of a 3-4 yr. old child and by 8 yrs. of age your dog is the equivalent of a 55-65 yr. old person! You have probably heard it said that diseases such as high blood pressure, diabetes, and heart ailments in people might be SILENT KILLERS. This is because often times there are NO obvious clinical signs until severe illness or death occurs. Likewise dogs have many "silent killer" diseases that afflict them. There is NO immunity to silent killers like heart, kidney, and dental disease. EARLY DETECTION through comprehensive anal or semi-anal examinations is the key to your canine companion's well being.
Puppies should begin their immunization series at 6-8 weeks of age. Vaccinations are boostered every 3-4 weeks between the ages of 6 weeks and 16 weeks of age. Once the initial vaccination series has been completed, booster vaccinations will be recommended every 1 to 3 years based upon your dog's assessed disease risk.
“Core” vaccinations are those vaccinations that are currently recommended for ALL DOGS. These include canine distemper, hepatitis, parainfluenza, parvovirus, and rabies. Other vaccinations, like leptospirosis, infectious tracheobronchitis (bordetella), lyme, and influenza vaccines are recommended based on your dog's lifestyle.
Intestinal Parasite Control
The Center for Control (CDC) recommends that ALL puppies be routinely de-wormed for roundworms and hookworms, at least 2-3 times, whether or not eggs for these parasites are found in a stool sample. These parasites may infect the puppy by traveling across the placenta of the mother dog to the unborn puppy prior to birth. Additionally, the puppies may be infected with these parasite by migration of the immature worm in the mother's milk. Not only are these parasites dangerous to the health of the puppy, but the immature worm is capable of infecting people (primarily children) as well. It is for this reason that the CDC makes it recommendation. Annual fecal exams are necessary to check for a variety of intestinal parasites that may affect your dog.
ALL puppies and adult dogs should be maintained on heartworm preventive medication on a year round basis. Heartworms are parasites that are transmitted by the bite of an infected mosquito. The parasites live in the heart and lungs of infected dogs and are capable of causing heart failure. An annual blood test is recommended to assure that your dog is heartworm free.
Flea & Tick Control
These parasites are capable of causing extreme skin irritation to you and your dog as well as transmitting potentially dangerous diseases. Lyme disease is transmitted by the bite of a tick, and is VERY COMMON IN THIS AREA. It can cause lethargy, fever, joint pain, and even kidney failure if left undetected and untreated. The recommended yearly heartworm blood test also screens for Lyme disease. However, beyond just screening for Lyme disease, the best thing is to PREVENT lyme disease. The best way to do this is to use a good flea and tick control product that will protect your dog from the bite of a tick. It is recommended to use flea and tick control all year long, for the life of your dog.
The mouth is the gateway to the rest of the body. A healthy, clean mouth helps to insure a healthy body. Tarter and plaque on teeth harbor a wide variety of bacteria that may cause infections elsewhere in the body such as in the heart, liver, or kidneys. The practice of home dental care should be started with your puppy to get him/her used to having its teeth cleaned at an early age. Brushing is the most effective method of home dental care, but if this is not possible, other options may be beneficial such as the feeding of a specially formulated diet or offering treats impregnated with an enzyme that helps remove plaque. Regular dental exams along with professional dental cleanings are an important part of your dog's good oral hygiene.
Spaying and Neutering
Dogs may be spayed or neutered at any age, but the preferable age is approximately 6-12 months of age. It is of no health benefit to allow your dog to go through a heat cycle or to breed once prior to being spayed or neutered. Spay and neutering prevents annoying sexual behavior, prevents certain cancers and infections, and generally leads to a happier, healthier dog.
Why we should care about dental disease:
Nearly 85% of all dogs and cats over two years of age have some degree of dental disease. Dental disease varies from mild tarter accumulation to advanced periodontal disease. Gingivitis (red, inflamed, painful gums), gum recession, abscessed (infected) teeth and gums and tooth loss may result as dental disease progresses. In addition, dental disease may lead to other serious problems. Bacteria found in abundance on tartaric teeth may spread through the blood and result in liver, kidney, or heart infections.
People may ask “why should we treat dental disease now when we never used to and our pets seemed to live a long life?” The answer is simple! Advances in veterinary medicine, such as good preventative dental care, are adding quality years to the lives of our pets. We once considered a 10 year old dog or cat to be “old.” Now they are just senior pets. “Old” dogs and cats are now reaching 15-20 years of age.
What YOU can do to prevent oral disease:
Your pet’s teeth and gums require routine maintenance in order to stay healthy. Tooth brushing helps to prevent bad breath, dental disease and poor health. A routine of home dental care on your puppy or kitten helps to condition them early in life to this important procedure. Specially flavored toothpastes, rinses, and gels are available. A soft bristled child’s toothbrush, a specially designed finger brush, or gauze sponges may be used to brush your pet’s teeth. We will gladly demonstrate the use of these products!
Chewing on appropriate items such as rawhide, hard rubber chews, or nylon chews is enjoyable to most dogs and is helpful in maintaining healthy teeth and gums. Enzymatic, plaque removing chew treats are also available for cats and dogs. Finally, some diets help reduce plaque formation.
What WE can do to prevent & treat oral (periodontal) disease:
Once tarter has accumulated on your pet’s teeth, professional cleaning becomes necessary. Professional cleaning requires the use of general anesthesia to do a thorough job. The most important aspect of cleaning is to scale the portion of the tooth you can’t see below the gum line. Tarter accumulation begins in pockets beneath the gum line. Once scaling is complete, polishing the teeth follows. Some teeth may have such heavy tarter build-up that we cannot evaluate the tooth until it has been cleaned. Extractions of some teeth may be necessary due to abscessed roots or erosions of the enamel that extend into the pulp cavity that house the nerve and blood vessels for the teeth. Tooth extractions will not discourage your pet from eating. On the contrary, your pet will enjoy easier, pain free eating once the diseased teeth have been removed.
A yearly comprehensive physical exam and dental cleaning are important to help ensure your pet’s continued health. Quality years are being added to the lives of our pets through advances in veterinary medicine and dental care.
Puppies and kittens are like children in a sense, that they too are born with "baby teeth" that will fall out and then grow in their "adult teeth". But sometimes when the adult teeth come in the baby teeth will not fall out. This is called a deciduous tooth. If your pet has experienced this, you may have been recommended by a veterinarian to have the baby tooth removed. But why?
If the baby tooth is left alongside the adult tooth, the two teeth are jammed against each other. This will allow accumulation of debris and increase the likelihood of periodontal disease. Periodontal disease can then lead to tooth pain, abscesses, and even loss of both the adult and baby tooth.
In order to prevent issues in the future, the best recommendation is to remove the entire "baby tooth". This is because it is the root of the deciduous tooth that is causing the problem, not the crown (the visible part of the tooth). Typically we like to removal all deciduous teeth during your pets spay or neuter. This way they are asleep and won't feel anything, and they will be going home on pain medications for the surgery anyway so they will be comfortable at home. For more information on deciduous baby teeth feel free to call our office at any time at (717) 393-8245