When your pet is sick, many questions run through your mind.
“Will my pet be OK?”
“How much will this cost to treat?”
And, one of the hardest questions: “Could this have been prevented?”
Some illnesses and emergencies are related to the aging process or poor genetics, and are out of the pet owner’s hands, but many can be prevented through regular wellness care. And, while we may not be able to prevent your pet from every condition, we can detect disease earlier with routine preventive care, and offer more effective treatment and a better prognosis. By investing in regular wellness and preventive care, you can help your four-legged friend live a long, healthy, and happy life.
What is preventive care for my pet?
Preventive care includes many services designed to help prevent, slow, or reduce the severity of potential illnesses, diseases, and injuries. Preventive care includes not only the care your Red Oak Animal Hospital veterinarian provides for your pet, but also the routine care you give at home.
At our veterinary hospital, we provide preventive care in the form of:
- Comprehensive physical exams
- Lifestyle-appropriate vaccinations
- Parasite testing and prevention
- Early detection screening tests
- Spaying and neutering
- Prophylactic dental care
- Nutrition recommendations
- Behavior advice
- Grooming tips
At home, you tackle the day-to-day tasks of keeping your pet healthy, happy, and thriving. Your responsibilities include:
- Regular ear cleanings to prevent infections
- Frequent nail trims to avoid overgrowth or torn nails
- Toothbrushing to minimize dental disease
- Breed-appropriate bathing and brushing to prevent matting and skin infections
- Washing and disinfecting pet supplies (e.g.,bedding, bowls, and toys)
- Accurately measuring your pet’s food to prevent obesity
- Encouraging daily exercise and activity for physical and mental stimulation
Remaining diligent about your pet’s wellness care can pay untold dividends in a lifetime of health and happiness for your four-legged friend.
Why does my pet need annual preventive care?
You may have wondered why your pet needs an annual check-up, especially since they seem perfectly healthy, but wellness visits are crucial for detecting disease in its earliest stages, when your pet has the best chance at overcoming illness and continuing to enjoy a good quality of life. We recommend wellness care visits and screening tests because preventive care saves you money in the long run. Illness from infectious diseases, parasites, or other preventable conditions can be costly to diagnose and treat, and may ultimately shorten your pet’s life, but budgeting for annual exams can not only save money, but also your pet’s life.
What vaccinations should I consider for my pet?
Our preventive care services do not follow a cookie-cutter approach. Instead, we customize a plan for each individual pet to ensure they receive all the care they do need, and nothing they don’t. Our plan will be based on your pet’s lifestyle, exposure risk, and health status, and we may recommend that they need only core vaccinations, which for dogs include:
Elective canine vaccinations are based on exposure risk and geographic location and include:
- Leptospirosis—should be considered for all dogs based on increasing prevalence
- Lyme disease
- Bordetella (i.e., kennel cough)
- Canine influenza
- Rattlesnake toxoid
For cats, core vaccinations include:
- Feline herpesvirus-1
- Feline calicivirus
- Feline leukemia virus for cats younger than 1
Optional feline vaccinations include:
- Feline leukemia virus for cats older than 1
- Chlamydia felis
- Bordetella bronchiseptica
What screening tests should I consider for my pet?
Early detection screening tests are an essential part of your pet’s preventive care, as they spot not only disease signs early, but also variations from your pet’s normal values that can indicate health status changes. Depending on your pet’s age, breed, and health, we may recommend the following screening tests at their wellness visit:
- Blood work — Standard blood work tests include a complete blood count (CBC) and blood chemistry profile, which quantify and evaluate your pet’s red and white blood cells, platelets, organ function, and blood sugar. As your pet ages or develops health issues, we may run a more comprehensive chemistry profile, or add tests that evaluate thyroid function.
- Intestinal parasite screening — Intestinal parasites (e.g., roundworms, hookworms, and whipworms) that are not diagnosed and treated can cause serious illnesses, including chronic diarrhea and failure to thrive.
- Vector-borne disease screening — Heartworm disease and tick-borne illnesses can be diagnosed by a rapid, in-house test that requires only a few drops of blood. These diseases can cause lifelong health issues (e.g., Lyme disease), and can be fatal without treatment.
- Urinalysis — Your pet’s urine sample yields information about kidney function and bladder health. We commonly perform a urinalysis on senior pets to check for kidney disease or diabetes.
Don’t skip your pet’s annual preventive care visit, which is as essential for their good health as treatment for sickness or injuries. Give our Red Oak Animal Hospital team a call to schedule an appointment or your pet’s wellness screening.