Here at Pine Woods Animal Hospital, we are dedicated to helping your pets live long, healthy and happy lives. We believe that preventative care is critical to achieving that goal.
Preventative care includes:
- Annual and Biannual Examinations
- Routine Vaccinations
- Intestinal Parasite Testing
- Wellness Blood Work
- Infectious Disease Screening
- Nutritional Recommendations
Whether you have a puppy or an older dog that is still “young at heart”, routine examinations are vital to catching potential problems early. Puppies and younger dogs can stay on track with annual examinations, while senior dogs should be examined every 6 months.
During a routine appointment, the veterinarian will assess your dog’s external health from head to tail. Starting at the front, the veterinarian will check the eyes, ears and mouth for any signs of disease or infection. Did you know that more than 85% of dogs older than four years have periodontal disease and dental health concerns? Next, the veterinarian will listen to the heart and lungs, and palpate the abdomen. Finally, an orthopedic exam is performed to check for any signs of pain or arthritis. During the veterinarian’s trip over your dog’s body, they are also on the lookout for anything abnormal such as swollen lymph nodes, skin issues, masses and more.
Vaccinations are crucial to protecting your dog from deadly and often preventable diseases.
This vaccination is considered a core vaccine. It is recommended for ALL dogs and is legally required as well. The rabies virus is transmitted through the saliva of infected animals and the resulting infection is often fatal. Rabies is considered a zoonotic disease, which means that it can be spread to humans.
This vaccine is considered a core vaccine and it protects your dog from Distemper, Hepatitis, Parainfluenza and Parvovirus.
Contrary to popular belief, the distemper vaccine does not change your dog’s temperament or behavior, but it does prevent the distemper virus from infecting your pet.
The Canine Parvovirus is one of the most common causes for puppy fatality. The virus can affect dogs of any age, but the majority of cases occur in puppies less than 6 months of age.
The leptospirosis vaccine is not considered a core vaccine, but is recommended if your dog has a high risk of exposure. Leptospirosis is a bacterial infection that is transmitted through the urine of infected animals (rodents, rats, raccoons and opossums), or in the water/soil. The infection can damage your dog’s liver, kidneys and other major organs, and can be fatal. This disease is considered a zoonotic disease, which means that it can be spread to humans.
Bordetella (Kennel Cough) Vaccine
The bordetella vaccine is not considered a core vaccine, but is recommended if your dog goes to grooming, boarding, training, daycare, dog parks or is in close contact with other dogs. This highly contagious, airborne bacteria causes inflammation of the airways which can produce a “honking” cough in your dog. This disease is treatable.
The lyme vaccine is not considered a core vaccine, but is recommended if your dog has high risk exposure. The bacteria that cause Lyme disease is carried and transmitted by the deer tick. Deer ticks are found in the woods, grassy areas, marshy areas and even in your backyard! Lyme disease can cause fever, loss of appetite, joint swelling, lameness and decreased activity. We recommend year round reliable flea/tick prevention, and offer the vaccine as an extra layer of protection.
The Influenza vaccine is not considered a core vaccine, but is recommended if your dog has high risk of exposure (grooming, boarding, training, daycare, dog parks, dog shows). This virus can be spread via secretions in the air, or through use of shared contaminated objects (toys, bowls etc). Symptoms include coughing, sneezing, nasal discharge, fever, lethargy and difficulty breathing. Dogs can remain contagious for almost a month following exposure!
Intestinal Parasite Testing
Pine Woods Animal Hospital recommends internal parasite testing every year. This includes an intestinal parasite screening (fecal checks) and a heartworm and tick-borne disease test.
Many times, intestinal parasite infections can go undetected while still causing harm to your pet. In addition to negatively impacting your dog’s health, some parasites like roundworms and hookworms are zoonotic meaning that they can be transmitted from your pet to you. If left untreated in humans, roundworms can even migrate to internal organs such as the eye which can cause blindness! To test for these parasite, we simply need a sample of your dog’s feces. Ideally, the sample should be fresh and not frozen.
While the veterinarian can gather a lot of information on your dog’s health from routine exams, wellness bloodwork can detect internal diseases that are not always outwardly apparent. With the information a blood test reveals, a veterinarian can detect diseases such as diabetes, kidney disease, liver disease and more before your dog starts to show symptoms. Early detection and proactive intervention is the best way to keep harmful diseases from progressing rapidly.
Infectious Disease Screening
Our infectious disease screening, also known as a 4dx, tests your dog for heartworm, lyme disease, anaplasma and ehrlichia. While heartworm is transmitted through bites from infected mosquitos, the other three diseases are transmitted through bites from infected ticks.
Anaplasma is a bacteria that is transmitted by ticks and causes the disease anaplasmosis. Many dogs that are positive for anaplasmosis do not show outward symptoms. If you dog does show symptoms of anaplasmosis, the signs can include lethargy, fever, swollen and painful joint and vomiting.
Ehrlichiosis is a disease that is caused by the tick transmitted bacteria ehrlichia. While some dogs can show outward signs, sometimes they may not. The best way to determine if your dog is infected is a blood test. The symptoms of ehrlichiosis include but are not limited to: fever, swollen lymph nodes, lameness, weight loss, anemia and bleeding problems. While ehrlichiosis can be treated, it is a long course of treatment and if left untreated, ehrlichiosis can be fatal.
Lyme disease is caused by bacteria that is transmitted by ticks. This disease can occur in both dogs and humans if they are bitten by an infected tick. Dogs that have contracted lyme disease may not show symptoms for months after the exposure. Once symptoms start to present themselves, they are usually fever, loss of appetite, lameness, joint swelling and decreased activity.
The best way to protect your dog from anaplasma, ehrlichia and lyme is to use a reliable tick-prevention product. Our hospital carries a variety of tick prevention products including oral, topical and collar preventatives. If you feel that your pet is at risk, call our office to discuss prevention with a veterinarian.
Another internal parasite that is prevalent in this area is heartworm. Heartworm is a “spaghetti-like” parasite that lives in the blood system, specifically the heart and major cardiac vessels in your dog. If left untreated the worm can cause heart disease,heart failure, and death. Heartworm is transmitted by infected mosquitoes and all dogs are considered at risk for heartworm disease.
Fortunately, heartworm is detectable through a blood test and can be easily prevented through monthly heartworm prevention. We recommend monthly year-round heartworm prevention, which comes in multiple forms including oral chews or topical solutions.
Nutrition is important to helping your pet live a healthy long life. Proper nutrition can help your dog fight-off disease, maintain muscle tone, have a healthy skin and hair coat, recover faster from an injury or illness.