Regularly scheduled health evaluations combined with proper diet, exercise, and parasite control can greatly enhance your pet’s quality of life and overall life expectancy. Because medical problems in animals are usually not noticed by their owners until they are advanced, periodic veterinary examinations and routine blood testing can lead to the early detection and treatment of disease and a healthier pet.
On average, your pet ages 7 years for every year you do. Because of this rapid aging, your pet should receive bi-annual examinations from Bowie Drive Animal Clinic in order to maintain optimum health. This is a great time for your doctor to take a really close look at your pet.
Your pet will receive a comprehensive nose to tail physical exam. It is important to report anything abnormal you have noticed about your pet prior to bringing them in for their exam. We will take your pet’s temperature, which should be between 101 and 102.5 degrees, slightly higher than a normal human temperature. We will examine all of your pet’s major body systems. We will also weigh your pet so we can make dietary, nutritional, and exercise recommendations.
The skin and coat are really excellent indicators of your pet’s health. We can look at your pet’s coat and can see right away if there is something wrong. The coat should be shiny, not brittle and coarse, and the skin should be clean and not greasy and flaky. We check for bumps, rashes, infection, hair loss, excessive dander, and parasites.
We will examine your pet’s eyes, checking for signs of disease such as: redness, discharge, corneal clarity, pupillary responsiveness, and we will also examine the retina and optic nerve, in the back of the eye. We examine both ears looking for evidence of growths, parasites, the integrity of the tympanic membrane, and especially infections. Often, infections start deep in the ear canal and may not be noticed until they are advanced. We will teach you how to clean and treat your pet’s ears if medications are required.
We examine your pet’s nose for any discharge or abnormal appearance. Your pet will receive an oral health assessment, including checking the teeth and gums, monitoring for evidence of tartar or periodontal disease. Oral hygiene is a significant contributor to the overall health of your pet and we stress prevention through routine dental cleanings and regular home care.
A careful evaluation of the abdomen is part of the physical exam. We palpate your pet’s abdomen for masses, pain, enlarged organs, and other abnormalities. We check your pet’s legs and joints to ensure your pet has full range of motion and shows no signs of pain or discomfort from torn ligaments or osteoarthritis.
We check your pet’s heart and lungs with a stethoscope, listening for wheezing, crackles, heart murmurs and other abnormal lung sounds.
The back end is examined for flea dirt, fleas, anal gland problems, and growths. If you bring a sample of your pet’s stool, we can test for parasites. Your pet will have their anal glands checked and emptied if necessary.
Both paws and toenails are examined for overgrown toenails or pododermatitis (infection of the feet), which is very common in pets with skin allergies. Nails are trimmed, if required/requested. We will also provide you with a list of any routine vaccinations or lab work required.
Your pet’s health starts with a thorough and complete physical exam. Give us a call to set your appointment at (817) 599-6000.
How Vaccines Work How Vaccines Work Vaccinations prevent disease by stimulating your pet’s immune system to produce antibodies that protect them from disease-causing viruses and bacteria. Each time a vaccination is repeated it reminds the immune system to produce protective antibodies. After the initial series, most vaccinations are repeated annually to continue to remind the immune system to protect your pet. You must plan ahead to protect your pet. It takes time for your pet’s immune system to build the number of antibodies that are needed to protect them. Having your pet vaccinated the same day as they are boarded or having surgery leaves them without protection while they are in a situation where they could be exposed to the disease. Most vaccines take at least 10 days to provide protection.
Side Effects Of Vaccines
A small number of pets may have an allergic reaction from a vaccination, which are usually not serious. Symptoms may include lethargy, soreness or swelling at the injection site, or in more severe cases, hives or facial swelling. Most of these symptoms can be controlled with Benadryl should they occur. If your pet has any of these symptoms please report the reaction to our office.
What Vaccinations Do Pets Need?
Dogs should have the following vaccinations:
- DA2P (Distember, Adenovirus, Parvovirus)
- Other Vaccinations may be recommended depending upon your pet’s level of exposure
- Recommended Puppy Initial Vaccination Series Schedule
Cats should have the following vaccinations:
- Feline Leukemia
- We also recommend that new cats or kittens be tested for Feline Leukemia and FIV (Feline Immunodeficiency Virus).
- Recommended Kitten Initial Vaccination Series Schedule
How Often Should My Pet Be Vaccinated?
Pets need to receive an initial series of vaccinations with periodic boosters to develop and maintain immunity. Our staff will assist you in determining the appropriate vaccination schedule for your pet, which is determined by individual lifestyle, age, and level of exposure. Unvaccinated adult pets generally require boosters 3-4 weeks after the initial vaccine set. High risk situations may require supplemental doses of the Parvo or Bordetella vaccines.
Periodontal disease affects 70-80% of pets by 3 years of age.
Bacteria present in plaque will lead to inflammation of the gums, bad breath, bleeding, bone loss, painful tooth abscessation and eventual tooth loss.
Periodontal disease can also lead to more serious, systemic diseases, such as heart and kidney disease.
These conditions are painful for the pet and can be expensive to treat, therefore, prophylactic treatment to keep the teeth and gums healthy is of great importance.
Tooth brushing is the single most important preventative measure to be taken to keep your pet’s mouth healthy. Your pet’s teeth should be brushed at least three times weekly, although daily brushing is best. Some dental chews that contain chlorhexidine, which kills bacteria, can be of benefit, but are no substitute for brushing.
We recommend toothpaste formulated for pets, which do not foam like human toothpastes. Dogs accept the poultry flavored toothpastes better, whereas cats seem to like the seafood flavored toothpastes. Click here for AAHA Dental Care Guidelines, which includes an instructional video on teeth brushing.
PROFESSIONAL DENTAL CLEANING
Despite regular brushing, your pet will likely require a professional dental cleaning at some point. Some breeds require more frequent cleanings than others. Dental cleanings are day procedures that require anesthesia. Constant monitoring and IV fluids are administered during the procedure. Your pet will have their teeth scaled and polished, both above and below the gumline, as well as have a fluoride treatment.
All dental cleanings will have dental radiographs done as well. This will help to be able to know what is going on under the gum line to determine if further measures should be taken, such as extractions. The radiographs will also ensure that there are no roots left behind which could lead to further issues including abscesses.
All dentals will receive pre and post operative pain medication as well as antibiotics if necessary.