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.
- Spaying (ovariohysterectomy) is the surgical removal of part of the female reproductive tract-the ovaries and uterus.
- Neutering (castration) usually refers to the surgical removal of both testicles of the male pet, although the term can actually refer to sterilization of either sex.
Why should I spay or neuter my pet?
- Your pet will be much less likely to develop a number of serious health problems that can be life-threatening and expensive to treat, such as dystocia, uterine infections (pyometra), certain kinds of cancer, and disorders of the prostate.
- Spayed and neutered pets are less likely to escape and roam. Roaming pets are far more likely to fight with other animals or to experience traumatic injuries, such as being hit by a car.
- Reduces/Prevents urine marking in males
- Spaying a female pet prevents them from coming into heat. Cats in heat will vocalize more. Dogs will leave bloodstains on carpets and furniture. Both may attract unwanted males to your home.
- Spayed or neutered pets are generally more even-tempered and less aggressive.
- Prevents unwanted pregnancy and pet overpopulation
When should I spay/neuter my pet?
- Most dogs and cats should be neutered at 6 months of age, prior to the first heat cycle in females.
- If a kitten must be declawed, we recommend that this be done with the spay/neuter, at 4-6 months of age.
Other considerations prior to and after surgery:
- Pets should be fasted prior to surgery. Do not feed your pet after 10 PM the night before surgery.
- If your pet chews or licks excessively at the incision, we recommend you place an Elizabethan collar (plastic lampshade) on your pet. These can be obtained at our hospital or most pet retail stores. If this is required, be sure your pet can access their food/water bowl while wearing the collar, which is usually necessary for at least 7 – 10 days.
- Pets that have been spayed or neutered require fewer calories than those that have not been “fixed”. Therefore you will need to make feeding adjustments in the months after surgery to prevent weight gain.
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.
Our clinic offers boarding for both cats and dogs. Your pet will be loved and cared for while you are away. Our staff is dedicated to making sure your pet is as comfortable as possible during your absence. We offer day boarding as well as long term boarding.
We have climate controlled indoor kennels, both large and small kennels for dogs, and kitty condos for our feline guests. We have a small outdoor play yard that the dogs are able to get out in at least 3 times a day. Additionally, we offer baths for those canine visitors that have been with us for at least 4 nights at no additional charge to the owner.
We do recommend that you bring your pets own food. If unable to do so, we do offer Royal Canin gastrointestinal diet, at an additional charge per day.
Please note, for the health and safety of all our patients, all pets being boarded must be current on all required vaccinations, and they must have been completed at least 30 days prior to day of arrival.
Canine Vaccinations required:
We do require proof of vaccines prior to making any boarding arrangements. If planning on staying with us, we recommend printing out the Boarding Agreement to fill out prior to your visit and bring with you or send it to us, to help save some time at check-in.
Bowie Drive Animal Hospital is a flea-free zone. All pets must be current on flea prevention. Those pets found to have fleas will be treated prior to boarding at an additional cost.