Bringing your pet in for an annual diagnostic and wellness checkup can help reassure you that your dog or cat is healthy or help us detect hidden diseases or conditions early. Early detection can improve the prognosis of many diseases, keep medical costs down, and help your pet live longer. Many dogs and cats are good at hiding signs that something is wrong, so subtle changes in their health or behavior might be easy to overlook. And, depending on the disease, some pets don’t show any symptoms.
Dogs and cats age far quicker than humans, so it is even more crucial for our companion animals to receive regular exams. In addition, the risks of arthritis, cancer, diabetes, heart disease, hormone disorders, and kidney and liver problems all increase with age.
During your pet’s wellness exam, we will perform a physical assessment, checking your dog or cat from nose to tail. We will also make sure your pet receives appropriate vaccinations and preventives. We will perform a diagnostic workup, which may include blood, fecal, and urine tests to check for parasites and underlying diseases. We may also recommend that your pet receive dental care. When your pet is nearing his or her senior years, we will recommend a baseline exam and diagnostic workup so we’ll know what’s normal for your pet. This will enable us to keep track of any changes.
Because you spend the most time with your pet, you are your pet’s expert, as well as his or her greatest advocate. Please let us know if you’ve noticed any physical or behavioral changes in your pet, as well as any other concerns you might have.
Imagine if your dog or cat got lost. You’d want to give him or her the best chance of getting home. With microchipping, you can.
Microchipping is a safe, permanent way to identify your pet in case he or she becomes lost. A microchip, which is a tiny device about the size and shape of a grain of rice, is placed just under the loose skin at the back of the neck. When a lost dog or cat without an ID tag is found, a veterinarian or veterinary technician will use a handheld microchip scanner to check for a chip. If the pet has one, it will transmit its ID number to the scanner via a low-frequency radio wave. The veterinary hospital or shelter then calls the chip manufacturer, retrieves the pet owner’s contact information, and calls the owner.
Even the most responsible pet owners can’t always guarantee their pet won’t get lost. A leash could break or slip out of your hand, a pet could push through a screen door or window, or a contractor or friend might accidentally leave a door or gate open.
We recommend that you use a microchip, along with a collar and ID tag, to identify your pet. An ID tag is still a reliable identification method. Pets that have tags with current contact information are more likely to not end up in shelters and tend to get home faster than those without tags. However, collars and ID tags aren’t permanent and can be removed (overnight or for grooming); pets can also lose them. With a microchip, your pet will have a much better chance of being identified and returned to you. Pets without microchips that end up in shelters may be adopted out to another family or even euthanized.
Please contact us to schedule an appointment to microchip your pet. Although we hope your pet never becomes lost, we want you to be prepared. We can also suggest a plan to have in place so if your pet does go missing, you’ll be able to act quickly.
We can microchip ferrets, rabbits, birds, and other companion animals, too!
Skin problems are common in dogs and cats and can be caused by hormonal disorders, allergies, infections, or parasites such as fleas and mites. These issues can be particularly difficult to treat and should be addressed promptly.
We can often diagnose a skin problem by simply examining your pet. Some dermatologic diseases or conditions do require additional diagnostic procedures to ensure a correct diagnosis. Depending on your pet’s symptoms and the results of our physical exam, we may run blood work or perform a urinalysis, skin scraping, or biopsies.
Canine Hip Dysplasia
Canine hip dysplasia (abnormal development of the hip joint) begins when the hip joint in a young dog becomes loose or unstable. If left undiagnosed and untreated, this instability causes abnormal wear of the hip cartilage and ultimately progresses to osteoarthritis or degenerative joint disease. Signs of this condition are pain, reluctance to get up or exercise, difficulty climbing stairs, a “bunny-hopping” gait, limping, and lameness, especially after periods of inactivity or exercise.
Hip dysplasia most commonly affects large- and giant-breed dogs; however, smaller dogs can also be affected. Although genetics often play a role in this disorder, young dogs that grow or gain weight too quickly or get too much high-impact exercise are also at risk. Being overweight can aggravate hip dysplasia.
We can help prevent or slow this condition by monitoring food intake and ensuring that your dog gets proper exercise as he or she ages. We can also screen your dog for hip dysplasia, using one of two methods. The earlier we can diagnose hip dysplasia, the better the possible outcome for your dog.
OFA (Orthopedic Foundation for Animals) Certification:
We can x-ray your dog’s hips for hip dysplasia at 2 years of age. We will forward these radiographs to the OFA, where board-certified radiologists will evaluate and grade your dog’s hips for OFA certification. Correct positioning of your dog is essential for proper radiographic evaluation, so a general anesthetic is required to make the procedure less stressful for him or her.
Please call us to discuss your dog’s risk of developing hip dysplasia, to schedule a screening, or to discuss treatment options.
Call us today to schedule your pet’s exam! If you have any questions, we would be happy to discuss our adult wellness program in more detail.
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