Wellness and Vaccination Protocols

Help us keep your pet healthy by bringing him or her in for regular exams and vaccinations. Dogs and cats (and other pets) age far faster than people, so significant changes in your pet’s health can happen in a short time. Wellness programs allow us to diagnose diseases and conditions early, when they’re easier to treat or manage. Often, we can help prevent diseases entirely, just by ensuring that your pet has received appropriate vaccinations and preventives. We recommend that healthy adult dogs and cats visit us once a year. Puppies, kittens, senior pets, and pets with health issues or illnesses need more frequent checkups. We’ll work with you to create a wellness program, including a vaccination and prevention protocol, for your pet. Call us today to schedule your pet’s wellness exam.

Parasite Control Program

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The Companion Animal Parasite Council (CAPC) is an independent council of veterinarians and other health care professionals established to create guidelines for the optimal control of internal and external parasites in dogs and cats. We have incorporated their recommendations in our current Parasite Control Program.

We currently deworm all puppies and kittens at 8, 10 and 12 weeks of age then monthly until 6 months of age. Adult cats and dogs are dewormed on an as-needed basis thereafter. Stool examinations are done as well because there is no current deworming medication on the market which eliminates all puppy and kitten parasites i.e. different parasites require different medications for their treatment and elimination. We recommend checking stool samples from adult cats and dogs at least once a year. The stool samples are sent to a veterinary parasitology lab in Toronto where they undergo centrifugation and filtration, a process that is more sensitive in detecting parasites than the standard fecal floatation done in most veterinary clinics.

We start flea control products in our local area June 1, usually in advance of the typical flea season. We recommend prevention for all at-risk pets i.e. all pets that go outdoors or who share a household with outdoor pets. For example, we will use prevention in indoor cats that share a household with dogs as the dogs can bring fleas indoors. Prevention is usually continued until November 1. We recommend the Revolution preventative for all our patients, a once monthly product that also offers protection against heartworm, ear mites, sarcoptic mange, some ticks and intestinal parasites.

3 Year Rotating Vaccination Schedule

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In recent years, the practice of performing full annual vaccinations (rabies and booster vaccinations given together) to family pets has come into question. As more research is being done into how long the protection from vaccinations last in our pets, it is becoming more obvious that annual vaccinations may not be necessary for all pets. In 2006, the American Animal Hospital Association (AAHA) Canine Vaccine Guidelines and the American Association of Feline Practioner’s (AAFP) Feline Vaccine Guidelines were published. They suggested that on average, core vaccinations could be delivered on a 3 year basis. Rabies vaccines for both cats and dogs can be offered on a 1 or 3 year basis. Feline Leukemia can be given every 2 years following the initial boosters. Some vaccinations, such as leptospirosis, lyme and kennel cough vaccine still need to be given annually to ensure protection. Accordingly, we have developed our vaccine protocols with the above in mind.

Puppies receive the standard booster vaccine at 8, 12 and 16 weeks of age. They also receive a 1 year rabies vaccine at 16 weeks of age. On the one year anniversary of the 16 week vaccination, young adult dogs receive a full standard booster vaccination in addition to a 3 year rabies vaccine. Kittens receive a standard booster at 8 weeks of age, at 12 and 16 weeks of age they receive a standard booster as well as a Feline Leukemia virus booster. They also receive a 1 year rabies vaccine at 16 weeks of age. Owners have the option to give their cats 1 or 3 year Purevax feline rabies vaccine. Following this full vaccination, we begin a 3 year rotation of vaccines for both cats and dogs. Cats are vaccinated annually or every 3 years for rabies and every 3 years with the standard feline booster vaccination. Optional vaccination for feline leukemia virus is given every 2 years if required. After receiving their 3 year rabies vaccine and booster vaccine, dogs receive a parvovirus booster in the following year, a distemper/hepatitis virus vaccine the subsequent year and a 3 year rabies vaccine in the third year of the rotation. Optional vaccination for leptospirosis and kennel cough are given annually if needed. We believe this vaccination protocol strikes a balance between providing protection for our patients while reducing the risk from excessive vaccination.

Feline Viral Testing

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Feline Leukemia Virus and Feline Immunodefiency Virus are leading causes of illness and death in cats in North America. These viruses are transmitted from cat to cat through grooming, bite wounds and sharing common items such as food and water bowls. Symptoms usually arise from a weakening or altering of the immune system. Kittens can be born with or contract infection if the mother cat is infected. Increased exposure to other cats increases infection risk. Higher risk groups would include (1) outdoor cats, especially cats that fight (2) multi-cat households (3) cats from animal shelters, pounds and pet stores (4) barn cats/kittens.

We recommend all cats be tested for both viruses. Testing frequency afterwards will depend on your pet’s lifestyle i.e. indoors/outdoors/fighter etc. Cats that remain indoors with no other cat contact only need to be tested once unless their circumstances change. Cats can be tested at any time with a simple blood test. We will often perform a viral profile test at the time of spaying/neutering in our younger patients at the same time we perform pre-anesthetic blood testing.

Wellness Blood Testing

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We currently recommend performing a blood test panel on all our patients beginning at 2 years of age and continuing annually for the life of the pet. The purpose of Wellness Blood Testing is to compare blood and organ values from year to year to detect changes as quickly as possible and alert our staff to possible developing health issues. Our patients cannot talk and their vital organs have a large capacity to compensate for declining performance until it reaches a critical level. At that point, we begin to see symptoms such as weight loss, vomiting, diarrhea, increased drinking and urination. It is possible to detect these changes on annual test panels in advance of symptoms developing and take supportive/corrective steps to help your pet. Our younger patients (1-7 years of age) have a standard blood panel done while our senior patients (8 years and older) have a more comprehensive panel done. Our goal is to help your pet live a long and healthy life.

Puppy Wellness

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Congratulations on your new puppy! Thank you for choosing us to help protect and care for your new addition to your family.

Our puppy wellness program is designed to help get your puppy started on the right path to a long and healthy life. The first few months are a critical period in your puppy’s development, and we can give you the support and tools necessary to help him or her grow into a well-mannered, healthy dog, including information and advice on nutrition, training, behaviour, and socialization.

Schedule your puppy for his or her first exam as soon as possible. Until your puppy has received a series of vaccines, he or she is susceptible to many serious but preventable diseases. We will vaccinate your new dog against rabies, distemper, and parvovirus, among other diseases. Your puppy will also need to be tested and treated for parasites, which are common in young dogs.

Most puppies have roundworms, which are intestinal worms that can cause vomiting, diarrhea, and other gastrointestinal signs (although dogs can have worms without showing any symptoms). It is important for puppies to be treated for roundworms, not only to rid them of the infection but also to prevent you and the rest of your family from becoming infected. Roundworms are a zoonotic parasite, which means they can be transmitted from pets to people. By ensuring that your puppy is treated, you can keep your entire family safe from these and other parasites.

 

We look forward to meeting your new puppy! Schedule your appointment today.

Kitten Wellness

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Congratulations on your new kitten! Thank you for choosing us to help protect and care for your new addition to your family.

Our kitten wellness program is designed to help get your kitten started on the right path to a long and healthy life. The first few months are a critical period in your kitten’s development, and we can give you the support and tools necessary to help him or her grow into a well-mannered, healthy cat, including information and advice on nutrition, litterbox training, and behaviour.

Schedule your kitten for his or her first exam as soon as possible. Until your kitten has received a series of vaccines, he or she is susceptible to many serious but preventable diseases. We will vaccinate your new kittens against rabies and feline viral rhinotracheitis, calicivirus and panleukopenia (distemper). We recommend vaccinating all kittens for feline leukemia virus (FeLV) because a kittens status may change (Indoor vs outdoor, single to multi-cat households) and susceptibility to persistent infection is believed to be highest in kittens. In addition, your kitten will need to be tested and treated for parasites, which are common in young cats.

Most kittens have roundworms, which are intestinal worms that can cause coughing, weight loss, and a potbellied appearance in cats (although they may not cause any symptoms). It is important for kittens to be treated for roundworms, not only to help rid them of the infection but also to prevent you and the rest of your family from becoming infected. Roundworms are a zoonotic parasite, which means they can be transmitted from pets to people. By ensuring that your kitten is treated, you can keep your entire family safe.

We look forward to meeting your new kitten! Schedule your appointment today.

Adult Pet Wellness

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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 behaviour might be easy to overlook. And, depending on the disease, some pets don’t show any symptoms.

Dogs and cats age 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, faecal, 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.

Please let us know if you’ve noticed any physical or behavioural changes in your pet, as well as any other concerns you might have.

Call us today to schedule your pet’s exam! If you have any questions about our adult wellness program, please let us know.

 

Senior Pet Wellness

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As dogs and cats get older, they need more attention and special care. Our senior wellness program can help your pet remain fit and healthy as he or she ages and help us catch any potential problems earlier, when they’re easier to treat or manage. Regular veterinary exams can actually help your pet live longer, too!

Diagnosing diseases and certain conditions early is important throughout a pet’s life, but it becomes even more critical when your dog or cat enters his or her senior years. The risks of arthritis, cancer, diabetes, heart disease, hormone disorders, and kidney and liver problems all increase with age. In addition, dogs and cats may not show any signs of even serious diseases until they are advanced.

Senior status varies depending on your pet’s breed and size. Smaller dogs tend to live longer than larger dogs, and cats generally live longer than dogs. We can help you determine what life stage your pet is in.

Before your dog or cat reaches senior status, we recommend that you bring your pet in for a baseline exam and diagnostic workup. This will give us a record of what’s normal for your pet so we can keep track of any changes. In most cases, we suggest this checkup for when your dog turns 7 years of age or your cat turns 8 years of age. Thereafter, your senior pet will benefit from more frequent veterinary exams and diagnostic testing.

We can treat many symptoms that are commonly attributed to age, including those associated with cognitive dysfunction syndrome (similar to Alzheimer’s in humans). We can also improve your pet’s quality of life in many ways: by identifying and preventing or reducing pain, recommending a nutrition and exercise plan, and suggesting environmental modifications.

We will tailor a senior wellness plan to your pet’s individual needs. If you have any questions, we can discuss our senior wellness program in more detail. Call us today to schedule your pet’s exam!