Preventive Veterinary Care:
Ensuring Health & Wellness
We have all heard the expression that an apple a day keeps the doctor away…the idea being that, if we take good care of ourselves, we will prevent disease and other maladies. The same holds true for pet care. As much as we enjoy seeing our patients and their owners, we would much prefer that their appointments be for annual wellness exams rather than something more serious. That’s why we offer the following preventive pet health care services:
- Comprehensive physical exams—This nose-to-tail examination allows our veterinarians to obtain a baseline measurement of your pet’s health. This will enable us to keep track of any physical or behavioral changes and act on them before they have a chance to evolve into something more serious. We recommend that cats and dogs have a wellness exam once annually unless they are senior pets or they have a chronic condition (such as thyroid disease, diabetes, or arthritis), in which case we suggest they come in semiannually.
- Pet vaccinations—Determining which vaccinations your pet should receive requires that we know more about his or her lifestyle. Is your cat an only pet that doesn’t go outside? Does your dog interact frequently with other dogs at the dog park, the groomer, or doggy daycare? Our veterinarians will carefully review your pet’s specific needs and make the appropriate recommendations.
Parasite prevention—It’s extremely important to screen cats and dogs for parasites, not only for their health, but for your health as well. If a pet becomes infected with certain types of parasites, it can lead to diseases that are transmittable to humans. That’s why, at Becker Animal Hospital, we recommend that dogs and cats have an intestinal parasite screening at least once a year, where a sample of your pet’s stool is sent out to a veterinary laboratory that specializes in this type of testing. We also suggest that pets be preventively dewormed at least annually. The intestinal parasite screening will enable us to identify specific parasites that need to be eradicated, while the preventive deworming will clear the intestinal tract of parasites that may not have been present in the initial sample.
Dogs should also have a heartworm and tick disease screening test performed annually. In our area, mosquitoes are abundant and tick populations are on the rise. We use a four-fold screening which identifies heartworm disease as well as three tick born diseases: anaplasma, ehrlichia, and Lyme disease. Early detection of heartworm and tick borne diseases is vital.
- Cat and dog dental care—If our veterinarians observe an accumulation of tarter or plaque on your pet’s teeth, we may suggest therapeutic dental cleaning. Just as with humans, the longer one waits to take care of dental disease, the more invasive and potentially painful it will be. We will work with you to ensure that your pet’s mouth stays healthy.
Spaying and neuter services—Spaying or neutering your pet will provide many health benefits beyond preventing unwanted pregnancies. For females, these include a decrease in the risk of mammary cancer and the prevention of potentially life-threatening uterine infections (pyometra). For males, neutering aids in the prevention of testicular cancer and lessens the risk of prostatic disease.
Some pet owners are concerned that altering their dog or cat will affect the animal’s personality. Rest assured that the majority of pets experience no significant emotional changes after the procedure. To learn more about spaying or neutering your pet, please visit our pet wellness section.
Prescription diets and medications—Sometimes pets require a specialized diet or medication regimen in order to achieve optimal health. Our in-house pharmacy enables us to fulfill your pet’s needs in a timely manner.
If you need a prescription refilled, simply contact us, and, if approved, we will have it ready within 24 hours. Alternatively, we are pleased to offer our clients access to our Vets First Choice website.
- Microchips—Providing a permanent means of identification could make all the difference should your pet accidentally get loose. How many times have we read about dogs or cats escaping while their owners were on vacation or moving, sometimes even while being cared for by a pet sitter at home? A microchip is a safe and effective means of identifying your pet, and it’s the first thing an animal shelter will look for if no collar is present. Please speak to us about this simple procedure. We are happy to assist you!