Wellness Care Overview
The gradual onset of health problems in an apparently healthy pet makes a thorough physical exam one of the most important service we offer. Early identification of subtle changes often makes intervention and treatment more successful. Changes in coat, weight gain or loss, or the presence of a mild cough may suggest underlying diseases that can often be managed if not cured.
At least once a year, your pet should have a complete physical examination. If your pet is older or on chronic medications, bi-annual exams are recommended. If you are ever concerned that your pet may have something wrong, please, trust your instinct and schedule time for a physical exam.
Excellent research has allowed us to prevent many diseases through vaccinations. Gone is the day where every dog or cat receives the same vaccines. Our veterinarians are happy to discuss your pet’s lifestyle and decide on the most appropriate vaccines and how often to do them.
Heartworm Testing / Prevention
Heartworm disease although very common in Michigan, is very preventable. We recommend giving heartworm preventive year round and blood testing for heartworm disease every two years. For those of you who do not remember to give preventative in the winter months, we recommend testing annually.
Research is also suggesting that heartworm disease can affect our feline friends as well. Testing for heartworm disease in cats has limitations, however preventative medication is available and recommended. We encourage you to discuss this with your veterinarian.
Fecal floatation and Fecal Cytology
Intestinal parasites can often go unnoticed in many pets. However, in addition to diarrhea, vomiting, failure to thrive and a poor coat, many parasites can cause disease in humans as well. It is important to have fecal samples evaluated annually and any time your pet has loose stool without a known cause. Many times a fresh sample can be dropped off during regular business hours and a veterinarian will contact you with the results and recommendations. For more information on intestinal parasites and their zoonotic potential, please visit the Companion Animal Parasite Council website.
Feline Leukemia / Feline Immunodeficiency Virus Testing
Feline Leukemia Virus (FeLV) and Feline Immunodeficiency Virus (FIV) are two viruses that can be deadly to cats. FIV is typically spread between cats through biting while FeLV is spread when cats come into contact with urine or saliva of an infected cat through mutual grooming, shared water bowls or shared litterboxes. We recommend screening kittens for both viruses and retesting any time an at risk cat is showing a decrease in appetite, energy or a lack of interest in grooming. Vaccines are available for both FelV and FIV and we strongly encourage discussing this with your veterinarian at your next visit. For more information, visit the American Association of Feline Practitioners website.
Surgery is often necessary for the health of our pets. Elective surgeries such as ovariohysterectomy (spay) and castration (neuter), are routinely done and can generally be scheduled within 1-2 weeks of your phone call. Non-elective or emergency surgeries such as abdominal surgery, mass removals, caesarian sections, fracture or cruciate ligament repair, ocular surgeries or dental extractions can often be done as soon as necessary. Regardless of the type of procedure, we perform presurgical exams and bloodwork prior to surgery. Our anesthesia protocols change as new research and medications become available. We will always do our part to make sure your pet’s pre-op, surgical and post-op experience is as calming and comfortable as possible.
Much like people, dental care is an important part of overall health and wellness. At your pet’s physical exam, we will asses his/her dental health and make recommendations as necessary. Often times recommendations such as brushing or wiping the teeth with gauze will be given but occasionally we may recommend that your pet have a full dental cleaning and exam. This requires anesthesia and involves assessing the health of the teeth, gingiva and tongue followed by scaling and polishing of the teeth. If there is evidence of loose teeth, exposed roots or lesions on the teeth, we may take dental radiographs or perform extractions if needed. Often times pets exhibit signs of dental disease in subtle or not so subtle ways: bad breath, yellow discoloration to the teeth, bright red color at the gum line, chewing on one side, decreased grooming, weight loss or swelling under one eye. If you ever suspect dental disease, please make an appointment for an exam as soon as possible.
We use digital x-ray technology. This is a state-of-the-art technology that allows us to take a quicker and clearer picture. We are also able to manipulate an image much like a photograph taken with a digital camera. We can zoom in on a suspect area, change the contrast to highlight subtle differences and make copies of your pet’s films onto a CD at your request.
Quick, accurate blood testing is often needed in an emergency situation. It is also desirable for peace of mind if you suspect your pet may be ill. We utilize extensive in-house testing equipment to monitor your pet’s health, screen for infectious or parasitic diseases and to monitor medications. We also work closely with Michigan State University and Idexx laboratories for any testing that we are not able to run at our clinic.
We recommend permanent identification for all dogs and cats. By using an AVID microchip, we are able to give your pet a unique, identifiable and registered number with which kennels, humane societies, other veterinary clinics can use to help him or her get back home. The microchip is approximately the size of a grain of rice and gets injected under the skin much like a vaccine. This procedure is often done while a pet is under anesthesia for a routine surgery but can easily be done in an awake animal with minimal discomfort.