Wellness and Vaccination Programs

One of the best things you can do for your pet is to keep him or her healthy. And one of the easiest and least expensive ways to do that is by bringing in your pet 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 an individualized wellness program, including a vaccination and prevention protocol customized specifically to your pet. Call us today to schedule your pet’s wellness exam.

Feline Leukemia / FIV Testing

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Feline leukemia virus (FELV) is one of the most common and destructive of all cat viruses. It is highly contagious and is spread primarily by saliva during cat fights, grooming or mating. The virus may also spread by blood, urine and feces. Kittens may become infected while still in the womb, when the mother bites off the umbilical cord, or during nursing. The virus is not transmissible to humans.

Not all cats exposed to FELV become infected. About 40% of exposed cats have immune systems that destroy the invading virus. The remainder of exposed cats become persistently infected (60%). The latter group has inactive virus in the bone marrow, and these virus particles may later become active when the cat becomes ill from another disease, stress, or certain drugs.

Of the cats persistently infected, about 25% will die within 1 year and 75% may have chronic illnesses and die within 3 years.

There are no signs specific for FELV infection. The main effect of the virus is to disrupt the cat’s immune system. Disorders commonly associated with FELV infection are: anemia; cancer; chronic respiratory infections; chronic infection of the mouth, gums; chronic eye infections; chronic skin disease; reproductive disease; frequent urinary tract infections; chronic vomiting and / or diarrhea; and other systemic diseases (feline infectious peritonitis, toxoplasmosis, hemobartonella…)

Feline Immunodeficiency Virus

Feline Immunodeficiency Virus (FIV) is another common feline retrovirus. It is similar to the human immunodefiency virus but is species specific – not transferable to humans. The primary route of transmission is thought to be through aggressive biting behavior. The virus is most commonly seen in older male cats. FIV infection generally carries a much more favourable prognosis than does FELV infection. FIV positive cats may live for years. They are usually presented for evaluation of non-specific illnesses which are a result of the viral effects or result from secondary infections subsequent to the immunodeficiency. Common abnormalities include dental, gum infections, upper and lower respiratory infections, chronic skin disease, urinary tract infection, eye diseases, cancer, etc.

Prevention of FELV/FIV

Vaccination before exposure to the virus is the best means of preventing FELV infection. Current vaccines are about 80% effective if given prior to exposure to the virus. Without vaccination, isolation from all cats with an unknown FELV/FIV status is the only means of prevention. There is currently no vaccine available for FIV. Infected cats should not be allowed to roam outdoors for fear of infecting other cats as well as placing the infected cat at risk of developing other infections.

Treatment FELV/FIV

There is currently no cure for either disease. Treatment is usually supportive in nature, controlling secondary infections etc. Once an FELV positive cat or kitten is clinically ill, treatment is usually not rewarding.

Which Cats are at Greatest Risk?

Cats with known or potential exposure to FELV/FIV are at greatest risk. These include outdoor cats, fighting cats, strays, cats with bite wounds, escapees, recently mated females if infection status of male is unknown, cats in multiple cat households in which the status of all cats is unknown or cats in households with an infected cat.

FELV/FIV Testing – Current Recommendations

The FELV/FIV status of all kittens/cats should be known. Since affected cats (FELV or FIV positive) can be clinically healthy for some time it is of paramount importance to know their retrovirus status to prevent exposure to other cats. For clinically ill animals, knowing their infection status is helpful both diagnostically and prognostically.

Testing and identifying FELV positive kittens/cats is the best means of preventing disease by preventing exposure to FELV infected kittens/cats.

Where the FELV status of the kittens/cats in the household is known, testing of all new kittens or cats prior to introduction into the household will prevent exposure to the virus. Even in a single cat household testing is recommended since the FELV status will be important information in regards to the pets future health. The ELISA antigen test is the preferred screening test for FELV. The test can be done at any age (no maternal antibody interference), is inexpensive, and requires only a small amount of blood. We are able to offer this test in house and the results will be available the same day. Should the test be positive for FELV we would recommend a confirmatory IFA blood test. We currently recommend testing all kittens and cats in the household – once there status is known, repeat testing would be based on their degree of risk of exposure (yearly screening at time of vaccination may be recommended for high risk cats). All new additions to the household should be tested prior to their admission into the house.

The FIV antibody status of all cats over 6 months of age should be known. Testing and identifying positive cats is the only means by which FIV disease can be controlled. The best means of preventing disease is to prevent exposure to FIV-infected cats. The preferred screening test for FIV is the ELISA antibody test. This test can be done in house with a small amount of blood and results are available the same day. Since maternal antibodies can affect this blood test, cats must be at least 6 months of age prior to testing. Should the ELISA test be positive we would recommend a confirmatory DNA blood test. Periodic (annual) testing may be recommended in those cats at high risk or those with known exposure. All new additions to the house should be tested prior to their admission.

Heartworm Disease – Testing and Prevention

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We provide services to prevent, diagnose and treat heartworm infection.

Heartworm is a large parasitic worm of the roundworm family that thrives in a dog’s heart. It feeds on the nutrients in the blood stream and can grow to a length of 15-30 centimeters. In severe cases, up to 500 worms may infect a dog. If left untreated, heartworm can permanently disable your pet or eventually kill it.

Mosquitoes transmit heartworm infection. A dog or wild animal infected with heartworm serves as a reservoir, mosquitoes feed on these animals and then transmit the infective larvae to other dogs in subsequent blood meals.

Prevention

• There are a number of highly effective and convenient preventative medications available. Please consult with us for more information as to which preventative is best suited for your pet’s needs.

Testing

• We recommend that all dogs that have been on a preventative be tested for heartworm infection every two years. This is to ensure that the medication is doing its job protecting your pet from heartworm infection.

For more information on heartworm disease please visit the Pet Health Library on our site.

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 pet against rabies and panleukopenia (distemper). Depending on your cat’s risk, we may also advise vaccinating him or her against other diseases, such as feline leukemia virus (FeLV) and feline immunodeficiency virus (FIV). 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!