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|In order to provide early detection of congenital problems and infectious diseases, new puppy and kitten examinations are strongly recommended before exposure to other pets. This also allows us to set a clear schedule of vaccinations, and discuss the proper care of your new pet. We also encourage owners to ask any questions they may have. Puppies and kittens typically receive a series of vaccines, given every 3 weeks starting at 6-8 weeks of age and ending between 14-16 weeks of age. A fecal exam and deworming for intestinal parasites is also done at this time. In addition, kittens may be tested for Feline Leukemia Virus (FeLV) and Feline Immunodeficiency Virus(FIV) with a simple blood test.Annual physical examinations provide early detection and treatment of problems. Vaccinations, fecal exams, heartworm testing, and dispensing of preventive medications are handled at each annual visit. In order to focus on the problems of our senior companions, geriatric exams are scheduled as needed. These exams may include diagnostic procedures such as lab work and x-rays.
For General Pet Care Information:
|Heartworm Testing and Prevention|
|Heartworms are parasites that live in the heart. They are transmitted by mosquitoes and can grow to 14 inches in length. Over time they can cause heart failure, as well as liver and kidney damage. In this area, heartworms are commonly detected in dogs that are not on preventive medication. We recommend beginning monthly heartworm prevention (such as Heartgard or Interceptor)between 6 and 12 weeks of age and annual heartworm testing for dogs over 6 months old. This is one of the single most important preventive measures for dogs in our area.Statistics from our clinic — heartworm cases diagnosed and treated by us (counts only treated cases): 2003= 20, 2004= 14, 2005= 29, 2006= 33, 2007= 12, 2008 (to 4/29/08)= 7
As you can see, we treat roughly 1-2 heartworm cases per month.
For more information, please visit the American Heartworm Society website.
|Keeping your pet at a healthy weight is another tremendously important preventive measure. As many as 30% of the pet population is seriously overweight or obese. Obesity contributes to many of the same problems in pets that it does in people: heart disease, diabetes, and joint problems to name a few. Studies show that obese pets will live up to two years less than pets at a healthy weight.We can advise you how to feed your pet to prevent obesity or help your overweight or obese pet shed the extra pounds. In some cases, simple dietary changes and increased exercise is sufficient. In other cases, a prescription diet and frequent weight checks are required. In addition, we now carry Slentrol, a medication to help dogs lose weight. For more information, click on the link below.|
|Dental care is very important for your pets. If unmanaged, dental problems can lead to bad breath, mouth pain and loss of teeth. Ultimately, chronic dental disease can result in heart or kidney disease. At Shackleford Road Veterinary Clinic, we offer dental prophylaxis including cleaning, polishing, and extractions if needed.Shackleford Road Veterinary Clinic Dental Video (see a dog’s teeth get cleaned!)|
|Surgery is performed by appointment Monday through Friday. A wide variety of surgeries are performed using high quality anesthetics such as isoflurane gas. We offer pre-anesthetic exams and bloodwork for all patients. Please call for more information about specific procedures.|
|The term “spay” refers to an ovariohysterectomy – the removal of the ovaries and uterus. The term neuter can actually refer to an ovariohysterectomy, but commonly refers to castration – the removal of the testes. We recommend spaying and neutering puppies between 4 and 6 months of age, but the procedures can be performed in pets of all ages.Spaying and neutering provides significant health advantages for your pet. Unspayed female dogs have a 25% chance of developing breast cancer later in life. Of that 25%, 1/2 will be malignant tumors. Dogs spayed before their first heat cycle have less than a 0.5% chance of developing breast cancer. After 2-3 heat cycles there is little additional benefit from spaying for preventing breast cancer. Cats are also prone to breast cancer, but have a much higher rate of malignancy – about 85-95%.
Pyometra is a uterine infection common in middle age unspayed female dogs and sometimes cats. It typically occurs about 30 days following a heat cycle. Hormone changes at that time make the uterus susceptible to bacterial infection. The uterus fills with pus and can become quite large. The uterus could potentially rupture and cause a serious, possibly fatal abdominal infection. The cases are emergencies and require urgent and expensive medical and surgical treatment. Pyometra can be prevented by having your pet spayed. It is much better to have surgery performed on a healthy young pet than one that is older and sick.
Some pregnancies result in dystocia or difficult birth and require Cesarean section to save the lives of the mother and babies. These are emergencies and need to be done as soon as possible. The procedure can be expensive, especially when it must be done after hours as many do.
Neutering male dogs prevents testicular cancers, benign prostatic hyperplasia and some prostatic cysts that occur in older unneutered dogs. It also prevents or reduces the urge to roam in search of a mate that results in dogfight wounds (which can be extensive), being hit by a car/truck, various other injuries, and getting lost. Neutering male cats prevents the development of the very strong tomcat urine smell, reduces urine spraying and fighting (which commonly causes abscess formation).
Spays and neuters are common procedures and are performed nearly every day in our clinic. There is always some risk, but serious complications are rare. Most pets are up and around the next day with some soreness for a few days afterward. Pain medication is available to ease the recovery period.
|Fleas, especially in pets allergic to flea bites, are themost common cause of itching and skin infections. We recommend Frontline (fipronil) to help control fleas on pets. It is often necessary to treat the home as well to attain adequate control of a flea infestation.We carry Frontline, Advantage, Advantix, Revolution, Program, Sentinel, and Capstar. We also carry the new flea control products Vectra 3D and Comfortis, and ProMeris.
For more information check these links:
|Allergies are a common cause of chronic itching in dogs and sometimes cats. Chronic ear infections may be a result of these allergies also. Our pets can be allergic to pollens, molds, mites, foods (typically protein sources such as beef or chicken or carbohydrates such as corn or wheat) and insects such as fleas. It should be noted that food allergies are typically developed over time to foods the animal has been eating for weeks, months, or years. Fleas are the most common allergy, followed by atopy (affecting about 10% of dogs) and food allergies (affecting about 1% of dogs). Secondary skin infections with bacteria or fungus are common as well and contribute to the itching.Treatments for atopy include steroids such as prednisone, antihistamines, fatty acid supplements, medicated baths, immune suppressants (Atopica), and desensitization injections (immunotherapy – Greer Labs). Immunotherapy injections are helpful for 60-70% of allergic dogs, with improvement occuring within 2-12 months. Food allergies can only be diagnosed with a strict hypoallergenic diet trial lasting 8-12 weeks. They are then treated by continuing the special diet or isolating the specific allergy and avoiding it. Antibiotics and antifungal medications are commonly needed to control secondary infections.
For more information:
|Arthritis (Degenerative Joint Disease)|
|Arthritis is common in middle age or older pets. It is much more common in dogs than in cats. Common symptoms are stiffness and difficulty rising (especially after rest or exercise), limping on the affected leg(s), reduced activity, and increased irritability.Diagnosis is by history and symptoms, but sometimes x-rays are needed to rule-out other causes. Arthritic changes are not always apparent on x-rays.
Treatment options include NSAID pain relievers (such as Rimadyl, Previcox, and Deramaxx), joint fluid and cartilage support (Adequan, glucosamine/chondroitin), and a new high-fatty acid diet – j/d from Hill’s. Another important treatment is weight loss. Obesity will increase the likelihood of joint disease (as well as ligament ruptures) and will significantly worsen the discomfort associated with it. Do not give your pets human pain relievers such as aspirin, acetominophen, ibuprofen, and naproxen! These can be toxic to cats and dogs.
For additonal information:
|Chronic Renal Failure|
|Chronic renal (kidney) failure, shortened to CRF, is a condition caused by degeneration of the kidneys over time. It is a common cause of illness in older cats and dogs, and is something we treat frequently at our clinic.More information can be found at the Feline CRF Information Center|
|Feline Urinary Problems|
|Many cats will occasionally urinate outside the litter box. There may even be some blood in the urine. This may be due to a number of potential causes. Urinary tract infections, however, are relatively rare in cats, especially those under 10 years old. Some potential causes can be quite serious, so please call if you have any concerns about your cat’s urinary health.More information can be found here:|
|Diabetes Mellitus (sugar diabetes) occurs with some frequency in dogs and cats, more commonly in cats. Dogs and cats are treated with insulin injections similar to people. More information can be found here:Canine Diabetes Feline Diabetes|
|See these articles by Dr. Wayne Hunthausenfor information on housetraining and crate training your puppy.Housetraining Crate Training|