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Wellness Tips

Exams

Exam (with Worksheet and Questionnaire) every 3 weeks as a juvenile until 15 weeks of age, every 6 months thereafter. Repeat worksheet and questionnaire with any full physical exam (wellness or Illness) that occurs more than 3 months since the last exam.

Vaccines:

  • Rabies– First vaccine between 12 and 16 weeks of age followed by booster 1 year later and every 3 years after that.
  • DHPP and DRC (Distemper combination)– every 3 weeks from 6 to over 14 weeks of age (for dogs) or 16 weeks of age (for cats). Initially 2 vaccines, 3 weeks apart if started between 14 and 16 weeks. Two vaccines are needed for cats over 16 weeks of age, a booster vaccine 1 year later then every 3 years after that.
  • Bordetella– every 6 months if pet ever leaves the owner’s property or is exposed to any other dogs. First vaccine is boosted 3 weeks later if given before 9 weeks of age.
  • Lyme– If pet walks in woods or is otherwise picking up ticks. Initially a series of 2 vaccines, 3 weeks apart, started when over 12 weeks of age and boosted every 12 months.
  • Feline Leukemia (FeLv)– If pet goes outdoors or is exposed to other cats of questionable FeLV status. Initially 2 vaccines, 3 weeks apart, started over 12 weeks of age and boosted annually. Cat should be FeLv tested first. All kittens should be vaccinated if under one year of age then assessed for risk one year later.

Labs:

  • Intestinal Parasite Exams– at least 2 during pediatric visits, usually on first and last visit. Then annually.
  • Heartworm Test/Tick Screening– before starting heartworm prevention if over 6 months old, or if off of prevention for more than 2 months (not required in cats). Annually if on prevention.  This test also screens for 3 tick-borne diseases: Lyme Disease, Anaplasmosis, and Ehrlichiosis.
  • Wellness Blood Panel– annually if less than 7 years old, every 6 months if over 7 or if on certain medications.
  • Urinalysis– same as above, ideally at the same time as the blood panel.

Parasite Control

  • Deworming– at each pediatric visit, at least 2 when a juvenile. Then annually. Otherwise by fecal results.
  • Heartworm Prevention– every month, year round, for dogs, cats and ferrets.
  • Flea and Tick Control– prevention is strongly recommended each month for dogs, cats and some small exotic mammals.

Dentistry

Dental care and grading at each wellness visit. Professional Cleaning Grades 1-4.

Behavior

Training and Socialization discussed especially as pediatrics. Problems addressed early. See Questionnaire.

 

GAH Wellness Chart
The following protocol has been adapted from recommendations made by the AVMAAAHA, AAFP, CDC, CAPC, and related authorities in the field of disease prevention and extension of your pet’s life.
Puppy Young K9 Adult Senior K9 Kitten Young Adult Feline Senior Feline
Exams and Health Assessment Exam every 3 weeks until 14 wks. Wellness Questionaireat each visit. Exam every 6 months.Wellness Questionaire at each visit. Exam every 6 months.Wellness and Senior Questionaire at each visit. Exam every 3 weeks until 16 weeks.Wellness Questionaire at each visit. Exam every 6 months.Wellness Questionaire at each visit. Exam every 6 months.Wellness and Senior Questionaire at each visit.
Vaccines Rabies at 12-16 weeks old Rabies 1 year after 1st vaccine, then every 3 years Rabies every 3 years after first annual (1year) vaccine Rabies (Imrab or PureVax) at 12-16 weeks old Rabies 1 year after first vacc, then every 3 years Rabies at 1 year and then every 3 years
DHPP starting at 6 wks of age, every 3 weeks until 14 weeks old First DHPP is good for 1 year, then boosted every 3 years DHPP every 3 years after first annual vaccines DRC starting at 6 wks of age, every 3 weeks until 16 weeks old Initial DRC series of at least 2 vaccs, then 1 yr later, then every 3 years DRC every 3 years after first annual vaccine
BV at first visit-2nd BV 3 weeks later if younger than 9 weeks old at first BV every 6 months BV every 6 months FeLV – 2 vaccines 3 weeks apart starting at 12 weeks older. FeLV by risk assessment- every 1 year after initial series of 2 vaccines. ** FeLV by risk assessment- every 1 year after initial series of 2 vaccines. **
Lyme by risk assessment- series of 2 vaccines, 3 weeks apart starting at 9-12 weeks old.  * Lyme by risk assessment- initial series of 2 vaccines, 3 weeks apart, then every 1 year.  * Lyme by risk assessment- initial series of 2 vaccines, 3 weeks apart, then every 1 year.  * **  FeLV note: When over one year of age – vaccine recommended based on risk assessment:

  1. Outdoor or In and outdoor cat
  2. Indoor cat but exposed to outdoor cats or cats of unknown status
  3. Indoors with no risk but owner requests vaccine even after full CE
* Lyme note: Vaccine recommended based on risk assessment

  1. Pet lives in Lyme endemic area (South East Virginia – Yes).
  2. Pet walks in wooded areas and/or picks up ticks.
Labs Fecal– at least 2 during puppy series Fecal– every 1 year. Fecal– every 1 year. Fecal– at least 2 during kitten series Fecal– every 1 year. Fecal– every 1 year.
HeartwormTest(+Lyme, Ehrlichia and Anaplasma) if over 6 months old before starting Heartworm preventative. HeartwormTest(+Lyme, Ehrlichia, and Anaplasma) before starting prevention if off for more than 2 months.and then annually. HeartwormTest(+Lyme, Ehrlichia, and Anaplasma) before starting prevention if off for more than 2 months.and then annually. Heartworm test not required unless requested or unless signs are present Heartworm test not required unless requested or unless signs are present Heartworm test not required unless requested or unless signs are present
FeLV/FIV Test- when first obtained and 90 days later; before starting initial FeLV vaccine; annually if pet is been at risk FeLV/FIV Test- when first obtained and 90 days later; before starting initial FeLV vaccine; annually if pet is been at risk FeLV/FIV Test- when first obtained and 90 days later; before starting initial FeLV vaccine; annually if pet is been at risk
Wellness Blood Panel-every 1 year. Every 6 months if on certain medications Wellness Blood Panel-every 6 months. Wellness Blood Panel-every 1 year. Every 6 months if on certain medications Wellness Blood Panel– every 6 months.
Urinalysis– every 1 year Urinalysis– every 6 months Urinalysis– every 1 year Urinalysis– every 6 months
Parasite Control Deworming– for Rounds and Hooks at each puppy series visit.  No less than twice. Otherwise based on fecal results. Deworming– for Rounds and Hooks annually. No less than twice if recently obtained. Otherwise based on fecal results. Deworming– for Rounds and Hooks annually. No less than twice if recently obtained. Otherwise based on fecal results. Deworming– for Rounds, Hooks and Tapes at each kitten series visit.  No less than twice. Otherwise based on fecal results. Deworming– for Rounds, Hooks and Tapes annually. No less than twice if recently obtained. Otherwise based on fecal results. Deworming– for Rounds, Hooks and Tapes annually. No less than twice if recently obtained. Otherwise based on fecal results.
Flea & Tick Preventative– Year round prevention Flea & Tick Preventative – Year round prevention Flea & Tick Preventative -Year round prevention Flea & Tick Preventative– Year round prevention Flea & Tick Preventative-Year round prevention Flea & Tick Preventative– Year round prevention
Heartworm Preventative– Give once per month, year round, all pets Heartworm Preventative-Give once per month, year round, all pets Heartworm Preventative-Give once per month, year round, all pets Heartworm Preventative– Give once per month, year round, all pets Heartworm Preventative– Give once per month, year round, all pets Heartworm Preventative-Give once per month, year round, all pets
Dentistry Dental Brushing and other preventive measures. Professional cleaning for Grades 1-4. Dental Brushing and other preventive measures. Professional cleaning for Grades 1-4 Dental Brushing and other preventive measures. Professional cleaning for Grades 1-4 Dental Brushing and other preventive measures. Professional cleaning for Grades 1-4 Dental Brushing and other preventive measures. Professional cleaning for Grades 1-4 Dental Brushing and other preventive measures. Professional cleaning for Grades 1-4
Behavior Training and Socialization.Client Education. Behavior Assessmentannually. Behavior Assessmentannually. Behavior Assessmentannually. Behavior Assessmentannually. Behavior Assessmentannually.

Recommended Wellness Care by Age and Species

RECOMMENDED KITTEN HEALTH CARE

The examinations and procedures listed below can drastically reduce your kitten’s risk of developing serious and sometimes fatal diseases. Kittens should be seen every 3 weeks starting at 5-6 weeks of age and extending to 16 weeks. The number of vaccines given is not as important as the interval between vaccinations and the age at which the last vaccine is given, which should be 16 weeks of age or older.

VACCINATIONS are an important part of your kitten’s health care program. Kittens, which are allowed to nurse, absorb antibodies from their mother’s colostrum (the first secretions from the mammary gland). These antibodies defend against disease until the kitten’s immune system is able to do so. Kittens need vaccinations to stimulate their immune system as soon as the protective level of their maternal antibody diminishes (starting at approximately 6 weeks of age). Your kitten needs to be vaccinated against the following potentially fatal and contagious diseases:

D – Feline Distemper (Feline Panleukopenia Virus) is a parvovirus that affects the bone marrow, intestines and lymph tissue.

R – Feline Viral Rhino Tracheitis Virus. (FVR) – a serious upper respiratory virus.  FVR virus can cause eye disease with or without accompanying respiratory signs.

C – Feline Calicivirus. This virus and FVR account for approximately 85-90% of the feline upper respiratory infection complex.

FeLV – Feline Leukemia Virus – FeLV causes many different forms of cancer in cats. It also suppresses the bone marrow and immune system. Testing is recommended when the pet is first obtained, and prior to starting the vaccine series. Vaccination against this fatal disease is highly recommended for all kittens, adult outdoor cats and adult indoor cats who are exposed to cats of questionable FeLV status. It starts with two vaccines given three weeks apart and then annually as long as the pet is at risk.

Rabies – A virus affecting the brain of all warm-blooded animals – fatal, and state law requires that the first vaccine be given between 12 and 16 weeks of age.

INTESTINAL PARASITES are very common in kittens. Some of these can be transmitted to humans. Kittens should be checked by microscopic examination of a fresh stool sample at first at last kitten visit and de-wormed for intestinal parasites such as roundworms at every kitten visit.

OVARIOHYSTERECTOMY (spaying) of females and CASTRATION (neutering) of males should be performed after 4 months of age. (This can actually be performed as early as 8 weeks of age in most cases). These procedures directly and indirectly preserve your cat’s health, make him or her a better pet, and prevent unwanted pregnancies.

DECLAWING, if desired, can be performed after 4 months of age and preferably not after 1 year of age.

HEARTWORM PREVENTION is recommended for all cats.  Heartworm disease is very difficult to treat in cats so prevention is highly recommended.

RECOMMENDED ADULT CAT HEALTH CARE (including Senior Pets)

The examinations and procedures listed below can drastically reduce your pet’s risk of developing serious and sometimes fatal diseases.

PHYSICAL EXAM -Every 6 months: very important to detect medical problems early

DRC – Recommend for all cats, Boosted every 3 years after initial series.

FeLV – Recommended for cats that spend time outside or will be exposed to other cats, boosted every year depending on risk factors.

RABIES – Every 3 years after first annual vaccine.  Purevax Rabies vaccine, for cats only, is now available as a 3 year vaccine.  Ask about this safer alternative for your pet.

FECAL EXAM WITH DE-WORMING– Yearly

INTESTINAL PARASITES are very common in cats. Some of these parasites can be transmitted to humans. Cats should be checked and dewormed for intestinal parasites such as roundworms. This is achieved by microscopic examination of a fresh stool sample.

WELLNESS BLOODWORK AND URINALYSIS SCREENING – annually for pets under 7 years; every 6 months when 7 years and over. Remember that one year of our pets life is equivalent to 5 to 15 of our years. That means that disease can seem to develop very fast. The earlier we detect problems, the better the prognosis. Since our pets can’t tell us when they do not feel well, laboratory screening becomes very important.

These are general recommendations. Your veterinarian may alter the vaccination schedule to suit your cat’s individual requirements.

D – Feline distemper (Feline Panleukopenia Virus) is a parvovirus that affects the bone marrow, intestines and lymph tissue.

R – Feline Viral Rhinotracheitis Virus (FVR) – a severe upper respiratory virus.  FVR virus can cause eye disease with or without accompanying respiratory signs.

C – Feline Callicivirus. This Virus and FVR account for approximately 85-90% of the feline upper respiratory infection complex.

FeLV – Feline Leukemia Virus – FLV causes many different forms of cancer in cats. It also suppresses the bone marrow and immune system. Testing is recommended when the pet is first obtained, and prior to starting the vaccine series. Vaccination against this fatal disease is highly recommended for outdoor cats and indoor cats that are exposed to cats of questionable FLV status. It starts with two vaccines given three weeks apart and then annually as long as the pet is at risk.

Rabies – a virus affecting the brain of all warm-blooded animals – fatal, and required by law (every 1-3 years after the 1 year booster).

OVARIOHYSTERECTOMY (spaying) of females and CASTRATION (neutering) of males should be performed after 4 months of age. (This can actually be performed as early as 8 weeks of age in most cases). These procedures directly and indirectly preserve your cat’s health, make him or her a better pet, and prevent unwanted pregnancies.

DECLAWING, if desired, can be performed after 4 months of age and preferably not after 1 year of age.

HEARTWORM PREVENTION is recommended for all cats.  Heartworm disease is very difficult to treat in cats so prevention is highly recommended.

RECOMMENDED PUPPY HEALTH CARE

The examinations and procedures listed below can drastically reduce your puppy’s risk of developing serious and sometimes fatal diseases. Puppies should be seen every 3 weeks starting at 5-6 weeks and extending to 14 weeks. The number of vaccines given is not as important as the age when the last vaccine is given. The last vaccine should be given when the puppy is 14 weeks of age or older.

VACCINATIONS are an important part of your puppy’s health care program. Puppies, which are allowed to nurse, absorb antibodies from their mother’s colostrum (the first secretions from the mammary gland). These antibodies defend against disease until the puppy’s immune system is able to do so. Puppies need vaccinations to stimulate their immune system as soon as the protective level of their maternal antibody diminishes (starting at approximately 6 weeks of age). Your puppy needs to be vaccinated against the following potentially fatal and contagious diseases:

D– Canine Distemper Virus – a viral disease that affects the respiratory system, brain and intestines.

H– Infectious Canine Hepatitis – a viral disease affecting the liver, kidneys and eyes.

P– Parainfluenza – a viral disease that affects the respiratory tract and a component of “K9 Cough”.

P– Parvovirus – a viral disease affecting the intestine, bone marrow, lymph tissues, and heart muscle.

Rabies– a virus affecting the brain of all warm-blooded animals – fatal, and state law requires that the first vaccine be given between 12 and 16 weeks of age.

Bordetella – a bacterial component of “K9 Cough” or Infectious Canine Tracheobronchitis.

HEARTWORM DISEASE is transmitted to a dog through a bite from an infected mosquito. The larvae are deposited under the dog’s skin and travels through the blood stream to the heart where the larvae mature into adult worms. The adults reproduce and release microfilariae (baby heartworms) into the dog’s circulation after about 6 months from the time of infection. Therefore, testing puppies less than 6 months of age is unnecessary. Oral prevention is needed year round in Virginia to avoid infection. Prevention should be started at 6-8 weeks of age.

INTESTINAL PARASITES are very common in puppies. Some of these parasites can be transmitted to humans. Puppies should be checked and de-wormed on every visit for intestinal parasites such as round and hookworms. This is achieved by microscopic examination of a fresh stool sample.

OVARIOHYSTERECTOMY (spaying) of females should be performed after 4 months of age. Spaying is extremely important in preventing serious diseases such as breast cancer (the most common cancer in unspayed dogs), uterine cancers, and life threatening uterine infections.

CASTRATION (neutering) of males should be performed after 4 months of age. These procedures will prevent common, serious diseases associated with the reproductive system, and may prevent behavior problems.

RECOMMENDED ADULT DOG HEALTH CARE

The examinations and procedures listed below can drastically reduce your dog’s risk of developing serious and sometimes fatal diseases.

VACCINATIONS are an important part of your dog’s health care program. Your dog’s immune system responds to the vaccine as if it were the disease-causing organism and produces specific antibodies against it. These antibodies protect your pet if it encounters the active organism, thus helping prevent illness. Your dog needs to be vaccinated against the following potentially fatal and contagious diseases:

D – Canine Distemper Virus – a viral disease that affects the respiratory system, brain, and intestines.

H – Infectious Canine Hepatitis – a viral disease affecting the liver, kidney and eyes.

P – Parainfluenza – a viral disease that affects the respiratory tract.

P – Parvovirus – a viral disease affecting the intestine, bone marrow, lymph tissue, and heart muscle.

Rabies– a virus affecting the brain of all warm-blooded animals – fatal – vaccines are required by state law (every 3 years after the first annual vaccine).

Bordetella – also known as kennel cough: A highly contagious respiratory infection.

HEARTWORM DISEASE is transmitted to a dog through a bite from an infected mosquito. The larvae is deposited under the dog’s skin and travels through the blood stream to the heart where the larvae mature into adult worms. The adults reproduce and release microfilariae (baby heartworms) into the dogs circulation 6-7 months after infection. Therefore, testing puppies less than 6 months of age is unnecessary. Oral prevention is needed year round in Virginia to avoid infection.

WELLNESS BLOODWORK AND URINALYSIS SCREENING – annually for pets under 7 years; every 6 months when 7 years and over. Remember that one year of our pets life is equivalent to 5 to 15 of our years. That means that disease can seem to develop very fast. The earlier we detect problems, the better the prognosis. Since our pets can’t tell us when they do not feel well, laboratory screening becomes very important.

INTESTINAL PARASITES are very common in dogs. Some of these parasites can be transmitted to humans. Dogs should be checked and de-wormed on each visit for intestinal parasites such as round and hookworms. This is achieved by microscopic examination of a fresh stool sample.

OVARIOHYSTERECTOMY (spaying) of females should be performed after 4 months of age.  Spaying is extremely important in preventing serious diseases such as breast cancer (the most common cancer in unspayed dogs), uterine cancers, and life threatening uterine infections.

CASTRATION (neutering) of males should be performed after 4 months of age. These procedures will prevent common and serious diseases associated with the reproductive system.  These procedures will prevent common, serious diseases associated with the reproductive system, and may prevent behavior problems.

AVIAN (BIRD) WELLNESS ADVICE

Birds in the wild have survival instincts, which cause them to hide their illness as long as possible. Signs of illness attract predators, since illness makes prey easier to catch. Birds in captivity, regardless of how tame, have retained that instinct. This fact has led to the misconception that birds get sick and die very quickly. In fact, when most owners notice signs of illness, the disease has been present for some time and is now in the terminal stages. This is why a thorough physical exam and laboratory testing is important.

The following is a list of avian medical procedures and the information gained from each test. Realize that no amount of testing can 100% guarantee a healthy bird, but the more information we have the more likely we will be to detect disease before it becomes lethal. Also, if this is a post purchase checkup, you may need this information for warranty purposes. Remember, no matter what type of bird you have or how much it cost to purchase, they are all considered family members and deserve the best medical care possible.

Physical Exam: Recommended twice a year, a complete physical exam may detect many common problems (respiratory disease, malnutrition, Vitamin A deficiency, sinus and/or eye infections, mites, feather disorders, etc).

Gram Stain on choana (mouth) and feces: This test checks for abnormal bacteria and yeast in the intestines and upper respiratory tract. It involves taking swabs from the mouth and the vent, applying these samples to a slide, a staining process, and microscopic examination. This procedure can be performed in a matter of minutes.

Fecal Flotation/Direct smear: These tests check for the presence of parasites (worms and protozoa) in the intestinal tract of birds – including roundworms, coccidia and giardia, (also contagious to people). This test also can be done in our own lab, within minutes.

CBC and Serum Blood Chemistry Analysis: This test checks for anemia, infection, blood parasites, and diseases of the liver, kidney and other internal organs. Diseases such as diabetes and calcium deficiency may also be detected. These tests require a blood sample, and are sent to an outside lab.

Psittacosis Test (Chlamydia or Parrot Fever): This disease can be carried by the bird for a long time without causing disease. But when active, it can make the bird very sick and may be lethal. It can also be spread to people. This test also gets sent to an outside lab.

X-Rays: There are many diseases detectable by x-rays such as pneumonia, abscesses, liver disease, fungal infection, old fractures, etc. Additionally, if your pet becomes ill in the future, it helps to have previous x-rays for comparison. Our radiology department is equipped to take quality radiographs of all pets, even the tiniest ones!

Additional tests that you may consider, depending on the species and origin of your bird, include Polyoma Virus and Psitticine Beak and Feather Disease.

Other available procedures to consider are wing trims, nail trims and beak trims, if needed. We are also trained to offer advice in the areas of housing, handling and nutrition.    Many birds may have trouble standing on a perch if their nails are too long and may have difficulty eating if their beak is overgrown or misshapen.  Birds that are permitted to fly may escape through an open door or window or fly into other dangers in your home.  It is important to have your bird groomed to keep him/her safe and healthy.

This may also be a convenient time to determine the sex of your bird (through DNA analysis) and genetic “fingerprinting” (for identification). These tests are available through the same laboratory and can be performed at the same time.

If you are a new bird owner, please request an extended office visit so that we may take the time to discuss nutrition, behavior, housing, training and any other areas of concern. Please add clean paper to your pet’s cage before your appointment and be sure to cover your pet’s cage to prevent exposure to cold and wind.  We also encourage bird owners to drop in with their birds from time to time for weight checks to ensure a healthy, growing bird.

Enjoy your feathered friends, and please call us if we can be of any help!

HEALTHCARE FOR FERRETS, RABBITS, RODENTS, REPTILES, AND OTHER SMALL EXOTIC MAMMALS

EXAM – A physical exam recommended twice a year

INTESTINAL PARASITES can be found in your pocket pet. Some of these parasites can be transmitted to humans. Your pet should be checked and de-wormed on each year for intestinal parasites. This is achieved by microscopic examination of a fresh stool sample.

WELLNESS BLOODWORK and URINALYSIS– recommended once a year.  (Urinalysis for Ferrets, Rabbits and Guinea Pigs only)

OVARIOHYSTERECTOMY (spaying) of females or CASTRATION (neutering) of males for some pets such as Ferrets, Rabbits, Rodents, Guinea Pigs or Pigs.

Ferrets should also be vaccinated for Rabies and Distemper.  These pets are very prone to vaccine reactions so we recommend splitting vaccines up over a number of visits.  Heartworm prevention and flea/tick control are also recommended for ferrets.  Please ask a staff member for more details.