At Greenwood Veterinary Associates we take an individualized approach to the long-term care of each of our patients and are dedicated to providing our clients with the ability to make appropriate decisions concerning the health care of their animals. The old adage, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure” certainly holds true when it comes to pet health. Below are some preventive measures we recommend at our practice which will help you keep your pet healthy.
Annual Physical Exam
Pets age quickly and they are unable to tell us if they are feeling unwell. Annual physical exams are an important part of providing optimal health care for your beloved companion. Veterinarians have special training and experience in detecting subtle illness in pets, and this can only be achieved through a physical exam.
Vaccinations vs Blood Titer Testing
Vaccinating your pet has long been considered one of the best ways to help them live a long, healthy life. Vaccination is like an insurance policy, a risk assessment is made when choosing which vaccine is best for your pet. Although vaccination has the potential to protect pets against life-threatening diseases, vaccination is not without its risks- and all vaccines ARE NOT CREATED EQUAL. Most are pretty effective at preventing the diseases they are labelled to protect against, but there is more to the story than that. Some vaccines are quite reactive, meaning they are more likely to cause a vaccine reaction than the less reactive vaccines. Some veterinarians are using these vaccines as a cost saving effort- thus the reasoning for varying price ranges. We have chosen the vaccines in our practice to minimize the risk of vaccine reactions and to allow us to vaccinate against some diseases every third year. Blood titer levels are being used more commonly to determine if certain vaccines need to be boostered. In the end this level of veterinary medicine results in long term cost saving, and better care for your pet.
Annual Blood Screening
Just as we have our cholesterol and blood pressure checked as adults, it is suggested all adult pets( Age 1 and older) have this screening as well. Diabetes mellitus, kidney disease, and some hormonal diseases occur much more frequently in pets as their rate of aging is much faster. To test for these conditions and identify them before severe and/or irreversible damage is done, blood tests and sometimes radiographs are helpful. An abnormal result means we can diagnose and treat the condition early. Normal results are helpful in giving us a baseline with which we can compare future results.
Parasites are not only harmful to your pet but can also be harmful to you and your family. Common parasites found to harm pets include intestinal parasites(worms), external Parasites( Fleas, Ticks, Mites), and heartworms( transmitted by a mosquito bite). We often hear from pet owners that they feel these tests and preventions are unecessary because their pet never goes outside. When in fact, this is an unrealistic situation as most pets do go outside to use the potty, we bring parasites into the home from our shoes, for small pets parasites can harbor in their bedding- and believe us when we say that no pets are totally safe from the opportunists we know as parasites! As a matter of fact studies have shown that 85% of heartworm positive dogs are inside pets. Intestinal Parasite Fecal Exams, Dewormings, Heartworm Test, and Flea and Heartworm Prevention is very important to your pets health. Since many of these parasites can be transmitted to humans it is also very important to the health of your family! This is a preventable problem, and a potentially fatal one if ignored.