Wellness and Vaccination Programs

WELLNESS CARE AND LIFE STAGES

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We’re here for you when your pet is sick or injured, and we’re happy to recognize that most pets most of the time enjoy good health and have no immediate need to visit the vet. However, we strongly believe that you should plan for regular wellness visits with your vet throughout your pet’s life. It is the best way for you to ensure your pet’s long-term health and well-being. Routine wellness exams allow us to keep tabs on your pet’s growth and development, their overall health and body condition, their dental health, and their general wellness. They also give us the best opportunity of detecting illness or disease early, when it’s most likely to be treatable. Finally, wellness visits with your veterinarian are a valuable opportunity for you to ask questions and get advice on best care practices for your individual pet at its particular life-stage.

The core of a wellness program is the routine wellness exam. During a wellness visit your vet will conduct a thorough medical assessment of your pet. They will look at their body condition, skin and coat, examine their eyes, ears, mouth and teeth, and listen to their heart and breathing. They may recommend laboratory bloodwork to look at organ and metabolic function and to check for internal parasites. They will ensure their vaccines are up to date, and may recommend or administer other treatments, such as for parasite prevention or elimination.

The recommended frequency of wellness exams varies with life-stage. Puppies and kittens  should come in monthly so we can monitor their rapid growth and development, give them their initial vaccines, deworm them, and make sure their teeth are developing without problems. Adult pets should come for a yearly wellness visit to check up on their health, assess any issues and keep them up to date with vaccines. Senior pets should be seen twice a year for an exam as well as bloodwork to monitor any age-related conditions that may develop or are being managed.

The importance of dental health and regular dental care to the overall health and well-being of pets can’t be overstated. A look at your pets’ mouth will allow your vet to advise of needed dental health procedures such as cleaning and offer dental home-care recommendations. Puppies and kittens need to have their teeth monitored closely so that painful conditions can be promptly dealt with and to identify any problems with their dental developmental early to facilitate appropriate and effective intervention. Adults and seniors should be regularly assessed for tartar buildup, signs of periodontal disease, and worn or broken teeth, as well as having routine cleanings. Untreated dental problems can cause your pet pain and even have systemic effects on their organs and overall health.

Regular visits are also a chance for us to get to know you and your pet. They are your opportunity to talk to your vet and tell them about any problems or issues you’ve noticed and address any questions or concerns you may have. You can get valuable advice on nutrition, appropriate exercise and general care and wellness.

Puppy Wellness

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The first few months of your puppy’s life are a critical period in their development, and we will give you the care and support necessary to help them grow into a well-mannered, healthy dog. Please schedule your first vet visit for as soon as possible after you bring them home. It’s our opportunity to meet and get to know your puppy and establish a positive relationship. We’ll conduct a gentle exam to ensure they’re healthy and to identify any concerns. We’ll also administer their first vaccines to help them establish their own immunity now that they’re no longer protected by their mothers’ antibodies, and deworming medication to eliminate intestinal worms that most puppies carry. Finally, we’ll take time to talk with you about your puppy and answer your questions, and offer you information and advice on:

  • the importance of positive encounters and socialization to their behaviour and mental wellness,
  • growth and development expectations, nutrition, and appropriate exercise and activity,
  • dental development and the importance of professional care,
  • planning for spaying/neutering,
  • at-home care – skin, coat, ear and dental home-care, grooming and nail trimming, and
  • the availability of pet insurance programs that can take the uncertainty out of veterinary care expenses.

Kitten Wellness

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The first few months of your kittens’ life are a critical period in their development, and we will give you the help and support necessary to help him or her grow into a well-mannered, healthy cat. Please schedule your first vet visit for as soon as possible after you bring them home. It’s our opportunity to meet and get to know your kitten and establish a positive relationship. We’ll conduct a gentle exam to ensure they’re healthy and to identify any concerns. We’ll also administer their first vaccines to help them establish their own immunity now that they’re no longer protected by their mothers’ antibodies, and deworming medication to eliminate intestinal worms that most kittens carry. Finally, we’ll take time to talk with you about your puppy and answer your questions, and offer you information and advice on:

  • the importance of positive encounters and socialization to their behaviour and mental wellness,
  • growth and development expectations, nutrition, and appropriate exercise and activity,
  • dental development and the importance of professional care,
  • planning for spaying/neutering,
  • at-home care for their skin, coat, ears and teeth, and
  • the availability of pet insurance programs that can take the uncertainty out of veterinary care expenses.

Adult Pet Wellness

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The adult life stage is typically the prime of your pet’s life, when you can expect them to be strong, healthy and happy. Even if you have no specific health concerns with you cat or dog, it’s important to plan for a regular annual exam. This will allow us to be on the lookout for development of diseases or conditions, and to provide preventative care including dental care, vaccines and parasite control, and body condition advice.

Bringing your adult pet in for an annual diagnostic and wellness checkup can help reassure you that they are 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 might be easy to overlook.

Dogs and cats age more quickly than humans – an annual visit for them is like you waiting six or seven years between visits with your doctor. As they progress through their adult years the risks of arthritis, cancer, diabetes, heart disease, hormone disorders, and kidney and liver problems all tend to increase.

During your pet’s adult 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 may perform a diagnostic workup, which can include blood, fecal, and urine tests to check for parasites and underlying diseases. Your vet will want to know of any physical or behavioural changes you may have noticed in your pet, and will be happy to discuss any other concerns you might have. We will also look at their mouth and teeth and will provide recommendations on dental care, which may involve another visit for comprehensive dental treatment.

Senior Pet Wellness

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As dogs and cats reach their senior years, their health and well-being tend to require more attention and some special care. We recommend that healthy senior dogs and cats visit the veterinarian every six months.

The age when your pet is considered a senior will vary depending on their breed, lifestyle and individual traits. Generally, smaller breeds of dogs live longer than larger breeds, and cats live longer than dogs. Beyond that, timing of life stages and lifespan will vary with each individual. As a rough rule of thumb, some small dog breeds may be not be considered senior until 9-11 years, while giant breeds may be classified as seniors at ages as young as five. Cats typically become senior by 10-12 years of age.

Regular senior wellness visits will help your pet remain as fit and healthy as possible through its senior life stage. During a senior wellness visit your veterinarian will do a physical exam of your pet, checking the condition of their body, skin and coat, looking at their eyes, ears and teeth, and listening to their heart and breathing. They will also talk with you and will want to hear about how your pet is doing and if you’ve noticed changes in their activity or behaviour, their appetite and thirst, or any signs of pain, anxiety, sensory loss or confusion. They will often suggest doing some lab work, especially where there are known chronic conditions that are being monitored or treated. These actions will provide the best chance to catch and delay the onset or progression of diseases and detect problems such as organ failure and osteoarthritis when they’re easier to treat or manage. We believe that your pet deserves the best care possible to help them age gracefully and enjoy their senior years. Remember – age itself is not a disease, it is another life stage that brings with it the need for some adjustments and accommodation but that also brings its own joy as you continue to share companionship and loyalty when they need it most.

If a chronic condition or disease is identified, your vet will develop a treatment plan.  Chronic conditions we commonly treat in senior pets include osteoarthritis; kidney, heart, and liver disease; tumors and cancers; periodontal disease; and hormone disorders such as diabetes and thyroid imbalance. We can also help with other wellness considerations related to aging that are more generalized but no less important, such as weight and mobility changes, chronic pain, dulling and loss of senses, anxiety, and generally declining health.