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Adult Dog Preventive Care

You’ve made it through the ever-eventful first-year puppy stage, and are now looking forward to many years with your canine companion. Here are some things you need to know to make those years as healthy as possible for your pal.

Wellness exams help to keep your dog as healthy as possible

To assure a longer and highest quality of life for your dog, bring your dog to us for a wellness exam twice annually. One year in your dog’s life is the equivalent of 7 years in our life. Therefore, two visits per year are necessary to maintain your dog’s best health. The wellness exam is an opportunity for you to discuss any concerns you have about your dog’s health with one of our veterinary staff.  During the wellness exam the veterinarian will do a nose to tail physical examination of your dog, checking his or her mouth, eyes, ears, skin, coat, lymph nodes, heart, lungs, abdomen, joints, anal/genital area, and body condition. We may also review important topics ranging from nutrition, allergies, what you are doing for home dental care, as well as mobility issues, risk of infections and any lifestyle, breed specific issues or age related changes, and what medications or supplements your dog is on. After the examination, the veterinarian will make recommendations regarding diet, dental care, vaccinations, parasite control, and wellness screening. If you have any concerns or questions regarding your dog's behavior or health we want to address them at this time, so bring a list in order to make the most of your visit.

Immunizations Protect Pets from Common Diseases

Vaccines have proven important in preventing serious disease in dogs and cats.  We design a personalized vaccine protocol for each dog, maximizing protection against the diseases your pet is likely to be exposed to. Our current vaccine recommendations are based on up-to-date research and the incidence of disease in our area. Prior to your pet's exam we'll ask you questions to assess your pet's individual risk, based on his/her lifestyle, allowing us to tailor your pet’s vaccine protocol. This can be modified as needed when that lifestyle changes, so be sure to let us know so we can keep your pet protected! Learn more about which vaccines are recommended for your Dog here.

Internal and External Parasite Detection & Control Protects your Pet and Family

Dogs are susceptible to a number of external parasites and internal parasitic infections, several of which are able to infect people in addition to animals. Therefore, parasite prevention is not only important for the health of your pet, but also for the health of your family.  

Fleas and Ticks
Fleas and ticks are troublesome parasites of the skin. Flea and tick prevention is important because these pests not only cause problems with the skin, but they also possess the ability to transmit a number of diseases to the dog such as Lyme disease, fortunately, there are many safe and highly effective products available at Family Pet Hospital that will treat and prevent flea and tick infestations. Regular use of one of these products will effectively prevent fleas and ticks from becoming a problem for your pet!

Heartworms
Heartworms are a worms that resides in the heart and lungs of infected dogs. They are transmitted by mosquitoes that transmit the heartworm larva from dog to dog when bitten. These larva then develop into adult worms that over time cause heart disease and respiratory problems in dogs. Fortunately, this is a preventable disease, and there are a number of excellent monthly heartworm preventatives available at Family Pet Hospital. These products, when administered year-round, provide outstanding protection against heartworm disease. Our team at Family Pet Hospital will help guide you through which product and prevention plans are best suited for you and your dog! As per the American Heartworm Society’s recommendations we will test your dog once a year to make sure that they are free of heartworms.

Intestinal Worms

Although intestinal parasites are not as common in adult dogs as they are in puppies we do frequently find them.  Intestinal parasites usually do not cause any symptoms in dogs but can cause diarrhea, weight loss, abdominal discomfort, and vomiting.  Most intestinal parasites of dogs can also infect people and cause a wide variety of illnesses, including blindness, diarrhea, and skin rashes.  It is essential that all dogs be tested and treated for intestinal parasites at least once a year throughout their lives. Administering a monthly medication that we have available at Family Pet Hospital to prevent common worms is ideal.  Among our patients, we see the highest incidence of parasites and the widest variety of parasites in dogs that go to dog parks and dogs that compete in agility and other dog sports, probably because of the shared “restroom” areas.

Early Disease /Wellness Screening- A Window into your Pets Body

Observing your dog closely and bringing your dog in for regular wellness exams is important, but many diseases can only be detected early if we do routine wellness blood screens.  In order to detect diseases of the kidneys, liver, adrenal glands, thyroid, bone marrow, and pancreas early, before they are causing signs of illness, we recommend early disease detection/wellness screening for all adult dogs.  With a single blood sample we can determine if your dog is as healthy inside as he or she looks on the outside.  Dogs will instinctively hide signs of illness as long as possible and many diseases don't cause any symptoms until they are too advanced to treat.  When we find problems early, they are much more likely to be treatable, often with just a simple diet change or nutritional supplement.  Normal results are also very valuable, as they give us a baseline to look back at and allow us to notice subtle changes within the normal range that may in fact be significant for that individual patient.  For dogs between one and six years of age, we recommend a yearly Canine Wellness Profile that evaluates the kidneys, liver, blood sugar, blood proteins, and blood count.  If your dog has any chronic health problems or is on ongoing medications, we may recommend more frequent or more thorough blood testing be done.

 Dental Health

After your dog reaches a few years of age, tarter begins to build up at the junction of the gums and teeth. If this tarter is not removed, it builds up until it undermines the tissue and causes receding gums. The area then becomes infected, which leads to bad breath, as well as pain for your pet. Severe gum infections, abscessed teeth, and cheek ulcers can develop as a result.

Chronic infections of the teeth and gums also cause other health problems throughout the body. Bacteria enter the bloodstream from infected teeth and cause infection in organs such as the liver, the kidneys, the heart, and also the joints.

At your dog's wellness exam, the veterinarian will grade the amount of tartar and gum disease and let you know if your dog needs a dental cleaning or if home dental care alone is sufficient. See our dental health care tips and recommended products to help reduce dental problems and possibly delay the need for or prolong the time between professional dental cleanings.

Appropriate Nutrition

One of the most important decisions you can make, in regards to the daily care of your dog, is the food you will feed it. While you’re budget may not allow for expensive, all-organic kibble, always avoid low-cost foods. The most common health problem we see in dogs, other than periodontal disease, is obesity. Feeding your dog the appropriate amount of nutritious food and in the right quantity is also important to maintaining good health. If your dog is gaining weight, speak with your vet about the appropriate quantity. Weight gain can lead to heart disease. Serving your dog healthy food will also give him or her a healthy coat, which can help reduce shedding. We have excellent veterinary exclusive diets that would be great for your pet.

 Safety and Identification

All dogs should have a collar with an identification tag with your phone number.  We also recommend all dogs have a microchip placed that is registered to you.  Nearly all veterinary hospitals, animal control agencies, and shelters screen incoming lost dogs for microchips.

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Testimonial

Dr. Woolley has always gone above and beyond for the care of our family's pets for several years.

John E.
San Antonio, TX

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