Pet Wellnesshelping our pets stay healthy and active
Wellness for Pets
Finding problems early increases our chances of helping pets live longer, healthier lives. While vaccines are important, overall wellness is about trying to prevent or identify existing problems as early as possible.
We do this in several different ways, including looking into a pet’s eyes, ears, and mouth, checking their skin and lymph nodes, and listening to the heart and lungs.
All these steps, along with the conversations we have with owners while performing these checks, tell us so much about the pet’s health and allow us to make very specific recommendations to keep them as healthy as possible.
Keeping our pets healthy
with regular checkups and tests
80% of all unprotected dogs in the state of Georgia will get heartworms at some point in their life, so preventatives to stop heartworm infection is critical.
Most people are unaware that giving a preventative to an infected pet can cause serious or even fatal consequences. This is why a test must be done every year (and repeated if there has been a lapse) before preventatives are given. A small amount (3 drops) of blood is used for this test.
Heartworms are transmitted by mosquitoes, which is why preventatives are necessary all year. Mosquitos in Georgia never rest! Heartworms grow to be 6-inch long worms that live in the great vessels of the heart and can lead to heart failure or sudden death.
Cats also contract heartworms. Because they are not the proper host, the worms rarely reach adulthood in cats. The cat’s immune system kills off the heartworm larvae in the lungs. Unfortunately, this leads to severe inflammation and asthma-like disease. This, too, can be life-threatening.
Intestinal Parasite Test (Fecal)
This is often confusing for owners. Heartworms live in the heart and we test the blood. Intestinal parasites live in the gut and we test stool (poo). There are many different parasites such as Roundworms, Hookworms, Whipworms, Coccidia and Giardia.
Many of these parasites are zoonotic, which means they can be transmitted between humans and animals. For this reason alone, a test should be run each year. Undetected parasites can cause no symptoms in some pets, while others will have intermittent soft stools, diarrhea, vomiting, or poor appetite. They may even have skin issues and poor hair coat as another possible symptom.
This is different than just a heartworm test. Full blood work allows us to assess the liver and kidneys, among other organs. Getting baselines on even young pets is ideal and critical for older pets.
Wellness means selecting vaccines that make sense for each individual pet. Not all pets need the same vaccines. This decision depends on the age and lifestyle of the pet, as well as in what sort of environment they spend their time.