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Recent research in the veterinary field has reinforced the importance of preventative health care, as well as the veterinarian’s role in imparting the information this service provides to their clients. The benefits of preventative care include:
• Extending the life of one’s pet.
• Detecting and treating potential life-threatening medical problems.
• Slowing the progression of any long-term medical conditions.
• Allowing for veterinarians to develop a familiar and personal relationship with their clients’ pets, thereby making it easier to track medical issues.
• Strengthening the bond between an owner and their pet.
At FPAH, it’s EASY to get your pet started on their specifically tailored preventative health care program! It begins with semi-annual wellness visits, though more frequent examinations may be suggested based on the individual needs of your pet. These visits not only increase our clients’ satisfaction, but they also facilitate informed decision making through updated information provided in consultations with our veterinarians.
Routine wellness exams allow our veterinarians to specifically tailor an individualized preventative program based on your pet’s unique circumstances. A comprehensive prevention program promotes the following long term benefits:
• A diagnostic plan that provides early detection and prevention of health or behavioral problems.
• An approach that ensures the highest level of immune readiness, support of ailing body functions if applicable, promotion of joint health and dietary recommendations.
• Guidance in dental care to maintain healthy teeth and gums.
• A parasite prevention plan that emphasizes control and follow-up recommendations for future care.
COMPONENTS OF PREVENTATIVE MEDICINE
There are several important components to preventative health care:
• Wellness Exams
• Parasite Prevention and Control
• Nutrition and Diet
• Dental Care
Wellness exams at FPAH are structured around the following critical elements:
• A comprehensive physical examination that includes dental and body condition assessment, as well as an evaluation of your pet’s skin, coat, eyes and ears, nose and throat, heart and lungs, limbs and joints, abdomen and gastrointestinal system, and urogenital system.
• A review and discussion about your pet’s lifestyle and behaviors, activity levels, life stage, breed, diet, and if applicable, reproductive health.
• A discussion about your pet’s vaccination history, as well as any need for a newly designed vaccination protocol based on their age, daily environment, and exposure. Depending on your pet’s vaccination history and age, we may suggest vaccine titer testing in place of vaccine administration. Please see the charts below for specific canine and feline vaccination information.
• Recommendations for parasite prevention and control including flea and tick prevention and heartworm testing and prevention measures depending on lifestyle.
• A determination of diagnostic testing needs in order to identify the root of any non-visible, yet suspected health issues.
At FPAH, discussions of all aspects of your pet’s medical and wellness heath are encouraged!
Vaccinations play a key role in your pet’s overall wellness health care plan. Since there are numerous contagious diseases that are easily spread among our pets, vaccinations are key to prevention. When our veterinarians discuss your pet’s vaccination protocol with you, they will attempt to gain an understanding of your pet’s lifestyle. For instance, does your cat live exclusively indoors, or does he or she spend time outdoors as well? Do you take your dog to dog parks, a groomer, or to a boarding facility? The answers to these types of questions will help determine your pet’s vaccination plan.
PARASITE PREVENTION AND CONTROL
Unfortunately, dogs and cats are susceptible to a number of 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.
In 2002, the Companion Animal Parasite Council (CAPC) was developed in order to provide detailed guidelines for parasite control in dogs and cats. Following the simple steps and recommendations outlined by the CAPC goes a long way in ensuring your pet’s optimal health and wellness!
FLEAS AND TICKS
Fleas and ticks are troublesome parasites of the skin. Flea and tick prevention is important because these pests do not only cause itching and skin infections, but they also are able to transmit a number of life-threatening diseases to the pet. Fortunately, there are safe and highly effective products available at FPAH that will treat and prevent flea and tick infestations. Regular use of one of these products year round will effectively prevent fleas and ticks from becoming a problem for your pet!
Heartworm is a worm that resides in the heart and lungs of infected dogs and cats. It is carried by mosquitoes that transmit heartworm larva into the bloodstream of the pet when bitten. These larva then develop into adult worms that over time cause heart disease and respiratory problems in dogs. In cats, the signs can be more ambiguous, including vomiting, coughing, weight loss, and sudden death. Heartworm disease is an emerging disease in our area, but fortunately, is a preventable disease. There are a number of excellent monthly heartworm preventatives available at FPAH. These products, when administered year-round, provide outstanding protection against heartworm disease and protect against several other intestinal parasites that can infect dogs, cats, and people. Our team at FPAH will help guide you through which product and prevention plans are best suited for you and your pet!
The most common intestinal parasites in dogs and cats include hookworms, roundworms, whipworms, tapeworms, Giardia, and coccidia. All of these organisms possess the ability to cause illness in your pet. Symptoms can include vomiting, diarrhea, weight loss, and poor overall condition. But remember, parasites can affect your animal’s health long before you notice any symptoms! We at FPAH are able to screen your pet for infection by processing a small sample of your pet’s feces and performing a microscopic analysis. The CAPC recommends that a fecal analysis be performed two to four times during the first year of life for puppies and kittens, and at least one to two times per year for adult animals.