Regular physical examination is of the utmost importance – often problems are detected that, if untreated, would progress to serious illness. A complete physical examination is done routinely and involves assessment of all body systems. The doctor uses visual observation, a stethoscope (to listen to the heart, lungs, and GI sounds), an otoscope (to look in ear canals), an opthalmascope (to look in the eyes), and palpation of lymph nodes, joints, and abdominal organs.
Routine laboratory testing such as fecal flotations and heartworm tests diagnose internal parasites. Vaccinations, a hallmark of preventative medicine, are used carefully and selectively to prevent serious contagious diseases. We follow the vaccination guidelines put out by the major veterinary teaching hospitals in America. The vaccine types recommended and the frequency of vaccination vary depending on the lifestyle of the pet being vaccinated, i.e. indoor vs outdoor pets, travel plans, kennel/boarding plans, and underlying disease conditions such as immune-mediated diseases or pre-existing infections such as FIV infection. Because these factors may change over time, we recommend the vaccination plan for each individual pet be decided upon by the owner and the veterinarian at routine annual examinations.
By vaccinating our pets, we are ensuring that they are immune to different, possibly fatal diseases if/when they get exposed to them. Vaccinating our animals prevents spreading of these diseases. Also, if you think of it from a cost-standpoint, it costs less to prevent diseases than it does to treat them.
Rabies is a severe and often fatal disease that effects the brain and central nervous system. The most common carriers of this disease are raccoons. Other wild animals that are common carriers are skunks, bats, foxes and coyotes. Massachusetts requires that both cats & dogs receive their rabies vaccination as early as 6 months of age. A second vaccine is recommended after 1 year and then boosters every three years.
Lepto is a rare bacterial disease spread through urine of infected animals. Most common carriers are rats, raccoons and farm animals. The bacteria in Lepto can be deposited into soil, puddles, lakes, ponds, etc. Your dog can come in contact with this bacteria by drinking (or even swimming/walking in) the contaminated water. As it is not a requirement through the State of Massachusetts, we do recommend it if your dog has an active, outdoor lifestyle.
Lyme disease is a tick-borne disease that is very high in this area. Usually between the months of March and November it is the highest due to the warmer weather. Lyme disease can cause lameness in your pet, lack of appetite and depression. A more serious complication include damage to the kidneys. It is important to consider the Lyme vaccine, but to also get a tick preventative to help repel the different kinds of ticks.
BORDATELLA (KENNEL COUGH) -
This is similar to a human having a cold. It is contagious and can be transmitted to other dogs through the air or direct contact. Dogs can show symptoms of kennel cough 3-4 days after being exposed to a larger amount of dogs. For example, a boarding facility, training center or a dog show. The most common (and noticeable) symptom is a hard, "honk" like cough. Then there is sometimes the accompanying symptoms with a "cold"; sneezing, runny nose and loss of appetite.
Canine Distemper is a debilitating disease that weakens the immune system. It is spread from dog to dog though urine, blood or saliva. The most common transmission is through sneezing, coughing and sharing food/water bowls.
Canine Parvovirus is a highly contagious viral disease that attacks the intestinal track and white blood cells. It is spread form dog to dog through fecal waste of an infected dog. It is also spread when there is a large amount of dogs - dog parks, boarding/training facilities, shelters, etc. The virus can be carried on the hair of a dogs feet, contaminated cages and even shoes!
FELINE DISTEMPER -
A life-threatening disease that affects domestic cats as well as some wild animals. It is very contagious among cats by urine, feces, mucus, blood, etc. The Feline Distemper virus is not the same as the virus that causes the canine distemper and does not transmit to humans.
FELINE LEUKEMIA -
A disease that impairs the immune system and causes certain types of cancer. Symptoms include anemia, lethargy, weight loss, enlarged lymph nodes, etc.
THE MOST EFFECTIVE METHOD TO PREVENT THESE DISEASES IS TO VACCINATE!
FLEA/TICK & HEARTWORM
In New England, with our always changing weather, fleas/ticks & mosquitoes can potentially be found all year round.
Fleas originate outside mostly in shaded areas of the yard where cats and dogs rest. It onlyt akes a tiny flea to come into your home to infest your pets. It doesn't necessarily have to be carried in from another pet. That's right - one pesky flea can hitch a ride on your pant leg or shoe! Then, once they are indoors, you're sweet indoor kitty and even pup could potentially be affected. We recommend flea preventatives even for your indoor pet. Check out this great article from https://www.petful.com/pet-health/how-do-indoor-cats-get-fleas/ .
"My dog only goes outside for a second and then comes right back in." - something we hear more often than not. Lyme disease is the most common tick borne disease in our area. Sometimes not showing any symptoms to flu-like symptoms can occur: lethargic, loss of appetite, swelling of joints to just name a few symptoms. Here at AHC of Salisbury, we emphasize the importance of using a flea and tick preventative year round. With winters being a bit warmer than usual, ticks and fleas are still active. Whether it is a collar, topical or chewable you will have peace of mind knowing your pet is fighting off those pesky bugs.
What is Heartworm? Heartworm is a parasitic worm transferred by mosquitoes causing heartworm disease in dogs and cats. When the worm is just larvae and matures to an adult, it
Check out our Specials and Promotions page to get the latest deals and coupons for your flea/tick and heartworm preventative!
Going away on vacation? A little weekend getaway? What better place to leave your dog or cat, then with their doctor! We offer dog boarding and cat boarding 7 days a week.
Over 2 million lost pets have returned home safely with the HomeAgain microchip!
A thunderstorm, fireworks or even a loud noise can casuse a pet to get scared and runaway. Someone unfamiliar entering your home - handyman, plumber, relative, etc. accidentally letting your pet out. With a Homeagain micorchip. you can have peace of mind knowing if your dog or cat gets lost their microchip will bring them back home.
In an added effort to provide your pet with quality care, we offer pet dental services in our veterinary office. It is estimated that 80% of pets exhibit the beginning stages of periodontal disease by age 3, which is why dental exams and teeth cleanings are essential. Also, studies indicate that pets with good oral hygiene tend to live 2 to 4 years longer than pets who neglect dental care. While periodontal disease is entirely preventable, when left untreated it can lead to cardiac disease, kidney infection, liver infection, or stroke.
Some simple home hygiene tips are:
- Brushing your pet’s teeth as little as one time a week can cut down on 50-60% of tartar build-up.
- Dental products specifically designed for pets, including Oravet and CET, can help protect gums and lessen tartar.
- Dry pet food is better for teeth than canned food; it causes abrasion to tooth surfaces when chewed, helping remove tartar build-up. Other treats such as raw-hide can also help remove built-up plaque.
- There are many pet toys that support dental health. Buying your pets these toys not only entertains them, but offers a dual purpose in helping clean teeth.
Spay & Neuter
In an effort to help your pet live a healthy life, we provide spay and neuter services. Choosing to spay or neuter your new pet is one of the most responsible decisions you can make as a pet owner. Spaying and neutering pets is estimated to add years to your pet’s life in decreasing or eliminating their chances of getting certain cancers; it also helps decrease the amount of animals in shelters and the number of euthanized pets each year.
With statistics indicating that nearly 4 million pets in the United States are put down annually, we believe spaying and neutering animals is a productive initiative. In providing these services, we hope to prolong pets’ lives and help the community in preventing pet overpopulation.
Reasons to spay or neuter your pet:
- Decrease aggressive behaviors in male pets.
- Decrease desire for pets to roam and find mates.
- Decrease pet overpopulation and pet euthanasia.
- Decrease risk of mammary gland tumors.
- Eliminate heat cycles, bleeding, and yelling for a mate.
- Eliminate or reduce marking and spraying.
- Reduce risk of ovarian and uterine cancers.
- Reduce risk of prostate cancer and testicular cancer.
Nutrition, including controlling your pet’s weight, seriously affects pet health, especially as your pet ages. Weight management is one of the most critical factors in maintaining pet health. Giving your pet unlimited access to food (free feeding) is one of the worst things you can do. The standard serving for felines and canines is 120-170 calories per pound of body weight. If you’re trying to help your pet gain weight, increase caloric intake, and if you’re wanting your pet to lose weight, decrease caloric consumption. During a routine exam, we can discuss the exact amount of food to add or subtract from your pet’s diet based on breed, activity level, and current weight. Remember that overweight pets are more likely to suffer from arthritis, certain cancers, diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, and skin problems