ph-examination-5995As pet owners ourselves, we understand the importance of pets in our lives. Regular Wellness Exams ensure your pets receive the care they need and deserve. Our pet’s natural instincts and method for survival is to hide their symptoms and not reveal that they are hurting. Since our pets cannot verbally tell us how they feel, it is up to us humans to take preventive measures to care for them.

Regular physical examinations, blood and stool testing, professional dental cleanings, vaccinations and heartworm prevention all focus on good health, wellness and preventive care. Regular exams are super important as our pets age approximately 7 times faster than we do.

The following pet care services are covered in this section. Click any title to jump to that service:

 

Examinations at Family VetCare

Upon arrival at Family VetCare, your Veterinary Assistant will greet you and perform a “pre-examination” of your pet including: weight evaluation, temperature, heart and respiratory rate, dental grade and risk assessment evaluation, and we encourage you to share your concerns and observations.

Your Veterinarian will complete a Comprehensive Physical Examination of your pet and communicate their findings, your pets’ needs and the forward treatment plan for your pet.

Laboratory Testing

Because peace of mind is important, our in-house diagnostics capabilities allow our Veterinarians to provide you with same day laboratory results.

  • Early Detection Test – This thorough multi-test blood and stool panel is one of the best and least expensive ways to get an overall health picture of your pet. Whether it is used to establish a baseline for your young pet or to check body functions as your pet ages, it is an excellent test to identify a number of degenerative changes that can occur in some body systems as well as helping your Veterinarian identify and monitor possible diseases and medical conditions.
  • Fecal Parasite Test – Roundworms and hookworms are zoonotic parasites that can be passed to your family. The CDC recommends that your pet be tested annually, however, if your pet shows signs of diarrhea, weight loss, or general poor health, testing may be warranted more frequently. Testing of a stool sample can help keep your pet parasite free. This test is included in the Early Detection Test but it can also be run independently.
  • Heartworm Test – Heartworms are parasites that invade the right side of a dog’s heart and the major blood vessels that surround it. They are life-threatening and can grow to be more than a foot long in a little as five months. The American Heartworm Society recommends annual Heartworm Testing for your dog. This test in included in the Early Detection Test but it can also be run independently.

Vaccines & Preventives

To help keep your pet as healthy as possible, we recommend the following vaccines for almost every pet who comes to Family VetCare. For specific recommendations, schedule an appointment with your Family VetCare veterinarian.

DHPP Vaccine – canine 4-in-1:

  • Distemper – A contagious viral disease that causes severe pneumonia, diarrhea and vomiting – often fatal.
  • Hepatitis – A contagious viral disease that damages the liver.
  • Para Influenza – A contagious viral disease contributing to “Kennel Cough.”
  • Parvovirus – A contagious viral disease that causes severe diarrhea, vomiting, and dehydration – often fatal.

FVRCPP Vaccine – feline 4-in-1:

  • Feline Viral Rhinotracheitis – A herpesviral disease which causes nasal and ocular discharge.
  • Calicivirus – A viral disease causing many symptoms including fever, oral ulcers and sneezing.
  • Feline Pneumonitis – An upper respiratory infection caused by the organism Chlamydophila felis which is often complicated by a secondary bacterial infection.

FeLVFeline Leukemia Vaccine
A persistent viral infection that depresses the immune system and may contribute to anemia and several different types of cancer.

Rabies Vaccine
This virus attacks the brain and central nervous system tissue, which is almost always fatal. The vaccine is given to help protect you and your pet against this virus.

Bordetella Vaccine
This bacteria can contribute to “Kennel Cough,” a highly contagious upper respiratory infection, spread via direct contact or aerosolized droplets. Vaccination helps protect your pet.

Heartworm and Flea & Tick Prevention

Vectra_3D_4cYear-round pest prevention is the best way to keep fleas and ticks off your pets. There are different climates in Arizona, including micro-climates such as: (1) irrigated fields; (2) backyard ponds and pools; and (3) man-made golf courses, which affect the severity and duration of the mosquito season. Heartworm infection is also present in (4) wild species such as coyotes, and infected wild animals can be a source of infection to your dog or cat. Your pets may also be at higher risk if they (5) travel with you to areas of dense mosquito populations. There are several options in providing your pet with year-round prevention.

Microchip Your Pet

Why should you MicroChip your pet?
If you’ve ever lost a pet, you know how frightening that can be for you and your pet. Registered microchips give lost pets the best chance of returning home. The American Humane Association estimates over 10 million dogs and cats are lost or stolen in the US every year. One in three pets will become lost at some point during their life. A study published in the Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association, including 53 animal shelters across the US, confirmed the high rate of return of microchipped dogs and cats to their families, and the importance of microchip registration. From the Study:

  • Only about 22 percent of lost dogs that entered the animal shelters were reunited with their families. However, the return to owner rate for microchipped dogs was over 52 percent.
  • Less than 2 percent of lost cats that entered the animal shelters were reunited with their families. The return to owner rate for microchipped cats was dramatically higher at over 38%.
  • Only 58 percent of the microchipped animals’ microchips had been registered in a database with their pet parent’s contact information. This is why it is important to not only register your pet’s microchip, but to keep the information up-to-date.

How it works
The microchip is no bigger than a grain of rice and it is easily and quickly implanted beneath the skin. Most Veterinarians will recommend implanting the microchip at the same time they the spay or neuter is done, however, your pet does not need to be under anesthesia to have the chip implanted.

The microchip does not contain a battery; therefore, it does not need to be charged. The chips are designed to last the life of your pet. Most Animal Hospitals and Rescue organizations have globally compatible scanners that can read the unique identification code on the microchip. This code is used to retrieve the contact information that the pet’s owner has provided to the pet recovery database.

Microchips for your pets are inexpensive compared to the value that they have when your pet is rescued. The special bond you share with your pet can never be broken. As part of that bond, your pets rely on you to keep them safe and secure at home. While collars, tags and fences can only do so much to help your pets safety at home, it is important to attach the microchip tag, rabies tag, pet name, identification and contact information securely to your pet’s collar. Anytime you move, be sure to update your pet’s tags and microchip information.

Senior Pet Care

Dogs 7 years of age or older qualify as a senior. This varies, however, with the size and breed of the dog. Cats qualify as senior at 9 years of age or older. Factors affecting how individual cats age include body weight, nutrition, environment, and overall health. What is your pet’s age in human years? Take a look at the informational sheets below.

Click on the images below to download these helpful age-related documents and checklists (requires Adobe Acrobat Reader):

 

Health Record – Dog

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Senior Chart – Dog

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Aging or Illness? – Dog

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Health Record – Cat

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Senior Chart – Cat

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Aging or Illness? – Cat

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Diet & Nutrition

Did you know that it’s estimated that about 17 million dogs in the United States are overweight? Just as in humans, extra weight can cause medical problems that have serious health consequences (Diabetes, Heart Disease, ACL injuries, Breathing Problems, Decreased Activity). Maintaining a healthy weight helps your animal live a longer and healthier life. Weight loss – even in small amounts – can reduce the risk of serious health problems and improve the quality of your pet’s life.

There are health risks when your pet has a few extra pounds:

Diabetes and ACL Injuries – Diabetes can result in twice a day injections for the rest of your pet’s life. Orthopedic Injuries can result in surgery that can cost upward of $4000.

Arthritis – Joint disease is one of the most common health causes. Excess weight adds extra strain to joints and ligaments, worsening pain and making it harder to be mobile and active. Overweight animals often have trouble going up stairs, limp or seem stiff and have difficulty rising from a resting position.

Breathing Problems – Does your animal huff and puff on walks or during playtime? Excess body fat can increase pressure on your dog’s lungs and interfere with normal function. When expansion of the lungs is restricted by fat in the chest cavity, the lungs have to work harder to provide oxygen, which can result in shortness of breath.

Heart Disease – Does your animal seem to have less energy? Those extra pounds may be putting a strain on your dog’s heart. Obesity can be associated with high blood pressure or hypertension in dogs, and similar to people, this can lead to a variety of health complications.

Increased Risk with Surgery – Excess body fat can make surgery more challenging for the surgeon, hindering access to internal organs and tissue, and thus prolonging the procedure. This in turn increases the risk of complications associated with anesthesia. For these reasons, elective surgery is sometimes postponed until the overweight animal has lost weight.

Decreased Activity – Have you noticed your animal just isn’t as interested in chasing after a toy or interacting with family? Those extra pounds can slow your animal down, often due to a combination of the conditions just listed. Pet owners whose animals have lost weight reported noticeable improvements in their energy level and willingness to play and interact.

We are committed to providing the best veterinary care for your pet, if your pet needs to lose weight – we will be your partner in helping to reduce the risk of serious health problems and improve their quality of life.