All pets of all ages should have a yearly exam for optimal pet health. Puppies that are growing and receiving vaccinations should be examined each time they are here. Many pets have preventable or treatable disease in early stages. A yearly exam allows DVMs to address these issues before they get out of control. Having a doctor check the weight of your pet, evaluating dental disease, skin tumors, feeling for enlarged thyroid glands, detecting low-grade ear infections before they are out of control, can help prevent future illness. This generally saves clients money and the pet gets a longer, better quality of life. Also, this gives the DVM and technicians a chance to discuss behavior problems before the animal is given away or condemned due to a treatable condition.
Every dog should be tested for heartworm disease yearly, even if they have been on heartworm prevention monthly because: 1)all heartworm preventatives are oral or topical and guaranteeing that the dog received the medication every time is difficult (spitting, vomiting, decreased absorption by the stomach/intestines), 2) it takes 6 months after infection from a mosquito to detect heartworm disease in dogs, 3) although it hasn’t happened yet that we know of the heartworm population could become resistant to medications, 4) it is recommended by the American Heartworm Society, 5) if your dog is heartworm positive the heartworm prevention could cause an allergic reaction by killing the microfilaria in the bloodstream.
All dogs should receive a DHPP vaccination every 1-3 years based on their vaccination history and age. There are tests that show that dogs have antibody responses to distemper and parvo viruses for up to three years, but antibody response does not guarantee complete immunity (there are several parts of the immune system in addition to antibodies that prevent infection).
Leptospirosis is a bacterial disease that is shed in the urine of most of the native wildlife in Tennessee. This disease is life threatening and contagious to humans causing renal and liver failure. Due to the nature of the disease, we recommend that ALL dogs be vaccinated yearly.
All dogs that come into contact with other dogs in a kennel situation or park situation should be vaccinated. This includes kennels, groomers, dog parks, etc. This is a yearly vaccination and is required to board at ACC and most other kennels.
Many intestinal parasites are killed with a general dewormer (hookworms, roundworms), but several intestinal parasites are not (tapes, whipworms, coccidia). A fecal exam can tell what parasites your pet has and gauge how severe the infection is. If the infection is very severe, the dosage and frequency of deworming may change. Many intestinal parasites can be contagious to people in rare instances (hooks, rounds), and it is good for families (especially with children) to know if their pet is infected.
All new cats/kittens entering a household should be tested for viral disease. Cats that have frequent outdoor encounters should be tested yearly to ensure they have not been exposed (however, this is not one of our core recommendations, but if owner is concerned, retesting should be recommended). Any cat that is at risk of infection and is sick should be tested for viral disease.
Cats are susceptible to heartworm disease, but at a lower rate than dogs. Cats show signs of heartworms by having asthma-like symptoms, chronic vomiting, sudden death, and other symptoms. Heartworms are not treatable in cats, and often if a cat has heartworms it dies within three years. The benefits of heartworm prevention in cats go beyond heartworms in that Revolution also prevents ear mites, kills hooks/rounds, and is a flea preventative. Interceptor is an intestinal parasite control and sentinel can be given to cats for fleas, too. Rounds/hooks from cats can also be spread to people, and cats like to use gardens and sandboxes for litter boxes.