Why Are Annual Pet Wellness Examinations So Important?

Dr. Aldridge and the staff at Westwood Veterinary Hospital are committed to providing you and your pet with the finest veterinary care possible. We enjoy being a welcoming, skilled and cost-conscious partner in the care of your cherished companions.

Our veterinary team believes that preventive medicine contributes to your pet’s long term health and minimizes the lifetime cost of care. We strongly recommend regular pet wellness exams, vaccinations, blood laboratory testing, deworming and intestinal parasite checks, as well as medications to prevent heartworms, fleas and ticks to keep your pet in optimum health. As part of our pet wellness services, we offer preventive care counseling and client education to better care for your pet.

Despite the very best preventive care, your family pet may develop an illness or be injured. Our internal medicine and surgical expertise, as well as our advanced diagnostic capabilities and veterinary laboratory, ensure your pet receives a quick and accurate diagnosis. We take time to explain our diagnosis to you and provide you with various options for your pet’s treatment.

Please take a look at the pet wellness services we offer and learn why we believe they are important to the care and well-being of your pet. Then give us a call to set up an appointment today!

Your Pet’s Annual Examination

Wellness examinations are the same for your pet as the yearly physical you receive from your doctor. It’s a chance for us to assess your pet’s overall health, discuss any changes we see, educate and update you on advancements in veterinary care, and is also an opportunity for you to discuss any of your concerns or ask questions.

Your pet’s yearly wellness examination at our hospital includes our commitment to:

  • Examine your pet’s teeth, throat, and oral cavity
  • Check your pet’s vision and examine the eyes
  • Examine the ears for infection, ear mites, allergic reaction and other related health issues
  • Examine the respiratory system
  • Assess your pet’s heart and evaluate cardiac function
  • Test your pet’s reflexes
  • Palpate lymph nodes for size
  • Inspect and palpate the skin for unusual growths and lesions
  • Evaluate your pet for repetitive licking or biting in one area
  • Assess your pet’s hair/fur and check for matting
  • Palpate joints and muscles for arthritis and other orthopedic conditions
  • Test to evaluate the function of internal organs including liver, kidneys, and heart
  • Assess changes in your pet’s body weight, appetite, urination and bowel habits
  • Inquire as to your pet’s activity level
  • Monitor your pet’s blood count
  • Utilize blood laboratory testing for diagnosing Heartworm disease, and other blood borne parasites
  • Assess and evaluate general or specific changes in your pet’s health since the last wellness visit
  • Discuss preventive techniques with you
  • Collect and examine fecal sample for intestinal worms and other parasites
  • Demonstrate to you how to administer at-home medication
  • Answer your questions and address your concerns

Deworming and Intestinal Parasite Check

Dangerous parasites are always present in the environment. We recommend regular fecal checks and deworming as the best way to prevent parasitic disease and the transmission of intestinal parasites to your pet and your family members.

Regular Blood Testing

A complete physical should include a full blood workup. Not only can a full chemistry panel and complete blood count identify the presence of underlying disease processes, but these tests help create a baseline should your pet become ill between regular examinations.

Flea and Tick Borne Disease

Fleas and ticks are virtually everywhere. Although they’re a bigger problem in certain parts of the country and at specific times during the year, no cat or dog is completely safe from them. Fortunately, many safe and highly effective products are available. Fleas and ticks are more than a nuisance; they carry diseases dangerous to both you and your pet. Fleas can transmit tapeworms, and often you can see segments of the tapeworm in your pet’s stool. Ticks can carry a variety of serious illnesses, including Lyme disease and Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever.

These problems can be avoided by using parasite prevention products that are available at our hospital. When used properly and according to our directions, these products are very safe and highly effective.

Heartworm Disease

Heartworm disease is a serious, life-threatening disease of dogs and, to a lesser extent, cats. Mosquitoes spread the disease by injecting the parasite into your pet at the time of the bite. Clinical symptoms of heartworm disease develop very slowly. Lack of energy and exercise intolerance are early symptoms of heartworms, as are coughing and difficulty breathing. Because heartworm disease is increasing in frequency and is a serious and deadly disease, we recommend that your dog be tested annually. Fortunately, prevention is simple and effective.

If you would like to have your pet tested for heartworm disease, or if you would like additional information on how best to protect your pet from heartworms, please call today.

Pet Vaccines

Our hospital tailors vaccine protocols to your individual pet, taking into account benefits and risks as well as environment and health status. All vaccinations are administered annually unless circumstances indicate less frequent administration.

Our core vaccines for healthy dogs include:

  • Rabies
  • Distemper-Hepatitis
  • Parvovirus
  • Leptospirosis
  • Bordatella – Administered annually or within 6 months of boarding

We recommend vaccinating cats annually. This vaccine protects against the following diseases:

  • Rabies
  • Fvrcp – Feline Distemper
  • Feline Leukemia Virus

We recommend feline immunodeficiency vaccine for cats that go outdoors. Rabies vaccination is mandatory and part of our protocol for both species.

Vaccinations are not only safe and effective but they are an important and fundamental aspect of your pet’s preventive healthcare plan. Diseases that once were relatively common and fatal to pets are now easily preventable through vaccination. Vaccinating your pet against Rabies helps protect you and your family from this deadly disease.