Keeping healthy is easier than getting well. Wellness for our furry friends includes yearly exams, vaccines as needed, yearly heartworm and intestinal parasite checks, plus microchips for permanent identification.
To ensure a proper diagnosis, we often need to examine your pet. We begin a medical assessment by looking at your pet’s eyes, ears, and skin and checking his or her cardiovascular, neurological, gastrointestinal, and skeletal systems for any abnormalities. We will perform blood and/or urine tests as necessary to check your pet’s kidneys, liver, pancreas, and endocrine system, including the thyroid and adrenal glands. Based on your pet’s condition, we may recommend further diagnostic tests, such as radiography (x-rays), endoscopy (internal scoping), ultrasound, or biopsy.
If you’re concerned that something may be wrong with your pet, please call us to schedule a physical exam. Depending on the symptoms, we may ask you to bring in your pet right away.
Vaccination of dogs and cats has successfully lowered the risk of disease for our pets. The frequency of vaccination may vary. Some vaccines are only given every 3 years while other require yearly boosters to maintain protection.
At Seminole Trail Animal Hospital, we believe in only vaccinating pets with vaccines they actually need. We consider your pet's lifestyle and age when recommending vaccines.
As always, if you have any questions or concerns about vaccines, please ask us. We will be happy to explain all the options available to help your beloved fur baby stay healthy.
Heartworm disease is caused by a parasite called Dirofilaria immitis. Dogs and cats become infected when they are bitten by an infected mosquito that is carrying immature heartworms. Heartworm disease is widespread in the United States and is particularly common along the southeastern and gulf coasts, and through the Mississippi River valley.
For dogs, a simple blood tests will diagnose the presence of heartworms. If positive for heartworms, further diagnostic tests are essential to determine if the dog can safely undergo heartworm disease treatment. Unfortunately there is no treatment for heartworms for cats.
You can prevent your dog or cat from getting heartworms by using a heartworm preventive. When a dog has been successfully treated for heartworms, it is essential to begin a heartworm prevention program to prevent future recurrence. Heartworm preventives are safe and effective if used correctly. Most manufacturers have a guarantee on their products. To be covered under the guarantee, the product must be purchased and used on the correct schedule and dogs must be tested for heartworms yearly.
There are many ways for our pets to become infected with parasites. Our pets may:
Be exposed to parasite eggs brought in on shoes
Eat grass and dirt infected with parasite eggs
Play in or drink from unsanitary water sources such as drainage ditches
Eat other pet’s droppings
Find and eat portions of dead animals such as rodents or birds
Obtain some parasites directly from their mother (some parasites can cross the placenta while others can be obtained while nursing)
It is advised that we examine your pet’s stool annually to check for intestinal parasites. When you bring your pet in for a physical exam, please bring a fresh stool sample with you from a recent walk or trip to the litter box.
Microchipping is a safe, permanent way to identify your pet in case he or she becomes lost. A microchip, which is a tiny device about the size and shape of a grain of rice, is placed just under the loose skin at the back of the neck. When a lost dog or cat without an ID tag is found, veterinary staff will use a handheld microchip scanner to check for a chip. If the pet has one, it will transmit its ID number to the scanner via a low-frequency radio wave. The veterinary hospital or shelter then calls the chip manufacturer, retrieves the pet owner’s contact information, and calls the owner.
Even the most responsible pet owners can’t always guarantee their pet won’t get lost. A leash could break or slip out of your hand, a pet could push through a screen door or window, or a contractor or friend might accidentally leave a door or gate open.
We recommend that you use a microchip, along with a collar and ID tag, to identify your pet. An ID tag is still a reliable identification method. Pets that have tags with current contact information are more likely to not end up in shelters and tend to get home faster than those without tags. However, collars and ID tags aren’t permanent and can be removed (overnight or for grooming); pets can also lose them. With a microchip, your pet will have a much better chance of being identified and returned to you. Pets without microchips that end up in shelters may be adopted out to another family or even euthanized.
For more information about microchips or to have your pet microchipped, please call us. We would be happy to help you be better prepared!