Have a new kitten or puppy at home and its time to come in for shots? Have an older pet that needs a check up? We have your wellness and preventative care needs covered at Sunshine.
Why is preventative care important?
Preventative healthcare is important to making sure your pet maintains a happy and healthy life. The goal of preventative care is to maintain wellness and identify problems before they become severe. Coming in for puppy or kitten shots with your new pet is a great way to get started on the right foot. However, preventative care goes well beyond scheduled vaccines for puppies and kittens. Here are some reasons to consider preventative care for your pet:
- Pets age faster than humans, so a 1 year exam is more like an exam every 7 years!
- Our pets can’t always verbalize problems, and even the most observant owner can miss early signs of problems such as arthritis.
- Preventative care often costs less and is more effective than treatment of diseases and illnesses.
- Preventative dental care for your pet is just like our own dental care. It helps avoid tooth decay and gum disease.
In-Depth Considerations for Preventative Care:
The average lifespan of our pets are considerably shorter than ours. Therefore, an annual wellness exam for your pet is comparable to a human visiting the doctor every 4-7 years! With that in mind, find out how old your dog or cat is in human years by checking out this chart from the American Veterinary Medical Association.
Our pets are great at telling us things and interacting with us in amazing ways. However, they can’t always verbalize problems they are having. Even the most attentive owners can sometimes overlook problems. Often, if those problems are caught early, your pet is likely to remain healthy. Whereas if they are caught late, the problems can be a challenge to manage. Arthritis and dental disease are perfect examples.
Curative care often costs more and is less effective than preventative care. This is because curative care often requires higher cost and additional diagnostics, treatments, and monitoring. For instance, using a preventative heartworm medication is a once per month medication. However, treating a heartworm infection requires a variety of medications, series of injections, and exercise restrictions. Even after treatment, the animal could still have organ damage or die. According to the American Heartworm Society, treating a dog for heartworm disease is roughly the same cost as 8 years of using the preventative medication.
Vaccinations are another example of effective preventative care. Coming in for puppy shots or kitten shots can even mean the difference between life and death! As an example, there is no cure for the rabies virus. The rabies virus is fatal if contracted, and an infected animal poses a risk to other animals and humans. Fortunately, proper vaccination for rabies prevents your pet from getting rabies entirely. For this reason alone, coming in for shots is very important.
We are all familiar with preventative care for our own teeth. Oral health is similarly well established in veterinary medicine. Preventative dental care for your pet mitigates issues such as tooth decay and gum disease. Ignoring these issues could result in more expensive and painful treatments such as tooth extractions. Moreover, dental disease can also cause problems with organs such as the heart, liver and kidneys.
Types of Wellness and Preventative Care Offered:
Annual Wellness Exams And Vaccines
Proper preventative care starts with an annual wellness exam and proper vaccination of your pet. This is the time to come in for puppy or kitten shots! In addition, during your pet’s annual wellness exam you will receive the following evaluation:
- Head to toe exam: Eyes, ears, skin, joints, heart and lung health, teeth/oral health, and weight/body condition will be evaluated
- Discussion and recommendations for proper nutrition
- Baseline bloodwork: Helps to identify issues such as thyroid problems, diabetes, urinary tract infections, kidney disease, liver disease, and some cancers
- Vaccinations according to the recommended vaccine schedule and based on your pets risks and lifestyle
- Parasite prevention: fleas, ticks, intestinal parasites
Annual Dental Care
Annual dental care is a major component of overall preventative pet care. This service is very similar to human dental exams and covers , charting, cleaning, polishing, examination of teeth and other oral structures, dental x-rays, and extractions as necessary.
Although anesthesia free dental cleanings are offered in the veterinary industry, it is not recommended by Sunshine AH due to high likelihood of not finding problems such as abscesses that can become more problematic if overlooked.
For more information on dental services provided, visit our dentistry page
Spay And Neutering
Spaying or neutering your pet is a complex topic, and is an important area for discussion with our staff. This procedure offers a number of benefits, some of which are highlighted below:
Spaying a female: Reduces the risk of mammary cancers, and eliminates the risk of uterine infection which is a common problem and can be life threatening. Spaying also decreases behavioral issues, prevents pregnancy and pet overpopulation.
Neutering a male: Improves prostate health and reduces behavioral issues such as marking, aggression, and roaming in search of females.
Proper timing for when a pet should be spayed or neutered is an important consideration. The decision of when to perform the procedure depends on a variety of factors including gender, breed size, certain behaviors, and owner preferences.
Baseline labwork includes bloodwork, urinalysis and fecal analysis. The information provided by labwork gives our staff the information necessary to identify or eliminate the concern of a wide range of problems.
- A chemistry panel provides information about protein levels, liver enzymes, kidney enzymes, and blood sugar levels. The results provide insight on the animal’s organ function and diabetes.
- A complete blood count provides information on white blood cells, red blood cells, and platelets. Out of balance blood counts are an indicator for a number of potential problems.
- A heartworm blood test identifies the potentially fatal heartworm parasite. This parasite is transmitted through mosquitoes and is avoided with preventative medication and annual blood testing. For more information on heartworm, the American Heartworm Society has a wealth of information: American Heartworm Society Heartworm Basics
Urinalysis provides information for determining kidney health, diabetes, urinary tract infection, crystals, and blood in the urine.
Fecal analysis is a method for identifying intestinal parasites such as worms, giardia, and coccidia. In addition, imbalances in bacteria and blood and inflammatory cells can be identified.
You leave your front door open accidentally while bringing in the groceries. A neighbor retrieves a ball from your yard and accidentally leaves the gate open. As a result, your dog or cat is now nowhere to be found. A microchip is an easy way to virtually guarantee the identity of a lost pet. A microchip is a small electronic device placed in a specific location under the skin of your pet. The chip can then be read by anyone with a chip reader. A veterinarian, shelter, or rescue can then identify your lost pet and contact you right away.
Weight management for your pet is important. It can play a significant role in determining its lifespan. For example, a study in 2002 by Purina determined that dogs with owner controlled diets lived over 2 years longer without needing treatment for a chronic condition. For a pet with at 13 year lifespan, this equates to over 15% of its life!
During an exam, our staff will discuss with you recommendations for weight management of your pet. For supporting information, please see the AVMA Pet Weight Recommendations.