At Solomon Veterinary Clinic, we see all of our patients on a yearly basis for their annual physical exam. At this examination, we take time to do a thorough physical, talk with you about any changes in lifestyle or behavior and provide the necessary vaccinations and medications for your pet. This time spent together plays an important role in increasing our odds of detecting problems early, before they become severe and costly.
During the exam, our doctors will perform the following:
- Ear and eye examination
- Cardiopulmonary (heart and lung) examination
- Abdominal palpation
- Oral/dental exam
- Dermatological exam
- Musculoskeletal evaluation
Just like people, pets need to be vaccinated against diseases. Vaccines are intended to trigger protective immune responses in pets in order to protect them from future disease infections. Vaccine administration will be based on your pet's lifestyle and/or breed.
Required or core vaccines for dogs include canine distemper, canine adenovirus-2, parvovirus and rabies. The canine distemper, canine adenovirus-2 and parvovirus is a combination vaccine first given between the ages of 6 to 8 weeks and is continued every three weeks until the puppy is at least 16 weeks old. Thereafter, the vaccine is repeated every one to three years. Rabies vaccination is first given once the puppy is 5 months old and boostered one year later. After that, the rabies vaccine is repeated every one to three years.
Canine distemper is a serious, highly contagious disease. It weakens the immune system, leaving infected dogs vulnerable to other infections. Symptoms include fever, coughing, green nasal and eye discharge, vomiting, diarrhea, dehydration, loss of appetite, thickened toe pads, muscle twitching, seizures and blindness. Puppies are most susceptible. Distemper is fatal in up to 90 percent of cases. For the dogs that recover from the disease, most have serious permanent neurologic problems. Fortunately, the vaccination is very effective if given prior to the dog's exposure.
There are two forms of canine adenovirus, CAV-1 and CAV-2. Vaccination with CAV-2 provides protection against both. CAV-1 is the cause of infectious canine hepatitis, which damages the liver. CAV-2 is one of several organisms that can cause infectious canine tracheobronchitis, or kennel cough. Just as you would expect, the main sign is a persistent cough. It is spread mainly in places where large numbers of dogs are in close proximity, such as kennels, shelters, grooming facilities or dog shows.
Canine parvovirus (CPV) is a highly contagious disease affecting the digestive system. It can also weaken the immune system and damage the heart. Signs include fever, lethargy, vomiting, bloody diarrhea, dehydration and loss of appetite. It can be fatal, especially in puppies born to unvaccinated mothers. Parvovirus treatment usually requires hospitalization.
Rabies is an incurable disease of the nervous system that is always fatal. Worse yet, it is transmittable between most animal species, including humans. Although rabies transmission requires direct body fluid contact, even indoor pets can be at risk, since sick wild and domestic animals may enter homes or yards. Regular rabies vaccination is mandated by law in most states.
Depending on your dog's lifestyle, additional vaccines may be recommended such as Bordetella (kennel cough), influenza and leptospirosis. The kennel cough complex, also known as infectious tracheobronchitis, is a treatable respiratory illness. It can be caused by CAV-2, canine parainfluenza, and Bordetella bronchiseptica, mycoplasma organisms and possibly other viruses. The combination vaccine normally given to dogs includes CAV-2 and parainfluenza. Dogs at high risk of exposure to kennel cough can receive an additional vaccine, given as nose drops or as an injection, that protects against Bordetella as well. This is recommended for dogs that are boarded, groomed professionally or taken to dog shows or dog parks.
Leptospirosis is a serious illness that damages the kidneys and liver and can be transmitted to people. Unfortunately, the vaccine provides only partial protection and must be boostered annually. In the past it was believed lepto vaccines were connected to a higher incidence of allergic reactions. Studies have now shown that the greatest risk of allergic reactions is seen in small breed dogs receiving multiple vaccines at once. We can help decrease the risk of vaccine reactions by giving each vaccine a few weeks apart, so as not to overwhelm their immune system. We see very few allergic reactions with our vaccines and vaccination protocols.
The core vaccines we recommend for cats are panleukopenia, feline herpesvirus-1, feline calicivirus, chlamydophila and rabies. The first four are combined in a single injection that is given to kittens starting at 6 to 8 weeks of age and boostered every three to four weeks until at least 16 weeks of age. Adult cats receive two doses initially, given three to four weeks apart. Thereafter, the combination vaccine is repeated every one to three years. The rabies vaccination is given first at 5 months of age and then once a year.
Feline panleukopenia, or feline distemper, is a serious gastrointestinal disease. Symptoms resemble parvovirus in dogs and include fever, lethargy, vomiting, diarrhea, dehydration, loss of appetite, miscarriage in pregnant cats and nervous system damage in newborns. It is highly contagious and commonly fatal in nonvaccinated cats. Panleukopenia is rare in properly vaccinated cats.
Feline herpesvirus-1 (feline rhinotracheitis virus) and feline calicivirus cause respiratory illness. Nonvaccinated cats may get severely ill or even die. These viruses are extremely contagious. Vaccination gives incomplete protection, but vaccinated cats get only mild symptoms if they get sick at all.
Feline chlamydophila causes a severe eye infection. The bacterium primarily infects the conjunctiva causing inflammation (conjunctivitis). It is spread by direct contact and is common in places where large numbers of cats are housed together.
Rabies is an incurable disease of the nervous system that is always fatal. Worse yet, it is transmittable between most animal species, including humans. Although rabies transmission requires direct body fluid contact, even indoor pets can be at risk, since sick wild and domestic animals may enter homes. Regular rabies vaccination is mandated by law in many areas.Additional vaccination against feline leukemia (FeLV) may also be recommended, depending on your cat's potential exposure. FeLV is transmitted by close, direct contact between cats, so vaccination is most important for cats that go outside or otherwise contact potentially infected cats. Cats should be tested for FeLV before vaccination, since the vaccine doesn't help cats that already have the virus. Two doses of vaccine are given three to four weeks apart, as early as 8 weeks of age. Annual revaccination is recommended.
The annual exam includes a visual examination of your pet for evidence of external parasites like fleas, ticks or mites. We also perform internal parasite screens to confirm the absence of heartworms or other internal parasites. These tests are done in our in-house laboratory, so we can get results quickly. Our knowledgeable staff can recommend medications to help control fleas, ticks, heartworms and intestinal parasites based on your pet's lifestyle and screening results. Preventing parasites in your pets also helps protect children and other family members, so let's work together to protect your pets and family.
There was a time when parasites like fleas, ticks and roundworms were considered mostly a nuisance. Now we know that parasites can cause serious illness and even death in pets. For example, ticks can transmit infections like Lyme disease, and fleas can transmit tapeworms and Bartonella – the bacteria that causes "cat-scratch fever" in humans. Another parasite, called a heartworm, is transmitted by mosquitoes. Heartworms live in your pet's heart, causing damage to the heart and lungs and sometimes death. Intestinal parasites, like roundworms and hookworms, also threaten pets and are transmissible to humans.
You may not always be able to tell if your pet has parasites. Fleas can hide under your pet's fur, and some ticks are very tiny (only the size of a pinhead), so they are very difficult to find. Intestinal parasites like roundworms can cause diarrhea and other problems, but some infected pets will not show signs of illness at all.
Veterinary examinations and parasite testing are important ways to protect your pet's health. Let our well-informed staff provide you with a comprehensive parasite control program based on your pet's needs. We can recommend a schedule for parasite testing, discuss what signs of parasites you can look for at home, review ways to control parasites in and around your home, discuss treatment options if your pet has parasites, and recommend ways to control and prevent parasites in the future.Parasites are not just a nuisance. They can carry serious diseases that can affect you and your pet's overall health and longevity. Let us help protect you and your pet. Call today to find out how!
There are many ways your pet can get lost. A collar and tag are always recommended, but can easily come off. A microchip is a superior form of identification just for this reason. The microchip is about the size of a grain of rice and is implanted by injection of the chip using a needle. It is injected under the skin between the shoulder blades. If your pet ever gets lost and is taken to any shelter or veterinarian, the first thing that they do is scan it for a microchip. The owner information is linked to the microchip. We have personally reunited several families with their lost pets, and without a microchip this may not have been possible. We strongly encourage everyone to get a microchip for their pet!