What do you recommend for fleas and ticks?
Pet owners have many more options for flea and tick control than even 10 years ago. The old flea baths and collars have been replaced by safer, more effective treatments. Today we have oral and topical medications for dogs and cats that are extremely effective and provide protection for up to 1 month. We also have both topical and oral medications that protect against heartworm disease and flea infestations, providing an “all in one” product for your pet. The product we recommend for your pet varies based on your pet’s exposure risk. We recommend discussing your pet’s risk with a veterinarian before deciding what product would be best suited to their needs. Veterinarians are very knowledgeable on the flea and tick life cycles and how to best exterminate these pests from your pet and household. There is no “silver bullet” when it comes to flea and tick medications. An integrated pest control plan will give you the best results.
Call us today so we can help you keep your pet bug-free!
Why does my dog need Heartworm Disease testing?
Yearly heartworm disease testing is important for a variety of reasons. First, administering heartworm preventative medications to heartworm positive dogs can be very harmful or even fatal to them. It is always essential to confirm a heartworm negative status prior to starting the animal on a preventative medication. Even if the animal is on year-round preventative, yearly testing is important due to treatment lapses (forgot to give medication or the dog spit the medication out) and due to the fact that not every medication is 100% effective 100% of the time. Another reason for testing is that treating a heartworm positive dog with a preventative medication is not only dangerous, but it is not an efficient use of your money. If a dog is heartworm disease positive, your money would be better spent diagnosing and treating the disease; not purchasing more preventative medication. An added benefit to heartworm disease testing is that many heartworm disease test kits found in veterinary clinics actually test for more than just heartworm disease. Tick transmitted diseases such as Lyme Disease are also ruled out from the same blood test. Lyme Disease is quite prevalent in our area so a yearly blood test will determine if your dog has been exposed. So for all of these reasons and more, heartworm disease testing is an important part or your pet’s yearly check-up!
Can I get my dog licensed at your clinic?
We take care of the necessary paperwork to register your dog in Henry County, IL. After your dog is examined and vaccinated for rabies, you will receive a certificate and tag with your dog’s registration number. You have the option of registering your pet for 1 or 3 years, depending on the type of rabies vaccination that was administered. If you live outside of Henry County, you will be provided with a certificate showing proof of when your dog was vaccinated for rabies. You can then contact your county’s animal control office in order to register your dog in your respective county.
How long does it take to get an appointment? We will do everything possible to schedule an appointment at a time that is most convenient to you. Naturally, certain cases may take first priority depending on if it is an emergency or not, but we make every effort to schedule an appointment for you the same day you call in. If your pet has had an emergency requiring immediate medical attention, simply call us on your way so that we can be prepared to treat your pet when you arrive.
How do I know if my pet has worms?
Surprisingly, you may not know. If you see parasites in your pet’s feces, the diagnosis is easy. We would still need to see a sample of the stool with the parasite in order to prescribe the proper medication. Oftentimes, however, you will not see parasites in your pet’s stool. Clinical signs of parasite infestation can be vague and vary greatly in severity based on the pet’s age and immune status. For that reason, we recommend yearly intestinal parasite screening in order to rule out parasite infestation in your pet. To do this, we examine a sample of your pet’s feces under the microscope in order to visualize the microscopic worm eggs that are shed during an infestation. Certain parasites can be transmitted to humans, especially children. Therefore, it is very important to make yearly intestinal parasite screening a part of your pet’s preventative care.
What vaccinations does my pet need?
While state law requires dogs to be vaccinated for rabies at a minimum of every 3 years, other vaccines are administered based on your individual pet’s needs. Does your pet visit a groomer or boarding facility? Do you frequent areas where high numbers of dogs visit (dog parks, pet supply stores, etc.)? Is your pet exposed to ticks or does it visit areas with lots of brush or timber? Does your pet spend a majority of time indoors or is it outdoors frequently? These are a few of the questions we may ask while performing your pet’s yearly wellness examination. They all give us information so that we can discuss what diseases your pet is at risk from and allow us to determine what vaccinations your pet needs.
Can you just prescribe something for my pet if I describe the symptoms?
It is in your pet’s best interest that he or she be examined by a veterinarian prior to any medication being dispensed. The sooner an accurate diagnosis is made on your pet, the quicker your pet can be treated appropriately and be on the road to recovery. Delaying a diagnosis by waiting to have the animal examined will not only cause more suffering to your pet, but it also could make the eventual treatment more expensive for you, since many conditions are much more easily treated early on in the disease process. In addition, federal law prohibits veterinarians from prescribing medication without first examining the animal. You wouldn’t describe your child’s illness to your pediatrician and expect him to write a prescription without seeing your child! In the same way, your veterinarian needs to see your pet to be able to prescribe the proper medication and/or treatment in order to get them healthy again.
There are certain medications that are prescribed to pets which they take long term. For these types of medications, the animal does not need to be examined prior to every refill but should still be examined regularly to evaluate how the animal is doing on the medication. Some medications also require blood work prior to refilling or periodic blood work to monitor drug levels.
It is essential that your veterinarian be involved in what medications your animal is taking because they are the best advocate for your pet’s health! Even over-the-counter medications can potentially be harmful without proper guidance on how to administer them. Please call with any questions you may have in regards to medications and your pet!
Is bad breath normal in pets?
The short answer is no, your pet should not have bad breath. Of course our pets do not gargle mouthwash or chew spearmint gum, so expecting a minty-fresh kiss from your pet may not be realistic. However, you should not be able to smell your dog’s bad breath from three feet away or have to turn your head away when your cat yawns. Bad breath in pets is nearly always a symptom of dental disease. Dental disease is one of the most common disease conditions affecting pets. If left untreated, it can lead to tooth loss, severe oral infections, jaw fractures, chronic nasal discharge, and even heart or kidney disease. While treats and chew toys designed to “clean teeth” can be helpful to maintain a healthy mouth, most pets will require a dental cleaning to remove large build-ups of calculus. Oftentimes, severely diseased teeth will be identified during a routine cleaning and appropriate treatment can be administered. An animal’s teeth are cleaned in much the same way as the dentist cleans our teeth, with the main difference being the pet is anesthetized prior to the procedure. The entire mouth is examined and the teeth are scaled and polished to remove tarter and calculus (mineralized tarter). Many owners report an improvement in their pet’s overall activity level after recovering from dental disease; the pet feels great! And, of course, their breath smells much better!
Are there any diseases I can catch from my pet?
While animals and humans have been sharing living spaces safely for millennia, there are certain diseases which can be transmitted between pets and humans. Some of the most easily preventable onotic diseases (those diseases which humans contract from animals) are those caused by parasites. Intestinal parasites (worms) can be a threat to human health; particularly small children. One intestinal parasite, the roundworm, has been known to cause blindness in humans. This is one of the reasons we recommend yearly intestinal parasite screening as well as year-round heartworm preventative medication (most heartworm preventatives de-worm for intestinal parasites as well).
Another cat-transmitted disease, cat scratch fever (yes, it is a real disease caused by a bacteria called Bartonella), is spread by cats that are infested with fleas; making flea control another important aspect of preventing disease in pets and people.
Another disease spread by animals which we cannot forget is rabies. Rabies was one of the most feared diseases of past times and is still a very serious public health threat in developing countries. It is nearly always a fatal disease for humans and animals once contracted. Though not as prevalent in the United States as it once was, it is still a very real danger. Pets can be exposed by wildlife such as bats, skunks, raccoons, or foxes. While all dogs four months old and older must be vaccinated against rabies by law, it is also very important to vaccinate cats; even those which never leave the house. Veterinarians have been specifically trained on different types of diseases which can be spread from animals to people. There are many other diseases which can be spread from animals to humans than what we have just described (and even some diseases you can give to your pet!). If you have any questions concerning your pet and zoonotic diseases, be sure to call us to get more information. A healthy, well cared for pet poses the least risk to you and your family, so be sure to get them examined on a regular basis.