Comprehensive Physical Exam
Not only are pets unable to tell you how they feel, they often hide symptoms of disease or illness. Sometimes the only way to tell if your pet is not well is through a veterinary examination. Our doctors perform a tip-of-the-nose to the tip-of-the-tail exam tailored to your pet's breed, age, health status and stage in life. For all pets, the comprehensive physical exam will consist of the following:
- Ophthalmic (Eye) Exam
- Otoscopic (Ear) Exam
- Dental Exam
- Neurologic Evaluation
- Coat and Skin Evaluation
- Lymph Node Palpation
- Cardiovascular (Heart) Evaluation
- Pulmonary (Lung) Evaluation
- Musculoskeletal and Joint Exam
- Weight and Nutritional Counseling
- Abdominal Palpation
- Rectal Exam
- Urogenital Evaluation
In addition, we will review any findings with you and make appropriate recommendations. We will discuss effective heartworm, flea, and intestinal parasite prevention. And, most importantly, we will answer any questions you may have regarding your pet.
There are many vaccines necessary to protect your pet's health. Each year, we will determine your pet's needs based on his or her age, health status, environment, lifestyle, and travel habits. Your veterinarian will also perform an examination of your pet before giving any vaccine in order to ensure there are no health issues that could pose a health risk by giving the vaccine.
The Benefit of Recombinant Vaccines
In order to provide your pet with the most effective and safest vaccine protection possible, Springtown Veterinary Clinic uses recombinant vaccines. The primary advantage of recombinant vaccines is there is virtually no chance of the host becoming ill from the agent since it is a single protein, not the organism itself. Another advantage is that recombinant vaccines do not require an adjuvant. An adjuvant is an agent that stimulates the immune system to find and react to the vaccine protein. Some adjuvants have been implicated in causing cancer in some animals over time.
Canine Vaccination Protocols
- Rabies: given at 12 weeks of age, booster in 12 months, then every 3 years thereafter
- DHPP (Distemper, Hepatitis, Parainfluenza, Parvo): given every 3 to 4 weeks starting at 6 weeks of age through 16 weeks of age, booster in 12 months, then every 2 years thereafter
- Leptospirosis: given at 12 weeks of age with a booster in 3 to 4 weeks, then booster annually
- Bordetella (Kennel Cough): given at 9 weeks of age, then booster annually
- Snake: given to dogs considered at high risk
- Influenza H3N2+H3N8: given to dogs considered at high risk
Feline Vaccination Protocols
- Rabies (Purevax): given at 12 weeks of age, then booster annually
- FVRCP (Feline Viral Rhinotracheitis, Calicivirus, Panleukopenia): given every 3 to 4 weeks starting at 6 weeks of age through 16 weeks of age, booster in 12 months, then every 2 years thereafter
- FeLV (Feline Leukemia Virus): given at 8 weeks of age with a booster in 3 to 4 weeks, then every 2 years thereafter for cats who spend time outdoors
Wellness Lab Work
We run tests to confirm that your pet's organs are functioning properly and to find hidden health conditions. Healthy-looking pets may be hiding symptoms of a disease or condition. These tests also become part of your pet's medical record, providing a baseline for future reference.
- Complete Blood Count
- Mini Blood Chemistry
- Complete Blood Count
- Comprehensive Blood Chemistry
- Thyroid Function Test
Heartworm Disease in Dogs
Heartworm disease is a serious and potentially fatal disease in dogs. It is caused by a parasite called Dirofilaria immitis and is transmitted by mosquitoes. Prevention is key; it is always less costly and safer to prevent heartworms than to treat them and the damage they cause! Yearly testing and monthly preventative is the cornerstone of a heartworm-free pet.
The doctors at Springtown Veterinary Hospital highly recommend all dogs receive monthly heartworm preventative all year long.
Adult heartworms are found in the heart and large adjacent vessels of infected dogs. Adult worms cause disease by clogging the heart and major blood vessels leading from the heart. The immature worms, or microfilariae, circulate throughout the body. Microfilariae may block blood flow in blood vessels that supply vital organs including the lungs and liver. Heartworm infection leads to severe heart, lung, liver, and kidney damage.
Heartworms survive up to 5 years and it takes a number of years before dogs show outward signs of infection. Unfortunately, by the time signs are seen, the disease is well advanced. The most obvious signs are a chronic cough, shortness of breath, weakness, listlessness, exercise intolerance, or fainting. Other common symptoms include weight loss, poor condition, and anemia. Severely infected dogs may die suddenly during exercise or excitement.
The diagnosis of heartworm disease can be made by a blood test that is performed in our hospital. We use a serological test that detects antigens (proteins) produced by adult heartworms. In addition, our blood test also screens for Lyme Disease, Ehrlichia and Anaplasmosis—commonly seen tick-borne diseases in our area.
We recommend giving your dog a monthly heartworm preventative. Preventative options include Trifexis, Advantage Multi, Sentinel, and Heartgard. We also carry Proheart, an injection given in-hospital that prevents heartworm disease for 6 months.
Heartworm Disease in Cats
Heartworm disease is not just a canine disease. Heartworms affect cats differently than dogs, but the disease they cause is equally serious and potentially fatal. It only takes one mosquito to infect a cat, and because mosquitoes can get indoors, both indoor and outdoor cats are at risk and should receive heartworm preventive.
The doctors at Springtown Veterinary Hospital highly recommend all cats receive monthly heartworm preventative all year long.
Heartworm disease in cats actually affects the lungs more the heart. The term HARD is often used, meaning Heartworm Associated Respiratory Disease. Symptoms of coughing are often mistaken for feline asthma or allergic bronchitis. Cats may also show anorexia, vomiting, weight loss, or even sudden death.
Diagnosis is not as straight forward in cats as it is in dogs. An initial blood test is performed in our hospital. We use a serological test that detects antibodies to heartworms. Any positive antibody results are submitted to our outside laboratory for a follow-up antigen test.
There is no treatment for heartworm disease in cats, so prevention is key. We recommend giving your cat a monthly heartworm preventative, such as Revolution Plus.
Intestinal Parasite Prevention
Dogs and cats suffer from several types of intestinal parasites (or worms). The most common are roundworms, hookworms, whipworms (dogs), and tapeworms. With the exception of tapeworms, intestinal parasites live within your pet's intestines and only pass microscopic eggs in the stool. Even though these eggs are not visible to the naked eye, they are highly infectious to other pets and people.
Although some parasite infections will cause few or no symptoms, dogs and cats typically experience the following:
- Loss of appetite
- Vomiting and/or diarrhea
- Weight loss
- Poor hair coat
- Pot-bellied appearance
The diagnosis of intestinal parasites is made through a special testing process of your pet's stool (fecal centrifugation). The diagnosis is based on presence of microscopic parasite eggs, with each species having its own unique appearance.
We recommend giving your pet a monthly heartworm preventative that also prevents against intestinal parasites. Options include Simparica Trio and Sentinel for dogs and Revolution Plus for cats.
In addition, it is important to properly clean and dispose of your pet's stool to avoid environmental contamination. Parasite eggs can survive in the environment for long periods of time, resulting in persistent re-infestations as well as transmission to people. Good personal hygiene when cleaning up after your pet will also prevent transmission.
Fleas can be a major problem for both dogs and cats. They cause severe discomfort resulting in scratching, licking, chewing, and biting. Fleas are also the cause of Flea Allergy Dermatitis, the most common pet skin condition. They feed off your pet's blood and, in severe infestations, can cause anemia. Fleas also transmit tapeworms to dogs and cats.
Fleas reproduce year-round and at an incredible rate—one female flea can produce 50 eggs within one day! Just a few fleas can quickly result in a major infestation. That's why it's important to kill fleas as quickly as possible, before they can lay eggs.
We recommend giving your pet a monthly flea preventative, such as Simparica or Bravecto. Some heartworm preventatives also offer flea prevention, such as Simparica Trio and Revolution Plus.
Microchip Permanent Identification
Getting lost is the number one cause of pet death. Studies have shown that more than 10 million pets are lost each year and about 90 percent will not be returned to their owners without effective pet identification.
With a microchip, your pet can be identified quickly and easily by animal control officers, shelters, or veterinary hospitals. Microchips are safe, unalterable, and permanent identification for pets.
At Springtown Veterinary Hospital, we use the HomeAgain microchip system, which is quick and painless (the microchip is approximately the size of a grain of rice). The entire procedure is similar to a vaccination and takes less than 10 seconds. The HomeAgain ID program uses microchips that register the animal with a unique identification number that is filed in a database with important contact information. This information can be updated at any time.
Pets are living longer, healthier lives than ever before and a big part of that is due to our expanded knowledge of the importance of proper nutrition to overall health.
During your pet's comprehensive physical examination we evaluate his or her body condition and give diet recommendations based on what we find. For most pets these recommendations will include information on proper serving size and other feeding strategies to maintain optimal body weight and nutritional health. However, some pets have more serious nutritional challenges or chronic conditions such as diabetes or kidney disease. Nutritional management can include more intensive feeding strategies, specialized foods, and prescription diets.
We also carry a diverse inventory of prescription foods and high-quality nutritional products. If your pet requires a prescription diet we do not carry, we can easily order it for you. We can also offer advice and provide information about diets that benefit specific medical conditions such as liver disease, bladder and kidney stones, renal failure, food allergies, diabetes and other conditions.