Canine Health Recommendations: There are certain things that all dog owners should consider doing to ensure that their pets remain healthy. The article below summarizes our current recommendations for dogs.
Puppies should have an initial full exam when first acquired. Thereafter we recommend brief examinations with each visit throughout the puppy immunization series. These brief exams give us a chance to talk to you about important topics in puppy care such as feeding, housebreaking, dental care, parasite prevention, spaying or neutering and behavioral issues that may arise. These visits also get the puppy used to coming to the vet and being examined. Getting acclimated is especially important for large-breed dogs who may become fearful of veterinary treatment if not comfortable with the process. Finally, the exams ensure that your puppies are healthy when receiving their immunizations.
Young adult dogs should receive annual examinations, which allow us to check for problems such as dental disease, skin problems, orthopedic issues and ear infections. If problems arise, we may need to see your dog more frequently. Once your dog becomes a senior at about seven or eight years of age, we recommend semi-annual examinations. Just like people, animals are more likely to develop problems as they age. These problems are less likely to become significant if detected early. A year is a long time in the span of an older dog.
Our vaccination protocol is based on the current recommendations of the American Animal Hospital Association (AAHA).
Starting when they are six to eight weeks old, puppies receive a series of vaccines that are given every 3 weeks up until about sixteen weeks of age for distemper, parvovirus, adenovirus and parainfluenza (DA2P/P) vaccine. They should receive a two-dose series of Bordatella (kennel cough) and a rabies immunization at four months of age.
At about sixteen months, your dog will receive a 3-year DA2P/P, a 3-year rabies vaccine and an annual Bordatella vaccine. These vaccines are repeated at the specified intervals throughout your pet’s life. If certain medical conditions arise, vaccination may be contraindicated as your pet ages.
We do not recommend vaccinating against Lyme disease, Corona virus or rattlesnake envenomation.
Parasites are common in dogs. All puppies are dewormed at least twice with a broad spectrum dewormer and have at least one fecal submitted to the lab to test for parasites not covered by the dewormer. Additionally, all dogs over the age of six months should be tested for heartworm and then retested every two years.
You should check your pet regularly for external parasites such as fleas and ticks and take appropriate measures to prevent infestations.
Baseline Lab Work: Starting at about age three, your pet should have an annual minor blood panel and urinalysis. These important lab tests allow us to establish a baseline for your pet and aid in the early detection of problems. When your pet reaches senior status, we recommend a more comprehensive lab work-up annually that will check for common endocrine issues and help detect other common senior issues.
Parasite Prevention: We strongly urge all dog owners to put their pets on monthly year-round parasite preventative. These medications are safe, effective and easily administered. Because some of the parasites that our dogs contract can have serious adverse health effects on the owner as well as the pet, we cannot stress too strongly how important this is. For more detailed information, see our article Why Your Pet Needs Year-Round Parasite Prevention.
By following these recommendations, you will be doing everything necessary to ensure that your dog leads a long and healthy life.