Your pet can benefit greatly from regular health checkups. Whether your pet is a youngster, a "senior citizen," or any age in between, wellness examinations provide an excellent opportunity for us to conduct a thorough physical exam and develop a health profile for your pet. This information will help us identify medical problems and other issues that can affect your pet's health and quality of life.
Pets age seven times faster on average than people do. Most pets are adults by age 2, middle aged by 6, and by age 10, many dogs, especially larger breeds, are seniors. Because pets age so rapidly, health issues can develop more quickly than expected. Regular exams allow the veterinarian to diagnose, treat, and prevent health problems before they become chronic, serious issues.
The annual physical includes an examination of your pet's coat and skin, eyes and ears, nose and throat, mouth, teeth, and gums, heart and lungs, legs, abdomen, urogenital system, weight and diet. We will ask you questions about your pet's behavior, appetite, exercise habits, and regular activities at home. This is also an excellent time for us to discuss any routine diagnostic testing that may benefit your pet or to recommend any vaccinations that may be due. If your pet seems healthy, yearly visits provide a good opportunity to note any changes, such as weight gain or loss or other subtle changes that may not be evident at home. Should a health problem become evident, our facility has the tools necessary to diagnose and treat your pet.
Finally, periodic examinations help us establish a relationship with you and your pet. Through your pet's physical examinations, other wellness procedures, and our consultations with you, we get to know your pet and learn about his or her lifestyle, personality, health risks, home environment, and other important information. We encourage regular health examinations as a way to take an active role in your pet's health care.
Vaccinating your pet is a simple procedure that is safe and effective. Many infectious diseases that were once considered fatal to pets are now under control due to the use of modern vaccines. A consistent and well-balanced immunization program helps guard your pet against contagious and preventable diseases. Together, we'll tailor a unique vaccination schedule for your pet based on his or her age, physical condition and lifestyle.
Rabies threatens the lives of humans and animals. Dogs and cats have frequent contact with humans and with wild animals that may be infected with rabies. Unvaccinated dogs and cats are a threat to spread the disease to humans. By law, Pennsylvanians who own or keep dogs and household cats 12 weeks of age or older must have them vaccinated against rabies to prevent the spread of the fatal disease to humans and other animals. Vaccinations are mandated by the Rabies Prevention and Control in Domestic Animals and Wildlife Act which became effective on February 13, 1987 in Pennsylvania. People who violate the law can be fined up to $300.
External parasites, such as fleas and ticks, and internal parasites, such as heartworms, roundworms, whipworms, and hookworms are common in pets. Many parasites, including fleas, ticks, and hookworms, are zoonotic, which means they can affect you and your family as well as your pet. Several common intestinal parasites can be detected by laboratory testing of a fecal sample. Medications are available to eradicate intestinal parasites, but frequent testing is important because dogs and cats can share these parasites and also pass some of them to humans.
Periodic laboratory testing for tick and mosquito borne diseases such as Lyme, Heartworm, Ehrlichia, and Anaplasmosis are important for the good health of your pet. Preventative medications, vaccines, and antibiotics are available to prevent and treat these diseases. We encourage their use because it is so much easier and less expensive to prevent these diseases than it is to treat an active case.
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All pets benefit from a balanced diet; however, many pets have dietary needs that can be met most effectively with a prescription diet. Our clinic is able to tailor a nutrition plan using these specialized foods to aid in the control or recovery of a medical issue.
Obesity is a growing problem in pets. Almost half of the dogs we see are overweight or obese. Excess weight reduces activity and can lead to many health problems such as high blood pressure, arthritis, breathing problems, skin fold infections, heart disease, and diabetes. A dog whose ideal weight is 35 pounds only needs to gain seven pounds to be considered obese. Those seven pounds equate to a 150 pound person gaining thirty pounds. We are able to evaluate a pet's body condition and suggest a diet plan using a specific diet medication or one of the veterinary prescription diet foods.
Illness doesn't always have a physical cause. Our doctors use a thorough patient history along with relevant clinical signs to help determine the cause of such disorders as separation anxiety and obsessive behavior. They then develop a treatment regimen for the client and patient to help them live together in a mutually beneficial way.
Our team is trained to help you understand your pet's behavior, prevent behavior problems, and resolve many common nuisance behaviors. Our doctors and technicians will provide training tips and suggestions for behavior modification of pets through the use of management changes by the owner.
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Microchipping is a safe and simple way to identify your pet in case he or she becomes lost. A tiny microchip, about the size of a grain of rice, contains a one of a kind identification number. The chip is injected with little discomfort under the skin through a syringe, just like a vaccine. The chip is designed to stay permanently in place. When a lost dog or cat without an ID tag is found, a handheld microchip scanner can be used to check for a chip. If the pet has one, it will transmit his ID number to the scanner via a low frequency radio wave. The veterinary hospital or shelter then phones the chip manufacturer, retrieves the pet owner's contact information, and calls the owner. Once a microchip has been placed in your pet and you've registered your contact information, you will have the peace of mind that you've given your pet the permanent lifetime ID he needs for the best chance to come home if lost.
There is no single rule that can be followed for when is the time to give your cherished pet relief from pain and suffering. Euthanasia can be a difficult decision, as pets often experience a mix of good and not so good days. Our team will address your questions, concerns, and provide support. Cremation services are available either by communal or private cremation. Costs vary by type of service requested and by the weight of your pet. We work with many private crematories that provide very professional, respectful service and compassionate care.