Since dogs and cats age so much more quickly than humans, it’s important for them to be examined by a veterinarian at least once a year. We will give any required/requested vaccines, of course, but we’ll also give your pet a nose to tail exam, checking the ears, eyes, mouth, heart, skin, musculoskeletal and upper respiratory systems, and much more.
We’ll test their stool for parasites, as well as testing for heartworm and Lyme disease and other disorders that may affect your pet. (If you have further questions about blood work, please ask about our Laboratory External and In-House services for more information.) We’ll also discuss any questions you may have about behavior or nutrition; we’re always happy to help Fluffy or Fido lose a few pounds!
Vaccines are important for keeping your dog, cat or ferret healthy and for preventing serious and sometimes fatal diseases. Rabies vaccination is required every one to three years for all cats and dogs in Pennsylvania. Feline and canine distemper combination vaccines are also considered “core” vaccines and are strongly recommended. The need for other vaccines such as kennel cough (bordetella), canine influenza, Lyme and feline leukemia is based on individual risk so talk to our veterinarians about which of these non-core vaccines may be right for your pet.
Blood Pressure Checks
Hypertension or high blood pressure is not a common primary problem in our pets, but sometimes underlying health problems such as hyperthyroidism, diabetes and kidney disease can lead to elevated blood pressure. Critically ill patients may also need to have their blood pressure monitored, and, blood pressure is monitored in patients under ansethesia. We use either a cuff similar to what your doctor would use or a device called a Doppler to monitor blood pressure in cats and dogs.
As our pets age, they can develop a variety of health problems such as arthritis, kidney and liver disease, hypo- and hyperthyroidism and even cognitive dysfunction which is similar to Alzheimer’s disease in humans. However, many people do not recognize early signs of illness as pets, especially cats, are good at hiding symptoms of being sick or unable to get around.
Our doctors advocate examining pets over the age of seven every six months to try to catch any changes or early signs of illness before the pet becomes seriously ill or debilitated and we also recommend annual blood testing to look for early changes to organs like liver and kidney and to keep tabs on thyroid levels, especially in older cats. Like you, we want your pet to live as long as possible, and early detection and prevention of disease is very important in our senior patients.
Parasite Testing ~ Fecal Testing
We at Patton Veterinary Hospital strive to keep our patients parasite free! That’s why we recommend checking a sample of your pet’s poop (fecal or stool sample) at least once a year. It is so important to screen for intestinal worms like roundworms, hookworms and whipworms and other intestinal parasites like giardia and coccidia. All of these can affect your pet causing poor growth, weight loss, diarrhea and other symptoms.
Indoor pets are not immune to parasites so ALL pets should be evaluated and routinely treated for internal parasites. Even pets who spend little to no time outdoors can sometimes get worms from places like potted plants, insects or the occasional mouse in the house that they might find and eat, and they can get tapeworms from having fleas.
Many pets have no symptoms of parasite infestation. These pets can be silent carriers passing parasites on to other dogs and cats and some of these parasites can be passed to humans causing serious illnesses. We don’t ever want anyone’s child to contract hookworms or roundworms or other parasites from their pets. Help us to keep your pets and your families safe. Please remember to bring a sample of your pet’s poo to your next appointment!