Routine Wellness Exams
Why is your pet’s routine wellness visit so important?
Finding a pet wellness exam near you is a great way to help your pet live a healthy life for as long as possible. These veterinary wellness exams can also help the Garden City Veterinary Care team catch potential health issues before they become more serious. Routine wellness checks help you avoid additional costs associated with treatments if the disease goes undetected.
Vaccines & Parasite Prevention
During your pet’s wellness check, your veterinarian thoroughly examines your pet and will discuss vaccinations and preventative care for Heartworms, Gastrointestinal Parasites, and Ectoparasites.
How do they work?
Vaccines contain small quantities of modified or “killed” viruses, bacteria, or other disease-causing organisms. When administered, they stimulate your dog’s immune system to produce disease-fighting cells and proteins – or antibodies- to protect against such diseases.
What vaccines does GCVC recommend?
DHPP (Distemper/Adenovirus/Parvovirus/Parainfluenza) is highly contagious. Canine adenovirus causes hepatitis, primarily damages the liver, and can become fatal.
Parvovirus is also highly contagious and spreads through vomit and diarrhea.
Parainfluenza is an upper respiratory disease that can develop into pneumonia.
Bordetella (Kennel Cough) is a viral and bacterial infection that causes coughing, sneezing, and nasal and eye discharge. It spreads through direct contact with another dog, contaminated objects, or airborne.
Rabies is an incurable viral disease that affects the central nervous system. It spreads through contact with the saliva of infected animals, through bites, or any break in the skin. This disease can be passed to humans.
Leptospirosis is a serious bacterial disease attacking the kidneys and liver. It typically spreads when infected urine from wildlife comes into contact with an opening of the skin or a mucous membrane (eyes, nose, or mouth). This disease can be passed to humans.
Lyme transmits from ticks to dogs. This disease is prevalent on Long Island. It often results in chronic arthritis and can sometimes lead to death.
Canine Influenza Dog virus is similar to the human “flu” virus. It can cause a cough with a low-grade fever, and if not treated, it can lead to pneumonia. This virus is airborne and highly contagious.
What to expect after vaccines?
After vaccinations, many patients are a bit sore and tired for a day or two. Provide a little extra TLC and ensure adequate food and water intake.
While uncommon, some pets develop an injection site “vaccine bump” seven to ten days after. This firm, non-painful swelling will resolve within 2-3 weeks.
Signs of a genuine allergic reaction include sudden weakness, vomiting, diarrhea, facial swelling, difficulty breathing, and skin hives. If these signs occur, this warrants immediate medical attention. Feel free to call us with any questions or concerns.
At Garden City Veterinary Care, we highly recommend fecal analyses during a puppy and kitten wellness check. Puppies often have parasites, but adult dogs are susceptible as well. Intestinal parasites can transmit from animal to animal, often not showing any clinical signs. Parasites can be found in the environment and are released through animal feces. Some parasites tend to be zoonotic, meaning they are transmissible to humans. If the fecal analysis returns positive for worms or parasites, your veterinarian will prescribe the necessary medications for your pet, which will be available at our hospital.
What is heartworm disease?
In many countries worldwide, including the United States, heartworm disease in pets is a severe and possibly life-threatening condition. Heartworm disease is brought on by foot-long worms (heartworms) living in infected pets’ hearts, lungs, and blood vessels. This leads to heart failure, severe lung disease, and harm to other internal organs. While heartworms affect dogs, cats, as well as ferrets, they can also be found in foxes, wolves, coyotes, and, in some cases, humans. Wild animals like foxes or coyotes are regarded to be disease carriers since they often live close to urban areas.
Dogs: Being a natural host for heartworms, dogs have the ideal conditions for parasites to develop into adulthood, mate, and reproduce. The worm population in dogs can increase significantly if left untreated. Dogs have been known to have hundreds of worms in their bodies. Heartworm disease causes longstanding damage to the heart, arteries, and lungs and can impact the quality of life and health of a dog even after the parasites have disappeared. Prevention is the best course of action, and when treatment is required, it should be given as soon as possible to prevent any further damage to the dog’s health.
Cats: Compared to heartworm disease in dogs, heartworm disease in cats is significantly different. Cats are uncommon hosts for heartworms, and the majority of worms in cats won’t develop into adulthood. Typically, cats affected by adult heartworms will only have one to three worms, while many cats with heartworm disease will have no mature worms. Often heartworm disease goes undetected in cats because of this. It’s crucial to understand that even immature heartworms can seriously damage cats due to heartworm-associated respiratory disease (HARD). Since cats cannot take the same medication as dogs to treat heartworm infections, prevention is the only way to protect cats from the dangers of heartworm disease.
When should my pet be tested?
Testing procedures and timing differ somewhat between dogs and cats.
Dogs: All dogs should be tested annually for heartworm infection, typically done during a routine visit for preventive care. The following are guidelines on testing and timing:
Puppies under 7 months can start heartworm prevention without a heartworm test (it takes at least 6 months for a dog to test positive after being infected). They should be tested 6 months after your initial visit and again 6 months later, then yearly, to ensure they are heartworm-free.
Adult dogs over 7 months and previously not on preventive treatment need to be tested before starting heartworm prevention. They, too, need to be tested 6 months and 12 months later and annually after that.
If there has been a lapse in prevention (one or more late or missed doses), dogs should be tested immediately, then tested again six months later and annually after that.
Annual testing is necessary to ensure the prevention program works, even when dogs are on heartworm prevention year-round. Heartworm medications are highly effective, but dogs can still become infected. If you miss just one dose of a monthly medication—or give it late—it can leave your dog unprotected. Even if the medicine is given as directed, your dog may spit out or vomit a heartworm pill—or rub off a topical medication. Heartworm preventives are highly effective but not 100 percent effective.
Cats: Because adult heartworms are far less common in cats than dogs, it can be more difficult to diagnose heartworm disease in cats. Antigen and antibody tests—the “antibody” test identifies heartworm larvae exposure—are the preferred way for screening cats. X-rays or ultrasounds may also be used by your veterinarian to check for heartworm infection. To document ongoing exposure and risk, cats should be tested before starting a preventive treatment and then tested again when appropriate. Prevention is crucial since cats have no approved treatment for heartworm infection.
More questions can be answered at https://www.heartwormsociety.org/pet-owner-resources/heartworm-basics.
If your pet goes outside, they are exposed to various ectoparasites, such as fleas, mites, ticks, mosquitos, etc.
Garden City Veterinary Care carries several products used monthly as a preventative for Heartworms and Ectoparasites. Please ask our veterinarian which product best suits your pet and its lifestyle.