Animal Health Associates Blog
If you only visit our Animal Health Associates when your pet is injured or sick, you’re missing the opportunity to get a complete picture of her health. The preventive care exam allows our veterinarians to detect potential health issues and begin monitoring or treating them right away. By committing to preventive care, you could extend it by months or years. It’s well worth the investment when you consider how much love and joy your pet brings into your life.
Our Recommended Schedule for Preventive Care Exams
If your pet is normally healthy and between the ages of 12 months and seven years, an annual exam is usually sufficient. Pets enter middle-age around age seven and their senior years around age 10, so we recommend bi-annual check-ups for pets in this age group. This is when we most often start seeing issues such arthritis, diabetes, and kidney disease. Your puppy or kitten under one year will need to come in several times before his first birthday for routine vaccinations and monitoring.
Required vaccines for dogs include canine adenovirus, canine parvovirus, distemper, and rabies. The first shot offers protection for both hepatitis and respiratory disease. Essential vaccines for cats include feline calicivirus, feline panleukopenia, rabies, and rhinotracheitis. Our veterinarians will also discuss several optional vaccines you may want to consider for your pet depending on her species, age, lifestyle, and general health. Unless you plan to breed your dog or cat, we recommend sterilization as soon as possible. We can complete the spay or neuter procedure as early as six months.
A Typical Preventive Care Exam
If your pet needs a new vaccine or booster, we will provide it at this appointment. This is also a great time to talk to our staff about any behavioral concerns, parasite prevention, exercise, and diet. We will check your pet for parasites and let you know if we discover any. Our comprehensive preventive care exam also consists of the following:
- Intestinal or stomach problems, which might show up as abnormal stools, diarrhea, or vomiting
- Unusual urinary discharge or mammary gland issues in females
- Nasal issues, which might include labored breathing, allergies, asthma, coughing, or sneezing
- Coat and skin for problems with anal sacs, hair loss, pigment changes, or excessive shedding
- Teeth and gums for oral health diseases
- Legs and feet for problems such as torn nails, weakness, limping, or joint pain
- Eyes and ears for signs of normal vision and hearing as well as absence of unusual discharge
- We will check your pet's weight at each visit to establish a baseline and let you know if we have any concerns about being overweight or underweight
Our staff will complete further diagnostic testing if we notice any potential issues during your pet’s exam. This may include a blood or urine test, x-ray, stool sample, or whatever is necessary to diagnose the health condition. We will contact you with the results as soon as possible and discuss a treatment plan at that time as well. If your pet needs medication or other follow-up treatment, you may be able to order what you need from our online store.
If it’s been more than a year since your adult pet’s last preventive care exam or six months since your senior pet had an exam, please contact us at (989) 773-3434 to schedule an appointment. We will let you know our preferred schedule for puppies and kittens the first time you bring your new pet to see us.
Are you ready to ring in the New Year with some new tricks to teach your dog or cat? Yes--cats can learn tricks, and they’re rather good at it! January is “Train Your Pet Month”. You can celebrate with your best friend by teaching them a few new moves to impress the neighbors. It’s also a great time to make an appointment with our clinic to work on breaking some bad habits if you’re concerned about new or recurring behaviors that are getting in the way of the bond you share.
Don’t let your pet “fall” into some of the most common safety hazards we see this time of year. Fall may be the most beautiful season to some, but there are unique risk factors you can prepare for. If you’re anything like most people, you breathe easier this time of year.
August is here, bringing plenty of sunshine and joy. Do you know what else August provides pet parents? A chance to take a moment and meditate on your dog’s health. That’s right! August is National Immunization Awareness Month, or as we like to think of it: “National Protect Your Pets and Help Them Live a Long and Happy Life Month” - but that’s a bit of a mouthful!