THE IMPORTANCE OF AN ANNUAL PHYSICAL EXAM
It’s that time of year again. Time to take your pet to your veterinarian for his annual examination, but maybe you’re thinking that you might skip it this year. After all, he isn’t sick. Maybe you will just put it off until next year – what could it hurt?
Actually, delaying an annual physical exam can hurt. Annual physical exams are an important part of providing optimal health care and the best longevity for your beloved companion. Pets age quickly and they are unable to tell us if they are feeling a little off. Remember, it may be one year in your life but that can be about 6-8 comparative years in your pet's life. A lot can change in that much time.
Sometimes, pets can be ill for weeks and you are unaware of it. This may not be from a lack of monitoring or caring. Your pet just hides his illness until it is so far advanced he has no choice but to show signs of disease.
We have special training and experience in detecting subtle illness in pets. Listening to the heart can detect murmurs. Increased lung sounds may indicate early illness. Abdominal palpation tells us the shape of various organs or even tumors. Checking out the eyes can detect early signs of cataract or other ocular problems. Ears may be in need of cleaning or medication. Dental Disease may be detected as well as signs of allergies or skin problems. It’s easier for someone who doesn’t see your pet every day to detect lumps and bumps that you may not have noticed. Comparing annual weights, too, can determine if your pet is heading down the path to obesity or is slowly losing weight.
As a pet reaches middle age, annual physical exams become even more important. Certain problems that you may simply attribute to “old age”, and just something you will have to live with, may be signs of underlying disease and may be very treatable. Annual physical exams also give you an opportunity to ask us any questions you may have about your pet’s health. We may recommend certain additional tests to determine over-all health based on physical exam findings or we may have suggestions for improving the quality of your pet’s life. Remember, our primary goal is to keep your pet healthy and provide the best care available. We care a great deal about your pet.
A physical examination is not just a chance for us to see how cute your pet is. It’s a chance for us to do a thorough exam to pick up on a variety of illnesses and prevent potential disease. By finding, diagnosing, and treating those problems early, your pet will live a much healthier and longer life.
Importance of Leptospirosis Vaccination
At Aboite Animal Hospital, we are continuing to modify our vaccination protocol to ensure safety for your pets and family. In 2002, we began administering a three-year rabies vaccine. In 2005, we discontinued vaccinating dogs for coronavirus. In 2007, we added the leptospirosis vaccine to our annual canine vaccine protocol as recommended by the American Veterinary Medical Association and Purdue University School of Veterinary Medicine.
Leptospirosis is a bacterial disease transmitted through the urine of wildlife. Recently, there has been an emergence of the disease in urban and suburban areas due to new serovars (bacterial types) being transmitted by raccoons, skunks, and opossums. The disease causes kidney and liver failure in both dogs and people.
Due to northeast Indiana being endemic for leptospirosis and the potential for zoonotic transmission (dogs to people), we are now vaccinating against the disease. The vaccine will be included with our annual distemper/parvo vaccination. The first year it is given, the leptospirosis vaccination will need to be boostered in three to four weeks.
Feline Heartworm Respiratory Disease
Is feline heartworm disease really a problem for cats in northeast Indiana? In years past, many veterinarians would have been skeptical about the significance of feline heartworm disease. We now know feline heartworm disease affects a large percentage of cats and causes significant clinical lung disease (Feline Heartworm Associated Respiratory Disease).
Because mosquitoes are able to enter homes, 25 to 30 percent of confirmed feline heartworm cases have been in indoor-only cats. The disease process occurs when heartworm larvae reach the blood vessels of the heart and are destroyed. This leads to a tremendous inflammatory response in the lung tissue causing clinical signs such as difficulty breathing, vomiting, diarrhea, collapse, and death. If the larvae are not destroyed in the heart's blood vessels, they there develop into mature heartworms and may cause chronic signs such as coughing, vomiting, difficulty breathing, weight loss, and loss of appetite. After one to two years, the adult heartworm dies and moves to the lungs causing a potentially fatal thromboembolic event (occluded blood vessel).
Prevention is the key. Revolution is a topical product that prevents heartworm disease, ear mites, fleas, roundworms, and hookworms. We also offer monthly oral preventatives for heartworm disease and select intestinal parasites. As there is not currently a cure for feline heartworm disease (Heartworm Associated Respiratory Disease), we recommend monthly heartworm prevention for all cats.