Preventative Pet Care
Preventive care is the most important factor in maintaining your pet's health. Please view below to learn more about the preventive measures that should routinely be done for your pet.
Treatment for Fleas & Ticks: A Year-Round Pursuit
Flea Prevention - Fleas can cause considerable discomfort for your cat or dog. Some pets develop painful skin irritations and allergic reactions to flea bites. Full-fledged infestations are very difficult to get rid of, sometimes taking months. We recommend that you routinely examine your pets for fleas and use year-round flea prevention. It’s not always easy to spot adult fleas; instead, examine your pet for “flea dirt,” which is actually flea feces. If you discover you have a flea infestation, it is best to contact us for safe, effective treatments not available over the counter.
To keep your pet and home free of fleas, we suggest:
- Frequent vacuuming and laundering of pet bedding
- Routine examinations for fleas and flea dirt
- Year-round preventive flea medicines (oral with topical treatments are very effective and safe to use)
Ticks & Disease Prevention - Ticks and their bites can spread disease to your pets. Worse still, infected ticks from pets may attach to human owners. For dogs living in North Carolina, one of the most serious and commonplace tick borne illnesses is Rocky Mountain spotted fever. Pet treatment is involved and costly. If not treated promptly, death may result. For that reason, we emphasize tick prevention and make these recommendations:
- Avoid tick-infested areas
- Groom your pet daily
- Remove any ticks immediately
- Read more about Rocky Mountain spotted fever
- Read more about Lyme Disease
For animals at high risk, ask us about preventive products (oral, environmental sprays, collars, and topicals).
Intestinal parasites such as hookworms and roundworms can be a troublesome concern, especially for very young animals. Most puppies/kittens are born with worms and dogs/cats remain susceptible to the harmful parasites throughout their lives. Worms live inside your pet, making the symptoms difficult to pinpoint, and are therefore detected through a fecal analysis. Internal parasites can not only harm your pet, but many can also be transferred to children and adults, making them sick as well.
Our hospital performs a fecal analysis on all new puppies and kittens. If your pet does have a parasite problem, our veterinarians can provide you with different medications and treatments to remedy the problem and steer your pet back to good health. Preventive care and prescription heartworm medication are key, because of the damages presented by intestinal parasites to both pets and people. Our primary focus is to provide your pet with the safest and most effective ongoing preventive care.
Vaccinations are vital to the health and protection of your pet, and serve as a preventive measure to combating viral diseases like Parvovirus, Parainfluenza virus, Distemper, Lyme, Panleukopenia, Feline Leukemia Virus and Rabies. Vaccinations are accompanied by a veterinarian consultation and examination to make certain that your pet's condition is stable enough to receive them.
Vaccinations help to combat diseases by exposing the pet's immune system to inactive or small amount of a particular form of bacteria or virus. Our doctors will help you decide which vaccines are appropriate for your pet's risk factors. Proper and timely administration is paramount to ensure for optimal protection. Vaccinations are particularly important to young animals that have immature immune systems. Vaccinations generally begin at 6-8 weeks of age and are given every three to four weeks until the series is completed.
How Vaccines Work
Vaccines introduce small, inert compounds of diseases, “teaching” your pet’s immune system to defend itself against contagious and deadly diseases.
Vaccines for Adult Dogs
Our general recommendations include:
- Rabies (NC law mandated)
- Distemper, parvovirus, and hepatitis virus or adenovirus
- Bordetella (kennel cough)
- Leptospirosis (prevalent in NC)
- Canine influenza
Vaccines for Adult Cats
- Rabies vaccination (NC law mandated)
- Feline feline viral rhinotracheitis, calicivirus and panleukopenia.” (commonly referred to as FVRCP or distemper)
- Feline leukemia for at-risk cats
Warm Climates Necessitate Heartworm Prevention
Mosquitoes spread heartworm infections. Given the seriousness of the disease and prevalence of mosquitoes in our area, we recommend year-round heartworm prevention for both cats and dogs. Prevention is much easier and effective than treatment. There is no heartworm treatment approved for cats—medicines may only help manage the symptoms.
Infected pets develop adult heartworms in their hearts and major blood vessels, eventually causing impaired lung function, heart weakness, and possibly death.
Symptoms of heartworm include:
- Dull coat
- Lack of energy
- Coughing (white foam and/or blood)
- Fainting spells
- Enlarged abdomen
Sadly, by the time symptoms appear, a great deal of damage has been done. Preventive care is key. The good news is that heartworms can be easily prevented. There are a variety of products on the market, most requiring a prescription and some tests before administering.
How Heartworm Infections Are Spread
Pets do not contract heartworm by socializing with infected pets. Mosquitoes spread heartworms in pets. The female heartworm produces baby worms that circulate in the bloodstream, which they transfer through bites. Dogs are the natural “hosts” for heartworms, but they also infect cats. Indoor cats are also susceptible since mosquitoes do come indoors during warm weather months.