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Preventative Health Care

Preventative Care for Dogs

The proactive approach to veterinary care

Preventative care is a pet’s first line of defense. Annual exams help by detecting, diagnosing and treating disease in its early stages, often before any noticeable symptoms begin. The earlier treatment starts, the more effective it is, keeping your pet from unnecessary pain and suffering.

Worms and Parasites in Your Pet

The term “worms” is often used to describe intestinal parasites. Dogs and cats can have many different types of intestinal parasites — some live primarily in the intestines, others migrate through or live in various body organs, such as heartworms.

Common internal parasites include roundworms, hookworms, whipworms, and tapeworms. Puppies can get these parasites from their mothers before they are born, and from their mother’s milk while nursing.

Because it has been shown that over 90% of all puppies and kittens have roundworms, which are acquired prior to birth or through  nursing, all puppies and kittens should be dewormed (given medication to eliminate parasites) on a regular basis. The frequency of treatment will be discussed by your veterinarian.

Young animals are not the only ones susceptible. Adults can get parasites from the soil, from fleas, from other animals, and from ingesting rodents. Diagnosis is made by microscopic examination of a stool sample, after which deworming medication will be dosed accordingly. It’s a good idea to bring a stool sample with you when you come in for your pet’s annual exam.

It is important to follow your veterinarian’s recommendations regarding deworming of your pet. In addition, be sure to wash your hands after handling your pet, and/or cleaning up feces. Disposing of your pet’s feces daily will help to prevent transmission of the parasite eggs to your family. The greatest problems are seen in young children who do not exercise proper hygiene.

Vaccinating Your Pet

Vaccinations are an important way to prevent the spread of disease among dogs and cats. It is especially important to vaccinate young animals, as they are most susceptible to many infectious diseases, even if they are kept indoors. Some viruses travel through the air, or can be brought into the house on people’s clothing or shoes.

When to Vaccinate?

Vaccines are strategically given at intervals that will maximize the effectiveness of the type of vaccine being given. The first combination vaccine should be given at 6-8 weeks of age. Booster vaccines are then given every 3-4 weeks, until the pet is 16 weeks old (roughly 4 months). Rabies vaccines are typically given at the end of this series, with a follow up booster required after one year.

For adult animals, talk to your veterinarian. Based on your pet’s age, past vaccination history, and other health factors, we will help you determine the most appropriate schedule, and are happy to test your pet’s blood for existing antibodies if desired.

Rabies vaccines are required in Washington state every 3 years.

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