Wellness and Vaccination Programs

One of the best things you can do for your pet is to keep him or her healthy. And one of the easiest and least expensive ways to do that is by bringing in your pet for regular exams and vaccinations. Dogs and cats (and other pets) age far faster than people, so significant changes in your pet’s health can happen in a short time. Wellness programs allow us to diagnose diseases and conditions early, when they’re easier to treat or manage. Often, we can help prevent diseases entirely, just by ensuring that your pet has received appropriate vaccinations and preventives. We recommend that healthy adult dogs and cats visit us once a year. Puppies, kittens, senior pets, and pets with health issues or illnesses need more frequent checkups. We’ll work with you to create an individualized wellness program, including a vaccination and prevention protocol customized specifically to your pet. Call us today to schedule your pet’s wellness exam.

Puppy Wellness

By |

Congratulations on your new puppy! Thank you for choosing us to help protect and care for your new addition to your family.

Our puppy wellness program is designed to help get your puppy started on the right path to a long and healthy life. The first few months are a critical period in your puppy’s development, and we can give you the support and tools necessary to help him or her grow into a well-mannered, healthy dog, including information and advice on nutrition, training, behavior, and socialization.

Schedule your puppy for his or her first exam as soon as possible. Until your puppy has received a series of vaccines, he or she is susceptible to many serious but preventable diseases. We will make sure your new dog is protected against rabies, distemper, and parvovirus, among other diseases. Your puppy will also need to be tested and treated for parasites, which are extremely common in young dogs.

Most puppies have roundworms, which are intestinal worms that can cause vomiting, diarrhea, and other gastrointestinal signs (although dogs can have worms without showing any symptoms). It is important for puppies to be treated for roundworms, not only to rid them of the infection but also to prevent you and the rest of your family from becoming infected. Roundworms are a zoonotic parasite, which means they can be transmitted from pets to people. By ensuring that your puppy is properly treated, you can keep your entire family safe from these and other parasites.

We look forward to meeting your new puppy! Schedule your appointment today.

Kitten Wellness

By |

Congratulations on your new kitten! Thank you for choosing us to help protect and care for your new addition to your family.

Our kitten wellness program is designed to help get your kitten started on the right path to a long and healthy life. The first few months are a critical period in your kitten’s development, and we can give you the support and tools necessary to help him or her grow into a well-mannered, healthy cat, including information and advice on nutrition, litterbox training, and behavior.

Schedule your kitten for his or her first exam as soon as possible. Until your kitten has received a series of vaccines, he or she is susceptible to many serious but preventable diseases. We will make sure your new pet is protected against rabies and panleukopenia (distemper). Depending on your cat’s risk, we may also advise vaccinating him or her against other diseases, such as feline leukemia virus (FeLV) and feline immunodeficiency virus (FIV). In addition, your kitten will need to be tested and treated for parasites, which are common in young cats.

Most kittens have roundworms, which are intestinal worms that can cause coughing, weight loss, and a potbellied appearance in cats (although they may not cause any symptoms). It is important for kittens to be treated for roundworms, not only to help rid them of the infection but also to prevent you and the rest of your family from becoming infected. Roundworms are a zoonotic parasite, which means they can be transmitted from pets to people. By ensuring that your kitten is properly treated, you can keep your entire family safe.

We look forward to meeting your new kitten! Schedule your appointment today.

Adult Pet Wellness

By |

Bringing your pet in for an annual diagnostic and wellness checkup can help reassure you that your dog or cat is healthy or help us detect hidden diseases or conditions early. Early detection can improve the prognosis of many diseases, keep medical costs down, and help your pet live longer. Many dogs and cats are good at hiding signs that something is wrong, so subtle changes in their health or behavior might be easy to overlook. And, depending on the disease, some pets don’t show any symptoms.

Dogs and cats age far quicker than humans, so it is even more crucial for our companion animals to receive regular exams. In addition, the risks of arthritis, cancer, diabetes, heart disease, hormone disorders, and kidney and liver problems all increase with age.

During your pet’s wellness exam, we will perform a physical assessment, checking your dog or cat from nose to tail. We will also make sure your pet receives appropriate vaccinations and preventives. We will perform a diagnostic workup, which may include blood, fecal, and urine tests to check for parasites and underlying diseases. We may also recommend that your pet receive dental care. When your pet is nearing his or her senior years, we will recommend a baseline exam and diagnostic workup so we’ll know what’s normal for your pet. This will enable us to keep track of any changes.

Because you spend the most time with your pet, you are your pet’s expert, as well as his or her greatest advocate. Please let us know if you’ve noticed any physical or behavioral changes in your pet, as well as any other concerns you might have.

Call us today to schedule your pet’s exam! If you have any questions, we would be happy to discuss our adult wellness program in more detail.

Senior Pet Wellness

By |

As dogs and cats get older, they need more attention and special care. Our senior wellness program can help your pet remain fit and healthy as he or she ages and help us catch any potential problems earlier, when they’re easier to treat or manage. Regular veterinary exams can actually help your pet live longer, too!

Diagnosing diseases and certain conditions early is important throughout a pet’s life, but it becomes even more critical when your dog or cat enters his or her senior years. The risks of arthritis, cancer, diabetes, heart disease, hormone disorders, and kidney and liver problems all increase with age. In addition, dogs and cats may not show any signs of even serious diseases until they are quite advanced.

Senior status varies depending on your pet’s breed and size. Smaller dogs tend to live longer than larger dogs, and cats generally live longer than dogs. We can help you determine what life stage your pet is in.

Before your dog or cat reaches senior status, we recommend that you bring your pet in for a baseline exam and diagnostic workup. This will give us a record of what’s normal for your pet so we can keep track of any changes. In most cases, we suggest this checkup for when your dog turns 7 years of age or your cat turns 8 years of age. Thereafter, your senior pet will benefit from more frequent veterinary exams and diagnostic testing.

We can treat many symptoms that are commonly attributed to age, including those associated with cognitive dysfunction syndrome (similar to Alzheimer’s in humans). We can also improve your pet’s quality of life in many ways: by identifying and preventing or reducing pain, recommending an appropriate nutrition and exercise plan, and suggesting environmental modifications to keep your pet comfortable.

We will tailor a senior wellness plan to your pet’s individual needs. If you have any questions, we would be happy to discuss our senior wellness program in more detail. Call us today to schedule your pet’s exam!

Pain Management and Control

By |

We know the issue of pain management is of great concern to pet owners today. As in human medicine, we have a variety of medications available to manage your pet’s pain both before and after surgery and in the event of trauma. We would be pleased to discuss the options available to you and your pet under any of the above circumstances.

Canine & Feline Vaccination Recommendations

By |

Canine Vaccine Recommendations

The use of vaccines to prevent and control infectious disease is an accepted and necessary method of preventative health care in veterinary medicine. However, vaccinating every patient against every possible disease on an annual basis carries risks, probably is not needed, and at worse, may be harmful to your pet.

Although no age group can be considered entirely free from risk, puppies (less than 6 months of age) are generally more susceptible to infection than adult dogs following exposure and therefore, represent the principle target population for canine vaccination protocols. The following recommendations are simply guidelines, and we will customize a vaccination program specifically for your dog. We constantly review technology to determine what is best for your pet. We are committed to giving as few vaccines as possible at any given visit. By staggering vaccine years and using a 3 year duration USDA approved vaccine, we provide a safer, more personalized protocol for your pet.

Even with this new conservative protocol, some dogs may have vaccine reactions. Some dogs may be slightly lethargic or sore after vaccination, which can be a normal response. However, if you notice that your dog develops facial swelling, vomits, stops eating, develops a lump at the injections site, or develops other signs of illness, please call the hospital immediately.

Annual and Bi-Annual Exams

Regardless of the vaccines that your dog may require, we feel your pet needs a physical exam every 6-12 months to evaluate your pet’s health. Remember dog’s age faster than humans. Every 1 year of your pet’s life is equivalent to 5-7 human years. During these regular checkups, your veterinarian can identify developing problems including dental disease, heart disease, as well as other conditions which might not be apparent to you at home. With early detection, many of these diseases may be easily treated or even prevented.

Vaccine Recommendations

DAPP: Distemper virus, Adenovirus or hepatitis, Parvovirus, Parainfluenza

  • 8, 12, 16 weeks, then 1 year later booster with the 1 year product, then the 3 yr DAP product the following year.

Rabies:

  • 16 weeks, then 3 yr duration product in 1 year.

Bordetella/Kennel Cough:

  • Intranasal as early as 3 weeks, then booster in 1-2 months with injectable, then yearly with injectable.
    This is a non-core vaccine and is recommended for dogs with exposure to boarding/kenneling situations, dog parks, pet supply stores and for grooming patients.

Leptospirosis:

  • This is a series of 2 injections recommended to dogs that hunt and have wildlife/livestock exposure.

Heartworm Testing and Preventative:

  • The American Heartworm Society www.heartwormsociety.org recommends monthly preventative year round and yearly blood testing. We have been testing every 2 years and recommending preventative during mosquito season, May-October. Since the CDC (Centers for Disease Control) and the CAPC(Companion Animal Parasite Council) www.capcvet.org have their guidelines recommending year-round product use, we feel it is the safest policy to treat monthly, especially if you have young children and the pets are exposed to the outdoors.

Flea and tick Products:

Luckily in Montana, we don’t see fleas very often. But we certainly have ticks. Any pets that go outside or have exposure to open grassy areas can be exposed to ticks. They can come in our houses on us, also. The tick season is mainly in early spring through summer, but pets that are outside in the fall can still be a risk from the deer populations moving around. We recommend Frontline. It is a monthly topical product that is spotted on the skin, is waterproof in 2 hours and is safe for cats and young pets.


Feline Vaccination Recommendations

The use of vaccines to prevent and control infectious disease is an accepted and necessary method of preventative health care in veterinary medicine. However, vaccinating every patient against every possible disease on an annual basis carries risks and may be harmful. In fact, in 1991 veterinarians began to notice a higher than expected number of tumors (called sarcomas) occurring at the sites of vaccine injections in cats. The incidence of these injection-associated sarcomas is 1 in 2,000 to 1 in 10,000 cats. The incidence of this tumor in combination with recent research on the duration of vaccine efficacy has led the American Association of Feline Practitioners and the Academy of Feline Medicine to propose new guidelines for revaccination of cats.

Although no age group can be considered entirely free from risk, kittens (less than 6 months of age) are generally more susceptible to infection than adult cats following exposure and therefore, represent the principal target population for feline vaccination protocols. The following recommendations are simply guidelines, and we will design a vaccination program specifically for your cat that protects against infectious disease and is as safe as possible.

Even with this new conservative protocol, some cats may have vaccine reactions. Many cats may be lethargic or sore after vaccination, which is a normal response. However, if you notice that your cat vomits, stops eating, or develops a lump at the site of the vaccine injection, or other signs of illness, please call the hospital as soon as possible.

Annual and Bi-Annual Exams

Regardless of the vaccines that your cat may require, we recommend a physical exam every 6-12 months to evaluate your pet’s health. Remember cats’ age faster than humans. Every 1 year of your pet’s life is equivalent to 5-6 human years. During these regular checkups your veterinarian can identify any developing problems including dental disease, heart disease, and other diseases which might not be apparent to you at home. With early detection, many of these diseases may be treated or even prevented. Although our vaccine protocol has changed, an exam every six months with a veterinarian is still crucial to insure your cat’s continued health.

Vaccine Recommendations

FVRCP(C): Recommendation for vaccination series: A series of 3 vaccines:

  • 1st at 8 weeks, 2nd at 12 weeks, the last after 14-16 weeks
  • If older than12 weeks of age: 2 doses, 3-4 weeks apart
  • Booster interval: 1 year later, then every 3 years
  • Chlamydia is included in the kitten series but isn’t in adult cats unless they are outdoor cats.

Rabies: Recommendation for vaccination series:

  • 16 weeks: do not vaccinate
    16 weeks: 1 dose

Booster Interval: 3 year booster after 1 years

FeLV (feline leukemia): Recommendations for vaccination series:

  • 2 doses, 3-4 weeks apart beginning at 10 weeks of age or older
  • Booster Interval: 1 year later, then at doctor’s discretion depending on patient’s risk factors.

Note: Annual retesting is recommended for FELV and FIV for all indoor/outdoor cats.
FIV vaccine is not recommended. We use it for cats with a positive FIV housemate.

Deworming:

Annual internal parasite screens or fecals are required every year to help detect parasites. Cats that are big hunters should be dewormed up to every other month. We know are using a topical dewormer that has broad spectrum control even for tapeworms.

Flea and tick Products:

Luckily in Montana, we don’t see fleas very often. But we certainly have ticks. Any pets that go outside or have exposure to open grassy areas can be exposed to ticks. They can come in our houses on us, also. The tick season is mainly in early spring through summer, but pets that are outside in the fall can still be a risk from the deer populations moving around. We recommend Frontline. It is a monthly topical product that is spotted on the skin, is waterproof in 2 hours and is safe for cats and young pets.

Dentistry

By |

Imagine what your mouth would feel like if you never brushed your teeth or went to the dentist. For many dogs and cats, this is a painful reality. According to the American Veterinary Dental Society, more than 80% of dogs and 70% of cats have dental disease by the age of 3. Dental (or periodontal) disease is the most frequently diagnosed health problem in pets.

Common signs of dental disease include:

  • Yellow or brown buildup (tartar) on the teeth
  • Red, swollen, or bleeding gums
  • Bad breath
  • Excessive drooling
  • Changes in eating or chewing habits
  • Pawing at the face
  • Loose teeth
  • Depression

Even if your dog or cat doesn’t have these symptoms, we recommend that you have a veterinarian evaluate your pet’s dental health at least once a year. Bacteria and food debris accumulate around the teeth and, if left unchecked, will lead to deterioration of the soft tissue and bone surrounding the teeth. This decay can result in irreversible periodontal disease, tooth loss, and possibly expensive oral surgery.

Dental disease can also affect other organs in the body: Bacteria in the mouth can get into the bloodstream and cause serious infections in the kidneys, liver, lungs, and heart. If these problems aren’t caught and treated quickly enough, they can result in death. A physical exam combined with appropriate laboratory work can determine if infection in the mouth has spread.

Schedule your pet’s dental exam today! We can also help show you how to brush your pet’s teeth and recommend foods and treats that will help combat plaque and tartar buildup.

Spaying

By |

Spaying your pet has many benefits. The procedure, which prevents female animals from becoming pregnant and reproducing, can help your dog or cat live a longer, healthier life. Spaying will not change your pet’s personality.

By spaying your female pet, you’re protecting her against potentially deadly diseases, including bacterial infections, reproductive tract diseases, and several types of cancer. You also won’t have to worry about her going into heat. This means avoiding the mess that often accompanies the heat cycle in female dogs and the pacing and crying that happens with female cats. In addition, spaying your pet will help control the dog and cat overpopulation problem, keeping more animals out of shelters.

Spaying, which involves removing the ovaries and uterus, is a surgical procedure and does need to be performed with the pet under anesthesia. We follow strict protocols and continually monitor your pet’s vital signs to help ensure her safety. Please see the descriptions under Anesthesia and Patient Monitoring for more information on what we do to keep your pet safe.

To set up an appointment to have your pet spayed or to learn more about this procedure, call or visit our clinic. If you are struggling with the decision of whether to spay your pet, please call us so we can discuss your concerns.

Neutering

By |

Neutering your pet has many benefits. The procedure, which prevents male animals from reproducing, can help your dog or cat live a longer, healthier life. Neutering will not change your pet’s personality.

By neutering your pet, you’re reducing or eliminating his risk for prostate and testicular cancer, as well as sexually transmitted diseases. Neutering will also reduce or eliminate undesirable and embarrassing behavior, including roaming, fighting, humping, and spraying. In addition, neutering your pet will help control the dog and cat overpopulation problem, keeping more animals out of shelters.

Neutering, which involves removing the testicles, is a surgical procedure and does need to be performed with the pet under anesthesia. We follow strict protocols and continually monitor your pet’s vital signs to help ensure his safety. Please see the descriptions under Anesthesia and Patient Monitoring for more information on what we do to keep your pet safe.

To set up an appointment to have your pet neutered or to learn more about this procedure, please call or visit our clinic. If you are struggling with the decision of whether to neuter your pet, please call us or stop by so we can discuss your concerns.

Flea and Tick Prevention and Control

By |

Fleas can cause problems for pets ranging from minor to life-threatening. Not only can these parasites cause severe itching, irritation, and allergies, but they can also transmit tapeworms and diseases. Fleas can infest dogs, cats, ferrets, mice, and rats. And fleas don’t just stay on pets; they can bite people, too. For more information, contact us or see the flea article in the Pet Health Library on our site.

You don’t want these blood-sucking parasites on your pet or in your home. We can help keep them away or help you get rid of them if they’ve already found their way inside. Call us to find out how to eliminate and control fleas or to start your pet on a preventive today.

Ticks are blood sucking parasites that not only irritate your pet but transmit deadly diseases. You may think you pet is safe because it is inside mostly but parasites can come in through open doors, cracks in windowsills, chimneys and on us or other pets.