Middlesex Veterinary Center

Preventative Pet Care

As pet owners, we want to ensure that our pets live long, healthy lives. One of the best ways to do this is through preventative pet care. By taking a proactive approach to your pet's health, you can save yourself and your pet from potential health issues and costly vet bills. We will discuss the importance of preventative pet care and the different aspects that it encompasses.

Wellness Examinations

Just like humans, pets need regular check-ups to maintain their overall health. Routine wellness examinations allow us to monitor your pet's health and catch any potential issues early on. During these visits, your pet will receive a physical exam, vaccinations (as needed), and any necessary lab work. These visits also allow you to discuss any concerns or changes in your pet's behavior with your us.

Vaccinations

Vaccinations are an essential part of preventative pet care. They protect your pet from potentially deadly diseases and help prevent the spread of these diseases to other animals.

What are the Recommended Vaccinations?

The recommended vaccinations for dogs include:

  • Rabies
  • Distemper/Adenovirus/Parainfluenza/Parvovirus
  • Lyme
  • Bordetella
  • Leptospirosis

The recommended vaccinations for cats include:

  • Rabies
  • Feline herpesvirus
  • Calicivirus
  • Panleukopenia

Additional vaccinations may be recommended by us based on your pet's lifestyle and risk factors. These vaccinations protect against diseases that are not as common or as deadly as the recommended vaccinations.

Additional vaccination for dogs:

  • Canine Influenza

Additional vaccination for cats:

  • Feline leukemia (for outdoor cats)

Vaccination Schedule

The vaccination schedule for pets can vary depending on their age, health, and lifestyle. It is important to consult with us to determine the best schedule for your pet. However, here is a general guideline for when your pet should receive their vaccinations:

Puppies & Kittens

Puppies and kittens should receive their first vaccinations at 7-8 weeks of age. They will then need booster shots every 3-4 weeks until they are 16 weeks old. After that, they will need annual booster shots.

Adult Dogs & Cats

Adult dogs and cats should receive annual booster shots for their core vaccinations. Additional vaccinations may also need to be given annually, depending on your pet's lifestyle and risk factors.

FeLV & FIV

FeLV and FIV are viruses that affect cats. They are both retroviruses, meaning they can integrate their genetic material into the host's DNA. This makes them difficult to treat and can lead to long-term health issues for infected cats.

Feline Leukemia Virus (FeLV)

FeLV is a virus that attacks the immune system of cats. It can cause a variety of health problems, including anemia, cancer, and immunodeficiency. FeLV is highly contagious and can be transmitted through saliva, blood, and other bodily fluids.

Feline Immunodeficiency Virus (FIV)

FIV is similar to HIV in humans, as it attacks the immune system and can lead to immunodeficiency. However, unlike HIV, FIV is not easily transmitted between cats. It is primarily spread through deep bite wounds, such as those that occur during fights between cats.

Who Is at Risk for FeLV & FIV?

FeLV and FIV can affect cats of all ages, breeds, and lifestyles. However, there are certain factors that can increase a cat's risk of contracting these viruses.

Outdoor Cats

Outdoor cats are at a higher risk of contracting FeLV and FIV due to their increased exposure to other cats and their bodily fluids. Outdoor cats are also more likely to get into fights, which can lead to the transmission of FIV.

Kittens

Kittens are more susceptible to FeLV and FIV because their immune systems are not fully developed. They are also more likely to engage in rough play and get into fights, increasing their risk of FIV.

Cats with Weakened Immune Systems

Cats with weakened immune systems, such as those with other illnesses or older cats, are more vulnerable to FeLV and FIV. These viruses can further compromise their immune systems and lead to more severe health issues.

Symptoms of FeLV & FIV

FeLV and FIV can have similar symptoms, but there are some key differences. It's important to note that not all cats will show symptoms of these viruses, and some may not show symptoms until years after being infected.

Symptoms of FeLV

  • Weight loss
  • Loss of appetite
  • Lethargy
  • Pale gums
  • Enlarged lymph nodes
  • Fever
  • Diarrhea
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Seizures
  • Behavioral changes

Symptoms of FIV

  • Fever
  • Lethargy
  • Loss of appetite
  • Weight loss
  • Enlarged lymph nodes
  • Gingivitis
  • Upper respiratory infections
  • Diarrhea
  • Behavioral changes

Parasite Control

Parasites, such as fleas, ticks, and heartworms, can cause a range of health issues for your pet. It is important to have your pet on a regular parasite prevention program to protect them from these pests. We can recommend the best preventative measures for your pet based on their lifestyle and risk factors.

What are parasites?

Parasites are organisms that live on or inside another organism, known as the host, and rely on the host for survival. In the case of pets, parasites can include fleas, ticks, worms, and other organisms that can cause harm to your dog or cat's health. These parasites can be found in various areas such as the skin, gastrointestinal tract, and even the blood.

Why is parasite testing important?

Parasite testing is crucial in maintaining the health and wellness of our pets. It allows veterinarians to detect the presence of parasites in our pets and determine the appropriate treatment plan. Some parasites can be difficult to detect, and without proper testing, they can go unnoticed and cause harm to our pets. Additionally, some parasites can also be transmitted to humans, making it essential to test and prevent them in our pets.

How is parasite testing done?

Parasite testing can be done through a variety of methods, including fecal exams, blood tests, and skin scrapings. Fecal exams are the most common method and involve collecting a sample of your pet's stool and examining it for the presence of parasites. Blood tests can also be used to detect certain parasites, such as heartworms, which can be fatal if left untreated. Skin scrapings are used to detect external parasites, such as mites, that can cause skin irritation and other health issues.

Prevention is key

While parasite testing is crucial, prevention is equally important in maintaining the health and wellness of our pets. There are various preventative measures that pet owners can take to protect their pet from parasites. These include regular flea and tick prevention, heartworm prevention, and deworming. We will recommend the best preventative measures for your pet based on their lifestyle and risk factors.

Heartworms

Heartworm is a disease transmitted to dogs and cats by mosquitoes infected with the heartworm larvae and is potentially fatal to your pet.  When an infected mosquito bites the animal, the larvae are injected into the bloodstream and eventually develop into adult worms in the blood vessels of the lungs and heart.  If left untreated, the subsequent inflammation and clogging of the vessels in the heart and lungs will kill the dog or cat.  Treatment for this disease in dogs is potentially dangerous and expensive, but prevention is affordable and easy!

*It is important for owners to realize that cats are also at risk for heartworm.  The disease is more dangerous in cats because it takes much fewer heartworms to lead to a fatal illness and there is currently no safe and effective treatment for cats.  

Microchipping

Microchipping is a simple and effective way to ensure that your pet can be identified if they ever get lost. A small microchip (about the size of a grain of rice) is inserted under your pet's skin, and it contains a unique identification number that can be scanned by a veterinarian or animal shelter. This can greatly increase the chances of being reunited with your pet if they ever go missing.

The Home Again Microchip (which is the microchip we use) is read by many scanners including the universal scanner developed in 1996 to detect and read the numbers of all major brands of microchip.

Pets implanted with the Home Again microchip receive a bright yellow collar tag imprinted with their unique microchip number and the toll-free hotline number.

The Pros of Microchipping

The biggest advantage of microchipping your pet is the increased chance of being reunited if they ever get lost. Collars and tags can easily fall off or be removed, but a microchip is a permanent form of identification. Additionally, microchipping is a quick and relatively painless procedure that can be done by your veterinarian during a routine visit.

Another benefit of microchipping is that it can serve as proof of ownership. In the unfortunate event that your pet is stolen, a microchip can help prove that they belong to you.

The Recovery Process

Anyone who finds an animal identified with a microchip or tattoo may contact the program co-ordinator and give the identification number for the pet.  If the animal is taken to a shelter or participating veterinarian it can be scanned to determine if a microchip is present.

If the animal is enrolled in the program, the owner will be called immediately.  If the owner cannot be reached, an alternate contact or the veterinarian will be called.  The owner will be asked to contact the locator to make arrangements to reclaim their pet.

How Long Will The Microchip Last?

The microchip is completely safe for companion animals at any age and will last for the lifetime of the pet.  The microchip is encased in biocompatible material and is placed just under the skin.  

Nutrition & Weight Management

Proper nutrition is crucial for your pet's overall health and well-being. We will recommend a diet that is tailored to your pet's specific needs, whether they are a growing puppy or a senior cat. Additionally, maintaining a healthy weight is important for preventing health issues such as diabetes and joint problems. We will guide proper portion sizes and exercises for your pet. We also stock prescription diets for pets with medical issues.

Behavioral Counseling

Behavioral issues can be a source of frustration for pet owners. However, many of these issues can be addressed through behavioral counseling. We can guide how to address common behavioral problems, such as separation anxiety, destructive chewing, excessive barking, spraying, scratching, digging, house soiling, and aggression.

Join the Middlesex Veterinary Center Family Today!

Phone: 978-952-8500

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