Assessing Your Pet From Nose to Tail
Preventive health care is one of the cornerstones of Glendale Animal Hospital’s practice. To ensure that your animal companion lives a long and healthy life, regular dog exams or cat exams are essential for preventing and detecting health problems before they become serious illnesses.
Puppies and kittens should be brought in for their introductory exam as soon as possible. Dogs under six years old should have a dog wellness exam at least once per year. Similarly, cats under six years old should have a cat exam. For animals older than 10 years of age, we recommend semi-annual or twice a year exams. If your pet is experiencing environmental or lifestyle changes, we might recommend you bring them in for a wellness exam every six months instead of the standard dog annual exam. You can discuss what type of wellness program best meets your furry friend’s needs with your doctor at each visit.
While the individual needs of each patient are taken into consideration, you can expect that our veterinarians will assess the following during their thorough examination at your dog’s exam or cat’s exam:
- Weight and body condition score
- Coat and skin quality
- Cardiovascular function
- Respiratory function
- Teeth and gum condition
- Eyes, ears, nose, and throat
- Abdominal palpation to evaluate normal organ size, masses, and fluid accumulation
- Lymphatic system and lymph nodes
- Basic neurological system
- Musculoskeletal system
- Appropriate vaccines
In addition, your veterinarians will make recommendations on proper nutrition; parasite testing; flea, heartworm, and intestinal parasite prevention; behavioral changes; and any other concerns you may have.
Vaccinating Your Pet
Vaccinations are an important part of keeping your pet healthy. They protect your dog or cat from many contagious and deadly diseases. During your visit, your vet will assess your animal’s specific risk of exposure to various diseases and recommend a vaccine protocol tailored to his or her lifestyle.
For Most of our Canine Patients we Recommend:
- Rabies is a viral infection transmitted through a bite wound from another infected animal. The disease affects the nervous system. By the time symptoms are evident, the disease is fatal in both animals and humans. Rabies vaccines are REQUIRED BY LAW in Illinois.
- Bordetella, commonly known as kennel cough, is a highly contagious respiratory disease among dogs. In severe cases, symptoms progress from a dry hacking cough to pneumonia. Puppies, older dogs, and those with weakened immune systems are at greater risk.
- Distemper (given as DHPP combo vaccine) is a widespread virus that is easily transmitted and often fatal. Puppies and young dogs with lower immunities are at greatest risk.
- Hepatitis (given as DHPP combo vaccine) is an acute liver infection in dogs. It is spread through the feces, urine, blood, saliva, and nasal discharge of infected dogs.
- Parainfluenza (given as DHPP combo vaccine) is a highly contagious respiratory disease among dogs. The virus is transmitted through contact with nasal secretions of infected dogs.
- Parvovirus (given as DHPP combo vaccine) is a common virus that causes intestinal disease. Severe cases can be fatal due to dehydration and loss of appetite. Parvovirus can easily spread from one animal to another.
- Leptospirosis is a bacterial infection transmitted through contact with urine of infected wildlife or contaminated water or food. It can be transmitted to humans through breaks in the skin or mucous membranes.
- Lyme disease is a bacterial infection spread through the bite of a tick. It causes joint inflammation, swollen lymph nodes, lethargy, and loss of appetite.
- Canine Influenza (recommended for dogs who regularly socialize with other dogs such as in doggie daycare) can be caused by two different influenza viruses. While not contagious to humans or other species, it can easily spread between dogs, causing respiratory disease that can progress to pneumonia.
For Most of our Feline Patients we Recommend:
- Rabies is a viral infection transmitted through a bite wound from another infected animal. The disease affects the nervous system. By the time symptoms are evident, the disease is fatal in both pets and humans. This vaccine is important even for indoor-only cats. You never know when they might be inadvertently exposed to a potentially infected animal; bats and squirrels have been known to enter homes. For this reason, unvaccinated pets must be quarantined if a bite or scratch to a human occurs.
- FVRCP (feline combo distemper vaccine includes feline viral rhinotracheitis, calicivirus, and panleukopenia).
- Rhinotracheitis is a very contagious viral infection of a cat’s upper respiratory system. It can cause severe illness including death from pneumonia. Young kittens are at greatest risk.
- Calicivirus is one of the many causes of upper respiratory disease in cats. It is easily spread in multi-cat homes.
- Panleukopenia, also known as feline distemper, is a highly contagious virus that causes intestinal disease. It is often fatal. It is spread through contact with an infected animal’s bodily fluids or by fleas.
- Feline leukemia is a viral disease with a high mortality rate. It is transmitted through direct contact with an infected cat or with contaminated water or food.