Wellness Exams

Wellness CareThe team at Countryside believes strongly that prevention is the key to your pet's long term health. This approach minimizes the lifetime cost of care and that's why we recommend routine wellness exams, vaccinations, regular lab work, deworming and fecal checks, as well as medications to prevent heartworm, fleas and ticks.

Your pet's wellness exam is our chance to get to know your pet, to assess your pet's overall health, discuss any changes we see, educate and update you on advancements in veterinary care, and for you to discuss any concerns or questions you may have.

During your pet's wellness exam, we:

  • Examine your pet's teeth, throat, and oral cavity
  • Check your pet's vision and examine the eyes
  • Examine the ears for infection, ear mites, allergic reaction and other related health issues
  • Examine the respiratory system
  • Assess your pet's heart
  • Test your pet's reflexes
  • Palpate lymph nodes and abdomen
  • Inspect the skin
  • Palpate joints and muscles for arthritis and other orthopedic conditions
  • Test to evaluate the function of internal organs, blood, and other systems

Fecal Check

Dangerous parasites are always present in the environment. If brought into your home, these parasites can be passed from your pet to you and your family. For example, we normally associate parasites such as roundworms, tapeworms, and hookworms with cats and dogs, but people can also be infected with the same parasites. Regular fecal checks and deworming are the best way to prevent parasitic disease and the transmission of intestinal parasites to your pet. It also prevents the shedding of parasite eggs, which contaminate yards or any place a pet defecates.

Regular Blood Testing

A complete physical includes a heartworm test, parasite screening, and should include a full blood workup. Not only can a full chemistry panel and complete blood count identify the presence of underlying disease processes, but these tests help create a baseline should your pet become ill between routine examinations. Additionally, blood work is necessary if your veterinarian recommends a dental cleaning, removal of skin masses, or any other procedure that requires anesthesia. These tests can be done during your dog or cat's wellness exam.

We also recommend comprehensive blood work annually for all pets over the age of eight.

Fleas and Ticks

Fleas and ticks are virtually everywhere. Although they're a bigger problem in certain parts of the country and at specific times during the year, no cat or dog is completely safe from them. Fortunately, many safe and highly effective products are available. Today, there's no reason for any pet or owner to be bothered by these pests.

Fleas are so common because they are reproductive marvels. A single female flea can lay as many as 30 eggs a day and can live and breed on your pet for up to 100 days. The eggs then fall and land in carpets and upholstery where they can lie dormant for up to 8 months. The best management techniques of flea-proofing your home includes regularly vacuuming of carpets, furniture, floors and areas where your pet sits or sleeps. You should also wash your pet's bedding, toys, and towels weekly.

Beyond causing serious discomfort and infesting your home, fleas and ticks carry diseases dangerous to both you and your pet. Fleas can transmit tapeworms to your pet, and often you can see segments of the tapeworm in your pet's stool. Your pet can also be allergic to fleas, and even just one flea bite can cause an intense allergic reaction, resulting in a severely painful skin infection. In our region, ticks can carry a variety of serious illnesses, including Lyme disease and Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever. These same ticks can bite people and transmit disease as well.

The good news is that these problems can be avoided by using parasite prevention products that are available at our hospital. When used properly and according to our directions, these products are very safe and effective. They are what we use on our own pets.

Contrary to what you may have read or been told, there are no holistic or natural products available which have been shown to be effective in preventing or killing fleas and ticks. Ask a veterinarian or staff member at Countryside Veterinary Hospital to recommend the flea and tick prevention product which is best suited for your pet.

Heartworm Disease

Heartworm disease is a serious, life-threatening disease of dogs and cats. Mosquitoes spread the disease by injecting the parasite into your pet at the time of the bite. After the infected female mosquito bites your pet, the heartworm migrates through the bloodstream and moves to the heart and adjacent blood vessels, maturing to adults within 6-7 months in dogs and 8 months in cats. As many as 30 species of mosquitoes can transmit heartworms.

Until the early 1970s, the occurrence of heartworm disease in the United States was primarily confined to the southeastern part of the country. Today, heartworm disease is found almost everywhere in the continental United States.

Clinical symptoms of heartworm disease develop very slowly. Often symptoms are not noticeable until several years after the initial infection. Lack of energy and exercise intolerance are early symptoms. Coughing and difficulty breathing are both common symptoms. As the disease progresses, most dogs develop congestive heart failure. Dogs often collapse in the final stage of the disease. In cats, the symptoms of heartworm disease are similar to those of feline asthma. Some cats may exhibit no signs of the disease, while others may suddenly die.

Because heartworm disease is increasing in frequency and is a serious and deadly disease, we recommend that your dog be tested annually. This test is highly accurate, and we often have the results in less than 10 minutes.

Heartworm disease prevention is simple. For dogs, a once-a-month heartworm preventative can be given as a tasty, chewable treat. This same chewable medicine prevents not only heartworms from developing, but also kills and prevents most other types of worms that can infect your dog. Cats are protected by applying a drop of heartworm prevention liquid to the skin once-a-month. We recommend this to prevent heartworm disease as well as fleas, ear mites, and other types of worms that can infect your cat.

If you would like to have your pet tested for heartworm disease, or if you would like additional information on how best to protect your pet and your family from these dangerous parasites, please call Countryside Veterinary Hospital.

Puppy and Kitten Care

KittenBringing a new puppy or kitten into your home is always one of the most memorable events for a family. They add energy and fun and are a source of unceasing affection as they bond with you and your family.

New pets also require a little extra attention to ensure they get a good, healthy start at life. This means that comprehensive physical exams at key developmental stages are important, as well as time and veterinarian-tested advice on housebreaking and training.

During your puppy or kitten's first year, the staff at Countryside Veterinary Hospital recommends an initial wellness exam, screening for damaging parasitic infections such as worms or giardia, an initial dental exam, and perhaps a vitamin supplement for good nutritional health. At six months, we recommend spaying or neutering. For our clients with puppies, we also recommend starting medication to prevent heartworm as well as a microchip lost pet ID as young pets are prone to running off and becoming lost.

We believe it is very important to take a balanced approach to vaccinating kittens and puppies. We spread vaccine visits throughout your pet's first year to ensure his or her immune system adequately responds to each vaccine challenge.

While this may seem like a lot, many of these services can be provided as a package and delivered at your new puppy or kitten's developmental milestones.

Exotic Pet Care

Exotic Pet CareAt Countryside Veterinary Hospital, we see a wide range of patients, including cats and dogs, as well as birds, ferrets, rabbits, and small pocket pets such as hamsters, guinea pigs, and hedgehogs. Our services for these special patients include general medicine and surgery, preventive care, client education regarding husbandry and nutrition, and behavioral consultations.

We believe that all pets deserve the opportunity to lead the happiest and healthiest lives possible. This is why we offer our clients with exotic or pocket pets a range of veterinary wellness services.

Often, the healthcare needs of exotic animals are quite unique and require a veterinary practice with the experience and expertise to provide them with the best and most appropriate care possible. For example, in the wild many of these animals have evolved strategies to conceal illness or injuries as a survival technique. These tendencies continue in domestic exotic and pocket pets, which mean their medical problems often go unnoticed.

This is why the medical staff at Countryside Veterinary Hospital strongly recommend regular physical examinations to check for health problems as well as annual monitoring to check for nutritional and husbandry-related conditions. With regular veterinary medical examinations – two per year is recommended – problems are often diagnosed before they become serious medical conditions.

After acquiring your new exotic or pocket pet, a complete examination is strongly recommended. This exam includes a thorough physical examination, nutritional consultation, and disease screening and laboratory testing if necessary.