Tails from Ralston Vet

February 16, 2017

Why does my pet need a nose to tail exam?

2e-appt-editPreventive pet healthcare is a very important role in your pet’s life. Just as we see the dentist at least twice a year or your physician annually, your pet also needs to see their doctor at least once a year for a checkup other than times when they aren’t feeling well. These checkups are important for your pet to receive a physical exam to check for any changes or new concerns that have come up as well as giving the vaccinations needed and checking samples.

Every year, your pet needs a physical examination done. We call these our Preventive Care Exams. At their preventive care exam your technician or assistant will start with gathering a history on your pet to find out how they have been doing at home. This history includes asking questions such as “What does your baby eat and how much?” “Has there been any changes in behavior?” “Are we indoor, outdoor or both?” These questions help the doctor discuss with you the best preventatives, test or vaccines that will be necessary for your pet. After, your doctor will come in and do a nose to tail exam. As they examine your pet they will discuss any significant findings such as broken teeth, heart disease, weight, arthritis or lumps and bumps. They will also review the history you left with the tech or the assistant. To see what a complete nose to tail exam looks like, click here.

6tb-titleAre you thinking, “Why does my pet need an exam?” Dr. Burbach our medical director states, “The preventive care exam is important to catch health conditions before they are causing problems. This allows us to adjust treatment plans to keep your pet as healthy as possible.” Many of us see a dentist, an ophthalmologist, a chiropractor and a physician multiple times a year. Veterinarians are all of these in doctors in one. There are times when a specialist may be needed, depending on the specific need of your pet. At the end of these exams the veterinarian will discuss with you the findings of your pet. They will discuss any treatments or vaccines needed.

The preventive visit will include discussing the best vaccinations for your pet. Our core vaccinations for dogs include: Distemper, Parvo, Leptospirosis and Rabies. Some of these vaccines are not done yearly. For example, Rabies can be given annually, every two years or every three years. Leptospirosis is an annual vaccine. This vaccine may be unfamiliar with you. Here at Ralston Vet we have deemed this as a core vaccine to help prevent the spreading of Lepto. We had 6 positive cases of Lepto last year. To learn more about Lepto, click here. Our core vaccines for cats include: distemper and rabies. Some other vaccines for dogs and cats are discussed based on your pet’s lifestyle. A few of these vaccines may include, but are not limited to, Bordetella for dogs and Leukemia for cats.

9lb-titleDr. Berry states the importance of vaccines are to “protect pets against communicable diseases that can be fatal for them or make them very ill. Through vaccination over the decades, we have fortunately been able to dramatically decrease the incidences of these diseases like distemper and parvo, however we still see several cases of these diseases every year. If we stopped vaccinating, we would likely see a dramatic resurgence of these diseases. Right now they are currently being controlled through the vaccinations. As veterinarians, we also protect humans against these animal diseases. We vaccinate pets in order to help protect people against being exposed to diseases that can be transmitted to them from their pets like Rabies and Leptospirosis.” Click here for more information or questions about the importance of vaccines.

blood-work-editHere at Ralston Vet, we cover checking samples and discussing flea and tick preventatives during our preventive exams. Did you know of all the parasites are not only vulnerable for your pet can catch, but you and your children as well? We have seen 85 pets in the past year that were diagnosed with roundworms,24 pets diagnosed with hookworms, 13 patients were diagnosed with whipworms, and 12 fur babies had Giardia. Can you believe that? That is a crazy amount of pets that have been exposed to parasites. These are the same pets that might be walking through your lawn or at your apartment complex that are spreading these parasites. Are you thinking of bringing in a stool sample at your pets next preventive visit yet? If not, what if we shared with you that 50 the pets in this area were diagnosed with tapeworms. Tapeworms are primarily transmitted by a pet eating a flea that contains a tapeworm egg. Fleas? Yes, Fleas. Oh ya, by the way, more than 70 of our patients were diagnosed last year with fleas. Some were severe enough to need additional medical attention and some were diagnosed before any symptoms arose. That is about 6 pets a month, just that we saw in our clinic. That means your pet comes into contact with fleas and parasites pretty consistently. This is why it is so important that we check a stool sample and that we discuss and send home the best preventative products for your fur baby at their preventive visit.

Other preventive discussions your doctor will talk to you about include Heartworm Disease. It is important your pet is current on heartworm medication and running a heartworm test yearly. Did you know most heartworm medications cover some of those most common parasites from above? Your veterinarian will also discuss with you running bloodwork on your pet based on your pet’s lifestyle, age or previous diagnosed illness. Bloodwork can be a great piece of information for us to see inside of the pet’s body to see how things are working. This is vital since pets cannot speak with us and can hide discomfort. Please call us today at 402-331-6322 to see if your pet is due or coming due for their preventive care exam.

Written by Nicole M. Ralston Vet

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