Preventive Care for pets

We see annual preventive care as more than “just getting shots” for your pet!

Preventive care is an essential part of ensuring our pets’ health. At Family Pet Hospital in Longmont, preventive care includes:  puppy and kitten exams, annual exams for adult patients, bi-annual exams for senior pets, annual blood work, annual vaccinations, and heartworm prevention.

We recommend 8,12, and 16 week exams for puppies and kittens, yearly exams for our adult pets and 6 month exams for our senior pets. Our furry family members are very good at hiding when they do not feel well. So it is best to catch diseases or illnesses EARLY before they progress into something more severe. Family Pet Hospital’s veterinarians and nurses are specially trained to recognize abnormalities that pet parents may miss.

We have all heard that one year in humans is equal to 7 years on our pets. While this is not exactly true, our pets do age much faster than we do. This is especially true as they become “seniors”. Many disease processes begin to develop later in life and can change quickly. At 10 years of age, your pet needs to be examined more often than once yearly. We can monitor for periodontal disease, arthritis development, kidney disease, liver disease, thyroid disease and many other conditions that affect your pet’s quality of life. Many of these conditions can be slowed or reversed with treatment as long as they are caught early.

Annual blood work helps to detect diseases or illnesses early on. Depending on your pet’s age we may recommend a certain type of blood work. For young pets, an intestinal parasite screen will be recommended to rule out any kinds of intestinal parasites, infections such as giardia, and more. If your pet is outside a lot, goes to doggie parks, or socializes with other pets this also may be highly recommended. Intestinal parasites can be very uncomfortable for your pet, cause diarrhea, and they can spread these critters to other pets and to us. Some examples of what can be found through blood work include roundworm, tapeworm, giardia, and other creepy crawlies.

  • A heartworm test is recommended for dogs every year. To ensure your pet is clear of the pest, it is required for your pet to have an annual up-to-date heartworm test before dispensing any heartworm preventative. Depending on your pet’s lifestyle, we may also recommend flea and tick prevention.
  • Again, depending on the age of your pet, we may also recommend some blood work which may include a urinalysis. Since our pets cannot “tell us” what is wrong we often have to rely on diagnostics. Blood work gives us an indication of how the internal organs are functioning, and can indicate certain illnesses. Catching these signs early is the key to improvement and increased life expectancy. For example, urinalysis can indicate diabetes, among other diseases. Blood work can also indicate kidney and liver function, how hydrated your pet is, whether they are anemic, or whether they have other ailments that may not be apparent at a glance.

Vaccinations are an integral part of the annual preventative exam. Typically we recommend core vaccinations that include rabies, distemper, bordetella, and leptospirosis for dogs, and rabies, distemper, and feline leukemia for cats. Which vaccinations are recommended depend on your pet’s age, medical history, and lifestyle.

Rabies is required by law for both dogs and cats. It protects against the rabies virus in case your pet is ever bitten or comes into contact with wildlife. For dogs it is recommended at 16 weeks of age then yearly to every 3 years depending on the type of vaccine. To register your pet with the city, proof of rabies vaccination is required.

Canine Distemper, Parvo, Adenovirus is recommended for all dogs and considered one of the core vaccinations. Canine distemper is given at 8, 12, 16 weeks then every 1 to 3 years. Canine distemper covers a variety of communicable diseases including distemper virus, parvovirus, and adenovirus. These illness are easily spread from pet to pet, can be very expensive to treat, and can be very taxing on your pet’s health and wellness.

Feline FVRCP is one of the core vaccinations that all cats need. The feline FVRCP vaccine protects against rhinotracheitis, panleukopenia, and calicivirus. These diseases cause long term illnesses and in some cases death in unprotected cats.  Like the canine distemper/parvo vaccinations, this is given in a series starting with kitten vaccinations at 8, 12, 16 weeks then every 1 to 3 years.

Bordetella– Bordetella is part of the recommended non-core vaccinations, especially if your dog visits with other pets, goes to doggie parks, or leaves the home with you. Bordetella can cause signs similar to common cold and can cause flu like symptoms. Bordetella is typically given at 8 weeks then boosted at 12 weeks. It is good for 1 year.

Leptospirosis– Leptospirosis is a bacterial infection transmissible to dogs via wildlife urine, and contaminated water sources. It is not considered part of the core vaccinations but is a good vaccine for dogs who hike frequently, who live in an area heavily populated with wildlife, or pets who tend to get into things outside. If raccoons or squirrels visit your backyard, your pet may also be at risk. Vaccinations are typically given at 12, and 16 weeks of age, then yearly.

Feline Leukemia Virus (FeLV)- Feline Leukemia is a disease in cats that is transmissible via saliva and other bodily fluids. FeLV is a viral infection that is highly contagious and can cause a variety of symptoms including but not limited to fever, anorexia, weight loss, and poor coat quality. Without treatment it can progress into the bone marrow, cause seizures, and shut down the immune system resulting in death. FeLV is not considered part of the core vaccinations, but is recommended for cats who interact with other cats, cats who are outdoors, or cats that will be traveling.

Another portion of our preventative care includes diet recommendation, behavioral counseling, and lifestyle recommendations. Our doctors and nurses are here not only to provide the necessary vaccinations and diagnostics, but to provide a whole picture approach to your pet’s healthcare. We offer a variety of different prescription and non-prescription diets, and supplements. Our staff is educated in proper nutrition and are here to make recommendations for your pet based on species, breed, age, and special needs.

We are also happy to help you deal with and adjust different behaviors seen in your pet through education and other resources. When your pet is experiencing a behavioral issue that warrants change we provide you with a goal, a clear plan to implement the change, and support for you and your pet during the process. If needed, we can provide referrals or outside resources to help you work through these problems. Our goal at Family Pet Hospital is provide you with the tools necessary to keep your pet happy and healthy for as long as possible!

  • “I very much appreciate the TLC both Piper and I receive at Family Pet Hospital. She is aging gracefully thanks to you all!”

     Anonymous in Longmont