We at Garden City Veterinary Care believe annual wellness care is imperative to keeping your pet happy and healthy!
During your annual physical exam your veterinarian fully examine your pet and speak to you about vaccinations, preventative care for Heartworms, Gastrointestinal Parasites, and Ectoparasites.
How to they work?
Vaccines contain small quantities of modified or “killed” viruses, bacteria or other disease-causing organisms. When administered, they stimulate your dog’s immune system to produce disease-fighting cells and proteins – or antibodies- to protect against such diseases.
What vaccines does GCVC recommend?
DHPP (Distemper/Adenovirus/Parvovirus/Parainfluenza) The distemper virus is highly contagious. It is fatal and very hard to treat. Canine adenovirus causes hepatitis, primarily damages the liver and can become fatal. Parvovirus is also highly contagious and spreads through vomit and diarrhea. Parainfluenza is an upper respiratory disease that can develop into pneumonia.
Bordetella (Kennel Cough) A viral and bacterial infection that can cause coughing, sneezing, nasal and eye discharge. It is spread through direct contact from another dog, contaminated objects or it can be airborne.
Rabies An incurable viral disease that affects the central nervous system. Spread through contact with saliva of infected animals, through bites or any break in the skin. This disease can be passed to humans.
Leptospirosis A serious bacterial disease, which attacks the kidneys and liver. It is typically spread when infected urine from wildlife comes into contact with an opening of the skin or a mucous membrane (eyes, nose or mouth). This disease can be passed to humans.
Lyme Transmitted by ticks to dogs. This disease is very common on Long Island. Often results in chronic arthritis and can sometimes lead to death.
Canine Influenza Dog virus similar to the human “flu” virus. Can cause a cough with a low-grade fever. If not treated can lead to pneumonia. This virus is airborne and highly contagious.
What to expect after vaccines?
After vaccinations many patients will be a bit sore and tired for a day or two. Provide a little extra TLC and ensure adequate food and water intake.
While uncommon, some pets develop an injection site “vaccine bump” seven to ten days after vaccines. This firm, non-painful swelling will resolve within 2-3 weeks.
Signs of a true allergic reaction include sudden weakness, vomiting, diarrhea, facial swelling, difficulty breathing and skin hives. Should such signs occur, warrant immediate medical attention. Feel free to call us with any questions or concerns.
At Garden City Veterinary Care we highly recommend fecal analyses. Puppies often have parasites but adult dogs are susceptible as well. Intestinal parasites can be transmitted from animal to animal; often not showing any clinical signs. Parasites can be found in the environment and are released through animal feces. Some parasites tend to be zoonotic, meaning they are transmissible to humans. If the fecal analysis comes back positive for worms or parasites, your veterinarian will prescribe the necessary medications for your pet, which will be available at our hospital.
What is heartworm disease?
Heartworm disease is a serious and potentially fatal disease in pets in the United States and many other parts of the world. It is caused by foot-long worms (heartworms) that live in the heart, lungs and associated blood vessels of affected pets, causing severe lung disease, heart failure and damage to other organs in the body. Heartworm disease affects dogs, cats and ferrets, but heartworms also live in other mammal species, including wolves, coyotes, foxes, sea lions and—in rare instances—humans. Because wild species such as foxes and coyotes live in proximity to many urban areas, they are considered important carriers of the disease.
Dogs. The dog is a natural host for heartworms, which means that heartworms that live inside the dog mature into adults, mate and produce offspring. If untreated, their numbers can increase, and dogs have been known to harbor several hundred worms in their bodies. Heartworm disease causes lasting damage to the heart, lungs and arteries, and can affect the dog’s health and quality of life long after the parasites are gone. For this reason, prevention is by far the best option, and treatment—when needed—should be administered as early in the course of the disease as possible.
Cats. Heartworm disease in cats is very different from heartworm disease in dogs. The cat is an atypical host for heartworms, and most worms in cats do not survive to the adult stage. Cats with adult heartworms typically have just one to three worms, and many cats affected by heartworms have no adult worms. While this means heartworm disease often goes undiagnosed in cats, it’s important to understand that even immature worms cause real damage in the form of a condition known as heartworm associated respiratory disease (HARD). Moreover, the medication used to treat heartworm infections in dogs cannot be used in cats, so prevention is the only means of protecting cats from the effects of heartworm disease.
~~When should my pet be tested?
Testing procedures and timing differ somewhat between dogs and cats.
Dogs. All dogs should be tested annually for heartworm infection, and this can usually be done during a routine visit for preventive care. Following are guidelines on testing and timing:
- Puppies under 7 months of age can be started on heartworm prevention without a heartworm test (it takes at least 6 months for a dog to test positive after it has been infected), but should be tested 6 months after your initial visit, tested again 6 months later and yearly after that to ensure they are heartworm-free.
- Adult dogs over 7 months of age and previously not on a preventive need to be tested prior to starting heartworm prevention. They, too, need to be tested 6 months and 12 months later and annually after that.
- If there has been a lapse in prevention (one or more late or missed doses), dogs should be tested immediately, then tested again six months later and annually after that.
Annual testing is necessary, even when dogs are on heartworm prevention year-round, to ensure that the prevention program is working. Heartworm medications are highly effective, but dogs can still become infected. If you miss just one dose of a monthly medication—or give it late—it can leave your dog unprotected. Even if you give the medication as recommended, your dog may spit out or vomit a heartworm pill—or rub off a topical medication. Heartworm preventives are highly effective, but not 100 percent effective. If you don’t get your dog test, you won’t know your dog needs treatment.
Cats. Heartworm infection in cats is harder to detect than in dogs, because cats are much less likely than dogs to have adult heartworms. The preferred method for screening cats includes the use of both an antigen and an antibody test (the “antibody” test detects exposure to heartworm larvae). Your veterinarian may also use x-rays or ultrasound to look for heartworm infection. Cats should be tested before being put on prevention and re-tested as the veterinarian deems appropriate to document continued exposure and risk. Because there is no approved treatment for heartworm infection in cats, prevention is critical.
More questions can be answered at https://www.heartwormsociety.org/pet-owner-resources/heartworm-basics
If your pet goes outside it is being exposed to a variety of ectoparasites such as fleas, mites, ticks, mosquitos, etc
Garden City Veterinary Care carries several products used monthly as a preventative for Heartworms and Ectoparasites. Please ask our veterinarian which product best suits your pet and its lifestyle.