Preventive and primary care are just as important for your pet as they are for you. This includes an annual physical exam, dental exam, eye exam and maybe even a nutritional consultation.
The advantage of bringing your pet to a veterinarian annually is they will have all aspects of their health examined in one visit!
During the Exam
During a physical examination, we will ask you questions about your pet's lifestyle such as:
Whether they spend most of their time indoors or outdoors
Which food(s) they eat
How their activity and energy level are, etc.
Then we'll do a thorough physical exam, including:
Listening to your pet's heart and lungs
Evaluating your pet's vision
Looking in the ears
Palpating their abdomen
Checking the range of motion and assessing the health of their joints
Checking for any unusual lumps or growths
Checking their reflexes
Evaluating the health of their teeth and gums
For Senior Pets
If your pet is over 10, he or she is considered a senior pet. We recommend a full blood panel to be proactive in catching diseases such as cancer, kidney, heart and liver disease. The sooner these conditions are detected, the better the chance of effectively managing them. Click here to read more about senior pet health.
The Importance of Annual Exams
We recommend your pet receive a physical exam every year so that we can spot any hidden health issues, or at the very least, obtain a health history and baseline information we can compare to and review in the coming years. For example, this will help us spot any changes in:
Weight changes and eating habits
Note any growths that may have developed
Routine examinations give us an opportunity to develop a picture of your pet's overall health and for you to ask general or specific questions about your pet. Examinations are also essential in spotting problems before they become serious health issues and are also a good time for your pet to get up-to-date on his or her vaccinations.
Pets have the ability to grieve for the loss of their fellow companion animals. Every pet is unique and while they are capable of grief it is not inevitable that they will experience it.
Pets who are grieving may manifest behaviors similar to a bereaved human. They may be restless, agitated, anxious, and depressed. Any unusual behavior after the passing of another household pet can be a sign of grief.
Common symptoms include (but are not limited to):
Unusual sleeping patterns
Loss of interest in normal pleasures
Aloof behavior (including hiding)
Quietness, and lethargy
If your pet does show any of these signs, it is important to consult with your veterinarian to rule out any medical reasons for the behavior.
A pet may grieve for a short while or for several months; during this time try to keep their routine as normal as possible.
While extra attention can be healing for both you and your pet, you want to guard against reinforcing negative behavioral changes.
It may be helpful to create a new daily ritual for you and your surviving pet. This can be something each of you look forward to, whether it is playing together, a brushing, or maybe just snuggle time.
Each year, thousands of pets go missing, and many never find their way home. Implanting a microchip in your pet is a simple and virtually painless way to help avoid this tragedy.
A microchip is about the size and shape of a grain of rice. It is implanted beneath a pet's skin between the shoulder blades, and stays there for the pet's entire life. This procedure is as easy and as painless as a vaccination.
Each microchip emits a unique number when a hand-held scanner is brought near. This number, along with information about the owner and pet, are added to a national pet registry.
Most veterinary hospitals and animal shelters have electronic scanners for detecting and reading these implanted microchips. If a lost pet is found and a microchip is detected by scanning, the registry is called and the owner can be contacted.
Talk to your veterinarian about the benefits of a microchip. While we recommend having your pet microchipped, we still advise your pet also wear a collar with current identification tags.
When was the last time you checked the national databases to be sure the information listed for you pet was current? Here are two links to get you there:
You feed your pet everyday but how much do you know about the food you feed them? A healthy diet for your pet is an essential part of their overall health care — just as it is for you.
Feeding your pet the proper diet is one of the easiest and most effective ways to help keep them healthy and active!
Your pet's dietary and nutritional requirements will depend on their age, weight, lifestyle, and individual health concerns.
The two most common problems pets have as a result of their diet are obesity and food allergies. Obesity can contribute to the development of oteoarthritis, diabetes, heart disease, kidney disease and many forms of cancer.
Pets with food allergies often suffer from itchy skin (around the face, feet, ears, armpits and anus) and can develop chronic ear infections, hair loss, "hot spots" and skin infections.
At Amador Valley Veterinary Center, our veterinarians will help you develop a nutrition plan that is right for your pet, providing balanced diet consultations. We also carry a variety of specialty and prescription pet foods in our hospital.
Any pet who spends time outdoors can become infested with internal or external parasites during their lifetime.
If left untreated, parasites can affect your pet in a variety of ways, ranging from simple irritation to life-threatening conditions.
Failing to give regular monthly preventive medications can expose your entire family to disease and subject your cats to potentially life-threatening conditions.
Important Facts About Parasites:
1 to 3 million people are infected with hookworm by their pet each year.
Fleas can give tapeworms to your pet, which can be transmitted to humans.
Tick bites can give your pet infections like Lyme disease which is transmittable to humans.
Raw meat can give animals parasites and carry bacteria that can make animals and humans sick.
The most common parasites transmittable to humans are tapeworms, roundworms, hookworms and whipworms.
Year-round prevention is the most effective way to control pet parasites and the diseases they carry.
Parasite Prevention Recommendations
We are able to run complete parasite screenings every day of the week, and can determine if you pet has parasites. If you suspect your pet is carrying intestinal parasites (due to intermittent vomiting, diarrhea, or poor appetite), we also recommend you bring in a fecal sample at the time of your visit.
We recommend that all pets who go outdoors be screened for intestinal parasites annually.
Fleas & Ticks
In addition to monthly parasite preventive medications, we also recommend your pet be on a monthly flea and tick preventive medication. Fleas and ticks can transmit tapeworms, Lyme disease, and other infections.
We suggest talking with your veterinarian about an integrated flea and tick program to help you decide which medications are right for your pet.
Parasite Prevention Resources
What Every Pet Owner Should Know About Roundworms & Hookworms
Amador Valley Veterinary Center accepts and works with all pet insurance companies. We have forms available so that submitting claims is quick and easy.
Pet insurance gives you peace of mind, so in the event of an emergency, or if any other unforeseen medical conditions arise, a portion of your pet's veterinary bill will be covered.
We are such vocal advocates of pet insurance for a simple and powerful reason: time and time again we've seen the relief on the faces of the families we serve when they know they can make the best decision for their beloved pet without having to worry about finances.
That is the benefit of being insured - the knowledge that you can pursue exceptional care for your best friend because there is a support system in place. We want all our pet owners to feel this secure!
We know insurance can be confusing so we want to help answer any questions you might have and make the process as easy as possible!
First, a brief explanation about how pet insurance works.
It is different from human health insurance.
You pay the veterinary costs up front and then, depending on your coverage, the pet insurance company will reimburse you.
Pet insurance works with all licensed veterinarians.
We will work hand in hand with you to help process paperwork and insurance claims to expedite the process.
While there are many pet insurance companies to choose from and we recommend doing your research, there are three companies that AVVC endorses. They are: Embrace, Petplan, and Trupanion.
Our doctors feel these companies offer the best coverage for our patients as well as excellent customer service for our clients.
Click here for a brief synopsis of what each company offers. Visit their websites, explore the different plans and prices and decide what kind of coverage will be right for you and your pet. Please feel free to contact us anytime with questions you might have – we are here to help!
If you are interested in pet insurance but are still not sure whether it is right for you, go to: www.Petinsurancereview.com to find out more.
Sadly, thousands of dogs & cats are euthanized every year in our local shelters, and nationwide the estimates range as high as 10 million dogs and cats euthanized in the United States annually.
Unless you have a pure-bred pet specifically intended for breeding, your pet should be neutered or spayed before they have a chance to reproduce, which occurs about six months of age.
Spays and neuters are outpatient procedures, meaning your pet comes into the veterinary hospital for surgery and goes home the same day. Most pets return to their full activity level within a few days.
The relative quickness and simplicity of the procedure, and the rapid recovery of most cats within a day or two means there is no reason a healthy puppy or kitten should not be spayed or neutered.
Benefits of Spaying Your Pet (females)
No heat cycles (no vaginal bleeding, which usually lasts about two weeks)
Reduces the risk of mammary tumors and eliminates the risk of ovarian and uterine cancer
Reduces the number of unwanted kittens
Benefits of Neutering Your Pet (males)
Eliminates the risk of testicular cancer and reduces the risk of certain prostate diseases
Reduces urine marking and spraying
Reduces undesirable sexual behavior, such as roaming and mounting
Reduces the number of unwanted kittens
Altering your pet will increase his or her chances of living and enjoying a longer and healthier life. Spaying or neutering your pet will increase their life by 3 to 5 years!
Vaccines are critical in preventing:
Upper Respiratory Infections in cats
There are even effective vaccinations that reduce the risk of death in dogs bitten by rattlesnakes. Our staff can assist you in deciding which preventative measures are necessary for your pet.
Up-to-date vaccinations play a large part in keeping your pet healthy and free from disease.
However, not every pet requires the same series or frequency of vaccines. Our veterinarians will tailor a vaccine protocol that's specific to your pet based on his or her lifestyle. Vaccine schedules are balanced to provide needed protection while not over-vaccinating your pet.
What You Should Know about Vaccine Clinics
Some things to consider prior to taking your pet in for vaccines includes where you take them.
If you take your pet to low-cost vaccine clinics, it is important to realize they will not give your pet a 3-year Feline Distemper injection. Rather, they will only give your pet a one year vaccine. You will have to go back every year.
Vaccine clinics may also give vaccines, in many cases, are not necessary based on lifestyle or health. When you bring your pet to Amador Valley Veterinary Center, your pet will only be given the vaccines they need.
In addition to the vaccine, Amador Valley Veterinary Center also gives your pet a comprehensive physical exam. While the cost maybe similiar to a low cost vaccination clinic, Amador Valley Veterinary Center provides you piece of mind knowing your pet will be properly vaccinated.
Important Information on Vaccinations
Please click here for important information regarding the recent Canine Influenza outbreak.
Whether you have just become a new "parent" to a puppy / kitten for the first time, or you're adding another to an already full house of pets, we're excited about helping you learn how to raise your little one!
At Amador Valley Veterinary Center we'll do far more than simply administer vaccinations.
Throughout your puppy/kitten's first few months you'll be able to see the same doctor at every visit who will monitor your kitten's development.
You'll have an opportunity to ask questions about what behaviors are normal for a puppy/kitten (and how to keep them out of trouble!), or how/when proper training should begin.
We'll discuss which foods are best suited to your new pet's breed and lifestyle, answer questions about how you can avoid common household hazards, suggest simple ways to keep your pet's teeth clean (and breath fresh!), how to prevent "worms" and pass along common-sense tips about raising a pupp/kitten that can only come from years of experience.
Providing the right "shots" for a puppy/kitten is important. Making sure you have all the tools is only one small part of raising a happy, healthy and well-behaved pet.
We pride ourselves on being an important resource for information on raising a puppy/kitten during this important, formative time in their lives.