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Learn About Your Pets’ Health

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There is a great deal of emphasis put upon puppy/kitten and senior wellness but we never hear much about health needs of those pets that are enjoying their “adult” years. The information below will describe items to watch for in your adult pet to help prevent problems later in life and improve their quality of life.

Wellness Examination

It is very important to develop a relationship with your

veterinary care providers. Annual or semiannual examinations/consultations are an imperative

component to your animal’s health. Examinations

may indicate a problem before clinical signs are

present and help us to provide the best care for your pet.

Diet/Weight Control

Diet plays a huge role throughout a pet’s life. It is very important to select a diet that meets your pet’s specific needs. Many pets today are overweight, which puts them at an increased risk

of developing problems such as diabetes and arthritis. A good subjective assessment of weight is as follows:

There should only be a thin layer

(<1/4 inch) of fat between

the skin and the ribs as you run your hand along the side of your pet’s chest.

A “tuck” behind the ribcage should

be present as the body tapers in the abdomen while observing from above.

If your pet is overweight there are two major components to helping them reach a desirable weight: diet and exercise (no surprises there)! Many light or reduced calorie foods aren’t adequate to decrease

weight. There are prescription diets specially formulated to decrease weight while keeping the animal satisfied. Our favorite is Purina OM. We would be happy to help you in your pet’s weight loss through consultation, frequent weigh-ins, etc.

For those pets at an optimal weight, a high quality adult food is adequate. Monitor amount and consistency of stools, as well as eagerness to eat, etc. to make sure your pet’s current food is best for them. We would be happy to consult with you and give you our recommendation for a maintenance diet for your pet.


As our pets age, their oral health requires more

attention. Approximately 2/3 of adult pets will

develop periodontal disease. It is important to

institute a dental health program for your pet.

Annual/biannual veterinary visits, brushing at home,

and professional cleaning when necessary are all

important components of keeping your pet healthy.

Parasite Control/Prevention

This is important for pets in all age groups. Monthly heartworm preventative and intestinal parasite control will help maintain your pet’s good health. There are several common intestinal parasites that can infect humans as well, so providing routine intestinal deworming (through heartworm preventative or other means) year-round also helps protect us from contracting these potentially hazardous parasites.

Flea and tick control is also very important. Both fleas and ticks carry diseases that can be transmitted to your pet (or you). Lyme disease is the most publicized tick-transmitted disease but there are a host of others that are transmitted by flea and/or tick bites.

Blood parasite screening is recommended yearly by the American Heartworm Association. Our blood parasite screen checks for the presence of antibodies against hearworm, lyme, ehrlichia and anaplasma. We also recommend an intestinal parasite screen yearly to look for the presence of intestinal parasites.

Laboratory Testing

Middle age is a common time for the onset of medical problems. It is helpful to establish baseline values for levels such as kidney and liver enzymes as well as thyroid hormone levels. This option is available to any animal and can provide a wealth of knowledge in helping us to improve and prolong your pet’s life by catching potentially life-altering illnesses early in their course.


You, of course, know your pet best. If you notice any changes in appetite, water consumption, activity level, behavior, etc. bring your pet in for an examination. It is also helpful to record these events, as it is easy to forget subtle changes as time passes. These observations may lead to the diagnosis of a medical problem that, gone untreated, could negatively affect your pet.

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