The old adage, "an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure" certainly holds true when it comes to pet health. The cost of prevention is often a fraction of the cost of treating a disease or problem once it has become more advanced, and early diagnosis and treatment of developing problems or diseases can increase the likelihood of successful outcomes.
The key to success in keeping our companion pets healthy and happy is to follow a good preventive medicine plan. Preventive care does just that – it prevents problems from happening. There is so much information out there about pet care; it is hard to know what to believe and what to do… We can help. The critical elements of any preventive care plan start with the following…
- Pet Vaccination
- Regular Physical Exams to detect problems and changes EARLY
- Nutritional Advice and Maintenance of an IDEAL BODY WEIGHT
- External Parasite Screening
- Internal Parasite Screening
- Infectious Disease Screening
- Heartworm Testing/Prevention
- Preventive Dental Advice and Care
- Regular Lab Testing to Screen for Internal Problems
- Behavioral Care, Socialization, and Training
Vaccination of our companions is one of the most important actions we can take to keep our pets healthy. Vaccinations prevent many pet illnesses. Vaccinations can help avoid costly treatments for diseases that can be prevented. Vaccinations prevent diseases that can be passed between animals and also from animals to people. Diseases prevalent in wildlife, such as rabies and distemper, can infect unvaccinated pets.
We will outline an individualized vaccination schedule and protocol for your companion pet. We will determine through discussion and physical exam what vaccines your furry family member needs. Our veterinarians keep up on the current vaccination recommendations from the AVMA and AAHA.
Regular Wellness Exams to Detect Problems EARLY
Our Grove veterinarians recommend regular wellness exams for the same reason your physician and dentist recommend them – if you can detect a problem in its early stages, it's more likely to be treated and resolved with less expense, less difficulty and better success.
Early detection of problems and developing issues is essential to keeping our furry companions healthy and happy for as long as possible. This can be achieved through exercise, a healthy diet, and regular veterinary check ups. Many changes related to disease can be managed and treated successfully if detected early. Routine preventative care for adult dogs and cats includes regular check ups or physical exams and sometimes lab tests to screen for organ problems, infection, or certain cancers. Our veterinarians will be able to discuss many life-improving recommendations, including diet changes, medications, supplements, lifestyle changes, or other various wellbeing strategies.
Nutritional Advice and Maintenance of an IDEAL BODY WEIGHT
Is grain-free diet right for your dog or cat?
What is the heart issue related to grain-free diet?
Should I feed raw diet? Can I get sick from handling raw food diets?
What is the best food for my itchy dog?
It is confusing to navigate all of the various pet food diet trends out there. Nutrition is the most important part of pet care… let us help. Our Grove Veterinary Clinic veterinarians keep up on all the diet issues, medical concerns, and recommendations. Remember to always consult our veterinarians if you want to change your pet’s food or if you have concerns regarding your pet’s current diet.
External Parasite Screening (Fleas, ear mites, ticks, lice, etc).
Fleas are the number one parasite problem that we deal with on the Oregon Coast; in fact, fleas present a YEAR-ROUND problem. Did you know that fleas carry other diseases that can make your pet quite sick? With proper preventive care and advice, fleas can be eliminated. We can develop individualized flea control programs with the safest products for the specific needs of your pet and your own particular environmental situation. We will review with you the best ways to keep fleas off of your companion and out of your house.
Regular Lab Testing to Screen for Internal Problems
Regular lab testing can keep your companion happy and healthy. As veterinarians, we often wish we could just ask our patients to tell us where it hurts. Unfortunately, evaluating sick pets is much more complicated, which is why blood work is such a valuable diagnostic tool. Routine blood testing can help determine causes of illness, verify organ health prior to anesthetized medical treatments, and aid in the general maintenance of healthy pets. Regular lab work allows your pet’s veterinarian to assess symptoms he/she cannot see or feel, such as indicators of liver disease or diabetes. In healthy pets, blood work helps doctors establish a “baseline” for each individual dog or cat. A baseline blood panel determines what is considered “normal” for a particular pet. This is especially important if the pet becomes ill because it helps the doctor to more accurately interpret any changes in blood work results.
Performing blood tests on healthy pets can also detect underlying problems, which your veterinarian may be able to treat before they become a bigger issue. Even slight changes in body chemistry could signal a problem that may be easily managed.
Internal Parasite Screening
Regular fecal testing to screen for internal parasites (roundworms, hookworms, whipworms, giardia, coccidia, paragonimus, parvo, etc) is an essential part of any preventive care plan for your companions. We recommend an annual fecal screening to look for any problems.
Heartworm is present in Oregon. Heartworm is present on the Oregon Coast. We strongly recommend annual heartworm testing and year-round heartworm prevention for dogs on the Central Oregon Coast. It was once thought that this was not a problem here, but that is not the case. We are happy to discuss this further; please let us help you look at your options for heartworm testing and then navigate the veterinary care standards to prevent heartworm infection.
Infectious Disease Screening
Infectious disease screening is critical to any veterinary preventive care strategy.
We can screen for many infectious diseases in the clinic and while you wait. The specific infectious diseases and agents that we can rapidly screen for include Parvovirus, Feline Leukemia Virus (FeLV), Feline Immunodeficiency Virus (FIV), Anaplasma, Ehrlichia, Heartworm Disease, Giardia, Lyme Disease, and Leptospirosis. We also work with many out-of-area labs to test for other types of infectious disease.
Preventive Dental Advice and Care
Dental health is a very important part of your pet’s overall health, and dental problems can cause, or be caused by, other health problems. Your pet’s teeth and gums should be checked at least once a year by one of our veterinarians to check for early signs of a problem and to keep your pet’s mouth healthy.
Home Dental Care Counseling (i.e. brushing, treat selection, drinking water additives). We will advise you based on physical examination and history what the best options are for protecting and ensuring your pet’s continued oral health and hygiene. We can present many “hands-on” and “hands-off” strategies that will help you with your pet’s teeth.
Behavioral Care, Socialization, and Training
Why is Behavior and Training so important for your dog/puppy and cat/kitten?
- It is significantly safer for your dog/cat.
The safety of your companion is of critical importance – and as the companion human, it is your responsibility. Ensuring your pet listens to your commands can prevent potentially harmful or even deadly conflicts with other dogs or wild animals, running into a busy road, or generally finding unforeseen hazardous situations. Behavioral Care is so important – it can literally save a life.
- It’s safer for your home.
Training your dog or cat helps ensure that your living quarters are treated with respect. Instilling manners in your pet means that it will know the difference between what is acceptable and unacceptable in your home, and your companion will behave properly and within expectations. Problems in the home range from inappropriate elimination to destruction – it is these behaviors that are the number one cause of dogs and cats being surrendered to a shelter… early behavioral care and training quite literally save lives!
- It builds a lasting relationship between you and your dog or cat.
A training regime will establish a fundamental connection between you and your pet. As you spend time together, creating boundaries, sharing experiences and learning to understand each other, a mutual respect will develop. Your dog or cat will learn to trust and respect your judgment, and you’ll gain admiration for their potential and capabilities.
- It’s easier when you take your dog out in public.
We’ve all seen instances where it looks like a dog is taking its human for a walk, rather than the other way around. By training your dog and building his/her confidence around humans and fellow dogs, your walks together will be an enjoyable experience for both of you. Your dog will learn to interact safely and effectively with others.
- It’s easier for the vet to work with your dog or cat.
Veterinarians are not miracle workers, and cannot risk their safety or the safety of their team members attempting to work on a dog who is reacting violently to them. Pet owners who have not taken the time to desensitize their dog to being touched or worked on can risk overgrown nails, dental disease, untreated wounds or infections and the progression of disease, which likely could have been prevented if discovered early. It is so important to socialize your puppies and kittens; it can literally save their lives.