Yearly Health Care Visits
The hallmark of Middlesex County Animal Hospital’s recommendation to keep your pets healthy is at least once yearly health care visits. Health problems caught early are more easily treated than those detected after the disease process is more advanced. Our staff will focus on the overall health of your pet including nutrition, dental health, and disease prevention. Yearly health care visits will consist of a comprehensive physical examination in which a veterinarian will evaluate your pet from muzzle to tail. Based on your pet’s history and physical exam findings you and the doctor will decide the best course of action for keeping him or her healthy for years to come.
Recently vaccinations in dogs and cats have come under much scrutiny from the press. Many owners are concerned about giving unnecessary vaccines to their pets. Middlesex County Animal Hospital would agree with these concerns and we recommend vaccinations based upon the American Veterinary Medical Associations' latest standards. Our doctors will work with you to assess the risk of your pet being exposed to certain diseases and develop a vaccination protocol based on risk. Vaccines have greatly benefitted our pets and have allowed us to greatly reduce potentially deadly diseases. Still Middlesex County Animal Hospital knows that giving a vaccine is a medical procedure and as such should not be performed without careful consideration.
Intestinal Parasite Control
Internal parasites pose some of the greatest risk to your pet’s health and some parasites have zoonotic potential to transmit to your family. Middlesex County Animal Hospital recommends regular screening for intestinal parasites through at least yearly fecal examinations. In addition, we recommend a regular puppy and kitten deworming schedule, monthly parasite control for dogs, and yearly deworming for outdoor cats. Not all animals with internal parasites will show symptoms and thus we take a proactive approach to preventing and treating internal parasites.
External Parasite Control
Controlling fleas and ticks has become an important priority in veterinary medicine. These external parasites are carriers of potentially life threatening diseases including Lyme disease, Ehlichiosis, Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever, and Bartonella. In addition, fleas can cause severe allergic reactions in both dogs and cats. The Middlesex County Animal Hospital staff will work with you to prevent and treat flea, tick, and other external parasites infestations including mites and lice in your pets.
Both dogs and cats are susceptible to a blood borne parasite transmitted by mosquitos that can develop into worms which live in the heart. This disease is life threatening and much easier to prevent than treat. Infected dogs initially will show no symptoms and only late in the disease course will dogs develop symptoms including coughing, exercise intolerance, and weight loss. Cats are infected much less commonly and will often have vague symptoms such as occasional vomiting and lethargy. Middlesex County Animal Hospital recommends yearly blood screening for heartworm disease in dogs and a year round monthly parasite prevention medication. These medications not only prevent heartworm disease but will also control intestinal parasites. Monthly prevention can also be given to outdoor cats.
Many of the “aging” changes that owners notice in their pets may be caused by common geriatric diseases. Changes in weight, appetite, water intake, or activity level can all be early indicators of disease. Still other pets may show no outward signs of being sick and subtle changes may go unnoticed until diseases are more advanced. For this reason Middlesex County Animal Hospital recommends monitoring blood work and urinalysis in older pets to detect geriatric diseases early. Caught early many geriatric diseases can be managed or cured with diet changes and/or medications.
Blood work analysis will more often than not give our veterinarians an indication of any underlying problems with your pet. Chemistry panels containing liver and kidney enzymes, protein levels, blood sugar analysis, and electrolytes will show abnormalities with many geriatric diseases. Complete blood counts will give us further information regarding anemias, low platelet counts, and elevated white blood cell counts indicative of illness. Finally, urinalysis may be needed to diagnose kidney disease, diabetes, or other geriatric conditions.
As the name implies geriatric screening looks for early underlying diseases in older pets. We know that catching many of these diseases in their early stages will give us a much better chance of treatment or management to slow disease progression. Commonly geriatric screening blood work will come back normal. Normal blood work and urinalysis will give you further peace of mind that your older pet should be around for years to come.