Annual Wellness Exams
An annual wellness exam is very important for the assessment of your pet’s health. A wellness exam involves checking your pet from head to tail for any potential problems. We assess heart and lung function, vision, weight, neurologic status, and overall health. Your pet is thoroughly examined for any signs of infection, tumors, or other problems. We also recommend an annual heartworm exam even if your pet is on year-round heartworm prevention. Annual bloodwork (CBC and Chemistry) can also be useful tool, especially in older animals, to assess organ function and other body system abnormalities before they become a serious problem.
We carry all core vaccinations for dogs and cats as well as Bordetella (Kennel Cough) and Lyme vaccine. Vaccines provide protection by preparing your animal’s immune system to fight the disease. Vaccinations are very important in protecting your pet from infectious disease, and they also protect you and your family from infectious diseases that can be spread from your pet to humans. Each vaccine protocol is tailored to each animal based on their environment and lifestyle. Recent recommendations by the American Animal Hospital Association suggest that dogs and cats now only need to be vaccinated once every 3 years. However, recent studies have shown that vaccines are 80-90% likely to be effective for 3 years. The question is, is 80-90% protection of your pet good enough? At Howard County Veterinary Service, we like to get an “A” in protection, not a “B,” which is why we strongly suggest yearly vaccination and do not believe in over-vaccination.
Vaccination for Lepto, a bacterial disease that can come from exposure to urine from raccoons or rodents, is also suggested yearly. Studies have shown that 10-20% of dogs have seroconverted to Lepto (they have been exposed). In addition, it is very important to begin vaccination of puppies and kittens at 6 weeks of age. Young dogs are at very high risk for parvovirus, which is a virus that attacks the gastrointestinal tract. Most puppies die without treatment with IV fluids. Treating a parvo puppy (with hospitalization and IV fluids) can range from $700-$1500 with no guarantee of survival. Vaccinating a puppy is a very small fraction of that cost. In other words, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure! Bottom line, many of these diseases are not rare in dogs and vaccination is very important for the protection of your pet and your family.
Microchipping is an important tool used to reunite owners with pets in the event that they get lost. A microchip is a very small device that gets implanted just under the skin in animals of all species (horses, dogs, cats, etc.). When the microchip is scanned, it emits a number that links you to your pet.
Unlike collars and tags, microchips cannot be lost and are a more reliable means of identifying your pet. Microchipping is a simple office procedure that can be done in 5-10 minutes.