Preventative Care and Pet Vaccinations
At Healthy Pets Veterinary Care, we strongly believe in the advantages of preventative medicine vs reactionary medicine. Preventative care is easier, cheaper, and safer for your pet then treating diseases once they occur. Whether it’s pet vaccinations, parasite prevention and screening, or dental hygiene – preventative medicine is the best medicine.
Puppy & Kitten Vaccines
Puppies and kittens require a series of pet vaccinations beginning at six to eight weeks of age. Due to their immature immune system, puppies and kittens require multiple vaccine boosters to achieve proper immunity. To learn more about pet vaccinations for your new family member, please visit our kitten and puppy page.
Vaccinations are a fundamental part of your dog’s overall health. Vaccinations for puppies start as early as 6-8 weeks of age and continue throughout your dog’s life. Healthy Pets Veterinary Care recommends following the American Animal Hospital Association (AAHA) guidelines for core and non-core vaccines, but believe that each pet is an individual. Pet vaccinations may be specifically tailored to your pet based on need and risk.
Core vaccinations for dogs include rabies and a distemper/parvovirus combination shot. This vaccination also includes parainfluenza and adenovirus. Non-core (but still recommended) vaccinations for dogs include Bordetella (kennel cough) and leptospirosis – a potentially fatal and zoonotic disease. We may also recommend influenza or Lyme vaccine depending on your dog’s lifestyle. As your dog gets older, vaccinating your dog every year may not be necessary. We offer both 1 and 3-year rabies vaccines and strongly recommend parvo and distemper antibody titers for older dogs with a good vaccination history.
Vaccinations are an essential part of your cat’s health and are recommended even for indoor-only cats. Vaccinations for cats start at 6-8 weeks of age and continue throughout your cat’s life. Healthy Pets Veterinary Care recommends following the American Association of Feline Practitioners (AAFP) guidelines for core and non-core vaccines, but believe that each pet is an individual. Pet vaccinations may be specifically tailored to your pet based on need and risk of exposure.
Core vaccinations for cats include panleukopenia (feline distemper), feline calicivirus, feline herpesvirus (rhinotracheitis) and rabies. A non-core (but recommended) vaccination for cats is the feline leukemia virus vaccine (FELV) – this is especially important for indoor/outdoor and outside cats.
Healthy Pets Veterinary Care is proud to offer Purevax Feline Vaccines, a non-adjuvant line of vaccines for cats – as recommended by AAFP. We offer both the 1 and the 3-year Purevax rabies vaccines.
Heartworms are a potentially life-threatening parasite carried by mosquitoes. A single bite can infect your dog without proper prevention. Heartworm Disease is unfortunately common in South Florida, where the sub-tropical climate allows mosquitoes to thrive year-round.
The good news is that heartworm disease can be easily prevented in your pet by affordable monthly heartworm preventatives. These preventatives are far cheaper and safer than the treatment for heartworms – which is extremely expensive and is a life-threatening process. We proudly carry Heartgard as our heartworm prevention, due to its safety and efficacy, but conveniently offer other heartworm preventatives through our easy to use and convenient online pharmacy.
For your pet’s safety, we require yearly testing for heartworm disease prior to refilling preventatives. Contact us today to schedule your pet’s annual heartworm test.
To learn more about heartworm disease, please visit the American Heartworm Society.
Regular intestinal parasite screening is highly recommended for the pets of South Florida. We commonly see roundworms, hookworms, whipworms, and tapeworms. Your pet may pick up these parasites by eating grass and dirt or catching lizards and bugs.
Common symptoms of intestinal worms include weight loss, diarrhea, blood in the stools, vomiting, or seeing worms! These may look like thin white spaghetti (round or hookworms) or little cucumber seeds around the butt (tapeworms).
Remember, many of these parasites are zoonotic – meaning they can be transmitted to people! This is part of the reason that we highly recommend a fecal test twice a year.
Consider signing up on our wellness plans as an easy way to stay on top of all your regular parasite screening.
Flea and Tick Prevention
Fleas and ticks are more than just a nuisance for dogs and cats. Fleas and ticks can cause severe anemia and carry deadly diseases that can be transmitted to people.
Fleas are a very common problem in South Florida, as they love high humidity levels and warm temperatures – making our climate the ideal environment for them. Dogs and cats often get fleas through contact with other animals or contact with fleas in the environment. Sometimes they are even carried in on our shoes or clothes. Fleabites will usually cause itching for the host, but some dogs and cats may be hypersensitive to the flea’s saliva. For pets with flea hypersensitivity, the itching can be quite severe and often leads to hair loss, skin inflammation, and secondary skin infections.
Ticks are common parasites and are found all over the world, from the woods to city parks. Ticks transmit many serious diseases including Lyme disease, Anaplasma, Ehrlichia and Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever to name a few. The risks to your pet can be minimized with proper prevention and annual screening tests (performed at the same time as your pet’s heartworm test). These screening tests are especially important, as symptoms of these tick-borne diseases are often vague and difficult to recognize until it’s too late.
The oral health of your dog or cat can impact their overall health. Loose or broken teeth can be painful and a disease of the mouth or gums can potentially spread to your pet’s other organs. We offer complete oral examinations for both dogs and cats. Our staff can perform teeth cleanings, polishing, digital dental X-rays, tooth extractions, and minor oral surgeries. Please visit our Dental Care page for more information.
We are also proud to offer wellness plans for your pets that include yearly dental cleanings. To learn more about how we can help keep your furry friend healthy and happy, please browse our site or give us a call today!