Pet Wellness Care
Guiding your pet down the road to wellness is part of our mission here at Colma Animal Hospital. Just like people, it’s important for your pet to see a doctor at least once a year to be sure they’re healthy. Depending on your pet’s age and lifestyle, our doctors may recommend bi-annual exams to accommodate your pet’s specific needs. Each wellness exam includes a nose-to-tail evaluation, which is detailed below.
Weight Check: to ensure that the weight aligns with the recommended BMI for your pet’s age and breed. If necessary, we can provide diet and exercise counseling.
Skin and Coat Evaluation: to check for dandruff, dry skin, rashes, infection and other issues such as atopy that may require treatment.
Eyes, Nose, and Ears Evaluation: to check for irregularities, such as cataract, glaucoma, dry eye, growths, ear mites, odors, and discharge, as these may be signs of an infection.
Oral Exam: to detect tartar build-up, bad breath, masses, and other abnormal symptoms that may be signs of gum disease. If necessary, we can schedule an appointment for a comprehensive dental cleaning or diagnostic imaging exam.
Heart and Lungs: to check for heart murmurs, crackles, rales, fluid in lungs and other abnormalities.
Legs, Abdomen, and Anal Sac: to check for atypical reactions, including pain or masses in abdomen.
Fecal Exam: to check for intestinal parasites (stool sample required)
To protect your pet from viruses and diseases, we recommend vaccinating your pet every year as part of their comprehensive wellness exam. This includes cats and other indoor pets. Vaccination schedules vary, depending on breed, species, and lifestyle. Our doctors can determine a schedule for your pet during their annual check-up. The core vaccines we recommend for dogs and cats include:
Core Dog Vaccines
- Canine parvovirus
- Canine distemper
- Canine hepatitis
- Rabies virus (1- or 3-year options )
Depending on your dog's lifestyle, we also recommend vaccine for Leptospirosis, Lyme disease and Bordetella (kennel cough).Core Feline Vaccines (h3)
- FVR—Feline Rhinotracheitis Virus (feline herpes virus type 1)
- C—Calici virus
- P—Panleukopenia (feline distemper)
- Rabies virus (1- or 3-year options )
Depending on your cat's lifestyle, we also recommend the FeLV (feline leukemia virus) and FIV (feline immunodeficiency virus) vaccine.
Cat FeLV/FIV Testing
FeLV and FIV are potentially-fatal viruses that slowly weaken a cat's immune system. It is transmitted from cat to cat through bite wounds. Because these viruses take their tolls slowly, symptoms may not appear for several years. Some of the common symptoms include:
- Weight loss
- Inflammation of the eyes
- Swollen lymph nodes
If your cat has or will come in contact with other cats, we recommend that you have them tested for FeLV and FIV. For your convenience, we offer FeLV and FIV blood testing in-house.
Heartworm Prevention for Dogs and Cats
Heartworm is a disease that affects dogs and cats all over the country, including indoor pets. It’s transmitted from one animal to another by infected mosquitoes, which carry the heartworm larvae in the blood. Just as the name implies, heartworms live in the heart, but they can also live in the lungs and blood vessels. Left untreated, these worms can be fatal.
To protect your pet, Colma Animal Hospital recommends keeping your pet on a monthly preventative all year round, such as HEARTGARD Plus, which kills heartworm larvae. Trifexis is another option. This 3-in-1 tablet prevents heartworm disease and kills fleas and treats hookworm, roundworm, and whipworm.
Flea-and-Tick Prevention for Dogs and Cats
Fleas and ticks are more than just pesky. If not removed, they can cause a number of problems for your pet, such as anemia, allergies, Lyme disease, and ehrlichiosis. Although fleas are most common in the warmer months of the year, they can be a year-round concern. Ticks are common in grassy areas, so be sure to check your pet for ticks when they come in from outdoors.
If you ever find a tick attached to your pet, remove it as soon as possible with fine-tipped tweezers. Pull upward, grasping the tick closely to the skin surface. After the tick is removed, clean the bite area and your hands thoroughly with soap and water. If the tick is still alive, you can dispose of it by flushing it down the toilet.
Since many flea-and-tick- related health problems can be serious and even fatal, we recommend that you keep your pet on a monthly preventative product all year-round. We offer a variety of products in house.
Intestinal Parasite Prevention
Intestinal parasite prevention is a critical part of your pet's overall wellness, including indoor pets, since parasites can cause illness. Some of the most common intestinal parasites include hookworms, whipworms, and tapeworms. These worms can be passed from one animal to another if your pet comes in contact with the feces of an infected animal. Some parasitic diseases can also present a danger to humans, especially infants and the elderly. These are referred to zoonotic diseases.
Below is a list of some of the common symptoms of parasitic infections seen in pets.
- Blood loss
- Weight loss
- Inflammation of the large intestine
Colma Animal Hospital adheres to Companion Animal Parasite Council's (CAPC) recommendations for intestinal parasite prevention. These include keeping your pet on a year-round preventative product, some of which can also protect against heartworm disease. Since puppies and kittens can acquire worms from their mothers, we also recommend that all puppies/kittens be dewormed within their first 12 weeks of age.
Most dogs and cats are considered “seniors” between 5 and 9 years of age. At this age, their health care needs change, along with their risks for certain diseases and conditions, such as arthritis and diabetes. That’s why Colma Animal Hospital recommends that all senior pets receive the following services:
- Comprehensive wellness exam and consultation once or twice a year, depending on age, lifestyle, and health status
- Lab work (blood, urine, etc.) to assess organ health and detect the early stages of disease, which allows us to make any necessary treatment recommendations to extend the life of your pet