Besides a thorough physical exam, puppies require a series of vaccines, dewormings, stool tests to screen for intestinal parasites, and flea and heartworm treatments. These tests & treatments include one or more of the following:
D is for Distemper - Distemper is one of the most severe diseases seen in dogs. It is caused by an air-borne virus similar to the human measles virus. This particular agent can invade any tissue in the dog's body. We often see pneumonia, a thick, yellow nasal discharge, vomiting and fever. Later, convulsions may develop. Distemper is most commonly seen in young animals and tends to be most severe in that age group. Older, unvaccinated dogs may occasionally be infected. The disease usually takes several weeks to months to run its course. Once the virus invades the central nervous system, the disease progresses more rapidly. There is no effective treatment, as presently we have no anti-viral medicines. Antibiotics are used to prevent secondary infections, and good nursing practices help keep the animal comfortable. Distemper has an 80-90% mortality rate. Immunity to the vaccine lasts approximately thirteen months, so annual boosters are necessary. Puppies should start their vaccine series as early as six weeks of age.
H is for Hepatitis - Hepatitis is an uncommon disease in dogs because the vaccine is so reliable in prevention of the infection. It is caused by either of two adeno viruses. Symptoms of hepatitis are related to damage to the liver. Vomiting, diarrhea, a high fever, and jaundice (yellow discoloration of skin and mucus membranes) can be seen. Sometimes the eyes are affected too. As with distemper, no specific therapy is curative. The animal must be in the hospital on intravenous fluids and other medications to relieve symptoms. This disease has a high mortality rate similar to distemper. The vaccine produces a long lasting immunity.
P is for Parainfluenza - This particular virus causes an upper respiratory infection which is one part of the "kennel cough" complex. It is passed from dog to dog in the air. It can affect dogs of any age, and is most commonly seen where dogs are housed in groups such as boarding kennels and grooming establishments. Dogs may be carriers and show no sign of infection. Symptoms are usually related to the respiratory system. A severe cough is the most pronounced sign, and it may sound as if the dog has something caught in its throat. Some dogs run a high fever and have bronchopneumonia. No specific treatment is available, but cough suppressants and antibiotics are often prescribed.
P is for Parvovirus - This gastro-intestinal disease was prevalent in the late 1970's. It is devastating to young animals, but can be seen in dogs of any age. Vomiting, bloody diarrhea, dehydration and depression are common symptoms. Symptomatic therapy such as intravenous fluids, antibiotics and antiemetics (to stop vomiting) are used on hospitalized pets. Intensive care may be required for five to seven days before improvement is seen. Some dogs may die within 12-24 hours after initial signs are seen. Puppies should receive several vaccinations in the series, with the final given at sixteen weeks.
If your pet is a regular at day care, grooming facilities, or the dog park, those shots every 6 to 12 months to prevent canine infectious tracheobronchitis (aka, kennel cough) may be inconvenient. But the vaccine against Bordetella is important in protecting your pet from the hacking cough and snotty nose brought on by the easily contracted bacteria that causes the highly contagious disease in both dogs and cats.
A fecal examination is the microscopic evaluation of feces. The test is indicated for pets with diarrhea, straining, lack of appetite or vomiting. Annual fecal examinations are recommended on all animals as part of a yearly health exam. Fecal examinations are also recommended on all puppies and kittens.
Once a parasite infects a puppy, it can take weeks or months for the parasites to develop into adults. Before that time occurs, the parasites remain in the egg and larval stages. Deworming medications only target the adult worms; they cannot kill the egg and larval stages of the parasites. Since puppies are often exposed to a parasite multiple times, veterinarians recommend using strategic deworming procedures to ensure that the puppy is totally cleared of the infection.
Revolution is a topically-applied medication that provides all-around protection from parasites for your dog or cat. Revolution kills adult fleas, prevents flea eggs from hatching, prevents heartworm disease, and treats and controls both ear mites and roundworms. After applying Revolution, it enters your pet's bloodstream and redistributes itself from the blood to the skin and other tissues, where it provides protection against parasites.
During a physical examination, we perform a "nose-to-tail" examination of your pet. We examine your pet's nose, eyes, ears, check your pet's teeth and oral cavity, listen to your pet's heart and lungs, carefully examine the skin and coat, look for any unusual lumps or swelling, palpate the abdomen and muscles and perform an orthopedic evaluation of the bones, joints and back.
Rabies is one of the most devastating viral diseases affecting mammals, including dogs and humans. The disease is usually transmitted by the bite of an infected animal. Vaccination promotes the production of antibodies but is only effective if given before the virus enters the nervous system. Modern rabies vaccines for dogs, cats, horses and ferrets are extremely safe and effective. All dogs and cats between the ages of twelve and sixteen weeks should be vaccinated.
Leptospirosis is a disease caused by bacteria (Leptospira interrogans) that produce a wide range of symptoms that may occur in phases; some patients may develop kidney or liver failure, respiratory failure, meningitis, or even death. The disease is spread by the urine of infected animals (many species, both domesticated and wild); the bacteria can survive in the water and soil for months. The disease is most common in temperate and tropical climates. The infecting bacteria occur worldwide.