During the wellness visit, our staff will conduct a thorough nose-to-tail physical examination. We will check the following physical characteristics as a part of the examination:
The physical examination alone can provide a veterinarian with a wealth of knowledge about your pet’s wellbeing. Symptoms of developing or progressing ailments, which may likely be unnoticeable at home, may be caught under a veterinarian’s attentive eye-for-detail.
In addition to the physical evaluation, we also recommend that every pet have one fecal examination a year to check if they are parasite-free.
We encourage our clients to also use the wellness examination to ask us questions about their pet’s behaviour and care. The physical is an important part of your pet’s health, but their emotional and mental wellbeing is also an important element of their happiness that we would like to address.
Consider the following questions:
Our veterinarians can offer advice and techniques to keep your pet mentally stimulated and comfortable in their home environment. If your pet has a severe behavioral problem, we can also refer you to some of our favorite animal trainers and behaviorists in our area.
Vaccinations are crucial to your pet’s safety and health. Widespread vaccination is so effective, it has the ability to nearly eradicate dangerous diseases. But, the more animals in the pet population there are who do not have their shots, the more preventable diseases that are allowed to persist.
Vaccines are effective because they expose the animal’s immune system to a very small amount of the disease. The immune system can easily fight off the dosage in the vaccination, and it receives some "practice" in fighting that particular germ. After receiving the vaccine, if your pet is ever exposed to the disease in the environment, their body will be prepared to fight it off.
Because the scientific community is at such a consensus about the definitive abilities of vaccinations to prevent disease, receiving certain vaccines is enforced by law for the protection of society. For example, the Rabies vaccine is legally required at least once every three years in the State of Texas.
Our veterinary doctors stay abreast of the current literature and scientific studies about vaccine frequency to inform their decisions. We recommend administering certain vaccines every year, and others every two or three years. Having your pet’s full medical history on file is important for helping us make the decisions about when to vaccinate.
Another factor that will inform our veterinarians about the appropriate shots for your pet is their individual lifestyle. We will want to know if they spend time outside, or with other pets. Some vaccinations may suit the lifestyle of one pet, but not another; whereas our "core vaccinations" we consider necessary for all pets.
A parasite is any organism that subsists by stealing energy from a host. Parasites such as fleas, ticks, and intestinal worms are found in almost every environment, and Texas is no exception. These troublesome hitchhikers will latch onto your pet and never let go if given the chance. And once attached, they can cause not only discomfort but dangerous side effects.
The first line of defense against parasites is ensuring that your pet is on continuous preventatives; whether they be chews, topical treatments, flea collars, or otherwise. In house, we provide a large variety of alternatives to suit any pet’s lifestyle. The hot and arid climate of Texas can support parasites all year round, not only in the summer months, so we are firm believers that to stay safe, your pet should be on preventatives at all times.
The second line of defense against parasitic infestations is yearly testing at annual wellness visits. To test for most parasites, we will use a fecal exam. To test for heartworms, we typically use a blood test.
Are you on the fence about getting your pet tested for heartworms?
Consider the following information: Heartworms spread using the help of another pesky parasite: the mosquito. If your pet is bitten by a mosquito carrying heartworm larvae, they will eventually begin to harbor the worms. In the early stages, the signs are easy to miss. They include coughing and fatigue. Pets often continue on with heartworms for months before their owner notices anything amiss. But given time, the heartworms will cause irreversible organ damage and in their final stages they will culminate in the death of their host. In addition, heartworms are prevalent in the American south, because of the high density of mosquitos. When it comes to the prevention of this serious disease, we vote better safe than sorry.
Every year, an estimated 10 million dogs and cats are lost or stolen. That is the equivalent of approximately one out of every three pets. The majority of dogs and cats brought to animal shelters are never reunited with their families, but those who have a microchip are much more likely to find their way home. Statistically speaking, it is important for every pet owner to be prepared in case they are ever separated from their best friend.
The microchip implantation procedure is fast and easy. It is no more painful than a routine vaccination and the pet does not have to be sedated. The microchip is implanted between the shoulder blades, because this is a secure and relatively insensitive area. Have you ever seen a mama dog or cat pick up their young by the scruff of their neck? That is a safe and common behavior that is effective because both species have loose skin in this area.
Once the microchip is securely implanted, and your contact information registered in the national database, your pet will never again be without an ID for the rest of their lives. If they are every brought to an animal shelter or veterinarian, the animal care workers will use a special reader to identify the serial number of the microchip. They will plug this number into the database and, voila, they will know exactly what number to call.
Microchips provide you and your pet with the best chance for a happy reunion.
The food your pet eats fuels all of their activities and bodily functions. Nutrition is a key element of their health. Pets who are young, old, sick, healthy, small, and large each need a diet to meet their individual needs. Our veterinary professionals can help you to select a high-quality pet food that will satisfy their cravings and their nutritional requirements based on their individual profile.
If your pet has a chronic disease such as cancer, diabetes, allergies, a thyroid disorder, or otherwise, ask your veterinarian about how a prescription pet food could impact their health. Hippocrates, the father of modern medicine, once said "Let thy food be thy medicine." At All Creatures Veterinary Center, we think the same should apply to our animal best friends!
Help For Overweight Pets
In addition to what your pet is eating, how much your pet eats can also significantly contribute to their overall health and wellbeing. One out of every three dogs and cats in the United States is overweight or obese. Pets who are carrying extra weight do not enjoy the same quality of life as their fit counterparts. They are more prone to disease, and their expected lifespan is decreased.
Do you know if your pet is a healthy weight?
If your pet’s body weight is more than 15% greater than what is recommended for their size and breed (ask your veterinarian about what this number would be) they are considered obese. Overweight pets are those whose weight falls between the recommended weight and 15%.
Another easy way to tell is by feeling your pet’s side body, if they are laying down or stretched out, you should easily be able to feel their rib cage. Of course, this method is less exacting than the previous, but it can be a good indication that you may need to seek further help.
What if they are obese or overweight?
“Plus-sized” pets should have a veterinary consultation to assess their status. Regular weigh-ins at the office can help you track their progress. If you want to weight them more frequently, one helpful method would be using an at-home scale. Weigh yourself on the scale. Then pick up your pet and step back on. The difference is their weight.
Our veterinarians can help by recommending and providing you with a prescription pet food that has been clinically tested and approved to aid in weight loss. Remember to stick to the serving size! Use a measuring cup to dole out their food at mealtimes so you can be sure they are not over-consuming. And table scraps and extra treats are a definite no-go during their weight loss journey.