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Annual Checkups

Annual Checkups

Our doctors at Cave Spring Animal Hospital encourage pet owners to practice preventive medicine. They can notice something that you, the pet owner, might not see. This could be a slight weight increase or decrease.

They ask you questions about your pet’s habits and history such as:
“Have you noticed changes in behavior? In eating or drinking, sleeping, or maybe elimination routines?”

If the doctor does not know about these changes, it can harm your pet. Annual checkups are so important for this reason.

Regular Annual Exams

These check-ups take about 15 to 30 minutes depending on your pet’s health history. The doctors inspect every aspect of your pet including:

  • Examination of their eyes, ears, and teeth
  • Evaluation of your pet’s lymph nodes and abdomen
  • Listening to their heart and lungs
  • Check for any strange lumps and the skin for parasites
  • The veterinarian may recommend some lab testing to further ensure a complete medical examination and history
  • The visit will probably include one or more vaccines, depending on the pet’s environmental risk factors and age
  • Your pet is treated as an individual and our veterinarians focus on tailoring health care toward the individual pet’s needs

Follow Up Exam

Even with our doctors’ best efforts, sometimes something can go wrong. Do not hesitate to contact our office if your pet shows any signs of the following:

  • Loss of appetite, noticeable weight loss or gain, or excessive water drinking.
  • Forced, runny, or uncontrolled waste elimination.
  • Abnormal discharges from the nose, eyes, vaginal area, or rectum.
  • Loss of hair, dandruff, a ragged or dull coat, or open sores.
  • Foul breath or excessive tarter deposits on teeth.
  • Unusual behavior, sudden viciousness, or lethargy.
  • New lumps, difficulty getting up or lying down, or limping.
  • Excessive head shaking, scratching, licking or biting of any part of the body

Heartworm Exam

According to the American Veterinary Medical Association, pets contract heartworm disease from the bite of the female mosquito. Mosquitoes are small enough to slip through cracks around screens, windows, or doors. A single bite from an infected mosquito can infect your pet with heartworm. Once your pet is infected, and the microfilaria is given a chance to mature, permanent heart and lung damage can follow. Heartworm disease can be fatal if not prevented or treated. We offer many safe and easy medications, such as once-a-month chewable pills, topically applied preventatives or six-month vaccinations. They are available through our clinic with regular exam and prescription refills.

It is important for your pets to be tested annually for heartworm before beginning preventative medications. While many people keep their pets on heartworm medication year round, it is still strongly suggested that they are tested annually, in the event a dose was missed or delayed, or infection was not prevented. The manufacturers of these heartworm medications back their products 100% but do not guarantee them 100%. As long your pet is tested on an annual basis and the heartworm medication is purchased through a veterinarian, who is familiar with your pet’s health history, the manufacturers’ guarantee to pay the full medical cost of treatment should it become infected. Mail ordered or internet purchased medications are not backed by the guarantee as there is no doctor/pet relationship to insure the proper dosage.

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