Immunization & Wellness Care


Wellness care and disease prevention is a vital part of your pet’s medical care. We emphasize providing the best preventive medicine possible so that your pet can live a long, healthy life. We offer comprehensive wellness care and vaccination protocols for every stage of life, beginning with our Puppy Schedule or Kitten Schedule for pediatric patients.

No two pets are the same and so every pet should have an individualized plan of wellness care that best meets his or her needs. All of our wellness care, including our adult and senior wellness care is customized for each patient, so that we look at your individual pet’s medical history, risk assessment and current medical condition while working with you to develop the best plan of preventative health care for your individual pet.

At the Yearly (or twice yearly for senior or otherwise high-risk patients) Wellness Visit, your veterinarian will perform a complete Physical Exam, review his medical history, recommend needed tests or services and make any current needed care changes.

In addition to the Comprehensive Physical Exam, your pet’s personalized wellness plan may include: internal parasite testing & control; heartworm and flea control; customized vaccination program; spay or neuter; behavioral and nutritional counseling and specialized blood and urine tests for all life stages.

Because maintaining a healthy weight is so important to our pet’s health and comfort, we have developed an intensive and practical weight management plan to help our patients reach and maintain a healthy weight. We also diagnose and treat many allergies and arthritic problems in our patients.We carry a full line of Purina and prescription diets to meet any pet’s specific needs.

Immunizations

Immunizations are a vital tool in preventing serious and potentially fatal diseases. Recent research has shown that some immunizations last for up to two or three years, while others require annual (or more frequent) revaccination. New guidelines and product labeling are being established on a monthly basis, so we know how important it is for our veterinarians to be up-to-date with current standards and to be committed to making the effort to develop a plan customized for each pet’s needs.

Since every medication, including immunizations, carries risks as well as vital benefits, it is important to make sure your pet gets every immunization he needs, when he needs it, but does not receive unnecessary immunizations. Every year, at your pet’s annual Wellness Visit, your veterinarian will review your pet’s history, risk-factors and current medical condition to develop a customized immunization plan for your pet. South County Animal Hospital carries a full line of immunization alternatives to select the appropriate immunizations for your pet.

Heartworm Prevention and Testing

Preventative Medications: Every dog and cat should be on monthly heartworm preventative (HWP) to protect against heartworms (yes, these are deadly worms that infect the heart!) as well as intestinal parasites. This monthly pill (now also available in a topical form) is one of the simplest and most important things we can do to protect our pet’s health. Since HWP also controls common intestinal parasites, it also takes care of the need to deworm your pet monthly.

Monthly HWP should begin between 6 & 8 weeks of age and be continued for life. Heartworms are transmitted by mosquito bites and so outdoor cats and all dogs are at highest risk, but even indoor only cats have been diagnosed with heartworm disease.

There are several good HWP products available for both cats and dogs. To prevent heartworm disease and to also control intestinal parasites, we generally recommend Interceptor or Trifexis AdvantageMulti (or HeartGard) for dogs, AdvantageMulti (or Interceptor) for cats and Revolution (or Interceptor) for ferrets.

Testing: Dogs need to be tested for heartworms before beginning preventative and have an annual heartworm blood test for life. Dogs who begin HWP when they are older than 4 months of age will also need a follow up test a few months after beginning preventative.

These tests are needed because it is possible to have a “break through” case of heart- worm disease while on HWP and it is also dangerous for your dog to receive HWP if he is heartworm positive. If your dog is on HWP and tests positive for heartworms, the manufacturer of the HWP will pay for your pet’s treatment (so long as you have purchased the HWP through a veterinarian and have used as prescribed).

Because of the differences in the life cycle of the heartworm in cats, testing is more complex in cats than in dogs. The test must be sent to our reference laboratory but is also recommended annually as in dogs. The disease can have much more faster onset with much more serious signs sooner than in dogs.

There is not a good laboratory test out yet for heartworms in ferrets. Prevention is the answer.

Intestinal Parasite Control

Intestinal parasites including hookworms, roundworms, whipworms, tapeworms and coccidia can make your pet very sick (or even be fatal). Many of these parasites can also infect people. We provide appropriate testing to screen your pet for these parasites and prescribe medications to both treat and prevent parasite infections. Puppies and kittens are at very high risk for intestinal parasites and so we treat them aggressively during their early months to control infections they acquired from their mother before or soon after birth and to prevent reinfestation. Adult pets also need routine control of intestinal parasites since they routinely pick up new infections from their environment, soil contact, from prey animals they consume and from fleas.

Fecal Exams: Because many different intestinal parasites infect cats and dogs and no one dewormer controls every parasite, we need to check your pet’s stool for parasites. Since parasites are evident on fecal exam only at certain stages of their lifecycle, a “negative” fecal does NOT mean that your pet is clear of parasites but just that we weren’t lucky enough to catch them today. A “positive” fecal allows the veterinarian to choose a dewormer that is effective against the parasites we know your pet has. Fecal exams are needed every 6 months.

Dewormings: Monthly deworming is advised for all adult cats and dogs. In our heartworm endemic region, we take care of the need to deworm for intestinal parasites monthly by using a heartworm preventative that also controls common intestinal parasites.

Microchipping

Permanent identification with a microchip implant and visible identification with a nametag work together to provide great insurance that should your pet become lost or stolen, you will be reunited. Microchips have helped reunite thousands of pets with their families. We use the product AKC by Bayer that can be detected by any universal scanner.

Flea & Tick Control Programs

Fleas and ticks not only irritate your pet, they also carry diseases, parasites and can cause serious allergic responses and skin irritation and even severe skin infection. We develop programs for the specific needs of your pet and your own particular environmental situation. We carry a complete range of the best available flea and tick control products including Certifect,, Advantix, AdvantageMulti, Revolution, Preventic and VetKem Breakaway collars, Capstar and Comfortis pills, as well as products for controlling severe flea infestations of your home.

We will review with you the best ways to control fleas and ticks in your house, in your yard and on your pet and work with you to ensure your pet stays flea & tick free.

For more information or to schedule an appointment, call us at (479)996-6095!