Wellness Pet Care Across All Stages of Life
Longevity, vigor, a playful demeanor, and positive behavior–all these factors combine to create the concept of wellness pet care. Wellness covers every aspect of life from nutrition to the human–animal bond and the Gibson Veterinary Clinic supports this all-inclusive approach to veterinary care.
We offer a comprehensive wellness care plan that includes:
- Parasite control
- Wellness exams
- Spaying and neutering
- Life stage care
- Pain management
- Alternative veterinary care
- Nutrition and exercise
- Behavioral counseling
- Chronic disease management
At a minimum, we recommend that every pet receives annual exams including vaccinations, parasite testing and control, blood work, urine testing, and a discussion about your experiences and concerns since the last visit. Since pets age much faster than humans, your observations about the changing behavior or condition of your pet is critical to addressing problems early, before they become difficult or impossible to manage humanely.
Preventive Care With Pet Vaccinations
Vaccinations and preventive care can keep your animal healthy and happy. We recommend vaccinations for your pet on an individual basis, taking into consideration the age, type, breed, lifestyle, and travel habits of your companion animal, as well as your needs and plans. At the Gibson Veterinary Clinic, we work with you to tailor a unique pet vaccination program that incorporates all of these factors and will give your animal companions optimum protection from disease.
You may be familiar with these typical canine and feline diseases, all requiring preventive vaccines:
- Distemper is a highly contagious disease caused by a virus similar to measles in humans. Worldwide, it is the leading cause of infectious disease deaths in pets.
- Canine Coronavirus is a contagious intestinal infection. It can be severe in young puppies and dogs stressed by poor health or other issues.
- Canine Parvovirus is an acute, highly contagious disease that attacks rapidly reproducing cells such as those lining the gastrointestinal tract. Parvo affects dogs of all ages, but most cases occur in puppies.
- Canine leptospirosis is caused by a bacteria found in wild and domestic animals. The bacteria are spread in the urine, making their way into water sources and infecting the soil for months. Rats, pigs, raccoons, cattle, skunks, and opossums appear to be the primary source for spreading this disease.
- Feline panleukopenia, also called feline infectious enteritis, is a leading cause of death in kittens. It has been called feline distemper, but it bears no relation to the virus that causes distemper in dogs.
- Feline leukemia (FeLV) is a retrovirus and this vaccine is not given to every pet. Indoor cats that have been tested before coming home should have minimal risk of acquiring FeLV and would not necessarily need this vaccine unless they have exposure to other cats, especially outdoor cats.
- Rabies is a dangerous, highly contagious, and deadly disease, with vaccination protocols governed by law in most states.
- Heartworm is a disease that is prevalent in all parts of the United States and is spread only by mosquitoes. Areas such as ours–heavily populated by these insects–tend to have a greater incidence of heartworm disease. Heartworm can strike both dogs and cats, but is much more common in dogs. As its name implies, heartworms live in the blood of a dog or cat’s heart and adjacent blood vessels, leading to serious heart damage and death. In cats, the primary clinical signs are related to respiratory disease, not heart disease. The American Heartworm Society recommends year-round prevention for all dogs and cats.
Canine vaccines that are recommended:
- Distemper, Adenovirus (hepatitis), Leptospirosis, and Parvovirus (DA2LP)–annually
- Rabies–annually or every 3 years, depending on which vaccine is used
- Bordetella (kennel cough) & Parainfluenza–every 6-12 months, as needed based on requirements of kennel or other high-exposure environments
Feline vaccines that are recommended:
- Feline distemper and upper respiratory (FVRCP)–annually
- Rabies–annually or every 3 years, depending on which vaccine is used
- Feline leukemia (FeLv)–annually, as needed if your cat goes outdoors or is exposed to outdoor cats
We recommend monthly doses of Revolution for parasite prevention. Vaccine schedules are to be used as a basic guideline, but each animal will be evaluated for its own specific needs. Discuss any questions or concerns you may have with us at your next visit.
We recommend the following effective measures for prevention of internal parasite infestations in pets:
- Deworm pets at the first veterinary visit, following veterinary guidelines.
- Perform a fecal analysis on any new pet.
- Deworm all pets annually, or more often if environmental factors indicate need.
- Use good hygiene, such as washing hands after playing with pets or coming in from outside and wearing shoes outdoors.
- Teach children to practice good hygiene at an early age.
- Follow the recommended guidelines of Sentinel for dogs and Revolution for cats for year-round parasite control.
Young pets are more susceptible to parasites and have not developed the natural resistance of older animals. Still, our older pets also need to be dewormed on a regular schedule to prevent problems from occurring. Parasites can be controlled with just a little precaution, allowing people and pets to continue their close relationship. For information about pet vaccines, view the American Animal Hospital Association website.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has a terrific website with a discussion about protecting yourself and your family from parasites in animals.
Parasite control is a serious issue and one that concerns the health and comfort of your pet, as well as the members of your family.
Zoonotic illnesses are diseases humans can get from animals and, while they are not common, they can make you and your family sick. You can prevent most of these diseases with some very simple steps: teach children not to kiss pets or put their hands in their mouths after touching them, institute a habit of frequent hand washing, and maintain your pet’s vaccinations and regular veterinary wellness visits. Rabies, toxoplasmosis, worms, ringworm, and salmonella are examples of zoonotic diseases.
Learn more about protecting your family from diseases transmitted from animals to people when you visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website.
For a series of guidelines established by the American Association of Feline Practitioners, covering such areas as life stage guidelines and feline behavior guidelines, visit the AAFP website
The Humane Society website is a wonderful resource for information about wellness care, training, and behavior. Simply choose your type of pet from the “Select a Pet” menu
Watch this video about Nutrition by Royal Canin
Acupuncture is often used in conjunction with other veterinary treatment options, including surgical intervention. It is a good treatment choice when medication is either not working or contraindicated because of serious side effects. We often use acupuncture when surgery is not feasible, either because of anesthetic risk or the owner’s desire to avoid a surgical procedure. Veterinary acupuncture can be used to:
- Stimulate your pet’s natural pain relievers
- Enhance wound healing
- Relieve muscle spasms
- Stimulate the immune system
- Enhance the blood supply to a degenerating joint
- Dilate the respiratory passages to bring relief to an asthmatic patient
For more information about veterinary acupuncture, visit the following websites:
- International Veterinary Acupuncture Society (IVAS) is a non-profit organization dedicated to promoting excellence in the practice of veterinary acupuncture
- American Academy of Veterinary Acupuncture (AAVA) is a source of communication, continuing education, and support for veterinary acupuncturists in the United States.
- Chi Institute of Traditional Chinese Veterinary Medicine provides the veterinary community with the highest quality educational experience in Traditional Chinese Veterinary Medicine (TCVM) and promotes and conducts scientific investigations in veterinary acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine
We encourage you to contact our office for questions about this alternative to traditional pet care.