Pet Wellness Care
At Highlands Veterinary Center, we believe annual wellness care is imperative to keeping your pet happy and healthy! Your pet’s health is important and preventive care is necessary. We recommend wellness exams, keeping your pets on a vaccination schedule, and working with us on all facets of wellness care.
Pet Wellness Care in Chesapeake, VA
Your pet can benefit greatly from regular wellness examinations or checkups. Whether your pet is a youngster, a “senior citizen,” or any age in between, wellness examinations provide an excellent opportunity for us to conduct a thorough physical examination and develop a health profile for your pet. This information will help us identify medical problems and any other issues that can affect your pet’s health and quality of life.
Pet Physical Exams
Bringing your pet to Highlands Veterinary Center for physical examinations is crucial to their health. We offer thorough physical examinations so that we can detect any potential problems before they become major problems. Many pet health problems can be avoided through regular physical exams, which is why we recommend that your pet has at least two examinations with our staff per year. While physical exams are critical to animal health, you can do your part too by being a vigilant pet owner. If you notice any irregularities with your pet, take detailed notes and bring them to Highlands Veterinary Center for an examination.
What exactly does a physical exam include? Some things you can’t see, feel, touch, or hear without special tests and equipment, but many times you can gain a lot of information about your pet through simple observation. In a physical exam, your veterinarian looks for anything abnormal. What is considered normal is a combination of what is normal for the breed, and what is normal for your specific unique pet. Every pet is a little bit different, just like every human is different. Once the veterinarian does the basic physical exam, any areas of concern will be given more attention.
New Puppy and Kitten Exams
Start your new furry family member off on the right paw! Bringing home a new puppy or kitten is an exciting time for your family. Our team can help you start your new puppy or kitten off right.
First Vet Visit
Our vets recommend that you set up your pet’s first visit with us soon after adoption. It’s important to get your new pet set up with a good parasite and vaccination program, as well as a thorough examination to assure your puppy or kitten is healthy and prepared to stay that way.
Starting puppy and kitten vaccinations and keeping them on a schedule is critical to protecting their fragile systems from the most common diseases.
Puppies and kittens eat or sniff at many things that can carry the eggs for internal parasites. Checking yearly for intestinal worms and administering necessary treatments is an important means for assuring your puppy or kitten will be able to absorb nutrients and grow from the food you provide.
Our team usually recommends spaying or neutering at six months of age to prevent unwanted pregnancies and reduce the risk of other health problems. There are, of course, exceptions to that rule, and our veterinarians will have an open discussion with you to decide on the best time to spay your neuter to your particular dog or cat.
Pet Preventative Care
From the first visit and throughout their entire life, we’ll be there to provide the absolute best care for your pet. Our wellness care measures can maximize the fullness of that life both in terms of what your pet can do and for how long.
Parasites, and the diseases they carry, can all be prevented with proper medication and maintenance. Fleas and ticks are not only a source of irritation to your pet, but they can also harbor disease and adversely affect your pet’s health. Heartworm is a dangerous parasite that lives in the heart of dogs and cats, damages the heart muscle, and can be fatal.
Ridding a pet and home from fleas can cost hundreds to thousands of dollars and can be nearly impossible to get rid of as flea eggs can survive for a very long time. We will work with you to set up the best flea and tick preventive plan for your pets.
While pets have some of the same vaccinations like rabies and distemper, they also have different vaccination needs based on the diseases that can affect their species. Our veterinarians will work with you to set up a comprehensive, personalized vaccination schedule to protect your pet.
Pet Senior Care
Did you know that pets age faster than people and can be considered “seniors” at around 7 years of age? Just as our health care needs change as we age, your pet’s health care needs also change. Nutritional needs, exercise habits, and many aspects of your pet’s daily routine can change as your pet ages. But how can you tell the difference between “normal” aging and a medical problem? As in humans, some health issues that affect older pets can begin with very subtle changes that may go unnoticed until the problem has become serious.
Regular wellness visits are important for every stage of your pet’s life, so don’t forget to keep your senior pet’s scheduled wellness appointments. The best way to help protect your pet as he or she ages is to understand the aging process in pets. We understand that process and can help you help your pet. Even if your senior pet is already being treated for a medical condition, treatment recommendations can change as a condition progresses. Sometimes medication dosages need to be adjusted, or medication may need to be changed. Routine wellness blood work and other routine diagnostic testing are important for senior pets because these tests allow us to evaluate how your pet’s health is either responding to current management strategies or changing with age.
Your senior pet’s wellness examination is also your chance to have us address any of your questions or concerns about your pet. We welcome your questions and encourage you to be involved in decisions regarding your pet’s health care.
Older pets make wonderful companions, and thanks to advances in veterinary medicine, pets are living longer than ever! You are an important ally in your senior pet’s health care. We are here to help ensure that your pet is safe and happy throughout the “golden years.”
Pet Nutritional Counseling
Good nutrition is critical for your pet’s health. Nutrition plays a critical role in the overall health and well-being of your pet. Your pet’s nutritional needs change with age and activity level. Specially formulated diets can assist in the management of various medical conditions like kidney disease, diabetes, heart disease. Work closely with your veterinarian to find the right food and the right intake amount for your pet. Our hospital is stocked with a variety of foods that fit the needs of all pets. When looking for specialty pet food in Del Mar, CA, we’re stocked and have what your pet needs.
With so many foods on the market and various nutritional requirements depending on the age and health of your pet companion, we are here to help you make the right choices. The Del Mar Heights Veterinary Hospital team is ready to serve up the right food recommendations to tackle stubborn feline urinary problems, overweight dogs, or relentless diarrhea. Our team has specific recommendations to help guide you in choosing well-balanced and safe foods for your healthy puppy, adult, or senior pet.
A microchip is a tiny device that contains unique identifying information about a pet. It is approximately the size of a grain of rice and contains a code that corresponds to the pet owner’s contact information. This allows missing cats/dogs to be returned to their rightful home as quickly as possible.
Why should you microchip your pet?
According to PetFinder, over 10 million pets go missing every year, and one in three pets will go missing at some point in their life. If your pet ever goes missing and is recovered, a special microchip scanner can be used by any vet or shelter to find out important information about your pet and get into contact with you as soon as possible for a reunion. One study found that microchipped pets were 52% more likely to be recovered, as opposed to only 22% of the time for pets without microchips. If you move or change your contact information at any time, make sure to let your microchip company know so they can get the information updated right away.
How is the pet microchipped?
The microchip is inside a needle that is inserted between the shoulder blades, where it cannot be removed or damaged. Once the microchip is in, it is there forever, keeping your pet safe and secure. If your pet ever needs to be identified (for instance, if it has run off and been picked up by the authorities), any vet will be able to find the microchip using a handheld scanner.
Rabbits and Small Mammals
Your rabbit or small mammal(s) needs individualized care suited to their needs, and we’re here to give them just that. Although small mammals make wonderful pets, they’re not for everyone (just like owning a cat or dog isn’t for everyone). We encourage you to do your research and ask questions before making a final decision. If you end up with a new addition to your home, we recommend scheduling an appointment with us as soon as possible. Each small mammal pet has unique needs, and special consideration should be given to matters such as exercise and cage structure. Although it may be convenient to ask questions at the local pet store, it’s always best (and safest) to first consult our team.
Small mammals are particularly gifted at hiding any illness or injury. Typically, as creatures of prey in the wild, they would not want to appear more vulnerable than they already are! We perform a full assessment of your pet’s health in order to catch any sign of malady. A physical exam gets us heading in the right direction, and we’ll perform other medical services as needed. For more in-depth pocket pet care, we can perform diagnostics, as well.
Additionally, we go over the following with you:
- Nutrition and feeding needs
- At-home habitat conditions
- Cleaning and grooming
- Handling and socialization
- Optional spay and neuter for rabbit care
- Vaccinations, if needed
Common Medical Concerns
Rabbit care and small mammal(s) care are more than one-dimensional. They not only need the basics of food, water, and shelter but a bit of extra care as well. At your appointment, we’ll address the most common medical concerns for your pet and how you can prevent them:
- Vitamin deficiencies. Vitamin C is a big one but it can be solved with a simple diet change of more foods high in C.
- Dental issues. Some rodent species, particularly rabbits, have continuously growing teeth. A diet rich in fiber helps wear the teeth down.
- Tumors. Rats especially can develop tumors in their breast tissue. Yet, while most are benign, they cause great discomfort for your little friend.