Stevenson Village Veterinary Hospital

Preventative Care

Preventative care is designed to keep your pet healthy and happy before serious health issues can develop. It starts with wellness exams and vaccinations as well as a range of other preventative services, such as parasite prevention and nutrition/weight management.

Examinations

Wellness exams are an essential element of a long, healthy, and happy life for our pet friends. Please don’t wait until your pet is feeling unwell to make an appointment! Schedule appointments at least once or twice a year to help promote optimal health and vitality in your pet before illness arises.

For most pets, a yearly wellness visit to the veterinarian will suffice. For senior pets, a twice yearly schedule better meets their age-related needs. For puppies and kittens, frequent visits every few weeks are necessary to ensure they are receiving their vaccinations and parasite prevention in a time-sensitive manner, and then every few months for the rest of their first year depending on their lifestyle, health, and growth.

During the wellness visit, the veterinarian will conduct a thorough physical examination. This physical assessment will consist of,

  • Checking the eyes and ears
  • Listening to the heartbeat
  • Looking into the mouth at the teeth and gums
  • Taking the temperature
  • Feeling the abdominals and stomach area to check for a healthy physique
  • Checking for any unusual lumps or bumps
  • Assessing the health of the coat and skin
  • Recording the weight

This physical examination can provide a veterinarian with a great overall picture of the pet’s health. If your pet has a sudden change in their physique, regular visits will allow a veterinarian to more easily compare their “usual” to any unusual developments.

The wellness visit is also a good chance for us to catch up with you, the caretaker and our client, and discuss your pet’s care. You know your pet better than anyone else, and can give us the best information about essential health “clues” such as their appetite, energy levels, and moods.

If any aspect of your pet’s wellbeing is in question, the veterinarian may recommend running diagnostic tests suited to the situation to get to the bottom of it. This may include a complete blood count, urinalysis, thyroid test, and more.

A fecal exam is also recommended for all pets at least once a year. If you have been fortunate to have a healthy and illness-free year with your pet, then odds are when you come in for your once annual wellness visit, we will ask you to bring a stool sample.

Vaccinations

Vaccinations are designed to trigger immune responses and promote the production of disease-fighting agents by the immune system. Vaccinations are the most effective method for preventing serious and contagious diseases from spreading through the pet population.

Both medical and veterinary doctors agree that the popularization of vaccinations have prevented millions of diseases and cases of death worldwide over the past century.

Below is a list summarizing the reasons vaccinating your pet is considered an imperative veterinary protocol:

  • Vaccinating your pet prevents them from contracting potentially fatal diseases.
  • It can save you thousands of dollars down the line because if your pet contracts a serious disease, they may need acute care.
  • Some vaccinations are legally mandated, and neglecting to have your pet vaccinated puts you at legal risk.
  • If you ever need to leave town and board your dog, virtually all reputable boarding establishments require their boarders to be vaccinated.
  • Taking your pets out and about to parks can be done safely. Wild animals or even other pets could pass on a deadly disease such as rabies to an unvaccinated pet.

Our veterinarians have developed a list of core vaccinations that are recommended for all pets under our care.

For dogs, this list includes:

  • Rabies
  • Distemper
  • Parvovirus
  • Hepatitis

For cats, this list includes:

  • Rabies
  • Distemper
  • Calicivirus
  • Viral Rhinotracheitis

Depending on your pet’s lifestyle, some additional non-core vaccinations may be recommended. Make sure to tell your veterinarian if your pet travels frequently (and to where), stays at boarding facilities, or spends a lot of time outside. These factors will help the doctor to decide what vaccines are right for your pet’s needs.

Most core vaccinations are received every few years. If you are a new client, please provide us with your pet’s medical records so we can determine what they may be due for, and when they might next need to receive a vaccination.

Parasite Control

Parasites are unwanted, disease spreading creatures that steal their food and energy from a host animal to survive. They are uncomfortable, unpleasant, and even dangerous.

Sadly, parasites are one of the most common problems that affect pets. But this does not have to be the case, because they are easily preventable and in most cases, easily treatable.

Some of the most important steps you can take to prevent an infestation of unwanted invaders from taking hold on your pet include the following:

  • Regular grooming, including baths and brushing
  • Year-round preventative medication, which we conveniently carry in-house and through our trusted online store
  • Regular veterinary check-ups, which allow our veterinary professionals to catch outbreaks as early as possible
  • Careful checking of the skin and coat after spending time outside (in particular, checking for ticks)

Preventing your pets from parasites is not only important for their health and comfort, but it is also key to protecting you and your family. Some parasites, such as roundworms, are zoonotic and can affect people. Other external parasites such as fleas and ticks can also cause disease and leave itchy or painful bites on humans. Pets are apart of the family, but if parasites are not treated proactively, their presence on your pets can put the rest of the family at risk too.

To protect yourself, children, and other loved ones from parasites, follow the above steps to avoid them, and make sure that your pet’s feces is not near any areas where children might play, and ensure that children wash their hands after playing with the family pets.

The most common parasites we see inflicting our patients include,

  • Fleas are one of the most common, and likewise commonly despised, parasites. They are insects that bite their victims to consume their blood. And if that isn’t bad enough, they spread disease. In fact, the bubonic plague, or black death, was most likely spread by fleas according to many experts. Ensuring that your pet is on a preventative year-round can prevent fleas from entering your home.
  • Ticks also bite their victims and consume their blood. They are most often contracted after the pet spends time outside, so checking your pet’s skin and coat carefully after outside play time can help prevent them. They can also spread harmful diseases such as Lyme Disease, Anaplasmosis, and Ehrlichiosis.
  • Intestinal Parasites live in the digestive tracts of animals and can slowly starve them to death by stealing their nutrients. As previously mentioned, some of these unwanted parasites can also be spread to humans. Preventative medicine and yearly fecal exams help to effectively prevent intestinal parasites.
  • Heartworms are transmitted by mosquito bites. First, larvae enters the bloodstream and over time develop into foot-long worms that invade the vital organs and blood vessels. Signs of infection are subtle, but the disease is fatal. For this reason, we recommend continuous, year-round preventative medication. Dogs are natural hosts, but cats can also be infected.

Microchipping

Identification tags are a useful tool for finding pets after they have been lost. But unfortunately, an ID tag can easily be removed, fall off, or be lost because the pet recently received a bath or slipped their collar. Microchipping is a more sound option because after implantation, the device will be with your pet forever.

The microchips used for pet identification are as small as a grain of rice and easy to insert at a routine veterinary examination. The procedure is no more painstaking than a routine vaccination, and just as fast.

Typically, the microchip is inserted between the shoulder blades. This area is the perfect spot because it is central to the animal’s torso and animal’s sensitivity in this area is naturally low because of loose skin.

After the microchip has been inserted, it is important to make sure your personal information is associated with the chip by filling out the associated forms and sending them to the correct location to be added to the national database. We can help this process by providing you with the exact and correct forms to use, and even mailing them for you upon request.

If your contact information ever changes, please make sure to update your pet’s microchip registration so that it remains accurate. As long as your pet has a microchip associated with your information, they can be returned to you after any visit to a veterinarian or animal shelter after going missing.

Losing a pet can be a heart-wrenching affair for the whole family. Ensure that a happy reunion will be possible by microchipping your pet.

Nutrition & Weight Management

The nutrition that your pet consumes has a major impact on their overall health. If your pet has a chronic condition such as cancer, diabetes, or arthritis, switching to a clinically proven prescription food can make make them feel better day-to-day.

If your pet is a puppy or kitten, they have different nutritional needs than an adult. Because they are growing, they will need more calories and require different levels of vitamins and minerals.

Senior pets also have specific nutritional needs. As their metabolisms slow down, their appetites may decrease, and it important to pay attention to any sudden weight loss because this could be indicative of an underlying problem. Special supplements in food can also help their joints to remain supple and healthy as they age.

Our pets have many different nutrient requirements, mineral requirements, and calorie requirements based on their individual constitutions. Therefore, the simplest and most confident choice for a pet owner to make would be to ask a veterinarian. Our veterinary doctors have spent hours studying these topics to help inform owners of the best nutrition decisions for their pets.

If you are thinking about switching your pet’s food, consider asking your veterinarian first. Or if you are going to adopt a new pet in the near future, maybe ask your veterinarian in advance for their professional recommendations.

Information For Overweight Pets

If you are concerned that your pet is overweight, the first thing to do is obtain information about the severity of their condition through a veterinarian.

This issue will most likely be brought to your attention if you are scheduled for a routine wellness visit, when the veterinarian takes your pet’s weight measurement. If you do not have a visit scheduled soon, please feel encouraged to make one and voice your concerns.

The veterinarian will take your pet’s breed, height, age, and other factors into account when making their decision. Only a veterinarian or trained animal care professional can confidently make the determination whether your pet is overweight or obese.

Once you have a diagnosis, the veterinarian will help you identify aspects of the pet’s lifestyle that can change to support their weight loss goals, such as a change in food, portion control, and physical activity.

Join the Stevenson Village Veterinary Hospital Family Today!

Located on E Sudbrook Lane between Reisterstown Road and Park Heights Avenue. Directly across the street from The Suburban Club.

Phone: 410.484.4041

Email: info@stevensonvillagevet.com

  • Monday: 7:30 AM - 6:00 PM
  • Tuesday: 7:30 AM - 6:00 PM
  • Wednesday: 7:30 AM - 6:00 PM
  • Thursday: 7:30 AM - 6:00 PM
  • Friday: 7:30 AM - 6:00 PM
  • Saturday: 9:00 AM - 1:00 PM
  • Sunday: Closed