Pet Wellness Services

WellnessWellness Care

The best medicine for your pet is preventive medicine.

Prevention is the key to your pet's long term health. At Hudson Highlands Veterinary Medical Group we take this approach to help identify health issues before they become serious and expensive to treat. Your pet's regular wellness examination at our Beacon facility includes a complete and thorough physical, necessary and individualized vaccinations, laboratory tests, a fecal examination and deworming, heartworm test and medications recommended to prevent heartworm, fleas and ticks.

Most of the tests that we recommend for you pet can be done during your dog or cat's regular exam. A complete annual examination is our chance to get to know your pet, assess your pet's overall health, discuss any changes we see, educate and update you on advancements in veterinary care, and for you to discuss any concerns or ask questions.

During your pet's general wellness exam we:

  • Examine your pet's teeth, throat, and oral cavity
  • Check your pet's vision and examine the eyes
  • Examine the ears for infection, ear mites, allergic reaction and other related health issues
  • Examine the respiratory system
  • Assess your pet's heart
  • Test your pet's reflexes
  • Palpate lymph nodes and abdomen
  • Inspect the skin
  • Palpate joints and muscles for arthritis and other orthopedic conditions
  • Test to evaluate the function of internal organs, blood, and other systems

Deworming and Fecal Check: Dangerous parasites are always present in the environment. If brought into your home, some of these parasites can be passed from your pet to you and your family. For example, we normally associate parasites, such as roundworms, tapeworms, and hookworms, with cats and dogs. But people can be infected with the same parasites. Regular fecal checks and deworming are the best way to prevent parasitic disease and the transmission of intestinal parasites to your pet. It also prevents the shedding of parasite eggs, which can contaminate lawns or any place a pet defecates. A teaspoon-sized stool sample is all that is needed to process the appropriate test in our in-house laboratory.

Regular Blood Testing: A complete physical includes a heartworm test, parasite screening, and should include a full blood workup for older pets. Not only can a full chemistry panel and complete blood count identify the presence of underlying disease processes, but these tests help create a baseline should your pet become ill between routine examinations. Additionally, blood work is necessary if your veterinarian recommends a dental cleaning, removal of a skin mass, or any other procedure that requires anesthesia.

We recommend complete blood testing annually for all pets over the age of eight or even earlier in some patients.

Heartworm

Heartworm disease is a serious, life-threatening disease of dogs and cats. Mosquitoes spread the disease by injecting the parasite into your pet at the time of the bite. After the infected female mosquito bites your pet, the heartworm migrates through the bloodstream and moves to the heart and adjacent blood vessels, maturing to adults within 6-7 months in dogs and eight months in cats. As many as 30 species of mosquitoes can transmit heartworms.

Until the early 1970s, the occurrence of heartworm disease in the United States was primarily confined to the southeastern part of the country. Today, heartworm disease is found almost everywhere in the continental United States.

Clinical symptoms of heartworm disease develop very slowly. Often symptoms are not noticeable until several years after the initial infection. Lack of energy and exercise intolerance are early symptoms. Coughing and difficulty breathing are both common symptoms. As the disease progresses, most dogs develop congestive heart failure. Dogs often collapse in the final stage of the disease. In cats, the symptoms of heartworm disease are similar to those of feline asthma. Some cats may exhibit no signs of the disease, while others may suddenly die.

Since heartworm disease is increasing in frequency and is a serious and deadly disease, we recommend that your dog be tested annually. This test is highly accurate, and we typically have the results in less than 10 minutes.

Heartworm disease prevention is simple. For dogs and cats, a once-a-month heartworm preventive can be given as a tasty, chewable treat, or as a liquid applied to the skin. This same medicine prevents not only heartworms from developing, but also kills and prevents several other types of worms/parasites.

If you would like to have your pet tested for heartworm disease, or if you would like additional information on how best to protect your pet and your family from these dangerous parasites, please call Hudson Highlands Veterinary Medical Group.

Fleas and Ticks

Fleas and ticks are virtually everywhere. Although they're a bigger problem in certain parts of the country and at specific times during the year, no cat or dog is completely safe from them. Fortunately, many safe and highly effective products are available. Today, there's no reason for any pet or owner to be bothered by these pests.

Fleas are so common because they are reproductive marvels. A single female flea can lay as many as 30 eggs a day and can live and breed on your pet for up to 100 days. The eggs then fall and land in carpets and upholstery where they can lie dormant for up to 8 months. The best management techniques of flea-proofing your home includes regularly vacuuming of carpets, furniture, floors and areas where your pet sits or sleeps. You should also wash your pet's bedding, toys, and towels weekly.

Fleas cause a variety of problems and diseases. Some pets can have an allergic skin reaction to even just one flea bite! They can also transmit tapeworms to your pet that may manifest by the shedding of small, rice-like segments in the stool. Ticks, in our region, can also carry a variety of serious illnesses, including Lyme disease, Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever, and Ehrlichiosis. These same ticks bite people and transmit disease as well.

The good news is that these problems can be avoided by using parasite prevention products that are available at our hospital. When used properly and according to our directions, these products are very safe and effective. They are what we use on our own pets.

Contrary to what you may have read or been told, there are no holistic or natural products available which have been shown to be effective in preventing or killing fleas and ticks. Ask a veterinarian or staff member at Hudson Highlands Veterinary Medical Group to recommend the flea and tick prevention product which is best suited for your pet.

Vaccinations

Along with wellness examinations, preventive vaccinations are the cornerstone to good health. Due to the many recent discoveries and innovations in veterinary medicine, your pet can be protected from most major infectious diseases.

Diseases that once were relatively common and fatal to pets are now easily preventable. There are also vaccines – such as for rabies and other zoonotic diseases – that help protect your family from very dangerous and difficult to treat illnesses. Additionally, with each passing year, veterinary science is improving on existent vaccines as well as increasing our ability to prevent an even wider array of contagious diseases.

We strongly recommend that you ensure your pet is up to date on his or her vaccines.

We tailor our vaccination protocol to guidelines established by the American Veterinary Medical Association, the lifestyle of your pet, as well as the diseases your pet is most likely to be exposed to. Our doctors assess each individual to determine how best to protect your pet from disease while managing the possibility of adverse reaction.

Senior Pet CareSenior Pet Care and Geriatric Pet Evaluations

Great strides have been made in addressing the needs of older pets. Veterinarians today are well equipped with knowledge, products, and diagnostic tools to identify age-related problems and formulate realistic strategies to allow our pets to live longer and richer lives.

Pets in their senior years – those of about six years of age and older, depending on the breed – begin to go through a gradual reduction of their physical capabilities. This process can be slowed and managed through proper veterinary care, thereby offering your beloved pet an extended period of vitality and good health. Additionally, preventive care tailored to your pet's age, lifestyle, risk factors and other elements can help prevent common diseases or detect them at early and treatable stages.

There is also an important role for you to play as your pet's primary caregiver. While you cannot control age-related decline, you can influence your pet's activity level, living conditions, access to quality senior veterinary care, and daily nutrition. With your veterinarian's help, you can manage these factors in order to prolong your pet's good health, vitality, and increase his or her wellbeing, even as his or her pace slows a bit.

Our senior exam may include:

  • Glaucoma check
  • Complete blood count
  • Complete urinalysis
  • Heartworm test
  • Abdominal and chest radiographs
  • Blood pressure monitoring
  • Full chemistry blood panel
  • Internal parasite test
  • Thyroid test
  • Electrocardiogram

These tests should not be difficult for your pet, are not time intensive or difficult to do, and most can be performed during their routine wellness exam.

Please consult us if you have questions regarding your senior pet, and feel free to ask us about our Senior Care Program.