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July is Preventive Care Exam Awareness Month

If you only visit Westgate Pet Clinic when your pet is injured or sick, you’re missing the opportunity to get a complete picture of her health. The preventive care exam allows our doctors to detect potential health issues and begin monitoring or treating them right away.  By committing to preventive care, you could extend it by months or years. It’s well worth the investment when you consider how much love and joy your pet brings into your life.

Our Recommended Schedule for Preventive Care Exams
If your pet is normally healthy and between the ages of 12 months and seven years, an annual exam is usually sufficient. Pets enter middle-age around age seven and their senior years around age 10, so we recommend bi-annual check-ups for pets in this age group. This is when we most often start seeing issues such arthritis, diabetes, and kidney disease. Your puppy or kitten under one year will need to come in several times before his first birthday for routine vaccinations and monitoring.

Required vaccines for dogs include canine adenovirus, canine parvovirus, distemper, and rabies. The first shot offers protection for both hepatitis and respiratory disease. Essential vaccines for cats include feline calicivirus, feline panleukopenia, rabies, and rhinotracheitis. Westgate Pet Clinic will also discuss several optional vaccines you may want to consider for your pet depending on her species, age, lifestyle, and general health. Unless you plan to breed your dog or cat, we recommend sterilization as soon as possible. We can complete the spay or neuter procedure as early as six months.

A Typical Preventive Care Exam
If your pet needs a new vaccine or booster, we will provide it at this appointment. This is also a great time to talk to our staff about any behavioral concerns, parasite prevention, exercise, and diet. We will check your pet for parasites and let you know if we discover any. Our comprehensive preventive care exam also consists of the following:

  • Intestinal or stomach problems, which might show up as abnormal stools, diarrhea, or vomiting
  • Unusual urinary discharge or mammary gland issues in females
  • Nasal issues, which might include labored breathing, allergies, asthma, coughing, or sneezing
  • Coat and skin for problems with anal sacs, hair loss, pigment changes, or excessive shedding
  • Teeth and gums for oral health diseases
  • Legs and feet for problems such as torn nails, weakness, limping, or joint pain
  • Eyes and ears for signs of normal vision and hearing as well as absence of unusual discharge
  • We will check your pet's weight at each visit to establish a baseline and let you know if we have any concerns about being overweight or underweight
Our staff will complete further diagnostic testing if we notice any potential issues during your pet’s exam. This may include a blood or urine test, x-ray, stool sample, or whatever is necessary to diagnose the health condition. We will contact you with the results as soon as possible and discuss a treatment plan at that time as well. If your pet needs medication or other follow-up treatment, you may be able to order what you need from our online store. 

If it’s been more than a year since your adult pet’s last preventive care exam or six months since your senior pet had an exam, please contact us at (612) 925-1121 or online to schedule an appointment. We will let you know our preferred schedule for puppies and kittens the first time you bring your new pet to see us. 

Kids Headed Back to School? Watch Your Pet for Signs of Separation Anxiety

It’s August, and that means millions of kids go back to school either this month or by early September. After a long summer together that was probably more unstructured than the school year, both your kids and pets might not be ready for the change. While your children can express their anxious feelings, your pets can’t do the same. Don’t feel surprised if your dog or cat expresses longing for his young friends in a variety of ways. The most common signs of separation anxiety include:

  • Destructive chewing
  • Howling by dogs and loud vocalizations for cats
  • Lack of appetite
  • Pacing
  • Soiling in the house
  • Trying to escape the yard to run after your children
Cats may also groom themselves excessively to the point of causing bald spots. While dogs tend to become more aggressive when feeling anxious, cats may hide and show more fearful behavior.

Distract Your Pet When Your Children Leave
Distraction is a useful tool in helping to keep your pet’s mind off her friend who has gone to school. For dogs, try filling a Kong with peanut butter or another favorite treat that she must work to uncover. A catnip-filled mouse will help distract your cat from what’s taking place at the front door. If other people are home, someone should interact with the pet while your children leave to catch the bus. If everyone leaves the house at the same time, be sure that your dog or cat gets plenty of attention from at least one person.

Provide a Stimulating Environment When Your Pet is Home Alone
Be sure to rotate your pet’s toys frequently if he must be alone for long periods. The toys will be a novelty and help him feel less lonely. Dogs love any chew toy and need a comfortable place to sleep for naps. Your cat should have scratching posts, one or more perches to look out the window, hiding places, and toys as well. Leaving soft music on in the background while your family is away can help to calm anxiety also.

Both dogs and cats have a strong sense of smell and associate different aromas with their human family. It can be a comfort to your pet to leave something out that your children wear or use often as it will contain their unique human scent.

Make Sure Your Pet Gets Plenty of Attention
Your pet will adjust to the back-to-school change more quickly if everyone in the family gives her several minutes of undivided attention when they are home. This reassures her that she’s still an important part of the family and that no one has forgotten about her. Be sure to include your pet in family activities whenever possible.

Schedule an Appointment with Us if Your Pet’s Anxiety Persists
Some pets have a more difficult time with schedule changes than others. If you have tried these tips and your dog or cat remains highly anxious, request an appointment at Westgate Pet Clinic. Our doctors can provide you with additional ideas, such as full or part-time doggy daycare for dogs. In severe cases, he/she can prescribe anti-anxiety medication that you can get from our online store

Our Mission:

We provide the quality care our clients expect and their pets deserve, by relying on the expertise and
compassion of each team member.

 
 
 

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Westgate Pet Clinic
4345 France Avenue South
Minneapolis, MN 55410
Directions to Our Clinic
(612)925-1121
(612)925-6297 Fax
(612)568-1405 Pharmacy

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