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Longmont Veterinary Services

Wellness Care | Medicine | Surgical Care & Anesthesia | Diagnostic Services

Wellness Care

Longmont Veterinary Services

Examinations

We believe that a thorough examination is the foundation of any visit, for both well and sick patients. We recommend a full exam for all new pets as soon as possible and we also believe that an annual examination is important for all pets, canine and feline.

During annual wellness visits, a thorough examination will allow the doctor to assess the overall health of your pet, make recommendations for maintaining their health, and discuss any abnormalities that may be found so that problems might be diagnosed earlier when treatment has the most chance of success.

Vaccinations

Vaccines are a good way to protect your pet from many diseases, some of which can be life-threatening. We at Cambridge Animal Hospital feel that vaccines are an important part of your pet's health care plan. However, we do not believe that every vaccine is for every pet. We feel that each patient and family's circumstances are different and that their healthcare plan should likewise be individually based. For this reason, we like to take the time to discuss the various vaccine options with you and develop a plan that best fits your pet during the exam visit rather than go with a one-size-fits-all formula.

If you are coming in for a routine, scheduled visit, please download our Canine Vaccine Consent Form or Feline Vaccine Consent Form before coming to your appointment.

Vaccination Side Effects +

Most pets will not have any side effects from vaccines. The most common side effects are localized pain/swelling at the site of injection, mild lethargy and low-grade fever. These usually resolve on their own within 24 hours and do not require treatment. It is important NOT to give human over-the-counter medications to your pets as they can be very toxic to cats and dogs. More severe reactions are less common, but can appear as vomiting, facial swelling or hives. If your pet shows signs of a reaction such as this, please seek medical attention. With any vaccine, anaphylaxis (a very severe and potentially fatal hypersensitivity reaction) is a risk but is rare. Also, while there is no direct cause and effect relationship between vaccines and certain auto-immune diseases, this continues to be investigated.

Cats: It is normal to feel a small lump at the vaccine site for up to 4 weeks following vaccination. However, in cats there is another rare but serious reaction called a Vaccine-Associated Sarcoma. This is where an aggressive cancer forms at the site of a vaccine or another injection or even the site of a previous trauma, weeks or even years after the incident occurred. It is estimated to occur in 1 in 10,000 cats and the exact cause is unknown. For this reason, any lump persisting longer than one month should be checked by one of our vets.

Vaccine Classifications +

According to the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA), the American Animal Hospital Association (AAHA), and the American Association of Feline Practitioners(AAFP), there are two types of vaccines: CORE and NON-CORE.

Core Vaccines are those which every dog or cat should receive (or have blood titers checked in lieu of vaccination).

Non-Core Vaccines are those vaccines which may or may not be necessary based on your pet's lifestyle and the prevalence of the disease in various areas of the state or country. These vaccines are available and can be given if you elect to do so.

Canine Core Vaccines +

Rabies is a disease that is starting to show up in Northern Colorado and is already prevalent in other parts of the country. It is a virus, usually transmitted through the bite of infected animals, but is also thought to be spread in the fecal material of bats. There is no treatment for this disease and it is almost always fatal. It is also easily transmitted to people. For this reason, Rabies vaccination is very important. An initial vaccine is given, usually at 16 weeks of age. It is then boostered 1 year later after which it only needs to be administered every 3 years.

Distemper/Parvo Combo (DHPP or DA2PP) - Distemper and parvo are both diseases that affect mainly young puppies or unvaccinated adults. They are common in the soil in all parts of the United States and can cause life-threatening disease that can cost hundreds of dollars to treat and often results in the loss of a beloved pet. Parvo causes severe vomiting, diarrhea and lethargy and is fatal if not treated aggressively. Distemper can cause upper respiratory signs that eventually turn into neurologic signs such as seizures. There is no effective treatment for this virus. Fortunately, the vaccines that protect against these organisms are highly effective at preventing these tragic diseases. They are given as an initial series, usually starting at 8 weeks of age, then boostered at 1 year. This vaccine is then only administered every 3 years.

Canine Non-Core Vaccines +

Leptospirosis - This is a disease that occurs sporadically in the US, usually in the summer and fall, and is caused by various strains of the Leptospira bacteria found in the urine of wildlife or in water or soil contaminated with such urine. Infected dogs may have a fever, do not eat well, vomit and may suffer from kidney and liver damage. This disease, even when treated, can be fatal. It can also be transmitted from infected pets to human family members in the pet's urine.

Leptospirosis is carried and shed by a number of animal species, especially raccoons, skunks and mice (causing problems in urban areas) and farm animals and deer (causing problems in rural regions). Though it was once thought that only hunting dogs or outdoor dogs should be vaccinated, we are seeing this infection more and more frequently in toy breeds and this vaccination should be considered in all dogs. We are currently seeing cases in the northern Colorado and Colorado Springs area, indicating that wildlife in these areas are shedding the organism.

The recommended vaccine contains 4 strains (serovars) of this bacteria. Previous versions of this vaccine were associated with high incidences of vaccine reactions, however, the vaccine we use now is safer and carries a much lower risk of side effects than previous vaccines. If your dog has never had this vaccine, a series of two injections, 2-4 weeks apart is required. After this, the vaccine is given annually.

Bordatella (Kennel Cough) - This vaccine helps protect dogs against some forms of upper respiratory infections and can lessen the severity of the disease in dogs that do become infected. This vaccine is recommended for dogs that come into contact with other dogs, go to doggie day care or dog parks, or are going to a groomer or boarding facility. This vaccine is given either every 6 or 12 months, depending on boarding and groomer requirements and is available as an injection or as intranasal drops.

Rattlesnake Vaccine - There is a vaccination available that may decrease the risk of death in the event your pet is bitten by a rattlesnake. It does not replace the need to seek emergency care following a bite, but can hopefully decrease the severity of the symptoms. This vaccine would be recommended if you frequent or live in areas where rattlesnakes are known to be.

Canine Flu Vaccine - There is a vaccine for the canine version of the flu, which mimics an upper respiratory infection but is usually accompanied by severe pneumonia and fever and can be life-threatening. Some boarding facilities in the area are requiring this vaccine, however, as we are not currently seeing cases in Northern Colorado, it is not indicated at this time. This recommendation may change as outbreaks of this disease occur.

Feline Core Vaccines +

Rabies - Rabies is a disease that is starting to show up in Northern Colorado and is already prevalent in other parts of the country. It is a virus, usually transmitted through the bite of infected animals, but is also thought to be spread in the fecal material of bats. There is no treatment for this disease and it is almost always fatal. It is also easily transmitted to people. For this reason, Rabies vaccination is very important. An initial vaccine is given, usually at 16 weeks of age. It is then boostered one year later. In cats, there are two options for the Rabies vaccine. One is to continue with a standard vaccine that only has to be administered once every 3 years. The second option is called a CanaryPox vaccine. This is a recombinant vaccine that does not contain any additives (such as aluminum) called adjuvants to stimulate the immune system. It must be administered once every year. Please feel free to ask our staff for more information on either vaccine option.

Feline Herpes/Calici/Panleukopenia (FVRCP or Feline Distemper) - This vaccine helps protect cats from several of the upper respiratory viruses as well as a potentially life-threatening disease called Panleukopenia. Panleukopenia is related to the parvo virus that we see in dogs. It causes vomiting, diarrhea, lethargy and is often fatal despite even aggressive treatment. Fortunately, the vaccine for this disease is extremely effective in preventing it. This combination vaccine is administered initially as a series, often starting at 8 weeks of age. It is then boostered one year later and can then be administered every 3 years after that.

Feline Non-Core Vaccines +

Feline Leukemia - Felv is a deadly virus that infects cats worldwide. It causes a variety of symptoms including cancers, anemia and immunosuppression which can lead to infections from other organisms. Early in the disease, cats may have no symptoms for months to years, however, it is highly contagious to other cats by casual contact (grooming, sharing water or food bowls, biting). It cannot be transmitted to people and is not related to human leukemias.

Though no cat is at zero risk for this disease, indoor only cats are at lower risk. This vaccine is recommended for cats with access to the outdoors, cats who have contact with other cats, and cats that live in a household where new cats are introduced frequently. It is also recommended in cats (especially kittens) who have a tendency to escape or for whom you have not decided if they will be indoor or outdoor cats.

Dentistry

Preventing and treating oral disease has been proven to prolong the lives of our pets as well as provide a good quality of life free of oral pain. At Cambridge Animal Hospital, we offer state of the art dental care at affordable prices.

Professional dental care starts with a full physical examination. All of our dentistry is performed under general anesthesia. Though many owners like the idea of anesthesia-free dentals, it is impossible to probe and radiograph teeth and clean under the gumline without having them asleep. Though the teeth may look clean, areas under the gumline where infection and true periodontal disease occur are not addressed. Also, being asleep for the procedure is much less stressful than being forcefully restrained for tartar removal. During anesthesia, your pet will have an endotracheal tube placed to protect his/her airway from fluid and bacteria, as well as have an IV catheter and fluids, pain medication, and be fully monitored by a veterinary technician to make the procedure as safe as possible.

Once asleep, the tartar will be removed via ultrasonic scaling (same instrument used by human dentists) and the teeth will then be polished. The polishing is very important to remove microscopic grooves that are made by simply scraping the tartar from the teeth. These grooves would allow bacteria to colonize more rapidly and polishing prevents this from happening. The doctor then probes the periodontal space looking for any pockets underneath the gums that might indicate infection. If deep pockets are found, scaling underneath the gumline is performed to remove tartar and infection that brushing alone cannot address.

Dental radiographs are performed on any areas where there are teeth missing or teeth that appear to have disease. The part of the tooth that can be seen above the gumline (the crown) is just the tip of the iceberg. Dental radiographs allow us to assess the more critical parts of the tooth - the roots and surrounding bone structure -- and determine if the tooth is treatable or if extraction is needed for the health and comfort of the patient. Finally, a full record, called a Dental Chart, is made following the dental so that all abnormalities, missing teeth, treated teeth and extracted teeth can be followed in the future.

Types of Dental Disease: +

  • Gingivitis
  • Tartar/Calculus buildup
  • Periodontal disease (active bacterial infection under the gumline)
  • Bone loss and tooth loss

Signs of Dental Disease: +

  • Red, inflamed gums
  • Loose teeth or teeth falling out
  • Bad breath/halitosis
  • Difficulty chewing or food falling out of mouth
  • Pain or even reluctance to eat hard food
  • Facial swelling (can even look like a swelling by the eye)
  • Discolored teeth

Microchips

Microchips are a small implant the size of a grain of rice that is injected under the skin to provide a permanent form of identification for your pet. They can be injected during any visit with minimal pain. These chips contain a number encoded in them that is unique to your pet. A scanner can be used to locate this number. If your pet is ever lost or stolen, this number can then be used to help reunite you with your pet.

Cambridge Animal Hospital uses the AKC Trovan microchip. This particular brand comes with a pre-paid registration and does not charge any annual fee to keep your pet in their database or any fees if you need to update information in years to come.

Heartworm & Parasite Prevention

Heartworms

Heartworms are parasites transmitted via mosquito bites to dogs and cats. The immature worms are injected during the bite and, over a period of 4-6 months, they travel to the heart and large blood vessels in the lungs where they mature and cause inflammation and clots. If left untreated, heartworms can cause severe heart and lung disease and can be fatal. Preventing this infection with an easily administered once a month pill is much safer and more cost effective than trying to kill the adult heartworms. Because of the severe damage these parasites can do, and because of the risk of side effects in certain dogs given heartworm prevention in the face of an existing infection, we recommend heartworm testing in all dogs over 6 months of age before starting or re-starting heartworm prevention pills.

In general, Colorado has fewer cases of active heartworm infection than many other parts of the country, but we do see it here and, therefore, continue to recommend prevention.

Cambridge Animal Hospital recommends year-round heartworm prevention. Though mosquitoes are only active during certain times of the year, the date at which they become inactive or emerge can change from year to year. In addition, the monthly heartworm pills also act to protect against some GI parasites which are not seasonal. Pets on year round protection in Colorado need only be tested every other year. Pets who only get prevention seasonally (from April through November) should be tested every year prior to starting pills.

For more information please feel free to ask our staff or visit The American Heartworm Society.

GI Parasites

Cats and dogs can become infected with several types of GI parasites including: roundworms, hookworms, whipworms, tapeworms, coccidia and giardia (very common in Colorado). Many kittens and puppies are infected prior to or just after birth. Adult dogs and cats can become infected by ingesting parasite eggs in soil or grass contaminated by the fecal material of other pets and wildlife OR by ingesting/hunting animals such as rabbits and rodents. Infection with these parasites can occur year-round.

Though parasites can be present in pets without any outward signs, we often see problems such as diarrhea, anemia, weight loss and discomfort to the pet. In addition, some of these parasites can be transmitted from a pet to their human family members. This is especially of concern in homes where there are young children or owners who have weaker immune systems (elderly owners, people with cancer or people with HIV).

Cambridge Animal Hospital recommends the following to help ensure that your pet does not carry such parasites:

  1. Fecal Testing - Annual testing is recommended in dogs and cats. A microscopic exam is performed looking for the eggs of the worms or the single-celled organisms. Often these cannot be detected by the naked eye. More frequent testing is recommended in animals that hunt or have outdoor access.
  2. Year-Round Heartworm Prevention in Dogs - The heartworm pills that we prescribe not only prevent heartworm disease in the warmer months, but they act as a monthly dewormer even in the winter months when GI parasites can continue to spread.
  3. Profender Deworming for Cats - Profender is a topical dewormer that is applied to the neck of cats and can be used to deworm for specific parasites or used routinely in cats that are outdoors or are known to hunt rodents.

For more information on pets, parasites and people, please feel free to ask our staff or check out the Companion Animal Parasite Council.

HOURS

Monday - Friday: 8 AM to 6 PM
Saturday: 8 AM to NOON
Sunday: CLOSED

We refer after hours emergencies to Aspen Meadow Emergency Hospital

Contact Us

Cambridge Animal Hospital
1610 Pace Street #400
Longmont, CO 80504

P: 303.651.PAWS (7297)

F: 303.651.2148

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