At KC Animal Hospital, we hold a high standard of care for our patients. This standard dictates that pets receive a few routine, but very important, things on a yearly basis; Dental care, Heartworm testing/prevention, Fecal Exams, and routine blood panels. These recommendations are in the best interest of your pet, and it is our responsibility to assure our clients are well-versed in these topics.
Most pets require an annual professional dental cleaning. Bacteria from dental disease can effect the long term health of the heart, liver, and kidneys. Therefore, we encourage all pets to have a prophylaxis (cleaning) performed at least once yearly. We offer a discount in February to facilitate this important service.
This is the routine each dental patient goes through for their visit. It's very important to us that owner's understand the process of a dental cleaning, so we've developed this schedule and a slideshow to illustrate it.
7:30 AM - Check in, consent forms, consult with technician
7:40 AM - Vitals collection, kennel placement
7:45 AM - Pre-anesthesia blood testing, EKG
8:00 AM - Doctor evaluates bloodwork, clears for surgery
8:15 AM - Place IV Catheter
9:00 AM - Pre-Anesthesia exam by the doctor
9:30 AM - Medications given to prep for anesthesia
10:00 AM - Induce anesthesia, secure breathing tube, attach monitor
10-11:15 AM - Cleaning teeth, polishing, apply fluoride gel, dental exam/charting, antibiotic injection
11:30 AM - Recovering from anesthesia in the ICU
11:45 AM - Call owner to discuss pick-up time
12:00 PM - Recheck temperature, make chart notes
1:00 PM - Remove IV catheter if temperature is normal
2:00 PM - Prepare before and after pictures, go home instructions
3:00 PM - Fill prescriptions and prepare discharge paperwork
4:00 PM - Post-dental grooming, recheck temperature
5:00 PM - Consultation with technician regarding medications and home care, consultation with the doctor regarding dental issues and procedure.
6:00 PM - Clean up time!
Click below to see a step by step demonstration of a routine dental cleaning!
The preventive care we most commonly discuss in our hospital is regarding Heartworm disease. Heartworms are internal parasites that are transmitted by mosquitos from animal to animal. Heartworm is not infectious between animals, but transmission can be life threatening. Pets that stay indoors may be at a slightly reduced risk, but mosquitos are equipped to get into the home without our knowledge. The risk of infection outweighs the cost of prevention, therefore we recommend monthly prevention for all pets regardless of lifestyle.
As you can see in the incidence map to the right, heartworm disease is readily present in Arizona, with a small pocket in the southern part of the state. Also consider that Arizona is a center for seasonal residents. The number of reported cases grows every year due to pets relocating and visiting from states where heartworm disease is more prevalent. Our mosquito population is more likely to carry heartworm when they are exposed to pets from other parts of the country.
Dr. Pirotte and Dr. Bates recommend yearly heartworm testing and the use of a monthly preventative medication to control heartworm infections. They follow the recommendation of the American Heartworm Society, and understand that prevention makes more sense than an attempt at a cure. An effective visual aid is this photo (below) of mature heartworms infiltrating the heart and adjacent vessels in advanced stages.
If a pet does become infected, we administer an organic arsenical compound into the muscle at intervals according to the doctor's orders. The injections can be uncomfortable, and the pets must be confined to a kennel whenever possible. The process of heartworm treatment is unpleasant for both the patient and their owner. The cost of the preventive medication is as little as $7 per month as compared to $1000 or more for treatment. Giving up just two orders per month at the local coffee house would cover the cost for the pet's safety.
Fecal exams are the most commonly ommited service we see in our office. Pet owners assume that since they never take their pets to different yards or dog parks that they cannot be exposed to intestinal parasites. On a simple walk through your familiar neighborhood, your pet could pick up something in their mouth before you know it, potentially exposing them to parasitic eggs. Your back yard can harbor eggs as well if wild animals, like rabbits, wander onto your property. Rabbit remains or stool can infect your pet with tapeworms, and the small segments appear like a grain of rice on infected stool. The other common types of worms can be seen below.
Most importantly, these parasites are zoonotic. This means you and your family CAN become infected, especially children. It is our responsibilty to inform you of these risks, but ultimately screenings and prevention are up to the owner of the pet. We recommend using heartworm prevention medications which also include intestinal parasiticides (such as Heartgard Plus or Interceptor) on a montly basis to control infections.
Routine Blood Testing
Pets of all ages will benefit from early detection of chronic illnesses like kidney disease and diabetes. For this reason, we recommend wellness blood work for all pets. A wellness panel will detect abnormalities in the immune system, kidneys, pancreas, liver, heart, and thyroid. Early treatment of illnesses affecting these body systems will extend their life expectancy, and more importantly, their quality of life.
At age 6-8 years (depending on the size of the pet), we consider most to be "seniors". At that time, the need for annual blood work is more apparent. The risk of these conditions increases as our pet ages, and early detection becomes ever more important.
With all the resources KC has to offer, we can tailor blood panels and diagnostics to suit your pets' needs. We can pinpoint and recheck values with ease as we use in-house lab machines, reference labs, and diagnostic imaging. We can provide complete care for your pet in all stages of life!