The frontrunner in time-proven veterinary medical practices is the recommendation for routine physical examinations. This is recommended for all pets; even pets that appear to be seemingly healthy at home!
Dogs and cats, like other animals, have the natural instinct to hide signs of illness, disease, and injury. This factor, in conjunction with a pet's inability to verbally tell us what hurts and where, can make assessing how they are really feeling a bit of a mystery to pet owners despite their best efforts. The medical team at Animal Hospital of Dunedin has years of collective experience and education in identifying subtle signs of concern in pets and the best way for us to do so is by visiting us for the recommended physical examinations.
At Animal Hospital of Dunedin, we recommend all pets under our care visit us at least once or twice a year, depending on age and health status. Puppies, kittens, sick pets, and senior pets require closer monitoring, and benefit from more frequent visits. The lifespan of pets is much shorter than ours, which is why it’s critical that we keep a scrupulous eye on changing health trends that may require our attention. The sooner we are able to identify an issue, the sooner we can address it!
During the physical examination, you can expect your veterinarian to assess your pet’s physical condition from nose-to-tail. This comprehensive assessment can tell us a lot of things, like if a young pet is growing as expected; if an adult pet has healthy skin and coat; and if a senior pet’s joints are aging comfortably – just to name a few.
If your veterinarian finds anything amiss, additional diagnostic tests may be recommended. The sooner we can make a diagnosis, the sooner we can help your pet feel better with the least expense to you. All of our professional recommendations are in the best interest of the pets and pet owners we care for.
In an effort to check up on your pet’s mental wellbeing too, we like to have a discussion with our clients about their pet’s behavior, temperament, and lifestyle. This is especially important information, because physical ailments can often manifest to cause mental wellbeing concerns too. You know your pet better than anyone else. We rely on you for this information! This discussion may include:
Have a conversation with your veterinarian about your pet’s health, behavior, and recommended care regime during your visit, especially if you have any questions or concerns. As your pet’s veterinarian, we are your best resource for pet health information and education, and we are always here to help you be the best pet parent to your pet family.
Pro-Pet-Parent Tip: Fecal exams are recommended annually, so bring a fresh stool sample with you to your visit. If we find any parasites in the sample, treatment options, as well as preventative measures, will be discussed in detail with you.
There are countless pathogens in the environment that can put a pet’s health in danger. The solution is relatively simple: Keep up with the recommended vaccine schedule for your pet.
At Animal Hospital of Dunedin, our intention is to protect your pet against diseases that can cause their overall health to suffer, and in some cases be fatal. To do so, our medical team will craft a personalized vaccine schedule for your pet based on core vaccines that are recommended for all pets, and non-core vaccines that are recommended on a case-by-case basis.
Our vaccination protocol actively avoids over-vaccination in our patients. Like people, no two pets are exactly the same – why should their vaccine recommendations be? You can trust our medical team to only recommend the non-core vaccines that are absolutely necessary to prevent disease in your pet, based on their age, species, lifestyle, and health status.
Core vaccines are recommended for all pets.
Core Canine Vaccines
Core Feline Vaccines
Non-core vaccines are recommended on an individual basis, determined by lifestyle factors such as age, health status, and risk of exposure.
Non-core Canine Vaccines
Non-Core Feline Vaccines
Vaccines in veterinary medicine work the same as they do in human medicine. Your pet will be exposed to a safe and carefully controlled level of the disease-causing pathogen, prompting the immune system to form protective antigens that will be ready to safeguard the body the next time it comes in contact with the disease in their everyday environment.
It’s important to note that keeping up with vaccines not only protects your individual pet, but it is also a courtesy to the rest of the pet community.
If you have any questions or concerns about the vaccines recommended for your pet, or if you’re unsure if your pet is up-to-date on his or her vaccines, we encourage you to give us a call or stop by during open office hours.
Dunedin, Florida is home to an array of parasites such as fleas, ticks, mosquitoes, and intestinal parasites. In turn, this presents an array of health concerns for your pet, ranging from general discomfort to serious disease. In every single case we’ve seen, preventing parasites is simpler than treatment.
The medical team at Animal Hospital of Dunedin takes a two-step approach to parasite prevention.
Continuous, year-round preventative medications benefit your pet’s health and comfort, prevent the spread of parasites to other pets in the community, and safeguard your family from zoonotic infections too. It’s a win-win for all parties.
All pets are at risk of parasites without proper prevention, which is why it’s paramount that you maintain a steady parasite regimen year round. Our medical team will recommend preventative products that are effective for your pet and convenient for you. Preventative products come in the form of a pill, treat, or collar.
Parasite testing is recommended yearly, even if your pet appears to be parasite-free. Certain parasites are easy to spot, such as ticks on the skin. However, intestinal parasites are not as easily detected. To test for internal and external parasites, we will need to take a blood sample, and we ask that you drop off a fresh stool sample at your pet’s routine physical examinations.
Fleas take up residence in the fur of your pet, and move quickly through the coat causing dermatitis, bacterial infections, allergies, and hair loss. In some cases, fleas can also spread other harmful parasites, such as tapeworms. Flea populations sky rocket in the warmer months, but they are present in the environment year-round.
Even if your pet is infested with fleas, they may not be easy to spot. To check for fleas, groom your pet regularly and look for black specks that look like dirt in the fur. You may also notice your pet scratching and chewing at their coat and skin.
The biggest pain point with fleas is how quickly they reproduce. So much so that female fleas can lay as many as 50 eggs in one day. This makes it tricky to not only control fleas on your pet, but also your home, human family members, and other pets.
Ticks bite the skin and consume the host’s blood until they are gorged or purposefully removed. The longer the tick is attached to the skin, the higher risk for dangerous maladies such as Lyme disease, Rocky Mountain spotted fever, and ehrlichiosis – to name a few. In rare cases, ticks have been known to cause anemia and tick paralysis.
Preventing your pet’s exposure to ticks is cumbersome. Pets that spend time outside are most at risk, but ticks can easily enter the home and affect indoor pets too. The most surefire way to protect your pet against ticks is to remain current on the recommended tick preventatives and to check the skin and coat during daily grooming.
>A tick’s favorite place to be is grassy and wooded areas, as well as humid climates. Be sure to thoroughly check your pet’s skin and coat after spending time outdoors, especially in these areas, to prevent ticks from entering your home and being transmitted to other pets and people.
Mosquitoes bite the skin, which can cause skin irritation and an even bigger consequence – heartworm disease. Dogs are natural hosts of heartworm disease, but it is possible for cats to be infected.
Mosquitoes pass heartworm larvae to the animals they bite. If unprotected, the larvae will grow to up to a foot in length, and invade the heart, lungs, and blood vessels. Over time, heartworms cause serious and irreversible damage to the pet’s bodily systems. Treatment is long and painful for your pet and costly for you. Without prompt treatment, heartworm disease is fatal.
For many pets, signs of heartworm disease are virtually unnoticeable until the disease has progressed to advanced stages. Observable signs can easily be confused with other conditions, including coughing, vomiting, difficulty breathing, and lethargy.
Prevention of heartworm disease is as simple and straightforward as year-round preventative medications. In addition to preventative medications, pet-safe mosquito repellents are available to minimize bites. Never use human mosquito repellants on your pet.
Intestinal Parasites a pet’s intestinal tract and feed on their nutrients. This taking of nutrients can cause serious health consequences for the infected pet, as well as their human family members*.
The most common intestinal parasites are roundworms, hookworms, whipworms, tapeworms, giardia, and coccidia. Because intestinal parasites are internal, they can be found in the feces, vomit, or around the rectum of the infected pet. Signs of an intestinal parasite infection include vomiting, diarrhea (bloody in some cases), weight loss, dry hair, and a general poor appearance.
It’s easy for pets to pick up intestinal parasites in the environment, such as coming in contact with contaminated soil or the stool of other pets. However, prevention is simple with monthly preventative medications and annual fecal exams.
Puppies and kittens have the highest risk of infection due to their immature immune systems. Begin proper intestinal parasite prevention during your pet’s first year of life, or as soon as you welcome your new pet into your home.
*Intestinal parasites can be passed from pets to people, and infection can range from mild skin irritation to serious illness. To keep your human family safe, wash your hands frequently after handling pets, wear gloves when picking up pet waste, and dispose of pet waste right away.
Our hope is that your pet stays safe with you for a lifetime. The unfortunate truth is that accidents happen to even the most conscientious pet owners, and approximately 10 million dogs and cats are lost or stolen every year. That’s a lot of furry family members!
As your pet’s trusted caretaker, there are a few methods of identification that will help to ensure your pet does not become part of this alarming statistic.
Microchips are the most reliable form of pet identification and most effective at helping lost pets return to their homes. Our professional recommendation is to insert a microchip in your pet sooner rather than later for your pet’s security and your peace of mind.
Insertion is quick and virtually painless, allowing us to perform the procedure at the same time as other services, such as the spay/neuter procedure or while administering vaccines.
Once your pet has been microchipped, the next step is to register your pet’s microchip to a national database complete with all your pertinent contact information. If you ever move or change phone numbers, make a note to update your pet’s microchip. Without your current contact information, you will be unable to be reached if your lost pet is found.
Collars and ID tags are also strongly encouraged. These forms of identification are not foolproof like microchips, however they are an added resource and signify to other people that your lost pet has a home and family.
Today, there are more overweight and obese pets than ever before. This upwards trend is causing serious health consequences and hindering quality of life in pets outside of the ideal weight ranges. At Animal Hospital of Dunedin, we are here to help protect your pet’s complete physical health and quality of life with professional recommendations for diet and exercise.
Weight gain does not happen overnight. It is a gradual process, which can make it tricky to notice in our furry family members. This is especially true for small dogs and cats, that can be seriously affected by just a few extra pounds.
Carrying too much weight day-to-day can lead to chronic inflammation, respiratory disorders, kidney dysfunction, liver disease, metabolic and endocrine disorders, high blood pressure, orthopedic issues, dermatitis, and cancer. All of this contributes to a poorer quality of life and lesser life expectancy.
If your pet is at an ideal body weight and body condition, that’s great! Maintaining a healthy weight throughout your pet’s life is entirely possible with proper diet and exercise.
If your pet could benefit from weight loss, you’ve come to the right place. The first step is to gather information from you, such as what your pet eats, how much they eat, and how often they exercise. Based on this information, we can recommend a nutrient-rich diet, proper food portion sizes, and regular physical activity that will promote weight loss.
Be patient with your pet as they embark on their weight loss journey. The recommended weight loss regime will take time, and we may need to update our recommendations along the way as we track your pet’s progress. Stick with it, as it will do wonders for your pet’s health and quality of life!