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Internal Parasite Control

Roundworms and hookworms are extremely common among our pets – and they can be spread to humans!  Virtually all puppies & kittens are born with roundworms.  Outdoor cats become infested by hunting rodents.   In California, almost 3% of adult dogs are carrying roundworms without any outward signs.  These cats and dogs shed parasite eggs into our environment where they can live up to a year!  If these eggs are ingested by humans (often children), they can migrate away from the GI tract to the skin, brain and eye!  By providing a once-a-month product, you can protect your pets, your family and your community.  We recommend a yearly fecal floatation examination for all dogs and outdoor cats.  This will screen for the roundworms and hookworms described above, along with other parasites that can infect your cat or the people in your home.  Protect your entire family!

tick

External Parasite Control

Fleas and ticks are rampant in our area, but cats rarely become infested with ticks due to their fastidious grooming.  The Central Coast provides an ideal climate for these parasites to thrive year ‘round.  Most dogs and cats will benefit from some level of monthly control.  Fleas can be controlled with either topical or oral products.  Ticks can be controlled with monthly topicals or a prescription tick collar (dogs only).  Many flea control products will also control roundworms, hookworms and heartworms, and can even provide flea “birth control.”  Please get your advice on parasite control from Animal Care Clinic rather than the internet or a pet store employee – you’ll be surprised what you can learn!

Pound of Cure

Vaccines

There are three vaccines we generally recommend most cats to be vaccinated with: CPRT, Feline Leukemia, and Rabies.  We often refer to CPRT as the upper respiratory vaccine.  Feline upper respiratory complex is extremely common.  Most cats have been exposed and vaccination with it can protect them from decreasing outward signs.  After an initial series, this vaccine should be administered every 3 years.  Feline Leukemia is a viral infection in cats that suppresses the immune system and is inevitably fatal.  All outdoor cats should be protected by receiving this vaccine every 3 years (after an initial series.)  Rabies is a fatal disease of both people and animals. San Luis Obispo County has the highest Rabies incidence in California.  All outdoor cats should be protected and many indoor cats should be vaccinated.  Your cat’s first Rabies vaccine is good for 1 year and each subsequent vaccine will last 3 years.  There are two primary vaccines that dogs need:  DA2PP and Rabies.  Distemper and parvovirus are both potentially fatal diseases.  Parvovirus is quite common among puppies and young adults on the Central Coast.  Distemper is less common here, but is on the rise on Northern California. After an initial series, the DA2PP vaccine should be administered every 3 years for optimal protection.  You are legally required to keep your dog vaccinated against Rabies Virus.  Rabies is a fatal disease of both people and animals. San Luis Obispo County has the highest Rabies incidence in California.  Your dog’s first Rabies vaccine is good for 1 year and each subsequent vaccine will protect your dog for 3 years.

River-wading-in-lake
In dogs that hunt, backpack, camp or hang out near wetlands or lakes leptospirosis is a third important vaccine.  Leptospirosis is a bacterial disease that can be found in California wetlands where wildlife may be present.  It is more common in Northern California.  This potentially fatal disease comes in many forms (called serovars.)  The available vaccine covers 4 of the more common types of leptospirosis and should be repeated annually if there is continued risk of exposure.

Disease Screening

Feline Leukemia Virus and the Feline Aids Virus are easily transmitted via intimate contact or bite wounds from infected cats to other cats.  Both diseases are incurable and eventually fatal.  All outdoor cats & cats in multi-cat households should be screened yearly. Dogs have a few other diseases we worry about.  Lyme Disease and Ehrlichiosis are both potentially fatal diseases carried by ticks.  Heartworm disease, also potentially fatal, is carried by mosquitoes & thought to be uncommon in SLO County, but 45 cases were diagnosed here in 2012, with over 3,000 cases in California.  All 3 of these diseases can be cured if caught before outward signs begin.  A simple yearly blood test along with excellent parasite control can help you to protect your dog against the effects of these diseases.

cat profile

Age Related Screenings

As we age, our internal organs age too.  Animals are not likely to show outward signs of chronic diseases until they become quite advanced.  Regular blood counts, blood chemistry profile and urinalysis can help us to find early changes in kidney & liver function, thyroid disease and much more.  Early intervention in these situations can often be life saving.  We recommend yearly laboratory profiles in our mature pets and twice yearly profiles as they enter their senior years.  In most pets yearly exams are enough to assess dental care, proper nutrition, behavior management, skin care and control of chronic pain.  These needs can change rapidly in our senior patients and so exams by a doctor every 6 months can help protect your pet from chronic disease and help you make any necessary changes in care. Primary hypertension is not as common in dogs as it is in people, but we do see high blood pressure associated with several diseases common in older pets.  Cats can suffer from primary hypertension and also develop high blood pressure associated with many common diseases.  Since cats won’t show outward signs until there are serious secondary problems, we recommend yearly screening in our older, healthy patients.  Senior dogs can also benefit from yearly blood pressure checks.

dog in car

Pets that Travel

If you will be travelling by air, you will need a Health Certificate dated within 30 days of travel, and if you will be heading to a foreign country (including Canada or Mexico by car or air), you will need to be sure you are carrying all the proper paperwork.  We can help you to manage this sometimes complicated scenario. If you will be taking your cat and/or dog on a trip outside of San Luis Obispo County, particularly if outside of California, please talk to us about infectious diseases that are common in other parts of the country.  Did you know that cats can get heartworm disease if they enter highly endemic areas like the Gulf Coast?   Do you know what cytauxzonsis is and where your cat could be exposed?  Did you know that dogs who visit the Pacific can die from “Salmon Poisoning?”  Did you know that heartworm disease is so prevalent on the Coast of Texas and in the Gulf states that virtually every dog rescued from the Katrina disaster was positive for the disease!  Do you know what histoplasmosis and blastomycosis are?  Let us help you to keep your pet(s) safe.