Dr. Julie Damron

Tips on caring for your pets from the Veterinarians and staff of Sierra Veterinary Clinic in Stockton, California.

Canine Wellness Depends on Routine Health Care

Routine preventative health care is important at every stage of life for the overall wellness of your dog. Sierra Veterinary Clinic can play a pivotal role guiding you in the healthcare decisions you make for your canine. A good wellness program will help to extend both the quality and duration of your companion's life, giving you many great years together.

Puppies need a high level of monitoring and care as they have a very minimally developed immune system, and continuously explore their world with their mouths. Make sure they are in an area where they can't chew on or ingest small objects. It is very important to provide consistent vaccinations through a veterinarian every three (3) weeks from 8 weeks until they are at least 16 weeks old. Puppies should be kept mainly indoors until the puppy vaccines are completed. Core vaccines include Distemper/Parvo combo, Bordetella, and Rabies. For patients that plan to participate in camping, hiking, etc., other vaccines such as Lepto, Lyme, and Rattlesnake may be recommended.

Deworming at least once and a fecal exam are essential to protect your pet and your family from internal parasites, as some worms can be spread from animals to people. Heartworm prevention will be initiated after your puppy has reached 10 weeks of age; this should be given monthly for the life of your pet to help protect against heart worm and kill internal parasites. Flea and/or tick prevention will be started at the same time.

A microchip with current information is recommended for dogs of all ages to provide permanent identification; the City of Stockton also requires this for licensing. During the first year of life, puppies should be fed a high quality pet store quality puppy food. Large breed puppies should receive large breed puppy food for the first year unless otherwise recommended by your veterinarian. Spay or neuter surgery is recommended between 4-6 months of age. Routine dental care should be start at this time, with tooth brushing at least weekly. The care you give early on creates the foundation for the rest of your pet's life.

Adult dogs should be examined annually. Core vaccinations should be given to all healthy patients. Fecal exams and heart worm testing is required annually to maintain prevention. Monthly heartworm preventatives are very important to help protect your dog from heartworm and internal parasites. Monthly flea and/or tick prevention helps to prevent external parasites. Exercise is important for your dog's mind and body; it will help him or her maintain a healthy weight. Routine grooming, including ear care and dental, care is also important. Expect a dental cleaning to be recommended on average every 2-3 years depending on the level of dental disease present. Follow any additional recommendations your veterinarian provides that are specific to your pet.

As your canine ages, routine exams are even more important. Patients that are 7 years or older are considered senior. For these companions, an evaluation every 6 months is recommended to identify health problems at the earliest stage possible. Annual blood work is recommended to evaluate organs and other parameters. Other testing such as blood pressure, eye pressure, or radiographs may be recommended depending on the health status of your companion. Maintain core vaccines if your companion is healthy enough for them. A fecal exam is suggested yearly to check for internal parasites. Annual heartworm testing is required to maintain preventatives. Vaccine recommendations will be made based on the wellness of your dog. A high quality senior diet is recommended unless your companion has health issues that would benefit from a prescription diet.

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Monday, 23 October 2017