No discussion on the therapies offered at the Holistic Veterinary Center would be complete without discussing wellness care. My goal, through education and preventative care, is to provide pets with a long, full, and healthy life. My goal is to prevent disease or to find the underlying imbalance causing disease. At the Holistic Veterinary Center we focus on wellness in many ways, including annual wellness examinations, customized vaccination schedules for adult dogs and cats, selective vaccinations for puppies and kittens, dietary consults, and geriatric screenings.
Annual wellness examinations are an extremely important component for attaining those goals mentioned earlier. It is during these examinations that minor problems can be detected, such as weight loss, heart murmurs, dental disease, joint stiffness, and back pain. When detected early, therapies and lifestyle changes can be implemented to prevent or delay progression, or even reverse the disease process itself.
In addition to the wellness examinations it is important to determine a dog or cat’s risk of acquiring an infectious disease. Most adult dogs and cats, if properly vaccinated when young, develop long lasting immunity to the most common diseases. But the question remains, how do we know if our pet has been properly vaccinated? Fortunately, we have the ability to perform blood tests to determine the level of antibodies to specific diseases. These test, referred to as antibody titer tests, are commonly used for dogs to measure parvovirus antibodies and distemper antibodies, and for cats to measure panleukopenia antibodies, calicivirus antibodies, and herpesvirus antibodies. Once specific immunity to disease is known, a vaccine schedule can be customized to suit the individual pet based on its lifestyle and risk of exposure to disease. (See informational articles: Vaccine Alternatives for Your Pet, and Does Your Cat Really Need Vaccines)
Vaccinating puppies and kittens is very important, otherwise they have no other way of developing immunity to some common, occasionally fatal, viral diseases other than through natural exposure to the virus. The very same viruses that we check antibody levels for in adult animals are the same viruses we vaccinate our puppies and kittens against. Vaccines are given at intervals to puppies and kittens based on their age because the immunity obtained from the mother’s milk will block the response to vaccinations. Separating out the individual vaccines is a good idea. This allows the immune system the maximum ability to respond to the vaccine. In addition, it allows us to isolate any vaccine reactions. After the vaccine series is completed an antibody titer blood test is performed to make certain that adequate immunity has developed. (See informational articles: Canine Vaccine Recommendations, and Feline Vaccine Recommendations)
Lastly, wellness care, through annual examinations, is used to discuss diet and to make any changes based on fluctuations in weight and coat quality. These are often the first signs of an imbalance developing. Also, as our pets grow older a geriatric screening, usually involving a blood test and urinalysis, should be performed to aid in the early detection of disease. In summary, wellness care empowers you, the owner, to take charge of the health and well being of your faithful friend and companion by making better informed choices for your pet.