Pet Wellness Services

Pet Wellness Services at North Haven Animal HospitalYour Pet's Lifetime Wellness Plan

The staff at North Haven Animal Hospital and North Colony Animal Hospital in New Haven County, CT is committed to providing comprehensive and individualized medical care for your pet in order to enhance his or her well-being and quality of life. As medical professionals, we recognize that in order to provide your pet with a long and happy life while reducing the lifetime cost of his/her care, our focus must be on preventive care. When you bring your pet to either of our hospitals, we work with you to create a lifetime preventive health care plan for your special friend.

The basis of such a plan should be regular wellness examinations that include thorough screenings for a number of common diseases and ailments that could affect your pet's health. As your pet enters his or her senior years these screenings become even more important, which is why we have developed a customized senior wellness protocol.

We also recommend a balanced schedule of vaccines to protect your pet from a range of dangerous, but preventable diseases. Routine dental care is part of the plan as well, because good oral health goes a long way toward protecting overall systemic health. Beyond these standard elements of good preventative care, we also offer microchip identification in case your pet should become lost, nutritional and behavioral counseling, internal medicine services, soft tissue and orthopedic surgery, advanced diagnostic testing capabilities, and much more.

Perhaps the most important piece of your pet's care is strong client/doctor communication. It is important that we hear from you about how your pet is doing and voice any concerns you may have in order to continuously adjust and optimize your pet's health care plan. It is also our responsibility to empower you with the information necessary to provide the best and most compassionate home-based care for your pet. We believe that our breadth and depth of medical knowledge is of little use if we do not share it with you.

Unfortunately, despite even the best preventive health care plan, your pet may experience an illness or injury. The skill, experience and extensive education of our staff allow us to effectively manage complex medical and surgical challenges.

Our level of expertise, capabilities and resources also reduce the frequency of referrals to specialists and allow you to receive care for your pets from people you know, in a comfortable and familiar setting.

Please take a look at the services offered at North Haven and North Colony Animal Hospitals and see why we believe they are important for the care of your pet. Then feel free to give us a call at (203) 239-5365 (North Haven), (203) 284-9366 (Wallingford) or email us for more information.

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Wellness Exams: The Standard of Lifetime Care

Pet Wellness Services at North Haven Animal HospitalYou go to the doctor regularly, but does your pet? Regular wellness exams are an integral part of your pet's preventive health care plan.

A routine examination provides you and your veterinarian with the opportunity to develop a picture of your pet's overall health as well as to spot potential medical issues before they become serious health concerns. It is also an opportunity for you to ask your veterinarian important questions about your pet's health, habits and daily care. We use this time to inform you about home health care for your pet and offer important advice and new information on the care of your particular type and breed of animal.

The veterinarians at North Haven Animal Hospital and North Colony Animal Hospital recommend a complete nose-to-tail physical examination at least once a year, though more frequent exams are encouraged.

During your pet's wellness checkup, your veterinarian will:

Listen to Your Pet's Heart

Signs of cardiac disease such as heart murmurs and abnormal heart beat patterns known as arrhythmias can be heard through a stethoscope. These findings may suggest an underlying heart condition. It is important that your pet's heart is listened to regularly so a medical plan can be instituted as soon as indicated.

Listen to Your Pet's Lungs

Our doctors can assess the overall pulmonary health of your pet using a stethescope. Health issues such as infections, obstructive diseases and even cardiac disease can be detected by listening to your pet's lungs.

Check Your Pet's Teeth and Oral Cavity

Dental disease is one of the most common diseases affecting cats and dogs and can lead to serious systemic health issues. Oral exams allow our doctors to visualize any abnormalities inside the mouth (broken teeth, growths, etc).

Evaluate Your Pet's Vision

Ocular conditions such as glaucoma, corneal ulcers and dry eye can be prevented or better treated through regular care and screenings.

Look into Your Pet's Ears

Ear infections are a relatively common disease our doctors see. Although your pet can develop ear infections quickly, regular otic examinations allows our doctors to determine any early indicators of ear disease. Diagnosis and treatment of ear disease is an area of particular expertise at North Haven Animal Hospital.

Palpate the Lymph Nodes, Abdomen and Skin

By feeling these areas, we are looking for unusual lumps or swellings. The skin is evaluated for discolorations, parasites (fleas, ticks, mites), and patterns of hair loss or thinning.

Palpate Joints and Muscles

In older pets, we look for signs of arthritis. By examining your pet's legs, joints, back musculature and watching your pet ambulate, we can determine any areas of pain, decreased range of motion, change in muscle tone, weakness and other conditions that may indicate orthopedic issues.

Pet Wellness Services at North Haven Animal HospitalPerform Laboratory Work

A complete physical exam includes a heartworm test and blood tests. A chemistry panel and blood count can screen for the presence of underlying disease processes and create a baseline should your pet become ill between routine examinations.

Perform Parasite Testing

Checking your pet for intestinal parasites is an important component of any preventative care plan for your pet and your family. Fecal analysis is extremely important from a public health standpoint as many GI parasites are transmissible to humans. We commonly see GI parasites such as roundworms, hookworms, whipworms, Giardia and Coccidia in this area.

A comprehensive physical exam is a tool to evaluate your dog's, cat's or other pet's health status and to help you make informed decisions about the care of your special companion.

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Flea and Tick Prevention

Fleas and ticks are virtually everywhere. In our region, ticks can carry a variety of serious illnesses, including Lyme disease, Erhlichia and Anaplasma. Because our area is endemic for Lyme disease, we strive to keep our clients up to date on the most current and best preventative medications. We strongly recommend monthly flea/tick preventative (occasionally the use of multiple medications simultaneously for certain clients). Fortunately, many safe and highly effective products are available.

Fleas and ticks can also carry diseases dangerous to both you and your pet. Fleas transmit tapeworms, and often you can see segments of the tapeworm in your pet's stool. Fleas are most abundant during the warm weather; however, if left untreated, they can be a nuisance year round.

Ticks tend to thrive in wooded areas or in high grass. It is often difficult to keep your pets away from tick infested areas, so if they do go exploring, check them when they come inside. We strongly recommend that all dogs be vaccinated against Lyme disease in addition to consistent tick preventative. It is impossible to keep your pets away from fleas/ticks since every time they go outside (even for a few minutes) they are exposed! Indoor only pets should also use flea prevention as fleas can be brought in from elsewhere on family members.

Flea and tick problems can be avoided by using flea/tick prevention products that are available at our hospital. When used properly and according to our directions, these products are very safe and effective.

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Heartworm Disease

Heartworm disease is a serious, life-threatening disease affecting dogs and, to a lesser extent, cats. Mosquitoes spread the disease by passing the parasite into your pet at the time of the bite.

Clinical symptoms of heartworm disease develop very slowly. Exercise intolerance, coughing and difficulty breathing can all be clinical signs. Because heartworm disease is increasing in frequency and is a serious and potentially deadly disease, we recommend that your dog be tested annually and remain on preventative all year round.

Heartworm disease prevention is simple and effective. For dogs, a once-a-month heartworm preventative can be given as a tasty, chewable treat. Cats can be protected similarly.

Our recommended blood work includes heartworm testing and tick screening on a yearly basis. If you would like to have your pet tested for heartworm disease, or if you would like additional information on how best to protect your pet from this dangerous parasite, please call us at (203) 239-5365 (North Haven), (203) 284-9366 (Wallingford) or email us for more information.

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Vaccines

Pet Wellness Services at North Haven Animal HospitalDue to the many recent discoveries and innovations in veterinary medicine, your pet can be protected against most major infectious diseases. Today, many immunizations and preventative treatments are available that did not exist a decade ago.

Vaccines are useful in preventing canine distemper, parvovirus, bordetella, rabies, Lyme disease and other diseases in your dog and feline leukemia, panleukopenia, rabies and feline immunodeficiency virus in cats. Our staff can assist you in deciding which preventative measures are necessary for your pet.

Up-to-date vaccinations play a large part in keeping your pet healthy and free from disease. Our veterinarians tailor a vaccine protocol for your pet based on his or her lifestyle and recommendations from the American Animal Hospital Association. Vaccine schedules are balanced to provide needed protection while not over-vaccinating your pet. Please contact us for more information about vaccinations.

Core Vaccines for Dogs and Cats

Core vaccines for dogs include Canine Distemper, Canine Adenovirus (hepatitis), Canine Parvovirus, Canine Parainfluenza and leptospirosis. Combined into one injection, the vaccine is called DHPP-L. Rabies is also a core vaccine for dogs and is a requirement for all domestic animals living in the state of Connecticut.

Core vaccines for cats include Panleukopenia Virus, Feline Calicivirus and Rhinotracheitis. The vaccines are combined into one injection, called FVRCP and is given yearly. The rabies vaccine is also a core vaccine for cats and is required for all domestic animals living in the state of Connecticut. Even if your cat is an indoor only cat they still require the rabies vaccination.

Non-Core Vaccines for Dogs

Non-core vaccines for dogs include Bordetella and Lyme vaccines, both of which are strongly recommended.

Bordetella (B. bronchiseptica) is a bacteria commonly associated with respiratory infections in dogs. It is one of the more common bacterial causes of canine infectious tracheobronchitis, also known as kennel cough. This vaccine is strongly recommended if your dog attends day care, visits dog parks, boarding kennels or any other location where he / she comes into nose-to-nose contact with other dogs. Bordetella is highly contagious, easily transmitted through the air or direct contact, and fairly resistant to destruction in the environment.

Lyme disease is spread by the blacklegged ticks (or deer ticks, Ixodes scapularis). This disease is most prevalent in the North East and Mid-Atlantic states. It has been found that approximately 85% of dogs in Connecticut are positive for this infection. Since the exposure risk to Lyme disease is extremely high, this vaccine (in combination with tick preventative) is the most you can do to prevent disease transmission. Since some dogs may not show clinical signs of this disease we recommend yearly screening tests for Lyme disease as part of your dog's annual wellness exam.

Non-Core Vaccines for Cats

Feline Leukemia Virus (FeLV) is a contagious disease of cats and spreads primarily through bites and saliva of cats infected with the virus. This very often occurs during cat fights, grooming, drinking from the same water bowls and mating.

It is recommended that all outdoor cats receive this yearly vaccination since they have a higher risk of exposure to this dangerous disease compared to indoor cats. Although, if there is a chance that your indoor cat can get outside it is recommended that they too receive this vaccination.

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