At Ridgefield Animal Hospital, we take pride in providing wellness care for dogs and cats, and many exotic pet species. We can provide you with the information you need to take proper care of your pet, while providing the routine exams, vaccines and testing required to properly maintain your pet's health. Prevention is the key!
We suggest that all pets receive an examination within 48 hours after they are brought home to ensure their health, diagnose and treat any parasite issues, and start any vaccines that are required. At a new pet health check, you will receive information on care, preventive medications, and pet health insurance.
Companion Animal Wellness
Keeping your adult pet healthy is an important part of our mission, but it requires participation from you, the owner and caretaker. Keeping your pet healthy for the long haul requires diligence in several areas.
The following outlines the different aspects of creating and ensuring wellness in your pet at the different life stages in their lives:
1) The Annual Physical Exam. Remember, an "annual" exam for your pet is often the equivalent of a 5–7-year interval for yourself! A thorough physical exam is one of the most important things we do to help you keep your pet healthy and happy. Often, pets don't show obvious signs of disease until the problem is well advanced. An exam can uncover such problems as dental disease, cataracts, ear infections, heart murmurs, abdominal masses, and pain or disease of the joints.
2) Vaccinations. Keeping vaccines current is an inexpensive way to prevent common contagious diseases. In Lafourche and Terrebonne parishes, rabies vaccines need to be given yearly, and the additional recommended vaccines are also yearly.
3) Heartworm and Flea Prevention. Heartworm disease is a preventable disease, when the medication is given at the correct dosages and intervals. Heartworms are a common local killer spread by mosquitoes. Fleas and ticks can also carry several diseases and can cause skin issues as well. Intestinal parasite control is also very important as some of these are zoonotic (contractible by people).
4) Wellness Bloodwork We now offer wellness bloodwork at our annuals that are sent to an outside lab at a discounted price. This bloodwork allows us to assure everything looks as good on the inside of your pet as it does on the outside. By running this bloodwork, we can detect things such as a urinary tract infection or kidney disease before your pet is showing symptoms. This allows us to start early intervention to treat the infection or slow the progression of the disease. This bloodwork includes:
CBC, which counts red and white blood cells as well as platelets (blood clotting ability). It can help to detect parasites, anemia, infection, and even leukemia, among other things.
Brief chemistry panel in our patients under the age of 7 to check kidney, liver, and total body function and extended chemistry panel in our patients over the age of 7 years to check kidney, liver, total body function, as well as thyroid level, and SDMA, which is the early detection of kidney disease.
Urinalysis, to help see signs of dehydration, kidney function, infection and many other common problems.
5) Spaying (females) / Neutering (males) Spaying/ neutering are surgical procedures that are performed under general anesthesia to remove the reproductive organs to prevent pregnancy. The age of the patient is determined by breed or weight recommendations. Speak to your veterinarian for further information and age of neutering recommendations.
Yearly Vaccinations for Adult Cats
- FVRCP every 3 years
- FeLV (feline leukemia) annually
- Rabies (state law) must be performed by a licensed veterinarian
- Fecal to check for intestinal parasites
- Annual heartworm testing in cats is not recommended at this time
Yearly Vaccinations for Adult Dogs
- DA2P+Parvo every 3 years.
- Bordetella (kennel cough) annually (every 6 months for high risk animals).
- Rabies (state law) must be performed by a licensed veterinarian.
- Heartworm and fecal test. A current (within 1 year) heartworm check is required to refill heartworm medications. Heartworm prevention is a prescription medication and we must have a valid doctor/client/patient relationship to dispense these medications.
- For heartworm prevention we recommend: Simparica Trio, Imoxi, Proheart 6 or Proheart 12.
Puppies & Kittens
Starting your puppy or kitten off right requires that you schedule a new pet exam, ideally the same day that you get your new friend, or within the first 48 hours.
An important part of this first visit is reviewing the new adoptee's vaccine history and planning its future vaccines to prevent the often serious puppyhood diseases that we commonly see.
Puppy Vaccination Schedule
6 and 8 weeks
Physical Exam, Distemper/Parvo/Adenovirus (DA2P+P), Fecal test. Start Heartworm prevention and flea prevention.
The fecal is a very important part of this exam even if your pet was dewormed. General dewormers do not kill parasites like Coccidia and Giardia. Do not bring your puppy to public places until all of the boosters are complete, including pet stores, dog parks and grooming establishments.
Physical exam, Distemper/Parvo/Adenovirus, Bordetella and Leptospirosis boosters.
This booster set includes a vaccine, (Bordetella) that will help prevent or decrease the severity of a common contagious cough of dogs, seen mostly in group or "kennel" situations including grooming shops, dog shows, and pet hospitals. The Leptospirosis booster protects against bacteria that are spread by wildlife urine and contaminated water and puddles. These bacteria usually cause fatal disease and are contagious to both dogs and humans.
Physical exam, final boosters of the Distemper/Parvo/Adenovirus, Bordetella, Leptospirosis and Rabies.
This is the last set of puppy vaccinations. A current weight will determine if your pet needs any adjustment in heartworm or flea medication doses, and your pet will receive a rabies tag at this point. Their next vaccinations, which will consist of the ones given today, will be one year from now.
1 year 4 months
Physical exam, Distemper/Parvo/Adenovirus, Bordetella, Leptospirosis, Rabies Heartworm test and fecal test.
First annual exam and vaccinations. A booster of all of the routine vaccinations, heartworm test and parasite test are standard, as well as a thorough physical exam and weight check.
If your pet is on the show circuit, or boards or travels frequently, twice yearly vaccinations for "Kennel Cough" may be recommended.
An exam, vaccinations, heartworm test, and fecal should be done yearly thereafter.
Kitten Vaccination Schedule
Physical exam, FELV/FIV test, FVRCP vaccine, fecal test, start heartworm prevention and flea prevention.
FELV/FIV test is for the Feline Leukemia Virus and Feline Immunodeficiency Virus.
Feline Leukemia (FELV) is a virus which is usually fatal. It is the leading cause of cancer in cats, but there is no treatment once cats are infected. It is highly contagious to other cats and is transferred through saliva and grooming.
Feline immunodeficiency virus (FIV) is a disease similar to HIV. THERE IS NO HUMAN HAZARD. FIV is spread from cat to cat through blood only (fighting, deep wounds).
The FVRCP vaccinates against Rhinotracheitis and Calicivirus, both respiratory diseases, and Panleukopenia, a GI pathogen causing severe bloody diarrhea and decreased white count (a relative of canine Parvo).
The fecal test is a very important part of this exam even if your pet was dewormed. General dewormers do not kill parasites like Coccidia and Giardia. Some intestinal parasites are zoonotic (transmittable to humans), so parasite control is very important. Heartworm and flea prevention can be conveniently combined with the products Revolution Plus or Imoxi which are topical - a plus in cats!
Physical exam, FVRCP, and Feline Leukemia (FELV) vaccines. We vaccinate all kittens regardless of indoor/outdoor status because where they are housed can change dramatically during the first year.
Physical exam, final boosters of the FVRCP, FELV, and Rabies. This is the last set of kitten vaccinations. Your pet will receive a rabies tag at this point. Their next vaccinations, which will consist of the ones given today, will be one year from now.
1 year 4 months
First annual exam and vaccinations. Physical exam, FVRCP, FELV, Rabies and fecal check. A booster of all of the routine vaccinations and a parasite check is standard, as well as a thorough physical exam and weight check.
A physical exam, fecal test, and vaccinations should be done annually thereafter.