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A Healthy Lifestyle is the Key


Wellness is not just about vaccinations, but includes overall health, longevity, and quality of life for your pet. A state of wellness involves nutrition, weight management, exercise, and a positive behavioral style that fits your needs and lifestyle. At Vestal Veterinary Hospital, we assess these areas through a lifestyle survey about your dog, cat, or reptile. Then, we meet with you and your pet to develop a wellness plan that best suits your pet's needs.

Internal Parasites

Parasite control is an area of considerable importance to pet owners due to the potential threat that animal parasites pose to humans. Called zoonotic diseases because they can be passed from animals to people, the common intestinal worms of both dogs and cats are not to be taken lightly. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) in Atlanta is encouraging veterinarians to be far more proactive in the management of these diseases.

  • The CDC recommends annual stool examinations to check your pet for intestinal parasites.
  • The CDC also recommends the treatment of all kittens and puppies for roundworms and hookworms, regardless of fecal examination results. Therefore, we give all puppies and kittens three doses of a deworming medication (Strongid®-T) at two-week intervals starting at the first visit that we see them.
  • Dogs: We recommend an annual blood test to check for the presence of heartworms. Additionally, we recommend a year-round, once-a-month medication available to prevent heartworms and intestinal worms for all dogs.
  • Cats: We recommend all cats that go outside be dewormed and treated at least every other month with a medication called Drontal® to control intestinal parasites.

External Parasites

Never use over-the-counter flea and tick medication until you have spoken to us. Each pet has different needs, lifestyles, and sensitivities, and some over-the-counter products may be ineffective or even toxic for your pet. We will help you plan for the specific needs of your pet, and make recommendations for the appropriate products.

This cannot be emphasized enough. The single most effective weapon in our arsenal when it comes to controlling Lyme disease in pets AND IN PEOPLE is our ability to CONTROL THE TICKS. If we can stop the ticks from biting, we stop the transmission of disease, and that not only means Lyme disease, but a laundry list of other infectious diseases, and some of these are a whole lot scarier than Lyme Disease.

Dental Care

Healthy teeth and gums make for much healthier pets. Many dental problems can be avoided by practicing preventive dental care at home. We recommend brushing teeth every 2–3 days. (This can be a challenge in cats, but worth the effort.) A dental diet called DH Dental Health® is also very beneficial in maintaining oral health. It can be fed as the main diet or given out as treats.

View our Oral Pet Health page for more information on this topic, as well as the AAHA® Dental Care guidelines.

Spay and Neuter

What used to be a simple, straight-forward recommendation is now a bit more complicated. In the last 5-10 years there has been a lot of research done to find if there were any adverse effects in spaying and neutering at very young ages, and even some studies to find if waiting longer than the traditional 6 months of age might be a healthier alternative. The results? Stay tuned! So far it doesn’t look like there are any significant adverse effects of early spaying and neutering in MOST breeds and mixed breeds. But there is some early, troubling data showing a potential link between spaying and neutering before 2 years of age and the development of several different diseases in at least a couple breeds. This data was on a very small sample size and much more work needs to be done. At this time we are still recommending spaying and neutering around 6 months of age for MOST of our patients, but as you can imagine, we now have much longer conversations about it than we ever did before.

VOM: Veterinary Orthopedic Manipulation (Veterinary Chiropractic)

VOM is a non-invasive, non-painful chiropractic technique developed by veterinary surgeon Dr. William Inman in 1984. VOM utilizes the activator technique, a well-established, successful human technology to treat many musculoskeletal and orthopedic diseases of small animals.

What it treats

  • Neck pain
  • Back pain
  • Degenerative disc disease
  • Spinal arthritis / spondylosis
  • Other degenerative musculoskeletal diseases

How it works

The basis of this technology is the neurologic reduction of inflammation. By stimulating certain specific nerve endings we can induce the release of the body's own anti-inflammatory compounds.

Read our VOM Handout for much more information on this safe and effective treatment option.

Call us today to schedule your pet's next wellness visit.