Our available services are detailed below – if you have additional questions, please send us an email or give us a call!
We stress the importance of an annual physical examination because of the shorter life span of our pets. At times, examinations should be more frequently (if illness or old age are a factor). Thorough check-ups and preventive care can help catch and mitigate serious health problems. We recommend a heartworm and tick test annually due to our hearty tick population in Vermont.
Vaccinations are commonly performed with the annual physical examination. Occasionally, vaccines will be given during a technician visit if a physical examination is not needed.
Choosing the right vaccines for your dog
Required vaccines: (Rabies)
Rabies vaccine is the only vaccine that is required by law for every dog over the age of 4 months. Rabies vaccine can be administered at the age of 12 weeks. Rabies is a fatal and incurable disease that can be spread to humans through contact with contaminated bodily fluids. It is most commonly spread through bite wounds. Rabies can only be diagnosed after the death of an animal. Rabies is required by law in order to protect the general public from this fatal disease. There are no successful treatment options for rabies. Vectors (or common hosts for rabies) in our area include bats, raccoons, skunks, foxes, woodchucks and bobcats.
Core Vaccines: (DAPP combination vaccine) – This vaccine is recommended for all patients regardless of lifestyle. This vaccine contains the following components:
1.)Distemper – This is a virus that is spread through contact with contaminated bodily fluids. It can cause the following symptoms; eye discharge, fever, poor appetite, pneumonia, vomiting and diarrhea, seizures, callus on the nose and paw pads. It is often fatal in young puppies and in immunosuppressed patients.
2.) Adenovirus – This is a virus that is spread through nose, urine and eye discharge of infected animals. This virus causes infectious hepatitis which is an infection of the liver. It can cause decreased appetite, depression, fever, cloudy eyes. In young puppies in particular it can cause abdominal pain, vomiting, diarrhea, edema and jaundice and is often fatal. There no treatment options for this virus.
3.) Parvovirus – This is a highly contagious virus that is consider ubiquitous, meaning that it is present in every environment. It causes the severe life-threatening diarrhea from the shedding of the lining of the gut and can also impact the heart. It is often fatal in young puppies and adolescent animals.
4.) Parainfluenza – This is a highly contagious upper respiratory virus and is generally spread through the air.
Non-Core Vaccinations: The decision to use these vaccines is based off from the patient’s lifestyle and likelihood to come into contact with the virus or bacteria
Leptospirosis – This is a bacterium that is found in contaminated water sources. If your pet is likely to drink or swim in lakes, rivers, streams or puddles than vaccination is recommend. This bacterium can impact the liver and kidneys and eyes. It can cause kidney failure. This vaccine can be administered within the distemper combo vaccine to minimize the number of needle pokes a patient experiences during visits.
Lyme – This is a bacterium that is spread through tick bites. The vaccine doesn’t prevent infection but minimizes the chances of clinical disease. Lyme disease can cause lameness, can impact the nervous system and can infect the kidneys. This vaccine is worth considering in all dogs in our area given the high Lyme prevalence in the state of Vermont.
Bordetella – This is a bacterium that is considered part of the kennel cough complex. It is spread through respiratory secretions. It is recommended in dogs that are likely to come into contact with other dogs. In particular in dogs that are going to dog parks, doggy daycare, or dog training classes. This vaccine is administered orally. It maybe required by some boarding facilities and dog classes.
Canine Influenza – This a virus that is considered part of the kennel cough complex. It is spread through respiratory secretions. It is recommended in dogs that are likely to come into contact with other dogs. In particular in dogs that are going to dog parks, doggy daycare, or dog training classes. It maybe required by some boarding facilities and dog classes.
What to expect at your new puppy’s or kitten’s first visits:
Getting a new puppy or kitten is exciting for all family members involved, but also comes with a lot of responsibility. It is important to begin addressing current and potential health issues right away. Every puppy or kitten is different, and your veterinarian should always be consulted regarding your pet’s health plan.
Six to Eight Weeks
The first visit is very important and should be scheduled as soon as possible before you acquire your new puppy or kitten. At your first visit, we will to do a thorough physical exam and make sure there are no underlying health problems. Your puppy or kitten will also be started on the proper vaccination and deworming schedules. We recommend starting your puppy on heartworm and flea and tick prevention at this time. Kittens may or may not need flea prevention but it is wise to discuss this with your veterinarian.
It would be helpful to bring with you any prior medical history, vaccine history and/or deworming schedule that your new pet has had. A fresh stool sample is recommended to test for internal parasites. The first deworming for roundworms will be administered regardless of the results of the fecal floatation test because not all roundworm eggs show up on every fecal floatation test.
Vaccinations are separated into two groups: core and non-core. Core vaccinations are ones that are recommended regardless of your pet’s situation or geographic location, such as the “distemper” and rabies vaccinations. “Distemper” vaccinations are actually a combination of vaccines in one shot. FVRCP (feline distemper) includes rhinotracheitis, calicivirus, and panleukopenia. DA2PP (canine distemper) includes distemper, adenovirus (also called infectious hepatitis), parainfluenza, and parvovirus.
Non-core vaccinations are recommended for puppies or kittens considered to be at risk of exposure to the specific diseases. We will help you assess your new companion’s risk based on your lifestyle. It is best to only administer vaccinations that are absolutely necessary. Non-core vaccinations include feline leukemia for cats, and bordetella, leptospirosis, canine influenza, and Lyme disease for dogs.
Depending on the prior vaccinations your puppy or kitten may have received, it may be appropriate to begin the first round of vaccinations at your first visit. The core vaccinations are given at 3-4 week intervals until your puppy or kitten is 16 weeks old.
Nine to Eleven Weeks
During the second visit, you may be asked to bring another fresh stool sample. Your puppy or kitten will again be examined and dewormed accordingly. Your puppy or kitten will receive the second round of vaccinations.
Twelve to Sixteen Weeks
Your puppy or kitten will be examined again for changes not present at the last examinations, dewormed if necessary, and receive the final distemper vaccine in the series as well as a rabies vaccine. Note, kittens need to have their last FVRCP (feline distemper) vaccination close to 16 weeks of age.
Any non-core vaccinations that the veterinarian recommends should be started at this time; however it is best to limit the number of new vaccinations at each visit. The non-core vaccinations will also need to be repeated in a 3-4 week interval to insure adequate immunity.
Spay and Neuter age (Kittens)
Anytime between five and eight months of age, your kitten should be spayed or neutered. It is best to confirm good health with a physical examination and blood screen prior to surgery. With preanesthetic blood work, the veterinary team can identify potential problems that may increase the chances of an adverse anesthetic event. Other problems such as umbilical hernias and retained deciduous teeth can be taken care of at the same time as the spay or neuter. It is also a good idea to think about a means of permanent identification such as a microchip at the time of the spay or neuter.
Neuter age (Male Puppies)
For males, the current recommendations are to consider neutering around 12 months of age. This allows the puppies bones and joints to fully develop prior to removing the gonads. In allowing puppies to grow to full maturity, we can help prevent bone and joint related conditions later in life. While it is rare, some male dogs develop adverse behaviors once they enter into sexual maturity. These behaviors may include aggression, dominance displays, wandering, and urine marking. If you are experiencing any of these adverse behaviors, you should contact us and we can discuss proceeding with an earlier age for surgery.
Spay age (Female Puppies)
For female dogs, there are two things to keep in mind when considering the age at which it is best for a spay. The two factors to consider are mammary cancer and bone development. For all females, the risk of mammary cancer increases moderately after the first heat cycle and dramatically after the second heat cycle. For this reason, historically, early age spay (around 5 to 8 months of age) was recommended. Now that we have more data regarding better bone and joint development in intact female dogs, we consider proceeding with a spay closer to one year of age. This means that we accept a slightly greater risk of mammary cancer to help spare joint problems later on in life. As you can imagine, there are many factors to consider when making this decision including other pets in the household, the ability to manage a heat cycle, the adult size of the pet (large and giant breed growth plates close much later in life than smaller breeds), among many others. We recommend discussing your options with your veterinarian throughout your puppy visits to determine how to best proceed for your pet.
Once the initial flurry of visits is over, your puppy or kitten will only need to visit your veterinarian once a year, providing that there are no unexpected illnesses or injuries. It is important to return for a complete physical examination yearly, even if your puppy or kitten is not due for any vaccinations, to discuss health issues, develop a treatment plan and diet to keep your puppy or kitten happy and healthy. Yearly visits are also a great time to discuss which vaccinations or wormers are still necessary throughout your pet’s life. It is also important to visit your veterinarian annually to discuss necessary heartworm, flea, and tick prevention.
By taking early preventative steps, owners can help ensure their pets a long, happy life.
Dr. Curley and Dr. Mather offer a full array of soft tissue surgical procedures, including spays, neuters, cystotomies and mass removals. Moreover, given Dr. Mather’s experience as an emergency veterinarian, we also offer gastrointestinal surgery (foreign body removal, biopsies), splenectomies, and other emergency surgical procedures.
We utilize the safest available anesthetics to provide an extra margin of safety. Using the most modern equipment, the patient’s vital signs (ECG, Blood pressure, Pulse oximetry) are monitored during all anesthetic procedures. All surgery patients receive IV catheters and IV fluid therapy.
Should your pet require more advanced care, we routinely facilitate referrals to internal medicine specialists, ophthalmologists, veterinary cardiologists, oncologists, dermatologists and boarded veterinary surgeons.
We offer high definition digital radiography in house with digital referral to a veterinary radiologist for more difficult cases.
Current services include emergency evaluation of the chest and/or abdomen for mass effects, free fluid or major abnormalities; bladder ultrasound; pregnancy check; ultrasound guided cystocentesis, and evaluation of peripheral masses.
We provide ECG services on-site as well as consultations with cardiology specialists.
Our dental services include teeth cleaning and polishing, tooth extractions and minor oral surgery (mass removal, biopsy, gingivectomy etc.). Dental radiographs are utilized to identify disease below the gumline and to aid in extractions of diseased teeth.