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It is OPAH’s firm belief that preventative medicine and wellness for your pet is the best way to keep your friend happy and healthy for many wonderful years. We believe in taking a proactive approach to your pet’s health that includes a focus on nutrition, dental care, vaccines, parasite prevention, behavioral training, and senior wellness. By focusing on these areas, many of the health problems and conditions of modern pets can be prevented or treated before it is too late.

Quick Links to Preventive Care Topics
 
Vaccination Protocol for Dogs
Vaccination Protocol for Cats
Nutrition
Internal Parasites
 
Heartworms
Hookworms
Whipworms
Roundworms
Giardia
Coccidia
Tapeworms
Dental Care
Behavioral Training
Senior Wellness
External Parasites
 
Fleas
Ticks
Ear Mites
Demodex (Red Mange)
Sarcoptic Mange (Scabies)
Lice


Vaccination Protocol for Dogs

OPAH follows the vaccine recommendations from the University of Tennessee College of Veterinary Medicine.

Canines  
Puppies:  
DA2PP Start at 6-8 weeks of age
Give booster every 3-4 weeks until 16 weeks of age
Rottweilers and Dobermans need an additional booster at 20 weeks
Lepto Start at 9 weeks of age and combine with DAPPC in 6 months to a year
Rabies One vaccine at 16 weeks of age
Optional vaccines:  
Bordetella Give 10-14 days prior to boarding, repeat in 6 months
Coronavirus At 6 weeks of age and again at 8-9 weeks of age
Lymes At 12 weeks or older with a booster in 2-3 weeks
Adult dogs:  
DA2PP Every 3 years
Lepto Every 6 months to a year
Rabies By law must be given yearly in Robertson County
Optional vaccines:  
Bordetella Every 6 months
Coronavirus Yearly
Lymes Yearly- only for animals traveling to problem areas

All dogs that received all their “puppy shots” must receive a booster of all of the above vaccines one year after their last vaccine.
Young dogs over six months of age with an unknown vaccination history should receive two doses of DA2PP three weeks apart, and have a booster one year later. They need one rabies vaccine at the time of the first vaccination and it must be repeated one year later.

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Vaccination Protocol for Cats

OPAH follows the vaccine recommendations from the University of Tennessee College of Veterinary Medicine.

Felines  
Kittens:  
FVRCP Start at 6-9 weeks of age then give one every 3-4 weeks
until 12-16 weeks old
Rabies One vaccine at 16 weeks of age
Optional vaccines:  
FELV First dose at 8 weeks old and give booster 3-4 weeks later
FIV First dose 8 weeks old and give two boosters 3 and 6 weeks later.
Adult Cats:  
FVRCP Every 3 years
Rabies Every 1 or 3 years depending on vaccine used
Optional vaccines:  
FELV Yearly
FIV Yearly (after a series of three injections)

All cats who received all of their “kitten shots” must receive all of their vaccines again one year later.

For young adult cats with unknown vaccination history they should receive 2 doses of FVRCP and FELV three weeks apart. They should receive a rabies vaccination at time of first vaccinations. OPAH recommends all kittens and adult cats be tested for feline leukemia and FIV.

OPAH recommends all of our feline friends be tested for FELV and/or FIV prior to vaccinations.

Nutrition

Nutrition has long been recognized as an important component of any pet’s health and well-being. OPAH is proud to offer a full line of Hill’s Science Diet foods for any patient from its puppy to senior years. OPAH also prescribes diets that are scientifically researched and designed to help conditions such as kidney disease, diabetes, liver disease, gastrointestinal disease, obesity and food allergy. If you believe that your pet has specific dietary needs please feel free to discuss them with one of our veterinarians and the appropriate diet can be chosen.

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Internal Parasites

Heartworms
Heartworms are a common parasite of canines and can also infect felines. Heartworm disease is spread by mosquitoes. Mosquitoes bite an infected animal and pass the disease along to others. Symptoms of heartworm disease include exercise intolerance, coughing, weight loss, vomiting, difficulty breathing and sudden death.
In order to prevent your pet from getting heartworm disease it is important to give them a monthly preventive. There are many monthly preventives available: Interceptor, Sentinel, Heartguard, and others. Before starting a preventive, pets should be tested to determine their heartworm status. Heartworm tests can be performed by obtaining a small sample of blood from your pet.
There is a treatment available for canines that suffer from heartworm disease. A pet is first evaluated to determine the severity of the disease by performing extensive diagnostic tests including x-rays, blood work, and urinalysis. The results of these tests are evaluated by the veterinarian and appropriate treatment planned accordingly. Immiticide is the only drug available for the treating heartworm disease. Severely affected canines may not be candidates for treatment.
There is no treatment available for felines.

Hookworms (Ancylostoma caninum) are an intestinal parasite of the small intestines. This parasite is a voracious blood sucker therefore causing severe anemia in affected pets. Symptoms include diarrhea, poor appetite, pale gums, and sudden death. Puppies are most commonly infected by ingesting contaminated feces and via their mother’s milk. A fecal exam can be performed to determine if your pet has hookworms. Hookworms are a zoonotic parasite where infective larvae can penetrate the skin of humans.

Roundworms (Ascariasis) are large intestinal worms that look similar to spaghetti. Many puppies and kittens are born already with this parasite living in their intestines. Roundworms can be transmitted to puppies before they are born from an infected mother. The parasite can also be ingested from the mother’s milk and by eating contaminated feces. Symptoms of an infected pet include abdominal distention, diarrhea, vomiting, weight loss and poor nursing. A fecal exam can be performed to determine if your pet has roundworms.
Roundworms are a zoonotic parasite and children are at greatest risk when they come into contact with contaminated feces.

Whipworms (Trichuriasis) is and intestinal parasite that primarily affects dogs. Symptoms include dark, bloody diarrhea and debilitation. Canines become infected after ingesting the eggs from the environment. Eggs can persist in the soil from months to years. It is extremely difficult if not impossible to sanitize the area where whipworms exist.
A fecal can be performed to determine if your pet has whipworms.

Giardia is a protozoan parasite of the intestines. It is transmitted by oral ingestion of cysts, usually from water sources. Symptoms include diarrhea usually with a rancid odor. A fecal exam can be performed to determine if your pet has this parasite. Giardia is a zoonotic parasite and is the most common parasite found in humans.

Coccidia is a parasite most commonly affecting puppies and kittens. Symptoms include watery diarrhea and dehydration. A fecal exam can be performed to determine if your pet has coccidia.

Tapeworms are segmented parasites that often may appear like rice in your pet’s feces. Symptoms may include tapeworm segments present in feces, and dragging or rubbing anus on the ground. Most often pets get tapeworm infections by ingesting adult fleas or eating rodents that have fleas on them. It is important to control the flea population in your pet’s environment to prevent tapeworm infection.

OPAH follows the CDC’s recommendation and protocol for intestinal parasite prevention and treatment.


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External Parasites

Fleas
Fleas are tiny insects that bite you and your pets. The problems caused by fleas biting animals include skin problems (allergic reactions), internal parasites (fleas are the intermediate host for tapeworms), and anemia (pets infested with fleas can become severely anemic causing death). There are many products available to help your pet remain flea free such as Frontline, Advantage, Capstar and others. In addition to veterinarian sold products there are many over the counter products available. If you try one of the over the counter products follow the label directions exactly and use it only on the animals and ages they are intended.
Ticks

Ticks are parasites that can affect canines and felines. A variety of ticks can transmit other pathogens to your pet including Lyme’s Disease, Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever, and others. Symptoms include anemia, irritation at the site of attachment, paralysis, panting, and lethargy. OPAH recommends using a tick preventive year round.
 

Ear Mites cause severe irritation of the external ear of dogs and cats. Symptoms include constant itching/scratching primarily around the ears and neck, black crusts or wax in the ear canal, and excoriations caused by self trauma. Ear mites can be spread pet to pet. They are primarily seen in young dogs and cats but can affect all ages. A thorough ear exam and ear swab can be done to determine if your pet has ear mites. There are many treatment options available.

Demodex (Red Mange) is and inflammatory parasite of dogs and rarely cats. It primarily affects young dogs 3-6 months old but can affect any age. Symptoms include hair loss on the face, feet, trunk and legs, dry and inflamed skin, hot spots, and occasional itchiness. A skin scraping is performed and examined under a microscope to determine if the patient has Demodex. This parasitic disease is not contagious to other pets or humans. It is recommended that dogs with generalized demodex not be used for breeding purposes.

Sarcoptic Mange (Scabies) is a highly contagious parasite that affects the skin of dogs. It causes intense, non-stop itching which can lead to excoriations of the skin caused by constant scratching. Sarcoptic mange is a zoonotic disease affecting people who come into close contact with and affected dog. There are many treatment options available.

Lice are commonly seen on young puppies and kittens. Lice appear as small white parasites on the haircoat. It is easily treated. Please know that lice are species specific meaning that dog and cat lice are not contagious to humans.

OPAH recommends all pet owners be informed about parasites that can be contracted by humans. Please visit the CDC website for the most current information.
http://www.cdc.gov/healthypets/

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Dental Care

Oral disease is one of the most common health problems for pets and can start as early as 3 years of age. If left untreated can lead to tooth loss and infection which can spread to the blood stream causing kidney, liver, lung and heart problems. Once these organs are damaged by infection it is often irreversible. Common signs of dental disease are bad breath, drooling, plaque, reddened gums, and difficultly eating or loss of appetite. These problems are preventable with regular veterinary dental exams and a home dental care routine.

A dental exam is an important component of your pet’s regular checkup. Dental problems can be prevented with regular cleaning and scaling in a procedure very similar to the one your dentist might perform. The pet is placed under anesthesia where plaque and tartar are removed and the teeth polished. Pre-anesthetic blood work, intravenous fluids and close monitoring during anesthesia are performed to make the risks of anesthesia as minimal as possible.

Your pet is never too old to start a home dental care routine. We recommend that you do not feed your pet table scraps as this leads to plaque buildup on the teeth. Hard food will also help prevent plaque buildup. Regular brushing can be performed to reduce plaque buildup. Various pet toothbrushes are available as well as toothpaste. Never use human toothpaste, it will cause stomach upset. OPAH has many dental products available to help you take better care of your pet’s teeth. Please contact us to make an appointment.



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Behavioral Training

Behavioral problems are an essential part of veterinary medicine since behavioral changes can often be the first or only signs of underlying health problems. Behavior can also affect the relationship between the pet and its owner and often affects the type of pet we chose. Unacceptable behavior is one of the most common reasons pets are abandoned or euthanized. At OPAH we incorporate behavioral evaluations and recommendations into everyday practice. We want to help you through the trials and tribulations of new puppy ownership, aggression, chewing, barking, inappropriate eliminations, separation anxiety, and other unacceptable behavior. Treatment and training are based on a thorough evaluation of your pet. If you feel that your pet has an unacceptable behavior or sudden changes in behavior please contact OPAH for a consultation.



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Senior Wellness

Pets are living longer today than at any other time in history thanks to improved diets, advances in veterinary medicine, and routine veterinary care. With this increased lifespan have come unique challenges in veterinary medicine as illnesses that were previously rare have become more prevalent. Fortunately, advances in veterinary medical care have allowed us to continue to diagnose, understand and treat the problems associated with geriatric pets. Routine veterinary examinations, basic laboratory tests, and prescription diets allow us to improve the quality and length of our pet’s lives. Pets age at a faster rate than their human friends and as a result age related illnesses also progress faster, making regular checkups even more vital for early intervention.

The definition of a senior pet varies. Very large breeds of dogs may be categorized as senior at age 6 while smaller breeds of dogs or cats vary anywhere from 7 to 9 years of age. In general your pet is considered to be senior at 7 years or older. As animals age, their organs and immune system become less efficient and are more susceptible to illness and disease. Many of the health problems that senior pets face are very similar to their human counterparts- arthritis, diabetes, kidney disease, liver disease, cancer, eye problems and hormone imbalances. Early diagnosis and intervention is key to preventing and treating these illnesses.

There are many ways for a pet owner to monitor their friend’s health. Early symptoms of problems are lethargy, decreased appetite, increased water consumption and urination, weight loss, lack of activity due to stiffness or soreness, and coughing. In addition regular veterinary visits every 6 months and yearly laboratory tests are key to prevention. If you are interested in discussing senior wellness please call to schedule an appointment.

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