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.
Links to Preventive Care Topics
Protocol for Dogs
OPAH follows the vaccine recommendations from the
University of Tennessee College of Veterinary Medicine.
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
at 9 weeks of age and combine with DAPPC in 6 months to
vaccine at 16 weeks of age
10-14 days prior to boarding, repeat in 6 months
6 weeks of age and again at 8-9 weeks of age
12 weeks or older with a booster in 2-3 weeks
6 months to a year
law must be given yearly in Robertson County
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.
Protocol for Cats
OPAH follows the vaccine recommendations from the
University of Tennessee College of Veterinary Medicine.
at 6-9 weeks of age then give one every 3-4 weeks
until 12-16 weeks old
vaccine at 16 weeks of age
dose at 8 weeks old and give booster 3-4 weeks later
dose 8 weeks old and give two boosters 3 and 6 weeks later.
1 or 3 years depending on vaccine used
(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.
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.
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
There is no treatment available for felines.
(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.
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.
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
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
OPAH follows the CDC’s recommendation and protocol for
intestinal parasite prevention and treatment.
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 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.
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
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
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.
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.
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.
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.