Discount vaccination clinics and the vaccination clinics run at pet stores are attractive because of the low prices on their vaccinations..  But they leave owners with a false sense of security that their pet is “healthy” just because it received vaccinations.  And, pets leave with undiagnosed illnesses, at risk for getting sick and the same painful conditions that they went in with.

Good health is not All about the vaccinations.  It’s not even Mostly about the vaccinations!

  Sure, vaccinations are important to preventing infectious diseases. They have been critical to reducing the numbers of really bad diseases that once plagued our pets like parvovirus, feline leukemia, rabies and distemper.  Unfortunately, they do nothing to protect pets against lifestyle associated diseases like ear and dental infections, metabolic diseases or diseases associated with aging, such as arthritis or thyroid disease.  These non-infectious causes of disease make up the majority of diseases seen in pets today (thanks to everyone giving the vaccinations!).  These are also the diseases most likely to cause pain and wear-and-tear on the body that will shorten pets’ lives.

The only way to have your pet assessed for the presence of or the risk of acquiring the most commonly seen non-infectious diseases is to have a veterinarian perform a Comprehensive exam on your pet once a year (or every 6 months in the case of older pets, whose health changes more rapidly).

You just aren’t going to get this at a pet store vaccination clinic or at a discount vaccination clinic.   They don’t have the time or the resources for a through exam and consultation with you.  Many pet parents come to me with a pet problem and tell me that there pet “just got an exam” at the Discount Clinic a couple of months ago so they don’t understand how I can be telling them that their pet has a long-standing problem now.  When we try to get records on that “exam”, all we get, at best, is a Temperature, Pulse and Respiration and the name of vaccines given.  That’s all they record- even if they do a cursory, superficial gander at the pet before vaccinations.

 If your pet’s exam does not include the use of an otoscope and ophthalmoscope to look INTO ears and eyes, respectively, your pet’s exam in not thorough.  Without looking IN the ears, not just AT the ears, a veterinarian cannot diagnose deep ear infections.  Without looking INTO the eyes, retinal disease, hypertension, and optic neuritis will not be identified for early intervention before blindness occurs.  If the vet doesn’t manipulate the joints, they have not checked them. If the vet doesn’t spend more than 20 seconds listening to the heart WHILE feeling the pulses in the back leg,  your pet’s cardiovascular system has not been thoroughly examined.   If the vet does not discuss your pet’s weight, lifestyle, exercise routine, diet, etc with you, you are missing out on a terrific opportunity to learn how to keep you pet in top form and minimize disease.

The vaccinations given at clinics, furthermore, are determined most often by either what the pet owner says they want or what the company says needs to be given to every pet.  There is rarely any consultation with the Pet Parent about the pet’s lifestyle risks to determine which vaccines are most important.  So, sometimes pets are under vaccinated, because pet owners lose track of when their pet received what last.  Some times they are over vaccinated because they don’t need what the company “cookbook” says every pet should have.  Any Full Service Veterinary Staff worth their salt is going to ask you, every time you visit, about your pet’s lifestyle, any changes, and help you make up-to-date, safe and necessary vaccination choices for your pet.

Preventive health options, other than vaccines,  are available for pets to help them live longer and be more active with their families.  Discount vaccinations clinics are not able to take the time to explain about new products and services available to pets to help them live better.   Your Full Service Veterinary staff makes the time to teach interested pet parents about the products/ services that are available that will benefit each pet, while helping pet parents sort out the gimmicks!

 It’s true that you will pay more for vaccinations at a full service veterinary clinic.  But, that’s because you are going to get Full Service, not the rush job.    

Even if you decide to save the extra $10.00- $20.00 on vaccinations and get them done at a clinic, please try to save up that little extra  to still take your pet in to his or her Full Service Veterinarian for a Comprehensive Physical Exam and Health Consultation at least once a year to protect your pet’s health! 



Wellness lab screening is a way for your veterinarian to check your pet on the inside.  The objective of running wellness lab tests is to identify changes in health early- before your pet develops a health crisis that may be painful , life threatening or expensive to treat.   With early detection, many conditions can be treated and cured.  Some age-related or degenerative diseases may not be cured, but can be slowed down by proactive lifestyle management.  Sometimes those lifestyle changes are fairly simple– diet change, exercise change, or nutritional supplementation. 

Adult Wellness Screen

We recommend an “Adult Wellness Screen” annually for our pet patients from 4-8 years of age.  This short blood screen looks briefly at liver enzymes, kidney values and a complete blood count, looking for evidence of disease or infection.

Senior Screen

Older pets, ususally 9 years and older, should have a more comprehensive screening once a year.  We recommend a Senior Screen, which includes 25 organ chemistry values, complete blood count, thyroid screen, pancreas screen, and urinalysis.  Many older pet patients have urinary tract infections, liver disease, kidney disease, pancreatitis, and hidden infections.  And they aren’t showing any outward signs!  Because animals are so good at hiding their illnesses, owners often even think their pets are “just fine, attributing subtle signs of illness  to “just getting old”. 

Heartworm Testing

We also recommend Heartworm Testing once yearly.  Even though there is not a lot of Heartworm disease in Arizona, there are more and more cases every year.  Heartworm disease is usually fatal and treating it can be fatal, so Preventive medication, taken once a month, is highly recommended.  Whether your pet is getting preventive or not, testing your pet once yearly will help identify infection early, making treatment less dangerous.

 Fecal Sample should be tested at least once yearly for any pet that goes outside.

Hip Dysplasia Screening

Large breed dogs are more likely to develop hip dysplasia and osteoarthritis, so we also offer radiographic hip dysplasia screening.

Breed Specific Screening

Some breeds of dogs and cats have special health risks that should be screened for on a regular basis. Dog Breed Disease risks are listed here.  If your dog is listed here, ask your vet about screening for common diseases.

Proactive Wellness screening allows early detection of disease allowing you and your veterinarian to restore your pet to health and happiness as soon as possible so can live a long happy life together.

                If you ask me, the Best Nutritional Supplement you can give your pets (and probably yourself, but you’d have to ask your own doctor) is Omega 3 Fatty Acids!  In particular, high potency Eicosapentanoic Acid (EPA).

EPA at 15- 18 mg / lb of body weight daily has been shown to be anti-inflammatory.  It is primarily  used to help treat skin allergies and arthritis in pets.  But, is also being recommended, by general practitioners as well as specialists, as part of the standard treatment regimen for internal organ diseases as well!

Only the fish oil sources of omega 3 fatty acids are absorbed and utilized by pets.  Flaxseed, often used by humans as an omega 3 source, won’t work in pets they lack the enzymes necessary to convert the omega 3s in the flaxseed to EPA.

“Fish Oil” sold over the counter is not all the same, either.  Read your labels to be sure that your purchase indicates exactly how much EPA is in each capsule.  You can’t go by the total milligrams (mg) on the label.   For example, “1000mg of fish oil” could have any amount of EPA, DHA and omega 6 fatty acids (which are pro-inflammatory and not recommended for patients with inflammatory conditions—they get enough of that in their every day diets). Nutraceuticals and supplements are not overseen by the FDA, so they don’t have to report the exact contents of each capsule.  Even when they do, the label claims are not always exact.   So, look for the big brand names in supplements for the most trustworthy sources.  Also, look for a product that says it is “Microdistilled”.  This is a process that removes the mercury from the fish oil.

More potent, Less Fishy, Microdistilled, Highly Absorbed- Top of the Line Brand for pets!

It’s not always easy to find a high potency product on the grocery store shelf.  If you are treating a large dog, you may have to feed 4-6 fish oil capsules a day.  This may become expensive, cause the dog to smell like a fish, or may cause diarrhea.  In which case, consult your veterinarian as there are a couple of great products available through veterinary distributors that are more potent and less “fishy”.

Remember that you are treating with a nutraceutical—a natural substance being used as medication.  It takes approximately 3-4 weeks for the body to replace the pro-inflammatory omega 6 fatty acids in the body’s cell walls with anti-inflammatory omega 3s.  So, the Omega 3s have to be fed continuously and for a long period of time (for life, I you ask me!)  to give a benefit.  Your pet will probably appreciate some faster-acting prescription medication, at least for the short term, or maybe in addition to the omega 3 supplement long term, to achieve maximum comfort and health, so consult your veterinarian about your pet’s conditions to give your pet the best treatment.

Side benefit to giving your dog high potency EPA:  you will also be giving high levels of DHA, another omega3 fatty acid that has been demonstrated to be particularly beneficial in helping with the treatment of heart disease and age-related cognitive dysfunction (“senility” ) in pets as well as people!

In Summary:

High Potency (15- 18 mg/lb) Omega 3 EPA is anti-inflammatory

 Helpful in treating

Arthritis Skin Allergies
Liver Disease Kidney Disease
Inflammatory Bowel Disease Heart Disease
Pancreatitis Hyperlipidemia/ High Cholesterol
Orthopedic Injuies like  Cruciate ligament rupture Intervertebral Disc Disease (chronic)

Use only Microdistilled fish oil sources– more expensive, but safer!

Read the label for contents, so you can tell how much EPA you are giving

Give for a prolonged period of time for maximum benefit.  The benefit is subtle, so you won’t see huge changes quickly like you might with prescription medication

Consult with your veterinarian about your pet’s condition to see if there is anything else that should be done to give your pet maximum relief from his symptoms so he can live the longest, happiest life with you!

Lower urinary tract, or bladder,  disesae is very common in cats. 

Signs of bladder disease in cats include:

Frequent trips to the litter box

Vocalizing while in the litter box

Urinating around the house outside of the box

Urinating in sinks, showers, bathtubs

Excessive grooming around the “privates”

Decreased appetite


Vocalizing when picked up

There are several cuases of Bladder Disease in cats:

  • Urinary Tract Obstruction .   Crystals can form in the urinary bladder that can accumulate in the tip of the urethra, particularly in the narrow urethra at the tip of the male cat’s penis, preventing urination.  This is LIFE THREATENING!  Any cat that is showing signs of urinary distress and is not urinating at least small drops of urine needs to be taken to a veterinarian immediately!  Urinary Tract Obstruction is first treated by your vet by relieving the obstruction.  Cats with this condition are usually in a state of metabolic shock and will require hospitalization and IV fluid therapy for at least 24 hours.  Then your veterinarian will make recommendations for home care to try to prevent the obstruction from recurring.  These may include very strict diet changes and medications.  This condition is most common in young to middle aged male cats.  Although female cats can also develop urinary crystals that require treatment, they don’t get urinary obstructions as often because their anatomy allows the passage of crystals more readily.  Learn More in this Video
  • Urinary Tract Infection.  This is the first thing most people assume their cat is suffering from when they see signs of urinary distress.  But, this is actually the LEAST common cause of lower urinary tract disease.  Actual bladder Infection is most common in cats over the age of 10.  Cats that are under the age of 10 are NOT likely to have infection.  But, your veteirnarian still needs to check for it whenever a cat shows signs of urinary pain as infections are actually the easiest cause of urinary tract pain to treat.
  • Inflammatory Cystitis (also called “Stress Cystitis”, “Interstitial Cystitis”, “Sterile Cystitis”, “Feline Urologic Syndrome”).  This is the cause of 80% of Lower Urinary Tract Disease in cats.  It is a condition of inflammation in the bladder that can be just as painful as bladder stones or bladder crystals or infection without any infection being present.  This condition is triggered, in part, by the “high stress” nature of the cat’s nervous sytem wiring.  Any stress, phsychological or physical, can be manifested by bladder inflammation.  This inflammation is often severe enough to cause bleeding in the bladder that is seen by owners as bloody urine, often somewhere around the house rather than in the litter box.  This condition is often intermittent.  A cat may show only mild signs of discomfort thatseem to go away on its own.  But don’t let your cat be in pain hoping that it will just “go away”.  It might, but it will be back unless you get help and take action to minimize recurrences.  The sooner you get kitty some help, the less painful she will be, the less cat urine you will have to clean up around the house (the honest-to-goodness reason this disease is so annoying to most owners), the healthier your kitty will be.  There is no single treatment for Inflammatory Cystitis, so it can be a frustrating condition to deal with. 

        Here are some recommendations for Home Care and Prevention of Inflammatory Cystitis in Cats:

  • Treat the Pain with medication from your veterinarian.   Otherwise, the pain just causes more stress which leads to more inflammation and more pain.  (DO NOT GIVE CATS HUMAN PAIN MEDICATION (TYLENOL, ASPIRIN, IBUPROFEN OR OTHER ANTI-INFLAMMATORIES OR PRESCRIPTION MEDICATIONS– THEY CAN BE DEADLY TO CATS!)
  • Increasing water intake is KEY to treatment.  Provide a running pet water fountain, kept clean and fresh.  Offer several fresh sources of water around the house daily.  Feed more canned food than dry (there is a trade off with oral health here, so discuss the relative aadvantages with your vet).  Add a teaspoon of chicken or beef broth or tuna juice to a quarter cup of water once of twice daily as an extra water “treat”.
  • Cosequin for cats helps some cats by suppporting the mucus layer that lines and protects the bladder from inflammatory factors in the urine
  • Feed a Low Carbohydrate diet.  Carbohydrates are pro-inflammatory in cats.  One of the target organs in cats for inflammatory mediators is the Urinary Bladder. 
  • Maintain a Lean Body Weight Fat cells actively release inflammatory factors into the blood stream all the time.  Since the urinary bladder is target organ of inflammatory factors, obesity contributes to urinary bladder inflammation/ cystitis.  Obese cats are significantly more likely to develop painful baldder disease than lean cats.  If your cat is overweight, work with your veterinarian to help your kitty lose weight to minimize the chance of recurrences.
  • Identify and remove psychological stressors for your cat:  is there intercat aggression?  Changes in the household routine?  Stranger cats outside?  Construction in the neighborhood?  Discuss this with your vet or seek a veterinarian who does Behavior Modification Therapy.  If you the physical signs of illness in cats was subtle, the signs of pshychological stress in cats can be even more difficult to identify without the help of someone trained in the “finer” aspects of cat psychology.
  • Psychoactive medications or supplements may be needed to help your kitty “tune down” his nervous system.  Your veterinarian can help you determine if this would be a good option and which might work best for your individual kitty.
  • Feliway- “happy kitty pheromones” from wall diffusers placed strategically around the home can significantly decrease anxiety in cats.  Read More                     
  • Role of Stress in Cat Cystitis video is a MUST SEE for owners whose cats suffer from cystitis pain.

Any cat showing signs of urinary disease should be seen right away.  Keep in mind that cats don’t show signs of pain (weakness) until they can’t cope any more.  So, if you are noticing it, you can be sure kitty is a lot more uncomfortable than you imagine!  Your vet will diagnose the cause of the urinary pain and guide you toward the right choices to treat your kitty best!

Professional Veterinary Dental Treatments are a lot different from the  “teeth cleaning” or “dental scaling” provided by groomers, kennels and other lay animal care givers without the benefit of general anesthesia.

Of course, The professional dental cleaning done by veterinarians is done under anesthesia so that the surfaces of the teeth under the gums, where painful periodontal disease starts, can be thoroughly cleaned then polished . Since pets are anesthetized for the deep cleaning process, your vet takes advantage by doing everything possible to restore oral health.  Your veterinarian can further evaluate underlying bone structure with radiographs, instill periodontal antibiotics around infected, but salvageable, teeth and perform extractions or oral surgery if needed.  It’s like you going to your dental hygienist, dentist, oral surgeon, and periodontist all at once– without voluntary cooperation! (Think how much that would cost if you did it all on one day!)

The best that can be done in an awake pet is a superficial scaling, removing the large chunks of calcified plaque (“claculus”).  The best behaved pets will tolerate a little more involved cleaning before tiring of the process. There is certainly  a benefit to this process, whether done by your groomer or veterinary assistant.  Removing the larger accumulations of calculus provides less area for bacteria to collect and certainly reduces the amount of smelly bacteria in a pet’s mouth.  This procedure may even extend the time between when professional veterinary dental treatments are needed.

But don’t get lulled into a false sense of security, just because you don’t see a lot of staining and plaque on the teeth.  If the gums are red or have lost their fine “knife edge” margin because of swelling, a professional cleaning should still be done.  Often, pet owners are amazed to discover that their pet has loose teeth (from periodontal disease) when there is no visible plaque on the teeth and gums actually look relatively healthy!  Certainly, any indication of loose teeth with or without gum disease warrants a thorough evaluation and treatment via a professional veteirnary dental treatment!

To protect teeth from falling out and keep your pet his healthiest
  • Have your family vet evaluate your pet’s teeth every 6 month (with the rest of his comprehensive physical).
  • Brush your pet’s teeth daily.   How to Brush Your Dog’s Teeth   How To Brush Your Cat’s Teeth
  • Ask your vet whether she will perform a superficial scaling if a professional treatment is not yet necessary.
  • Have a professional cleaning done upon recommendation by your veterinarian.  For some pets, that may be only every few years, other pets may need professional help once a year.  Your vet will you give you the best advice to balance all the pros and cons of a professional treatment.
  • Watch this Video from the Veterinary News Network

Start ’em young!




When our children are sick, we take them to the pediatrician.  When our pets, our furred and feathered children, are sick, we take them to the vet.  Veterinarians are Pediatricians, Pediatric Surgeons and Dentists for the furred and  feathered (even the scaley and slippery!).

But, we at Cimarron Animal Hospital are not just Veterinarians, Technicians and Assistants.  In today’s world of fragmented health care, we are your Whole Family Health Care Team.   When we care for your pets, we also care for you and your family.  We realize that, while some families are able to revolve around their pets, most families are strung out in all different directions.  Kids have elaborate school and activity schedules.  Pet Parents have complicated work or vacation schedules.  Some pet parents are completely new to pet ownership.  Some are old hands interested in new medical care techniques.  Some pet parents are elderly, with physical and memory challenges, but they need their pets more than anyone.  No matter how quiet or chaotic our lives, we  all rely on the solid constancy and unconditional love of our pets, every day.
  All of a family’s lifestyle facets and challenges have to be considered when caring for a pet– whether it’s basic care or more intensive medical management.  Sometimes, our staff members also act as family counselors, life coaches, hospice care consultants, bereavement counselors, shoulders to cry on or home delivery helpers– whatever it takes to help you and your family take care of the pets that are the glue in our lives.
  Every human who walks through our doors has issues and concerns about his pet, her family, their jobs.  It all filters down to us.  It’s all important to us if it affects your pet.  Every human we see is as much a part of our family as every one of their pets.  That’s why Pets, AND their People are Our Passion at Cimarron.
  Whatever you need, no matter how small, how silly-seeming, how complicated or challenging, just ask!   We are here for you, your pets, your whole family.

Pet Friends Forever Wellness Packages: Discounts, Free Exams, Vaccinations, nail trims and more!

Optimal Health Care all in easy Monthly Payment installments!  Bringing the kind of optimal pet care that devoted pet owners want, more affordably!  

Individually designed for pets with special needs to make caring for those pets easier too!

We are bonded more with our pets than ever before.  In today’s high stress world, many of us prefer a relaxing moment on the computer with a cup of tea at hand and a warm cat in our lap than the swirling hubbub of a party full of people. We want our furry companions to be healthy forever, but this high tech world has raised the cost of veteirnary care, along with everything else.

We, at Cimarron Animal Hospital, are dedicated to providing optimal wellness care to pets, who are people, too.  So, we’ve been working to create a way for clients to be able to afford the kind of care that they want for their pet companions….  Wellness packages that cover optimal wellness care paid for in more comfortable monthly payments!

We have packages for young adults, middle-aged adults  and senior dogs and cats.  Cat packages are further broken up into inside only or outdoor lifestyles.  Each package is custom designed for the lifestage and species of pet.

Pay 25% down on the package and the rest in 11 monthly payments via credit card.

Our Pet Friends Forever (PFF) Wellness Packages Include:

Optimal Wellness Care:   2 Wellness Visits, Necessary vaccinations (based on lifestyle risk assessment), Wellness blood and fecal screening (age appropriate), Professional Dental Treatment, Blood pressure monitoring,Glaucoma screening,  Arthritis screen radiographs or cardiac screen radiographs if needed.

3 FREE Visits during the year for Anything

 2 FREE Nail Trims

  FREE Vaccinations – whichever ones are suitable for your pet

FREE Radiographs for Senior Pets


Discounts                  Substantial Discount on Dental Cleanings

10% off all non-included Services, Medications, Supplements, Food if Paid In Full

Peace of Mind   With the 3 Free Visits, you don’t have to hesitate and second guess yourself about whether it’ll be worth the money to come in– it’s FREE– just come in!  After all, a real, live vet, actually touching your pet,  who knows your pet personally is going to be able to give you better information about your pet, in your home, with your lifestyle, than Dr. Google!  And, if they are both free, why not do the best?

Special Care can be rolled in:  Pets with medical conditions such as diabetes, heart disease, kidney disease, valley fever, etc need  additional monitoring, chronic medications and special treatments.  All that additional care can be rolled into the package as well, spreading ALL those costs out over monthly payments instead of bigger lumps at a time throughout the year!

Better than Big Box Vets’ Wellness Packages:  

  • We don’t make you buy services that your pet doesn’t need.  
  • If your pet passes away or you move, you only have to cover the charges of the services rendered up to that time.  You do not have to continue paying all year (unless you still owe for services and want to continue monthly payments as opposed to a lump sum payment).  We won’t trap you into paying for anything that we haven’t provided!  
  • We have the flexibility to customize packages for our patients with special needs.  Pets are individuals and should not all be treated the same! 

For details on pricing for your pets, please call our office at  520 886-1125


Does your cat run and hide when it’s time to take medicine?

Cats are usually difficult when it comes to taking medicine, leaving owners throwing their hands up in frustration and cats leery of coming out of hiding. Here are some alternatives to forcing a pill down Fluffy’s throat.

You can try Pill Pockets that are specially made for cats. It is basically a cat treat shaped like a pocket where you place the pill in order to disguise it from Fluffy. This will work with some cats and others will simply eat the treat and spit out a half dissolved pill. What can we say, a cat knows what it likes and will not be tricked…….or do we have more tricks up our sleeves?

For cats with impeccable taste, you can go to a local compounding pharmacy where the pills can be turned into a chicken or tuna flavored liquid that can be mixed into Fluffy’s food……yes, as easy as eating cake! For those do-it-yourself people, you can crush the pill and mix it in Fluffy’s tuna for the same affect—as long as tuna (or beef broth) is OK with Fluffy’s Doctor, of course!  Learn more from Prescription Lab Compounding Pharmacy

Last but not least, some medications can be given transdermally, (rubbed into the skin). Fluffy can get his/her medicine while receiving love from you, how awesome is that?! It is true; a spoonful of love helps the medicine go down!

For more tips and tricks on medicating cats, contact  us @ 520-886-1125

“Despite the ever-increasing emotional bond we have with our pets, research shows pets are getting less preventive healthcare,” says Dr. Rene A. Carlson, president of the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA). “Consequently, illnesses that are totally preventable, such as dental infections, intestinal worms and heartworms, ear infections and diabetes, are on the increase. … we encourage pet owners to bring their pets into their veterinarian for regular checkups.”

Pets are going to the veterinarian 25% less often than before.  Why?

The economy has a lot to do with it.  Less discretionary income puts pet care lower on the list of things we need to spend money on.  Sometimes we just don’t have the extra cash or credit for pet emergencies, let alone wellness visitis.  And, payment arrangements are hard to find at Veterinary offices.  So, here are some other options:

  • Pet Health Insurance.  The same way it helps us get health care, it can help you afford pet care. Check out this site for comparison shopping the most reliable Pet Insurance Companies:
  • Apply for Care Credit– a line of credit for medical expenses.
  • Seek out Veterinarians who accept Care Credit
  • Seek out Veterinarians who offer monthly payments on Annual Wellness Packages–  dividing the expected expenses over the course of the year can sure make optimal pet care more affordable!
  • Look for Vets who offer in-house Medical Savings Plans– let your vet help you save by putting money in your pet’s account for wellness or urgent care.
  • Ask your Vet if they offerFrequent Flyer Discounts” for pets that come in more than once a year

Internet sources encourage owners to self-diagnose and even try treating at home.  While the internet has lots of good information, there is a lot of misinformation out there, too.  Make sure you  are getting medical information from a veterinary source, not just anyone. Here are some reliable sources for veterinary information:  Veterinary Partner  and   AAHA Healthy Pet.   Avoid putting off a vet visit based on “wait and see” advice from the internet.  Illnesses are almost always less expensive to treat and have better outcomes when treated earlier than later.  And, always remember, there is no substitute for your veterinarian’s hands-on examination and their advice based on personal knowledge of your pet!

3 Year Vaccination rotations are becoming more popular, so owners are choosing to forego the annual health exams.  Many people don’t realize that the Veterinary Exam is the Most Important Part of their pet’s “vaccination visit”.  Of course, every pet needs appropriate vaccinations based on life risk assessments (which your vet can help you figure out), but it’s the up-to-date exchange of knowledge and the physical exam that let you and your pet’s doctor keep him in top form– not just the vaccines.

As more cats are staying indoors, owners are abandoning annual health check ups for their cats, being under the mistaken impression that their indoor cat is “safe” from disease.  It is true that indoor cats are unlikely to get contagious diseases and suffer less traumatic injury than outdoor cats.  But, indoor cats are more prone to metabolic disease, obesity, and diabetes than their more active outdoor counterparts.  The fabulous thing is that medical advances in the last several years are helping cats with metabolic diseases and diabetes, even renal failure, live up 2 or more years longer than before!  It’s worth checking it out!

Tips for getting your cat to the vet with a minimum of stress (to both you and your cat)

  • Train your cat to enjoy his carrier.  Click here
  • Spray Feliway in the carrier 15 minutes before putting your kitty inside.  Tabby finds Happiness with Feliway– from youtube
  • Put a towel or sweatshirt with your scent on it in the carrier for kitty to hide in.
  • Ask your veterinarian for anti-anxiety medication to give before the trip
  • Choose a Veterinarian with some of these cat friendly features

Time constraints make it difficult to get in to the vet during regular “Doctor Office Hours”.

  • Look for a Vet that allows Drop Off Appointments.  Drop your pet off while you go to work or run other errands.  Your Vet or Vet Tech can call you with physical exam findings and  recommendations.  You can make treatment decisions and pick your pet up on the way home!
  • Look for Veterinary clinics with extended hours.

Just as for humans, an ounce of prevention (and a few dollars intermittently) is worth a pound (and big bucks) of cure for pets.

Pets should have regular checkups throughout their lives just like people.  Human physicians recommend annual exams for children and adults starting at middle age, annual blood testing starting at middle age, and some specialized tests as we advance in age (prostate cancer testing, breast cancer screening, colonoscopy).    Likewise, Puppies and Kittens should have monthly exams until 4 months of age (equate that to children at age 11).  Pets age 4-8 (equate to human ages 40-65) should have at least 1 exam every year.  Twice yearly exams for middle aged pets would be entirely reasonable.  That would be like a middle aged human getting an exam and wellness testing every 3 years.  Senior pets over the age of 8 should be examined every 6 months with an annual wellness blood and urine screen.

Sure, you will pay for 1 or 2 vet visits a year, but you will get your money’s worth!  Your vet will be able to detect problems that you can’t at home.  You can implement lifestyle, diet, or exercise changes to turn around some illnesses or slow down the progression of chronic disease, giving your family more great quality time with your pet.

Our rapidly changing ,constantly moving society will always present challenges to the things we want to do.  When you are feeling challenged about bringing your pet into your Veterinarian, call them.  Your family Vet probably has some ways to make the experience easier and better.   As our pets give us unconditional love, we need to give it back in comfort and quality of life.   Don’t let preventable disease steal precious years from your bond with your Pet Friend Forever.

Part of every examination prior to vaccines includes a “Life Risk Assessment”.  Our technicians and Doctors evaluate each pet’s risk of contagious disease prior to making vaccine recommendations.  Some vaccines should be given to every pet.  Other vaccines are only needed by pets that experience higher risk of contagious disease, such as trips to the dog park, groomer’s or boarding kennel.

Pets that stay at home or only go on leash walks without a lot of contact with other animals may only need some vaccines every 3 years, according to new recommendations made by the American Animal Hospital Association (AAHA) and the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA).

The veterinarian who knows your pet, your family and  lifestyle is the best person to make recommendations regarding the vaccines that are best for your pets.  If you take your pets to a discount vaccination clinic, you will not get advice about which vaccines are uniquely suited for your pet since all animals are treated the same at most vaccination clinics.  They will not recommend 3 year vaccines for pets (that would cut into their profits).  They will not recommend specialized vaccines based on your pets lifestyle (like rattlesnake vaccine for hunting dogs or periodontal vaccine for dogs prone to dental disease) because they do not take the time to perform a Life Risk Assessment or a complete physical exam.  They may even insist that your pet have non-core vaccines that he/ she doesn’t need because that’s what corporate says they have to do.

The best place for vaccinations for your pet is still with your family veterinarian.  Sure, you may have to pay $ 40- $50 for an exam with the vaccines, but you may not have to pay for vaccines that your pet doesn’t need.  Meanwhile, for your investment,  your pet will be getting the physical exam, individualized health recommendations, and better health care that are the Really Important things!