It is recommended that all adult dogs and cats get annual exams to pick up on the early signs of disease, and any changes that may need to be addressed, such as dental disease and growth of potentially cancerous masses.
Annual heartworm checks are also very important, as mosquitoes that spread the disease, are prevalent in the Southeast, even in the colder months during warm spells. We also use a heartworm test (4DX) that will let us know if any tick-borne diseases are present. In addition, annual intestinal parasite checks are important for outdoor pets, as they can detect worms, some of which are transmissible to humans (zoonotic).
All pets indoors or out should be on some sort of parasite control: Heartworm, intestinal parasites, and flea and tick preventative are all important, and the type depends on your dog or cat’s lifestyle. Dr. Reinhart can help you decide on the appropriate product for your pet.
Puppies and kittens typically get several sets of vaccines, intestinal parasite checks, as well as brief exams every few weeks. Dr. Reinhart will let you know the recommended vaccine schedule for your puppy or kitten. In addition, a feline leukemia and feline FIV test is recommended before exposing your new kitten to any other cats as they can contract those diseases from their mothers and spread them unknowingly.
The frequency that vaccines are administered (whether that be annually or every 3 years) will be decided by you and your doctor based on exposure to disease, but a current rabies vaccine is required for all pets by North Carolina law.
Semi-annual or twice-yearly exams are recommended for older pets (greater than 7 years of age for large breeds of dogs and 10 years of age for smaller dogs and cats); although, vaccines are usually less frequent for older pets. At one of these visits, annual bloodwork and urinalysis is also important. These tests can pick up diseases from the inside, that we may not yet see signs of on the outside, like kidney, thyroid, and liver disease for example.