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Wellness Care

Preventive wellness care is essential to your pet’s health, happiness, and longevi­­ty. For this reason, we strive to offer the best veterinary wellness care in the area during every stage of your pet’s life. Our highly experienced clinical team will make responsible recommendations for your pet regarding his or her vaccinations, nutrition, dental care, heartworm prevention, parasite control, laboratory testing, and behavior.

Pet owners rely on us as a welcoming, skilled, and cost-conscious partner in the care of their beloved companions. This way, we can make sure everything is functioning properly, and address any health concerns early on. Wellness programs begin with semi-annual examinations. We may recommend more frequent visits based on your pet’s age, health status, and lifestyle. A comprehensive wellness plan will be created for your pet’s unique healthcare needs. Our goal is to help your pet mature healthily from juvenile to adult to senior.

 

Wellness Exams

Prevention is the key to your pet’s long term health. At your pet’s semi-annual wellness visits, one of our doctors will gently:

  • Examine the heart and lungs
  • Check the teeth and oral cavity
  • Assess vision, eyes, and ears
  • Palpate the lymph nodes and abdomen
  • Check the skin
  • Palpate the joints and muscles

A complete physical exam should also include blood work. This allows us to identify underlying diseases and creates a baseline of health in the event your pet gets sick between routine exams. Blood work is also recommended prior to dental cleanings and any surgical procedure that requires anesthesia.

 

Parasite Control

Dangerous parasites are nearly always present in the environment, even in our area of Massachusetts. Importantly, if brought into your home, certain parasites like roundworms, hookworms, and tapeworms can be passed from your pet to you and your family. The good news is, with regular parasite testing, deworming, and year round preventive products, your pet and family can remain protected.

We offer a variety of preventive produts and would be happy to help you determine which is best for your companion. Monthly oral chews and topicals are available, as well as a 6-month preventative injection.

Interested in learning more important information about common parasites? Read on!

  • Fleas are external parasites that bite the skin, leading to skin irritation and allergies like dermatitis, tapeworms, and Bartonella. In severe cases, flea infestation can cause anemia and death. Check your pet’s skin and coat regularly for signs of fleas.
  • Ticks are external parasites that like fleas, bite a pet’s skin causing skin irritation, discomfort, and fever. In addition, ticks can transmit tick-borne infections like Lyme disease, ehrlichiosis, anaplasmosis, Rocky Mountain spotted fever, and Bartonella. We recommend checking your pet for ticks regularly, especially after spending time outdoors.
  • Intestinal Parasites like roundworms, hookworms, whipworms, and tapeworms can be transmitted from pets to people. Puppies and kittens face the highest risk due to immature immune systems, but dogs and cats can also be easily infected without proper prevention. Fecal tests are recommended 1-2 times a year, along with monthly preventative products.
  • Heartworms cause irreversible damage to vital bodily systems like the heart, lungs, liver, and kidneys. Carried and transmitted by mosquitoes, heartworms restrict blood circulation, and oftentimes, cause damage before outward symptoms such as trouble breathing, coughing, weight loss, and lethargy. To best protect your pet, we recommend annual testing, and either monthly preventives or a 6-month preventative injection.

 

Vaccinations

Up-to-date vaccinations play a large part in keeping your pet healthy and free from disease. At Highland Animal Hospital, we tailor a vaccine protocol that is specific to your pet based on his or her age, lifestyle, health status, and risk of exposure. Vaccine schedules are balanced to provide needed protection while not over-vaccinating your pet.

Canine Vaccines

  • Core Vaccines: Rabies, Distemper, Canine Influenza
  • Non-Core Vaccines: Leptospirosis, Lyme, Bordetella

Feline Vaccines

  • Core Vaccines: Rabies, Distemper
  • Non-Core Vaccines: Feline Leukemia Virus and Feline Immunodeficiency Virus (for outdoor and multi-cat households)

 

Microchipping

Did you know the #1 cause of pet death is getting lost? At Highland Animal Hospital, we recommend using collars, ID tags, and microchips.

Studies show that more than 10 million pets get lost annually, and about 90% would not make it home without permanent identification. Let’s make sure your pet isn’t one of them! We use microchips as a standard of care for all of our canine and feline patients. With a microchip, your pet can be identified quickly and easily by animal control officers, shelters, and veterinary hospitals. While collars and ID tags can be removed, fall off, or become unreadable, microchips are a safe, unalterable, and permanent form of identification.

 

Nutritional Counseling

Proper nutrition plays a large role in the overall health and longevity of our pets.  At Highland Animal Hospital, our goal is to provide you with the information necessary to feed your pet a diet that meets his or her nutritional needs. In regards to nutrition, client education is key because as a pet owner, you have complete control of what your pet eats on a regular basis.

Our veterinarians are trained to check your pet’s bodily condition and provide professional recommendations during your pet’s physical exam. Based on your pet’s unique healthcare needs, we are prepared to recommend pet foods and prescription diets that are beneficial to your pet’s life stage, health concerns, weight management needs, and food-related allergies.

For pets living with serious nutritional concerns or chronic conditions, we may recommend a special diet as part of the treatment plan. Our veterinarians will recommend a diet to help alleviate nutritional concerns such as intestinal issues, renal failure, food allergies, diabetes, liver disease, and bladder and kidney stones. Our nutritional recommendations are comprehensive, and will also include valuable information on serving sizes, how to read food labels, and strategies to reach and maintain an optimal body weight.

 

Behavioral Counseling

Behavior problems are frustrating and may even impact the bond you share with your pet. In fact, behavioral issues are the #1 reason people give up their pets. We assure you, behavior is modifiable with proper training and patience. Don’t give up on your forever friend! We’re here to help.

We’re prepared to offer behavior counseling for issues such as separation anxiety, inappropriate chewing, excessive barking, inappropriate urination or defecation, and more. We’re also trained to provide you with tips on how to best introduce a new pet into your household.

Behavior issues are oftentimes a result of an underlying medical condition. That’s why the first step is to examine your pet and perform diagnostic tests in an effort to understand your pet’s behavior. Consider this:

  • A cat who is peeing outside of the litterbox may have bladder stones or kidney disease.
  • A dog who is being destructive while you’re gone for the day may have separation anxiety.

We find that many times, once the medical concern is resolved, the undesirable behavior stops, too. If your pet’s behavior is not medically related, we will begin behavior modification techniques and potentially medication-assisted training. If we’re unable to help you control and modify your pet’s behavior, we will refer you to a board-certified animal behavior specialist.

 

Exotic Pets

We believe that every kind of pet deserves to live a healthy life, and that’s why we have taken a strong interest in the treatment of these animals. The diagnostic and treatment options we provide for dog and cat patients are also available for exotic patients. Dr. Giles is trained to provide high-quality veterinary care to birds, ferrets, rabbits, guinea pigs, hamsters, gerbils, mice, rats, hedgehogs and reptiles.

 

Dermatology & Allergy Testing

If your pet is suffering from allergies or dermatological issues, our medical team is trained to provide relief. Conditions of the skin, hair, ears, and nails can cause your pet extreme discomfort and irritation, so it’s best to seek treatment right away. At Highland Animal Hospital, we are experienced in the treatment of allergies, dermatitis, skin infections, parasitic infections, hormonal disorders, tumors, and skin cancer.

If you observe any of the following symptoms in your pet, please give us a call:

  • Constant licking, chewing, or biting at the skin
  • Scabby, red, or flaky skin
  • Excessive shedding
  • Excessive scratching
  • Hot spots
  • Lumps or bumps
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea

In some cases, we can make a diagnosis by visual examination alone. However, further testing may be required to make an accurate diagnosis. Our in-house lab is equipped to test blood samples, skin scrapings, biopsies, and cultures. Once we diagnose your pet’s condition, we can begin a treatment plan.