Veterinarian

Vet Visits

bartlett carol stream veterinarian

Next to you and your family, your veterinarian is one of the most important people in your pet's life. You should identify a veterinarian for your new pet before you bring it home and arrange for a first appointment as soon as possible. The first vet visit gives you and your veterinarian an opportunity to establish your pet's baseline level of health and identify any potential long-term or chronic health problems.

When you meet with the veterinarian, be sure to discuss your daily care routines, home environment, any anticipated problems or concerns you may have, ask questions about any behaviors about which you need more information and your grooming preferences, particularly nail clipping. Your vet will examine your pet to ensure healthy bones, joints and muscles, and good heart, eye, ear and other organ functions. The vet will also do a blood test to check to make sure your pet has the right levels of nutrients and minerals.

Your pet may experience some stress going to the vet. The best way to alleviate this is with positive reinforcement, attention and happy visits. Stop in at the vet's office with your pet a couple of times when it doesn't need to be examined so that your pet associates the clinic with positive experiences. Pet your pet and give it praise when it behaves calmly and well at the vet's office. Take some treats to help keep your pet happy and to have staff give your pet. Fortunately, vet staff is experienced at handling dogs of all sorts and will likely make your job much easier.

After the first visit and your pet's initial vaccinations, you should plan on getting your pet checked by the vet twice a year. You may need to go more frequently if the vet is clipping your pet's nails.

top

Vaccinations

A basic vaccination series should be a part of your pet's schedule during the first four months of life. It protects your pet from infections and illnesses, including rabies, distemper, hepatitis, leptospirosis, parvovirus, corona virus, canine influenza, lyme disease, kennel cough, and parainfluenza. If you acquired a pet that is older than four months and that has not been vaccinated, the vet will use a different protocol.

Your pet will also need a rabies vaccination. However, laws around the country differ about when this vaccination must be given, so check with your vet about scheduling a rabies vaccination for your pet. At Oak Park Animal Hospital, we recommend the rabies vaccine to be given once a year, beginning as early as three months of age. Your vet can also tell you about other vaccinations that may be appropriate depending on where you live and your pet's lifestyle.

top

Spaying and Neutering

Most pet dogs are spayed (for females) or neutered (for males) to remove reproductive organs and prevent pregnancy. But health issues provide other compelling reasons for spaying and neutering dogs.

Female dogs have a high incidence of cancers of the reproductive system. Spaying removes the ovaries and the uterus, preventing the production of estrogen, which leads to most of the reproductive cancers. A vast majority of unspayed older females contract a life-threatening infection of the uterus, call pyometra. This infection is caused by problems with progesterone, another female hormone which is eliminated through spaying. Female dogs should be spayed before their first heat, if possible, which generally occurs between six months and one year of age.

Males that are not neutered often exhibit aggressive behaviors, which can be dangerous to them, other animals, and people. A dog that was well-behaved and calm in its youth can suddenly show a pack mentality and become more aggressive, chase cars, try to get loose to roam freely, or bark and growl a lot -- all as a result of high testosterone levels. Many of these habits become hard to break once they have developed. A male dog neutered between six months and one year of age will retain its youthful calm.

Spaying and neutering are common surgeries. They require some form of anesthesia and most vets prefer for the dog to remain in the hospital for the duration of the day and possibly overnight. Your dog may be under the weather for a few more days as a result of the surgery, but will heal within a matter of a week or so.

top

Common Health Issues

Your pet is likely to have some health issues during its life. The worst can be prevented through vaccinations and spaying and neutering. Others, such as cancers and other diseases may not be avoidable. That's why it is important to maintain your pet's diet, nutrition and exercise at all times. However, there are a few common health problems you need to take care of to keep your pet well.

Fleas and Ticks. Fleas are external parasites that cause a skin allergy, a common skin disease for dogs and cats. Ticks latch on to the skin and burrow in to feed on blood. Both can be itching, annoying and unhealthy for your pet and you. Keeping your pet flea and tick free is easier today thanks to new products that can be applied once a month. However, you need to visually inspect your pet's skin for signs of fleas during daily grooming and check for ticks after returning from an area known to have them, like wooded camping sites.

Heartworm. Heartworm, roundworm, hookworm and tapeworm are other parasites that can enter your pet's bloodstream and create serious health problems. Heartworm parasites are passed on to pets through mosquitoes. Hookworm and roundworm larvae end up on your pet's feet, which, through licking, enters its abdominal system. The best form of treatment is early and regular prevention. A monthly pill will help your pet avoid these parasites. If your pet does contract a worm, it is important for your vet to do testing to determine which kind it is suffering from and what level the development the worm has reached. A correct diagnosis is needed because the treatment for one worm is not the same as for another. Symptoms of a worm parasite are an occasional cough, fatigue, weight loss and difficulty breathing. Talk to your vet about how often s/he recommends checking for worm parasites, since the symptoms may not present themselves before serious damage occurs.

Anal Glands. Anal gland problems affect millions of pets and are a very common and frustrating problem. Anal gland issues arise when the anal glands of dogs and cats becoming over-filled, blocked, or irritated. All dogs and cats have these two small glands (sometimes referred to as anal sacs) near the anal opening that typically release a few drops of scent marking fluid whenever your pet defecates. If the anal glands fill up excessively it creates pressure which can be very uncomfortable for your dog or cat. View more information from Glandex, here!

Poisoning. Many common indoor and outdoor plants can be poisonous to pets. Before your bring your pet home, get rid of any houseplants that appear on the list below. Don't let your pet eat plants and leaves when outdoors. If you do suspect poisoning, get your pet to the veterinarian immediately. You should also keep the ASPCA's Animal Poison Control Center hotline number near your phone in case of emergency. You can reach this 24/7 hotline by calling toll free (888) 426-4435.

Following is a partial list developed by the ASPCA's Poison Control Center of common plants that are poisonous to dogs and cats:

  • Alfalfa
  • Aloe vera
  • Amaryllis
  • Apple seeds
  • Apple leaf croton
  • Apricot pit
  • Asparagus fern
  • Autumn crocus
  • Avocado (both the fruit and pit)
  • Azalea
  • Baby's breath
  • Bittersweet
  • Bird of paradise
  • Branching ivy
  • Buckey
  • Buddhist pine
  • Caladium
  • Calla lily
  • Castor bean
  • Ceriman
  • Charming dieffenbachia
  • Cherry (seeds and wilting leaves)
  • Chinese evergreen
  • Christmas rose
  • Cineraria
  • Clematis
  • Cordatum
  • Corn plant
  • Cornstalk plant
  • Croton
  • Cuban laurel
  • Cutleaf philodendron
  • Cycads
  • Cyclamen
  • Daffodil
  • Devil's ivy
  • Dieffenbachia
  • Dracaena palm
  • Dragon tree
  • Dumb cane
  • Elaine
  • Elephant ears
  • Emerald feather
  • English ivy
  • Fiddle-leaf fig
  • Florida beauty
  • Foxglove
  • Fruit salad plant
  • Geranium
  • German ivy
  • Giant dumb cane
  • Glacier ivy
  • Gold dieffenbachia
  • Gold dust dracaena
  • Golden pothos
  •  
  • Hahn's self-branching ivy
  • Heartland philodendron
  • Hurricane plant
  • Indian rubber plant
  • Janet Craig dracaena
  • Jerusalem cherry
  • Kalanchoe
  • Lacy tree philodendron
  • Lily of the valley
  • Mother-in-law's tongue
  • Madagascar dragon tree
  • Marble queen
  • Marijuana
  • Mexican breadfruit
  • Miniature croton
  • Mistletoe
  • Morning glory
  • Narcissus
  • Needlepoint ivy
  • Nephytis
  • Nightshade
  • Oleander
  • Onion
  • Peace lily
  • Peach (wilting leaves and pit)
  • Pencil cactus
  • Plumosa fern
  • Poinsettia
  • Poison ivy
  • Poison oak
  • Pothos
  • Potato plant
  • Purgatory bean
  • Primrose
  • Red emerald
  • Red princess
  • Red-margined dracaena
  • Rhododendron
  • Ribbon plant
  • Saddle leaf philodendron
  • Sago palm
  • Satin pothos
  • Scheffilera
  • Silver pothos
  • Spotted dumb cane
  • String of pearls
  • Striped dracaena
  • Sweetheart ivy
  • Swiss cheese plant
  • Taro vine
  • Tomato plant (green fruit, stem and leaves)
  • Tree philodendron
  • Tropic snow dieffenbachia
  • Weeping fig
  • Yew
 

top