Preventative Health / Wellness / Vaccines

Preventative Health

     Preventing illness and catching diseases early, is a large focus of our practice. If a disease is caught early, it can be cured or maintained much more effectively. The two most effective ways to achieve this is through vaccination and annual or semi-annual wellness exams and blood work.

Wellness Exams

     A wellness exam is the routine examination of a patient that appears to be healthy. This is very similar to a "check-up" or "physical" that you would have with your doctor. During this routine wellness examination, your veterinarian will ask you questions about your pet's diet, exercise, thirst, breathing, behavior, habits, elimination patterns, lifestyle, and general health. Your pet will then be checked over from head to tail and all the major body systems will be examined. Often times, weight management or dental health will be discussed during this visit and you may ask any questions that you have. Puppies and kittens will have to come monthly to be examined and have vaccines, adult animals should have yearly wellness exams and senior pets should have bi-annual exams every 6 months.

     Some things can be diagnosed through just physical exam and many abnormalities can be noted, but sometimes only blood tests can indicate an issue or diagnose disease. We will often recommend annual blood and urine tests to examine your pets kidneys, liver, thyroid, blood sugar, white blood cells, red blood cells etc. Often times, abnormalities will show up on blood tests before we start to notice changes in our pets. This is offered for all pets from the very beginning of their life, but is especially important in geriatric animals (7 years old and up). Fecal examinations are also very important to run on a yearly basis to diagnose and treat our pets for internal parasites. One test that should be run at least once in every cats life is the FELV / FIV test. This test is for feline leukemia or feline immunodeficiency virus. These diseases both cause extreme immune suppression and can be fatal. These diseases are also very contagious to other cats. One last blood test that is run on a yearly basis for dogs is called a 4DX test. This test will diagnose heartworm disease and three different diseases spread by ticks (Lyme disease, Anaplasmosis and Ehrlichiosis) which are extremely prevalent in this area. 

     Based on your pet's history and physical examination, your veterinarian will then make recommendations for specific preventive medicine treatments such as vaccination, parasite control (including preventive treatments for fleas, ticks, intestinal parasites and heartworms), nutrition, skin and coat care, weight management or dental care.


     There are many dangerous or even fatal diseases that can be easily prevented using vaccines. Some of these diseases will be fatal even if caught early and treated properly. Your new puppy or kitten will receive a series of vaccinations monthly until it is over 4 months old. Then most animals require vaccines yearly or every 3 years. Based on your individual animals environment and risk for contracting these diseases, different vaccines will be recommended. 

Canine Patients are Vaccinated for:

Rabies - a viral infection that affects the brain and spinal cord and once contracted, results in fatality. This infection is passed through saliva and blood (bites most commonly) and can be transmitted to humans. The law requires protection against the rabies virus. We want to help protect your family and your pets

DA2PP – the components of this vaccination are recommended for all puppies. The Da2PP vaccine is a combination vaccine that protects against the following:

D - distemper; a contagious, viral disease that affects the respiratory, gastrointestinal and central nervous systems. Puppies ages 3-6 months are extremely susceptible to infection and once infected, this virus contributes toward a high mortality rate

A2 - adenovirus type 1 and 2; type 1 causes an acute liver infection known as infectious canine hepatitis; type 2 causes respiratory disease and is associated with ‘kennel cough.'

P - parvovirus; a highly contagious virus that has a high mortality rate when left untreated. Signs include lethargy, vomiting, fever, and diarrhea which causes dehydration

P - Parainfluenza; a contagious respiratory infection that is seen in areas with high dog populations, such as boarding kennels, dog parks and pet stores, but it is highly contagious to any dog of any age. Signs of Parainfluenza include coughing, fever, runny nose and eyes

Leptospirosis - a zoonotic (can be passed from animals to humans) bacterial disease that is carried by wild animals and is shed through urine. Leptospirosis can be fatal and causes liver and kidney disease.

Bordetella - a highly contagious bacterial infection that spreads through the air.This infection 

rarely leads to death, but the vaccine can prevent breakouts of the infection and help the disease be very self-limiting. This vaccine is recommended for any dog that will be in contact with other dogs, especially dogs who visit dog parks, doggie daycare, grooming and boarding facilities. This also applies to dogs that attend agility trials, performance events and dog shows. This vaccine is labeled for use once per year, but if your pet is frequently in contact with many other dogs or boarding in a kennel often, it is recommended to receive this vaccine every 6 months.
Lyme Disease - a bacterial infection spread by the deer tick. This disease is extremely prevalent in Connecticut and New England. This disease most commonly causes a fever and lameness, but can also cause kidney failure or neurological signs.

For our adult dogs, after they have received appropriate puppy vaccination cycles, we change to a 1-year or 3-year rotating vaccine schedule, which allows us to booster the appropriate antigens and keep protection levels high without over-stimulating the immune system

Feline Patients are Vaccinated for:

Rabies - a viral infection that affects the brain and spinal cord and once contracted, results in fatality. This infection is passed through saliva and blood (bites most commonly) and can be transmitted to humans. The law requires protection against the rabies virus. We want to help protect your family and your pets. We use a very safe vaccination that causes a low amount of risk for our feline patients but only has a one-year duration of immunity and therefore needs to be repeated annually. We do not consider the 3-year vaccine that is available to be as safe for cats and therefore do not use or recommend it.

FVRCP - this is a combination vaccine that is recommended for all cats and protects against the following:

FVR - protects against feline viral rhinotracheitis; a respiratory infection that is caused by the herpes 1 virus. This infection can become fatal.

C - calicivirus; causes a highly contagious upper respiratory infection

P - panleukopenia virus; a severe, extremely contagious infection that can be fatal

Feline Leukemia Virus (FeLV) - a contagious disease that causes immunosuppression and is one of the leading infectious causes of death in cats. Any cat that will be exposed to other cats should get the feline leukemia vaccination, for indoor only cats that have no risk exposure to other cats – this vaccination is not necessary.

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