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Senior Pet Care

Pets age roughly 5-7 times faster than humans. It’s vital to test every year to screen for diseases and conditions. Ultimately, early detection will enable an accurate diagnosis faster, potentially saving you thousands of dollars in tests and critical care.

Senior wellness (greater than 7 years of age) is vital to keeping your beloved companion happy and healthy and ensuring their quality of life. Older pets need special tests and exams to catch age-related diseases such as diabetes, cancer, kidney disease, Cushing’s, and others. We know how to love and care for your senior pet!

Diagnostic Testing
Your pet’s health can’t be entirely assessed with only a physical exam. Regular blood work and pet diagnostic screenings help us track your pet’s internal health so we can recognize when an issue is present. At Beach Veterinary Care, we’re able to perform most pet diagnostics tests right here in-house and get the results back quickly and conveniently.

Diagnostic testing is an important tool for all of our pets. Routine blood work and urine testing helps us to evaluate liver and kidney function, as well as electrolyte abnormalities, urine crystal formation, blood glucose (diabetic monitoring) red and white blood cell counts and a variety of other abnormalities. These tests are frequently used to ensure the health of our geriatric patients and patients on long term medications. Advanced diagnostics such as digital x-ray and ultrasound exams can be performed at a local clinic in your area.



Wellness Care

Wellness exams are one of the most important preventative measures that we can take to ensure our pets remain healthy. A wellness exam is a comprehensive overview of our pets health including: oral, otoscopic (ear), ophthalmologic (eye), cardiothoracic auscultation (heart and lungs), abdominal palpation, orthopedic and rectal examination.

What Does a Wellness Visit Cover?
During a wellness visit, our veterinarian will check your pet’s entire body for signs of illness or injury. If your furry friend gets nervous at the doctor, call the office ahead of time to see if your pet can be prescribed a calming medication to ease their anxiety before coming in. Don’t forget to bring your pet’s favorite treats or toy to the appointment to assure them it’s not as scary as it seems!

  1. Temperature
    One of the first things we’ll check is your pet’s temperature using a digital rectal thermometer. Just like in humans, a temperature that is too low or too high can be dangerous. An abnormal temperature could be a sign of a health problem, such as a viral or bacterial infection, that may need further investigation through blood work or other diagnostic tests. Don’t worry, we’ll make this part quick!

  2. Skin and Coat
    Not only is your pet’s fur great for snuggles, the skin and coat are also a fantastic window into the internal health of your pet. Your pet’s body is complex, and a variety of internal conditions manifest as issues with the skin and coat.

  3. Heart
    You love your pet with all your heart, so make sure theirs is healthy! Our vet will listen to your pet’s heart movement using a stethoscope, though it will likely be pumping quickly due to being a bit stressed. A listen to the heart is especially important in very young or very old animals to check for abnormalities that can affect blood flow, like a heart murmur or heart disease. Our veterinarian may choose to perform an echocardiogram, or ultrasound of the heart, to get a better look at the heart’s size, strength, and function.

    We recommend testing your dog for heartworm yearly. Heartworm, which is spread by mosquitoes, is a life-threatening parasitic infection of worms living inside a dog’s bloodstream. It’s difficult and expensive to treat, but easy to test for with a quick blood test and easy to prevent with monthly medication given in treat form. Yum!

  1. Lungs
    Our vet will check that your pet’s breathing is normal by taking their respiratory rate, or how quickly your pet is breathing, by counting the rise and fall of their breath. It’s normal for the respiratory rate to be high under stress, like during a vet visit – some dogs may even pant under stress. If abnormal breathing is detected, our vet may choose to perform diagnostic tests, like blood work, an x-ray, or an ultrasound, to find the best path forward in keeping your pet healthy.

  2. Abdomen
    A lot of vital functions occur in the abdomen – the stomach, intestines, liver, kidneys, and other important organs live here. Our vet will feel the tummy area to check for any abnormalities. Sometimes it’s possible to even feel your pet’s previous dinner in there! During the exam, our vet will make sure there are no lumps, bumps, or painful spots around those important organs – and if there are, diagnostic tests like an ultrasound or exploratory surgery may be used to get your pet back to tip-top shape.

  3. Teeth and Gums
    Dental care for pets is often overlooked far past the point of needing attention, so our vet will let you know if a dental cleaning is recommended based on the exam. If your pet’s breath smells or their gums are sore and red, then it’s definitely time to schedule a dental cleaning! Even though it’s common for dogs and cats to have smelly breath, it’s not healthy.

    Pets need dental cleaning just like we do, but since they don’t usually brush twice a day, a thorough, professional cleaning is critical to prevent dental disease. But don’t worry – dental cleanings are a routine procedure that can be done in-house by our veterinarian. Our vet will remove tartar from the teeth and check for any foreign objects that may have become stuck in your pet’s teeth over time, like fur or foxtails. Your furry friend will have a sparkling smile and fresh breath in no time!

  1. Eyes and Ears
    Vital to your connection with your pet, eyes, and ears shouldn’t go unchecked! Our vet will make sure your pet has normal vision and hearing abilities. Dogs especially are notorious for having ear infections, so we’ll take a peek inside the ear and prescribe medication to clear up any issues.

  2. Paws and Nails
    Some pets, particularly active dogs, have a tendency to injure their little feet during their playtime and adventures. A quick check of the paw pads and nails will ensure there are no painful rips, chips, or tears that need attention. Now would be a good time to get those nails clipped as well!

  3. Vaccines
    The best way to protect your pet from serious preventable illnesses is to make sure they are fully vaccinated. Our vet will administer any vaccinations that your pet is due for. All pets should get their core vaccines (rabies, DHPP in dogs, and FVRCP in cats), which protect them from the most common and the most dangerous diseases.



        • Puppies and kittens should start their combination vaccine series at eight weeks old (or younger) and receive a series of booster shots until fully vaccinated. At four months old, both dogs and cats are required to receive a rabies vaccine. A periodic booster vaccine (every year or every few years, depending on the vaccine) will keep your pet’s immune system ready to fight.
 

Schedule Your Wellness Exam
Puppy-breathed or white-whiskered, it’s important for pets of all ages to get their checkup. So, what are you waiting for? Bringing your pet in for their annual wellness exam is one of the easiest ways you can help your friend stay happy and healthy for a lifetime – they deserve it.



Microchipping

Should I Have My Pet Microchipped?
Our pet microchipping is the most effective way to ensure that you will reunite with your animal should they ever get lost.

As many as one in three pets get separated from their owners at some point in their lives. Even the most responsible pet owners can get separated from their furry companions.

  • Indoor cats can slip out when service providers come to your home.
  • Dogs can escape from the groomers or pet sitters.
  • If there is a fire, the pet will be scared and may run away.
  • Pets involved in car accidents can escape.
  • Pets get scared off because of fireworks, etc.

Why Microchips Instead of Tags?
Collars with tags can break or slip off. Microchips are permanent, can’t be tampered with, and have proven to be safe. Tags can only provide limited information, while microchips are connected to a database that maintains your information. If you move, you can easily update the information with no need to reorder tags.

What Don’t Microchips Do?
The microchips do not act like GPS trackers. You will not be able to track your pet’s location. The microchip also does not replace rabies tags, which may be required where you live.

How Is the Microchip Implanted?
A needle is used to insert the chip right under the skin. It’s smaller than a grain of rice. In dogs and cats, it is usually placed between the shoulder blades. The chip is coated in a substance that will cause the animal’s body to bind with it, so it stays where it is implanted. If your veterinarian wants to put your pet under anesthesia to implant the chip, you will have to drop him or her off in the morning. If they are awake for the procedure, they will feel a pinch. If they struggle, they could cause themselves more pain. If you expect your pet will struggle, you may want to consider anesthesia. Don’t worry–our compassionate staff will provide gentle, loving care for your pet, before, during, and after their microchipping in Beach Veterinary Care.

When Can My Pet Get a Microchip?
Depending upon the size of the animal, you need to wait until they are at least six to eight weeks old. The smaller the breed, the older they will need to be to get chipped. Adults can be done at any time. You can have the microchip inserted the same day they are spayed or neutered, or need another surgery. It can be done while your animal is still under anesthesia. It will save you an extra trip to the office and therefore time and money. If you want the microchip implanted but don’t have any other procedures planned, discuss with your vet if your animal will need to be put under anesthesia or not.

Does It Hurt?
The needle is larger than needles used to inject vaccines or medications, so yes, they’ll feel the pinch of the needle, but only for a moment. If the animal is under anesthesia when it is done, they won’t feel anything.

Registering Your Pet’s Chip
Once the chip is implanted, you will be given information on how to register it. You must provide your contact information to the company that manufactured the chip. Your information will be kept safe and secure. Registration can usually be done online and only takes a few minutes. It is essential that when your animal receives microchipping in Beach Veterinary Care that you complete the registration form, or the company will not be able to identify your pet.

If You Adopted a Pet From a Shelter
Many rescues and shelters are routinely chipping the animals before they adopt them out. Professional breeders may also microchip the animals they sell. If you are not sure, your vet can scan your new arrival to see a chip. The process will cause no discomfort to your pet. If there is a chip, you will need to transfer the registration so your pet can be traced back to you, rather than the rescue or breeder. You will need proof that you now own your pet to transfer the registration.

Keep Your Information Up To Date
If you move, remember to change the information on your microchip registration. It can usually be done online and only takes a short time. Not doing so can mean delays in getting your pet back to you.

What if My Pet Gets Lost and then Found?
Veterinarians, animal control, shelters, and animal rescues are usually equipped with scanners so they can identify lost pets. The scanner is a handheld device that reads the chip when placed near the implant area. When the chip is scanned, the reader will see the company name and a unique number. The finder can then call the company, which in turn will contact you to let you know where your pet is. The person who finds your lost pet will not be given your personal information. Tags, on the other hand, advertise your phone number to everyone.

Are There Risks?
Yes, there are some risks, but the chances of the microchip causing a problem are very, very small.

  • Infection — The veterinarian will insert a properly sterilized needle in the site. That means chances of infection are extremely slim.
  • Migration — There have been reports of chips migrating to other parts of the body. That won’t hurt your animal, but the scanner may not find the chip unless they scan the whole body.
  • Cancer — In extremely rare cases (a one in a million chance, according to one study), develop cancer at the implant site.
  • Allergic Reactions — Rare complications include allergic reactions to the coating on the chip.

The Benefits Outweigh The Risks
According To The American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA), studies have shown that the benefits of microchipping far outweigh the risks. Pets that are chipped have a much better chance of being returned home.
One study showed:
• Less than 2% of lost cats that were not chipped, found their way home. Likewise, cats that were chipped were reunited with their owners 38.5% of the time.
• For dogs, 21.9% of non-chipped dogs got home compared to 52.2% of chipped pooches. Losing a pet is a heartbreaking experience, one no veterinarian wants to see their clients go through.

Would you like to discuss pet microchipping in Beach Veterinary Care with a vet? Give us a call.

Dental Care
Dental disease is one of the most common health issues pets will face during their lifetime. Regular dental care is vital to keeping pets healthy and comfortable.

Untreated, dental problems will cause infections, tooth and bone loss, and pain. Our regular physicals include an assessment of dental health.

If dental care is needed, we are equipped to perform dental cleanings and full mouth dental radiographs, both of which are done under general anesthesia. Since 50% of a tooth sits below the gum line, dental radiographs are crucial to planning proper dental care.

In addition to cleanings, we can also perform oral surgery for extractions, gingivectomies, and oral mass removals /biopsies.

Dental patients placed under anesthesia are monitored using the same methods as for other surgical procedures. This includes the use of pulse oximetry (measurement of blood oxygenation), electrocardiograms, blood pressure, and capnography (measurement of carbon dioxide release from the lungs). Patients are also intubated and kept on oxygen throughout the procedure.



Surgery

Surgical services include: soft tissue surgery for such things as reconstructive wound repair, skin biopsies, tumor or mass removal, and repair of certain hereditary defects; abdominal surgery for bladder stone removal, intestinal surgery for foreign body removal or biopsy, liver and pancreatic biopsy, and splenectomies; standard procedures such as a spay and neuter in Beach Veterinary Care
We do not offer surgery for elective tail docking or ear cropping. Feline declawing is done only in special circumstances to be determined by the doctors. Thoracic surgery and orthopedic problems are generally referred to more qualified board certified surgeons.

General Anesthesia
For some procedures, your pet will need to be administered general anesthesia so that he or she will be unconscious and not feel pain. Many pet owners worry about their pets being administered general anesthesia. We can assure you that modern anesthesia is generally quite safe; to further lower any risk, we perform a physical examination and run blood work ahead of time to catch any underlying health issues. In addition, we follow a specific anesthetic protocol, including monitoring vital signs during the procedure, to ensure the safety of our patients.

We begin most general anesthetic procedures by administering a sedative to help the pet relax and decrease any anxiety and pain. We then administer an intravenous drug to provide complete anesthesia and place a breathing tube into the patient’s trachea (windpipe). To maintain the state of unconsciousness, we deliver a gas anesthetic in combination with oxygen through the breathing tube.

Please contact us if you have any questions or concerns about your pet receiving general anesthesia or about the procedure for which your pet is scheduled.

Local Anesthesia
If your pet is having a minor surgical or diagnostic procedure performed, we sometimes use a local anesthetic to help control pain. For example, when we perform a biopsy (in which a small portion of tissue is surgically removed so it can be examined), we often use a local anesthetic. Local anesthetics cause a loss of sensation in the area where the procedure is being performed. We sometimes use a sedative and/or anxiolytic (anti-anxiety medication) in combination with the local anesthetic to keep pets calm during a procedure.

Please contact us if you have any questions or concerns about your pet receiving local anesthesia or about the procedure for which your pet is scheduled.

Patient Monitoring
We monitor our patients closely to keep them as safe as possible during procedures that require general anesthesia. The veterinary team will continually assess your pet’s heart and respiratory rate, blood pressure, and other vital signs to help reduce any anesthetic risk.

Please feel free to ask us about our patient monitoring protocol or any concerns you might have about your pet’s procedure. We’d be happy to discuss these matters in more detail.

Radiology (X-rays)
When we need to figure out what’s wrong with your pet, we routinely use x-rays to help identify the cause of the problem, rule out possible problems, or provide a list of possible causes. We may also use x-rays during a wellness exam to diagnose potential problems before they become serious.

X-rays provide valuable information about a pet’s bones, gastrointestinal tract (stomach, intestines, colon), respiratory tract (lungs), heart, and genitourinary system (bladder, prostate). We use radiology alone or in conjunction with other diagnostic tools. Interpretation of radiographs requires great skill on the part of the veterinarian.

We are proud to offer digital radiology (x-rays that are captured digitally rather than on film). This state-of-the-art technology allows us to provide you with a quicker diagnosis for your pet. Plus, it uses less radiation than traditional x-rays.
To avoid a blurry image, pets need to remain completely still while an x-ray is taken. In some cases, we may need to sedate your pet or use short-acting general anesthesia.

If you have any questions about procedures or a spay and neuter in Beach Veterinary Care, please don’t hesitate to ask.

 



Vaccines

Vaccinations are the cornerstone of preventative medicine in veterinary medicine. Our pet vaccinations in Beach Veterinary Care have become increasingly safe and effective over the past years and are an effective way to help prevent such diseases as Rabies, Distemper Virus, Parvovirus, Leptospirosis and Bordetella (Kennel Cough). Vaccines are also available for Lyme Disease based on the individual risk of your pet. In many cases, these diseases can be transmitted to you and your family, making protection even more critical. To ensure your pet’s health, a comprehensive preventive care exam is required prior to vaccination.

Everything You Need to Know About Routine Vaccinations for Your Pet
Vaccinations are an important part of routine veterinary care to help protect pets from serious sickness and disease. From the time dogs and cats are puppies and kittens, they generally require a series of shots at each of their wellness visits. These shots are essential for keeping your furry friends healthy and well, which can help them thrive throughout their lives. It’s natural to have questions about why your pet needs vaccines, the risks they may cause, and why it’s so important to stay up to date on your pet’s vaccines. We hope the following information is helpful to you.

Common Questions About Vaccinations for Pets
Pet owners often have questions about their pets’ vaccinations. Vaccinations are an important part of routine wellness-care visits for pets and with good reason. Here are some answers to questions our staff frequently hears.

Why Does My Pet Need Routine Vaccinations?
Like people, pets are vulnerable to certain viruses and other germs they can catch from other animals or may encounter just from going outside. Many of these diseases can make pets very sick. Some, such as rabies, can be deadly – and can even be passed to people if an infected animal bites someone. The good news is, we have pet vaccinations at Beach Veterinary Care that can protect your pet from these diseases.

Which Vaccines Does My Pet Need?
The exact regimen of vaccines a pet should get varies, depending on the type of pet you have, whether your pet goes outdoors, what diseases are common in your area, and other factors. There are “core vaccines” that most cats and dogs should get.

Why Does My Pet Need to Get Booster Shots for Some Vaccines?
Vaccines are given in a series, to optimize how the immune system naturally builds its defenses. Kittens and puppies may get a series of shots spread out over a number of weeks. Once initial vaccinations are complete, your pet may need some shots, such as the rabies vaccine, yearly. Booster shots are important because immunity can wane over time. Getting vaccine boosters during the annual checkup can help keep your fur baby’s immune system robust so that they can lead a healthy and happy life.

Do Pets Who Stay Indoors All the Time Need the Same Vaccines as Pets Who Go Outdoors?
There are some vaccinations that all pets should get, regardless of whether they stay indoors or outdoors. Rabies is one example. While an animal that stays indoors is less likely to come in contact with the rabies virus, it only takes on exposure for a beloved pet to contract this horrible virus that is almost always deadly and can easily transmit to humans. So routine rabies vaccination is advised for all pets. There are some viruses, however, that indoor pets are much less likely to encounter than pets who go outside.

Are Vaccinations Harmful to My Pet?
Many people feel concerned there may be risks to vaccinations. While no medication is completely without risk, the diseases these vaccines protect against are far more dangerous and often can be fatal. The benefits of vaccinating your pet overwhelmingly outweigh any risks. Our staff is happy to answer any questions or address concerns you may have about our pet vaccinations at Beach Veterinary Care.

Will My Pet Have Side Effects to Their Vaccines?
Similar to vaccines for humans, pet vaccinations sometimes can cause side effects. Muscle soreness, lethargy, and mild fever aren’t uncommon. Occasionally, a pet may develop a firm lump near the vaccine site. These side effects are normal and generally not serious.