What goes on during an examination appointment.
We check the pet’s abdomen to detect changes or abnormalities in the size of the organs, such as the kidneys, spleen, or liver. Palpating the organs can aid in the diagnosis of disorders or diseases such as bladder stones or tumors.
We use an otoscope to look inside the pet’s ears. This procedure allows us to do an in depth examination of the ear drum and ear canal. By examining the ears, we are able to detect infections and/or parasites that could harm the pet.
We examine the pet’s external genitalia for changes in appearance. For example, we check for changes in size, color, or texture. We specifically look at the prostate gland during this part of the exam.
We use an instrument called an ophthalmoscope to examine the pet’s eyes. We are looking for two main problems we see often in dogs and cats: cataracts and retinal disease.
Heart & Lungs:
We use a stethoscope to listen to the pet’s lungs and heart. Using a technique called auscultation, we are able to detect some murmurs, heart and/or lung disease and arrhythmias.
We check the pet’s lymph nodes for changes in size, tenderness, and symmetry.
We inspect the pet’s mouth for any abnormal growths or lesions. We examine the pet’s gum color and hydration.
We examine the pet’s behavior, reaction, and reflexes to evaluate the nervous system.
We examine the skin of the pet to look for ectoparasites, which are parasites which latch on to the skin of the pet externally. We look for lesions, tumors, or other abnormal growths
Puppies and KittensWhen puppies and kittens are first born, they have no immunity at all. The first milk that their mother feeds them is special milk called colostrum. In this milk, the mother passes on some of her immunity to the puppies and kittens. This is called passive immunity and protects for various periods of time – some diseases may have no protection after five weeks, others may be protected against until the puppies and kittens are sixteen weeks or older. There is little point giving any vaccinations before six weeks of age because the mothers’ immunity will destroy the vaccine and stop it from working. At 6 weeks of age, you can expect your pup to be vaccinated against: distemper, hepatitis, kennel cough, leptospirosis, parainfluenza and parvo virus. At 12 weeks of age, you can expect your pet to be vaccinated against rabies.
Mature Cats and DogsTalk to your veterinarian about how to care for your older pet and be prepared for possible age-related health issues. Senior pets require increased attention, including more frequent visits to the veterinarian, possible changes in diet, and in some cases alterations to their home environment. Typically, mature dogs will be protected against distemper, hepatitis, leptospirosis, parainfluenza, parvo virus, kennel cough and, of course, rabies. Adult cats’ immunizations include panleukopenia (distemper), rabies, feline rhinotracheitis, calicivirus, chlamydia and feline leukemia
Catching teeth problems early will help avoid severe dental disease. Visit your vet every 6-12 months for wellness check-ups. Contact your vet if any problems arise. Watch for the following signs:
- Halitosis (bad breath)
- Reluctance to chew / crying out when chewing
- Increased salivation
- Red and/or puffy gums
- Bleeding gums
- Tartar / Calculus (hard coating on teeth that is usually brown or yellow; results from plaque build-up)
- Missing and/or loose teeth
- Anything else about the mouth that appears unusual
Urinalysis to examine and evaluate urine samples in patients who may be suffering from urinary tract infections, kidney disease, diabetes or potentially have kidney or bladder stones.
Our in-house ultrasound gives us the unique ability to “look inside” a patient and evaluate the appearance of various organs and tissues beyond what is possible with X-Ray. This often gives us the unique ability to gain insight into a patients condition or make a difficult diagnosis that would otherwise be impossible without an expensive referral or risky exploratory surgery.
Digital Radiography for both medical and dental evaluations (see radiography page).
Endoscopy for inspection and if needed, biopsy of the upper GI tract (see endoscopy page).
We also perform all commonplace veterinary medical diagnostics including fecal screenings for intestinal parasites, microscopic evaluation of any patient sample, testing for canine parvo virus, woods lamp exam for ringworm and corneal ulcers or other eye trauma, tear production to test for “dry eye”, evaluation of blood pressure, EKG and HR/Pulse Ox (blood oxygen saturation) among many others.
If you have a question regarding any diagnostic test your pet may need or has had in the past, please do not hesitate to ask our staff. We are more than happy to discuss your pets health needs in detail with you at any time!
NOTE: DO NOT EVER GIVE YOUR PET ANY HUMAN PAIN MEDICATION.
Many over the counter pain medications made for human use are metabolized very differently by dogs and cats and can be harmful, even fatal if given.
Arthritis: Geriatric pets often hide the early stages of painful arthritis making it difficult for owners to realize their pet suffers chronic pain. If you see an older pet seemingly slow to rise when they have been laying down, hesitant to climb stairs or jump off low heights or often trembling in the hind quarters when walking or squatting to use the bathroom then it is likely suffering from moderate to severe arthritis pain. If you observe any of these symptoms or have questions about supplements and medications to prevent chronic arthritis pain in geriatric pets you are encouraged to make an appointment to evaluate your pets joint health and if needed, begin steps to increase their comfort.
Injury: When a pet is injured there will almost certainly be pain involved. Regardless of the severity of the injury, it is important to always have an injured pet examined as soon as possible. Various injuries may seem minor at first due to most pets not wanting to openly display pain or weakness because of their instinct to avoid being preyed upon. An injury that appears minor initially can deteriorate quickly without being treated which may ultimately lead to much more expensive treatment costs or worse, declining beyond a point that something can be successfully treated.
Surgery: Few people would undergo any routine surgery without some level of therapeutic pain management. Why should your animal friend be any different? While it is generally accepted that animals have a higher pain tolerance than people, they still can feel and suffer emotional distress from pain. Our routine surgery prices include pain management during and after surgery at no additional cost. If you are scheduling your pet for surgery please ask us to discuss various options for surgical pain management for your pet prior to surgery! A happy pet heals faster!
At Walnut Creek Veterinary Hospital we use high definition digital radiography in both our medical and dental X-Ray studies!
Now, after FDA clearance in 2002, Laser Therapy is being used extensively in both human and veterinary medicine in the United States.
Our therapy laser is used primarily as an option after surgery to stimulate tissue regrowth and minimize inflammation around the incision which can lead to faster healing and reduced scarring from the surgery.
It is also a wonderful tool for certain orthopedic and arthritic conditions helping to reduce the inflammation in various joints and the spinal disk spaces when dogs have back injuries.
The laser is also great for treating infected wounds in pets who have been injured long before seeking treatment or with certain types of bites or stings where venom causes severe tissue damage. The lasers anti inflammatory affects and bacteriostatic properties combined with stimulating tissues to regenerate make it ideal for treating these cases.
Dog and cat micro-chipping is a simple procedure. A doctor or technician simply injects the microchip, about the size of a small grain of rice, beneath the surface of your pets skin between the shoulder blades with a hypodermic needle. The process is similar to a typical shot, takes only a few seconds and your pet will not react any more than he would to a vaccination. No anesthetic is required.
It is not a GPS for your pet, but it does act as a permanent identification method. All pets that are picked up by animal control are scanned to check for microchip identification. It is also standard protocol at all veterinary clinics to scan any stray pet that is brought in. When a pet is scanned and a microchip is present the shelter or clinic will call the company identified by the specific brand of microchip and give the unique ID number assigned to that chip. If the owners have registered that pet with the microchip company, their contact information will then be given to the shelter, animal control facility or veterinary hospital that has found the pet allowing them to promptly contact the owner.
It is VERY important to register your pet once you have the microchip implanted to insure that they are promptly returned to you if they ever get lost. If you have a pet that was microchipped prior to you adopting it or you have since moved and need to make sure the registration information is correctly updated you are welcome to bring that animal in to be scanned so you can be given their unique ID number and a phone number to contact the microchip company responsible for that pets registration.
We use state of the art diagnostic equipment to obtain the information necessary to determine the cause of a patients need for a transfusion and provide us with critical data to help determine what type of transfusion is best for that pet.
Depending on the animals condition, transfusions may be either whole blood from a local donor or fresh frozen plasma from a national veterinary blood bank and kept on hand here at the clinic. Multiple medications are given with each transfusion to minimize the chance of a reaction to the foreign material being introduced into the patients system and insure the best possible outcome for that pet. While there are many risks and possible complications associated with blood transfusions, these procedures are almost always performed in an emergency situation and have proven time and again to be life saving therapies for our patients!
Hospice/End of Life Care
Euthanasia: Often patients of advanced age and/or those in poor health may reach a point where their “quality of life” is no longer sufficient for them to truly remain comfortable or have adequate dignity and their owners may consider humane euthanasia to end their suffering.
The decision to release a beloved pet from the suffering of a failing body is one that ultimately only you as an owner can make but we are always available to help you understand what the process entails as well as answer any questions you may have to ease your mind and heart in making this very difficult decision. We can also perform this service in your home for a reasonable additional fee if you would prefer.
If you are considering euthanasia as an option for a pet in the near future you are welcome to call and schedule an appointment with one of our doctors or technicians to have your questions answered and discuss the specific process beforehand making things easier when, and if the time does come.
Aftercare: In the event that a pet is euthanized or passes away at home, we can assist with several options for aftercare of the pets remains if you would prefer not to bury them at home. We use a local crematory and pet cemetery that can provide both cremation and if desired, internment (burial) services. With cremation services you have the option to have your pets ashes returned to you if you would like and many different presentation urns are available. Prices depend on the pets weight and the specific services you choose.
In our dog kennel we have:
Our Cat Kennel houses: