Gates County Animal Clinic offers a wide range of veterinary services for our patients. Just a few of our wellness and preventive care services are listed below. For more information on these or other services, please call 252-357-2557.
Getting your new puppy or kitten off to a healthy start sets the stage for their lives as healthy adults. Regular physical examinations, core and elective vaccinations, fecal testing for parasites, and deworming are all important elements of ensuring good health for your puppy or kitten. Our knowledgeable staff can help your family learn about potty training your pup, performing nail trims on your puppy or kitten, dietary recommendations, and potential health hazards for your new pet.
Spaying and neutering are additional topics to consider; the appropriate age for the timing of sterilization surgery may vary upon the species and breed of your pet. You may also want to consider Pet Health Insurance – a great way to get your new little family member off to a good start. Last but not least, you’ll also want to consider whether your new puppy or kitten may need preventives such as monthly heartworm prevention and flea/tick preventives. We realize that adding a new family pet can come with lots of questions… but don’t forget, we’re here to help, so please don’t hesitate to call.
Preventive veterinary care is the cornerstone of keeping your pet their healthiest so that you and your pet can have more great years together. Since pets age more quickly than people do, it is critical to have regular physical examinations done to assess your pet’s health. During routine preventive exams, your veterinarian will assess:
- Overall Body Condition
- Heart and Lungs
- Abdominal Organs
- Musculoskeletal System
- Neurologic System
- Urogenital System
- Lymph Nodes
When health problems are identified, a medical plan will be outlined to evaluate the problems in depth. If your pet appears to be healthy enough for routine preventive care, your veterinarian will discuss which immunizations are advised, as well as parasite prevention including heartworm disease, intestinal parasites, and ectoparasites (fleas, ticks, etc.). Annual age-appropriate lab tests, testing for heartworm and/or tick-borne diseases, and fecal tests for parasites may also be recommended for your pet. Finally, your pet’s nutrition, diet, and exercise routines can be assessed and optimized to help your pet be in best physical condition for their lifestyle and age. Remember, keeping up with preventive care for your pet is the best way to keep your pet happy and healthy for life.
We love Senior Pets! Senior pets have special needs and benefit from more regular veterinary visits compared to their younger counterparts. Age-associated conditions include:
- Dental Disease
- Heart Disease
- Liver Disease
- Kidney Disease
- Endocrine Disorders
These conditions will start to become more prevalent as your pet gets older. For this reason, we recommend twice-yearly veterinary visits for pets over 7 years of age. Your aging pet may be showing early signs of osteoarthritis such as stiffness after rest or play, difficulty going up or downstairs, and reduced activity. Early intervention with joint supplements and prescription arthritis medications when indicated, along with modified nutrition and exercise plans, can greatly improve your pet’s comfort and mobility. Likewise, performing annual screening lab work on your older pet can help identify early stages of medical problems that might go unrecognized, and progress significantly without treatment.
Some pets experience age-related behavioral changes that can be a sign of cognitive dysfunction, which is similar in some ways to dementia. Your veterinarian can recommend diet modification and supplements to help improve your older pet’s mental sharpness. Getting older doesn’t have to be fraught with troubles for your pet… see your vet regularly to help keep your senior pet healthy and comfortable.
Pets are a part of our families, and preventing parasite infestations is an important part of keeping them healthy. Both ectoparasites (external parasites) and endoparasites (internal parasites) can affect your pet at some point in their life. Ectoparasites, such as fleas and ticks, are not only a nuisance to your pet, but can transmit vector-borne diseases to humans and pets such as Bartonella (cat scratch disease, transmitted by fleas); Lyme, Anaplasmosis, Ehrlichia, and Rocky Mountain Spotted fever. Fleas can also cause a severe dermatologic condition for your pet resulting in very itchy, inflamed skin, due to flea allergy dermatitis.
Roundworms are the most prevalent endoparasite in pets. Others include hookworms, whipworms, and tapeworms. Pets are typically infected with these parasites through accidental ingestion of parasite eggs (which are microscopic) from areas that have fecal contamination from other infected animals. Alternatively, some parasites are acquired through ingestion of intermediate hosts such as rodents (Taenia tapeworm species; Toxocara roundworm species) or fleas (Dipyllidium tapeworm species). These parasites are also a health risk to humans and are considered zoonotic – meaning they can be transmitted from animals to people. For example, if a person accidentally ingests roundworm eggs, the larvae can migrate in the body and cause organ damage and potentially blindness. Hookworm larvae in the soil and grass can infect bare skin and cause a condition in people known as cutaneous larval migrans.
Heartworm is another important endoparasite, but one which is not zoonotic. Heartworm infections result from pets being bitten by infected mosquitos. The larval form of the heartworm travels through the bloodstream to the heart where it develops into an adult. The adult heartworms live in the right side of the heart and left untreated, result in progressive heart failure and death. In initial stages of heartworm disease, pets may be asymptomatic. As the condition progresses, symptoms may evolve including a cough and exercise intolerance in dogs, and vomiting/coughing in cats. Treatment of heartworm disease can be very risky for the pet, and very costly.
Because of the health risk to your family and pets, it is important to keep your pet on a year-round parasite prevention program. There are several preventives that when used properly, are very effective at greatly reducing the risk of your pet acquiring heartworm disease, intestinal parasites, and tick-transmitted diseases. Additionally, you can help prevent the risk of zoonotic disease to your family by practicing good hygiene (frequent hand washing), avoiding eating unwashed raw vegetables or undercooked meats and cleaning up pet feces in your yard. For more information about pets and parasites, visit petsandparasites.org, and consult with one of our friendly staff!
Dental problems are easily prevented, but if left untreated, they can often lead to larger systemic problems due to oral bacteria entering the bloodstream and damaging the kidneys, heart and liver.
At Gates County Animal Clinic, we provide comprehensive dental exams and cleanings. While the pet is anesthetized, we probe and chart the periodontal pockets. Calculus on the teeth is removed with an ultrasonic scaler; periodontal pockets are cleaned, an antibiotic gel is applied to promote healing; and then the clean teeth are polished.
Dental care does not begin or end at our doors. It is also important for you to provide home dental care and recognize the warning signs of dental disease, which include:
- Bad breath—one of the first signs of dental disease
- A yellowish-brown crust of plaque on the teeth near the gum line
- Red and swollen gums
- Pain or bleeding when your pet eats or when the mouth or gums are touched
- Decreased appetite or difficulty eating
- Loose or missing teeth
Please feel free to talk to our doctors or staff for instruction on how to properly care for your pet’s teeth.
When your pet is sick or injured, they can’t tell us what’s wrong. A thorough physical exam and history (symptoms you’ve noted at home) are the first important steps. If the diagnosis is not immediately evident upon initial assessment, your veterinarian will recommend specific diagnostic tests. These may include:
- Laboratory testing for baseline blood counts and organ function tests, or infectious disease. Blood and/or urine samples may be collected from your pet, for point-of-care testing, or reference lab tests. Point-of-care tests are those tests that are done on-site in our hospital so as to be able to determine results and make treatment recommendations in the most timely fashion possible. In other cases, lab samples may need to be sent off to off-site laboratories (reference laboratories) – when the test cannot be performed with in-hospital lab equipment, or when the test results are not needed urgently.
- Imaging such as x-rays or ultrasound, which allows diagnosis of conditions of the heart and lungs, gastrointestinal obstruction, tumors of the internal organs or bones, fluid in the chest or abdominal cavity, urinary stones or gallstones, reproductive diseases, and bone/joint disorders. For most patients, gentle restraint can be used for these procedures, however, in some cases, sedation may be necessary.
- Microscopy is quite useful in the evaluation of lab samples such as ear swabs, skin impressions and scrapes, and needle biopsies of tumors. These tests are helpful in diagnosis of dermatologic and otic (ear) conditions.
- Ocular conditions may warrant evaluation for tear production (Schirmer Tear Test), corneal injuries (fluorescein stain), or abnormal intra-ocular pressures (Tonometry).
Diagnostic testing is an important step in the development of a treatment plan for your pet, allowing your veterinarian to most effectively target the underlying problem(s) and assess the probability of successful treatment. Your veterinarian can explain the purpose of each diagnostic test for your pet, and help prioritize which tests may be most helpful in determining the cause of your pet’s illness.
When your pet becomes suddenly ill or in event of an emergency, timely diagnostic test results are extremely important to help your veterinarian determine the best treatment plan. We have state-of-the-art in-hospital laboratory equipment capable of yielding lab results within minutes. Baseline laboratory testing for your sick pet may include:
- Determination of blood cell counts: changes in white blood cell count, red blood cell counts, and platelet counts can indicate problems such as anemia, dehydration, infection, auto-immune disease, and certain types of cancerous conditions
- Blood chemistry tests: these tests assess liver function, kidney function, blood sugar, blood proteins, calcium and phosphorus levels, and pancreatic function.
- Electrolyte tests: Sodium, potassium, and chloride levels may be abnormal when your pet is dehydrated or having fluid losses through vomiting or diarrhea. Intravenous fluids and/or supplementation may be indicated when electrolytes are severely deranged.
- SNAP tests: point-of-care “snap” tests are available for certain infectious diseases such as Feline Leukemia and Feline Immunodeficiency Virus, Canine Parvovirus, Giardia, and Leptospirosis.
- Coagulation tests: these tests detect deficiency in clotting disorders, which can be present in cases of certain kinds of rodenticide poisoning and in severe liver disease/failure
- Microscopy: microscopic evaluation of bodily fluids including blood, urine; samples of skin and ear secretions, and needle biopsies of swellings or tumors can be performed in-clinic to assist in the diagnosis of systemic diseases, urinary disorders, skin and ear diseases, and differentiation of benign vs. cancerous tumors.
Our veterinary team will help explain which tests are most important for your pet. It is very important to us to include you in the decision-making process for your pet, so please don’t hesitate to ask a question if you need clarification.
We understand that surgery is not an easy experience for you or your pet. At Gates County Animal Clinic we strive to ensure your pet’s surgical procedure is as comfortable and stress-free as possible. We endeavor to provide our clients with a clear understanding of why a particular procedure is necessary, what the procedure entails, proper post-operative care, and convey any other information you may need to feel comfortable that you are making the right choice for your pet.
We are proud of the quality of surgical care we provide and the wide range of surgical procedures we offer. Beyond spays and neuters, Gates County Animal Clinic performs an array of soft tissue surgeries such as gastrointestinal, spleen, bladder, mass removals, and more.
We believe that identifying and relieving pain is important to the recovery of your pet. Therefore, pain management is an important aspect of our pre-surgical and post-surgical protocols. At discharge, we may send additional pain management medication home with you and your pet after providing a thorough explanation of its proper use and dosage.
Gates County Animal Clinic is able to offer laser surgery for a number of soft tissue procedures such as spays and neuters, mass removals and more. Laser surgery minimizes bleeding, reduces pain and swelling and promotes more rapid healing. When your pet undergoes laser surgery, he or she will face less post-operative pain and discomfort. Laser surgery also is more precise and greatly reduces the risk of infection.
Anesthesia & Monitoring
Anesthesia and cardiovascular monitoring are important, integral aspects of every surgery we perform. For this reason, your pet has access to the best and most advanced anesthetic administration and cardiovascular monitoring equipment and protocols available.
Anesthesia is individualized for your pet based on a number of factors, which includes the type of procedure, his or her preexisting conditions, blood test values, age, breed, and prior anesthetic experience.
During anesthesia and surgery, your pet is constantly monitored by a trained veterinary technician, using our advanced monitoring system. This system continuously monitors your pet’s arterial oxygen level, blood pressure, heart rate, respiratory rate, and core body temperature.
In an emergency, seconds count. When you arrive with your pet on an emergency or urgent care basis, our highly trained staff will perform an immediate triage assessment to assess the stability of your pet and need for emergency medical intervention. In life-threatening situations, you may be asked for consent to perform CPR (cardiopulmonary resuscitation).
The first component of basic triage is assessing your pet’s level of consciousness, airway/breathing (labored breathing or choking, lack of oxygen), circulatory status (pale gums or weak pulses, racing heart), and pain score. Patients needing urgent medical attention, upon consent will be moved to our treatment area for immediate doctor assessment and commencement of emergency care.
Placing an IV catheter and administering IV fluids, giving oxygen supplementation, and pain relief medications may be elements of the initial stabilization of your pet. As your pet is stabilized, your veterinarian will review a diagnostic plan which may include imaging (radiographs, ultrasound) and laboratory evaluation (blood and/or urine tests) to ascertain the severity of the situation and tailor treatment for your pet.
At times, your pet may need advanced care at a referral or specialty center. When this is the case, our staff will discuss options for transfer and referral. Your primary veterinarian will stay abreast of your pet’s status at the emergency facility.
- Microchip Implantation and Identification
- Nutritional Consultations
- Behavior Consultations
- Companion Laser Therapy