What to expect during your pet’s annual visit at Aina Haina Veterinary Clinic

Just like us humans, prevention or early detection is always easier, cheaper, and therefore better for patients than treatment. We at Aina Haina Veterinary Clinic are putting special focus on preventative care so that we can keep your fur babies as healthy as possible, as long as possible. Continue reading to find out more about what you can expect during your pet’s wellness visit with us. Following are the 5 key components of preventative care in dogs and cats offered at Aina Haina Veterinary Clinic:

  1. Thorough physical exam
  2. Vaccinations
  3. Diagnostic tests
  4. Prevention against parasites
  5. Teaming up with the pet owner

Call us at (808) 453-5000 now to book an appointment to get started. Otherwise continue reading to learn more about each component.

1. Annual/Semi-annual wellness physical exam

Wellness physical examinations performed by our experienced veterinarians are the first opportunity to evaluate your pet’s medical history and identify potential health problems. We will record what is normal for your pet when they are healthy so we’ll be able to recognize differences when they are ill. Physical examinations often allow us to detect abnormalities that may be missed otherwise, and to make specific recommendations for your pet that can lead to either early detection of, or even better, prevention of diseases down the line.
In general, we recommend annual visits (once a year) for healthy young adults (1 – 5 years), and semi-annual visits (twice a year) for our middle aged to senior pets (5+ years). We recommend more frequent visits to our elderly pets as their health status and needs can change more quickly with time. Puppies and kittens are recommended to visit us once a month when they hit 2 months old until around 4 months of age in order to make sure we vaccinate them for potentially life-threatening diseases.

2. Vaccinations

Just like humans, development of vaccines gives us an amazing opportunity to protect adorable puppies and kittens from deadly diseases they may otherwise be vulnerable to. When they are first born, they receive their first protective antibodies from their mother through milk shortly after birth, which serve to prevent infectious diseases. At some point, however, these maternal antibodies against disease disappear, leaving puppies and kittens vulnerable to infection. The timing of when these maternal antibodies disappear varies from each individual, which is why we recommend vaccinating them several times between 8 and 16 weeks of age. After puppy/kitten vaccine series is complete, most vaccines are recommended throughout their adulthood based on their lifestyle and risks. Click here to learn more about common vaccines given in dogs and cats.

3. Diagnostic tests (Labwork, X-rays, and Ultrasound)

Even though detailed physical examinations are a great way to identify potential health risks for your pets, they often don’t paint the whole picture. Routine blood work, fecal test, urine test, and diagnostic imaging (X-ray and ultrasound) are excellent ways to take a peek at how your pet is doing internally, looking at various organ systems such as kidneys, livers, heart, lungs, and gastrointestinal tract. Our specific recommendations for your pet will be based on clinical signs observed at home, physical examination findings, and age. Typical diagnostic tests recommended on annuals/semi-annual visits include:

  • Young adults (1-4 years) – Fecal test for internal parasites and blood test for heartworm (dogs only)
  • Adults (4-7 years) – Tests above + early disease detection tests
  • Seniors (7+ years) – Tests above + urine test +/- diagnostic imaging

Click here to learn more about diagnostic tests offered at Aina Haina Veterinary Clinic.

4. Prevention against parasites (ticks, fleas, heartworm, and internal parasites)

Unknown to us, your pets could be hosting various types of parasites both internally and externally, and some of them can pose serious health risks to themselves as well as you the owner! Because of this, Aina Haina Veterinary Clinics takes prevention against these parasites very seriously and will make specific recommendations that best fits your pets’ needs. Common parasites we encounter in Hawaii includes:
TIcks and Fleas – Fleas can cause anemia (low red blood cells) as well as itchiness and general annoyance to your dog and cats. Fleas also harbor tapeworms, an internal parasite. Ticks can transmit severe diseases such as Lyme and Anaplasmosis. All pets in the household should be on flea/tick prevention year-round because fleas can live indoors even in the winter months.

Heartworm – Canine heartworm disease develops when a dog is bitten by a mosquito carrying microscopic heartworm larvae. These larvae migrate to the important arteries by the heart and grow into adults. They can cause severe lung disease, and ultimately cause heart failure and death. Heartworm disease is easy to prevent but very difficult to treat. Heartworm prevention should be started early in your puppy and should be continued year-round. It is ideal to have your dog tested for heartworm disease every year, starting at 6-12 months of age. It is uncommon for canine heartworm to infect cats, but is possible and similar preventative measures are recommended for them as well.

Internal parasites – Many puppies and kittens get intestinal parasites from their mother and/or their environment. Some of these are contagious to humans and pose a particular risk to children. A fresh fecal sample should be brought to every annual/semi-annual visit. One negative fecal exam does not rule out parasites because they will not be seen in every sample!

5. Teaming up with YOU (the pet owner)

As you can see above, there are A LOT of things that need to be considered in order to keep your pets happy and healthy. And none of them would be effective unless we get YOUR COOPERATION as caring, proactive pet parents. Our team of veterinary professionals at Aina Haina Veterinary Clinic, from the receptionist and technicians to the veterinarians, will work with you to make sure you are clear on what is being recommended for your pet, and most importantly, WHY they are being recommended so we can do our best to detect disease early, or even better, prevent them right from the beginning. When you bring your pet to us, please ask us questions and join us to play a key role in maintaining the health of your cherished furry family members.

Ready to start taking preventative care to the next level for your pets? Call us at (808) 453-500 now to book an appointment to get started.