We at Burke Forest believe the number one thing every pet needs is a good annual check up. While most of us remember to take their pet in for their vaccines, the annual comprehensive exam is still the most important part. At each annual exam we will ask you questions about your pets history. Things like diet, appetite, urinary and fecal habits, coughing, sneezing, or change in thirst help give us clues into your pets health. Where you pet lives, who they live with and where you may travel helps us guide you as to which vaccinations or preventative treatments may be important. The doctor will also preform a comprehensive physical exam. While the doctor does each exam, they check all the major body systems. While sometimes it looks (*and hopefully feels) like a good massage, the doctor is checking lymph nodes, abdominal palpation, listening to heart, looking for growths or masses. The history and exam allow us to comfortably make the best recommendations to keep your pet's optimum health and comfort.
A great start for both kittens and puppies begins with care during the gestation period. We can give you advice on making a nest for your expectant pet, nutritional preparation, and worming and disease prevention.
Core vaccinations are vital to all cats and dogs. Non-core vaccinations depend on your pet’s environment and lifestyle. Dr. Osten and Dr. Bowles can recommend which vaccinations are best for your pet's needs. We are currently recommended an extended vaccine protocol for most vaccinations.
For cats, the core vaccinations are:
The rabies vaccine is the only vaccination required by law for all cats. After being vaccinated, each cat will receive a tag number and a vaccination certificate. We recommend the PurVax 1 year Rabies vaccine for its reduced cancer risk. This vaccine will need to be booster annually.
Feline Distemper Combination Vaccine:
This includes protection against Panleukopenia (Feline Distemper)virus, a lethal virus that can infect your cat’s digestive tract, and two potentially fatal respiratory viruses: Rhinotracheitis and Calici Virus. It is given every 3 years and is recommended for every cat.
For cats, the non-core vaccinations are:
Feline Leukemia Virus:
This vaccine is recommended for cats that go outdoors, or that contact cats that go outdoors. When necessary, this vaccine is given annually.
For dogs, the core vaccinations are:
The rabies vaccine is the only vaccination required by law for all dogs. After being vaccinated, each dog will receive a tag number and a certificate which you can send in to your local county to get your dog license. The canine rabies vaccine will be a 1 year vaccine the first time, and every 3 years after that.
Canine Distemper Combination Vaccine:
Canine Distemper combination vaccination includes protection against Canine Distemper, Hepatitis, Leptospirosis, Parvovirus, and Parainfluenza virus. It is given every 3 years after the initial series. We recommend this for all dogs. If your dog likes to swim, hike, or drink from every rain puddle we recommend the Leptospirosis portion of the vaccine be boostered annually. Leptospirosis is a bacterial infection spread through urine contamination of water. It is zoonotic (spreading from animals to people) and can be fatal for multiple specieis. It typically affects the liver, kidney, or both depending on the strain.
For dogs, the non-core vaccinations are:
This vaccination protects against one of the important microbes that causes “ Kennel Cough”, a mixed bacterial and viral infection of the respiratory system. Common symptoms include coughing and gagging. Kennel Cough is highly contagious; the vaccine is recommended for all dogs who visit kennels, grooming facilities, parks, or doggie daycare. Puppies are highly susceptible. It is recommended annually for dogs at risk, but can be boostered every 6 months for those pets who are at the highest risk.
Canine Influenza (CIV:
CIV vaccination provides protection against a highly contagious strain of influenza, a virus known as H3N8. This canine “flu” virus causes upper respiratory disease. 80% of infected dogs suffer nasal discharge, lethargy, loss of appetite, persistent cough and fever. Typically we only offer this vaccine for those whose boarding kennels require it. We will continue to monitor this virus and its movements and adjust our recommendation appropriately.
Lyme vaccine provides protection against the Lyme bacteria, which is transmitted by ticks that are commonly found most of the U.S., including Virginia. Common symptoms include lethargy, swollen joints and fever. This vaccine is recommended for all dogs that are exposed to ticks, which thrive in areas of vegetation. Good flea and tick prevention is the first line of defense. We recommend monthly flea and tick prevention. The vaccine will help protect animals who are exposed.
Maintaining Lifetime Health
Spaying and Neutering
Unless you plan to breed your pet, we recommend having it spayed or neutered in order to prevent behavioral problems and help reduce the tragic scene at animal shelters of putting unwanted dogs and cats to sleep. For small breeds, we recommend spaying and neutering at 6 months of age. For large breed females, we recommend spaying at 6-8 months of age. For large breed males, current evidence suggests that delaying the procedure may protect their bones and joints. We recommend neutering large breeds between 1-2 years.
Parasite Control is important in order to keep your pet free of internal and external parasites, such as worms, fleas, and ticks.
We recommend year round heartworm and flea/tick medication. Heartworms are spread by mosquitos which can live in basements and under porches even in our harshest winter. We recommend Heartguard monthly. We advocate for once a year heartworm testing. Our in house test screens for heartworms, Lyme disease, and two other tick borne infections.
For flea and tick prevention, we offered oral Nexgard or topical Advantix.