The Importance Of Preventive Medicine

Often you may wonder why your veterinarian recommends diagnostics for your pet when he or she seems healthy. Things are not always what they seem. Pets can be very stoic when it comes to showing signs of illness, and often by the time a disease is diagnosed, there is irreversible organ damage. Just as we see our doctor for annual visits and screenings, we recommend the same quality of care for our four legged friends. Animals age much faster than people do, reaching the equivalent of 50 human years by age 7 for dogs or age 10 for cats. If your pet only comes to see us for his or her annual visit, it is like you going to see your doctor only once every 7 years!

We wanted to share the stories of a few of our patients in which diagnostics revealed some surprising discoveries.

We had been seeing Malekai, a five-year old American Eskimo adopted from a rescue, since January of 2012. He had always been a very sweet mellow guy – never excitable, and we just thought that was his personality. His owners never noticed anything out of the ordinary at home. He seemed like a normal healthy Eskimo, though quiet. Then unexpectedly in September of 2012 Malekai ended up in the emergency room when he started coughing and retching at home. A radiograph revealed a large dense object in his stomach, so he came to see us the next morning to have it removed. It turned out to be a large rock of a type the owners did not have in their yard. A few days later, after having the rock removed, the owners reported they now knew Malekai’s real personality. While he was still as sweet as ever, he was also now an energetic, bouncy Eskimo. Chances are the rock had been in his stomach causing him discomfort well before he even came to be adopted, and he had just been dealing with it all this time. Had radiographs been taken earlier, we could have saved Malekai a lot of discomfort and saved his owners a trip to the emergency room.

Leilani, a nine-year old West Highland Terrier had been coming to see us for acupuncture for pain and difficulty walking. Acupuncture greatly improved her mobility and relieved her pain and she began to act like a puppy again. During the initial acupuncture evaluation, Dr. Miller recommended radiographs of her spine and pelvis to rule out cancer or spinal instability. None was found, but there were questionable images around the heart, so we sent the images for a consult. Later when Leilani needed a dental cleaning, we added a heart test to the usual pre-anesthetic panel, and since significant abnormalities were found, the dental was delayed to allow for an examination by a cardiologist. Fortunately the heart valve changes were found when they were considered minor, so the dental can proceed with peace of mind. And we can monitor Leilani’s heart at her regular visits.

Phuket, a ten year old Siamese, had not seen a veterinarian in a few years because he seemed very healthy and active at home. Since he was a senior patient, Dr. Miller recommended blood work and radiographs to get an overall picture of his health. As it turned out, Phuket had early thyroid disease and some pancreatic changes which were cleverly disguised behind his healthy active appearance. At the early pre-sympton stage, his thyroid disease was already causing early heart damage. We developed a plan to manage his thyroid disease and monitor his heart. Since the thyroid disease was caught early, it is very treatable and has not done any significant damage yet. Now, a few weeks later, after having his dental, Phuket is doing wonderful and even more active than before!

Boss, a four-year old Shih-Tzu mix came to see us in October for a new patient exam. His owners said he hadn’t been himself off and on since they moved here in July. He had been to another clinic and had multiple laboratory tests run, but all results were inconclusive. Boss had been taking antibiotics, but only had temporary improvement. He continued to be lethargic and listless at home with a decreased appetite. Dr. Miller recommended some follow-up tests to see if anything had changed or was clearer. While using the ultrasound to obtain a urine sample, stones were noticed in his bladder. We performed a surgery to remove the stones and started him on a prescription diet to help keep them from reoccurring. In less than a week, Boss was more energetic than he had been in a very long time.

These are just a few of the interesting cases we’ve seen in the last quarter. In honor of the importance of these diagnostic procedures we will be offering a diagnostic special in January that can be applied to any of your pets, young and old. This special includes a comprehensive blood panel that screens liver, kidney, pancreatic and thyroid function as well as a urinalysis. Radiographs of the chest and abdomen will be done that can highlight potential heart disease, cancer or other abnormalities. These radiographs will be reviewed by a board certified radiologist and we’ll send home a digital copy of for your records. We will also do an electrocardiogram and blood pressure to help evaluate heart function. Dr. Miller will review the lab and radiograph findings with you and do a comprehensive physical exam on your pet which will include a lifestyle, weight and nutritional assessment. She will also address any questions or concerns you may have. Please call us today if you would like to set an appointment and take advantage of this special.

January Special: Pet Wellness Screening
Canine & Feline, $357
(A savings of over $500!)

  • Extended Physical Exam
  • Comprehensive Blood Panel & Urinalysis
  • Radiographs (3 views of thorax & 2 views of abdomen)
  • Radiograph Review by Certified Radiologist & Digital Copy
  • Electrocardiogram and Blood Pressure
  • Weight & Lifestyle Assessment
  • Nutritional Counseling

February Special: Pet Dental Health Month
15% Off
Our Regular Dental Cleaning
(Excludes blood work, extractions & medications)
And if you took advantage of our January Special, we will use the lab results from that and not have to add pre-anesthetic blood work!