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Preventative Health

Courtesy of Elizabeth Warren, RVT

Reasons for spaying and neutering (ovariohysterectomy and castration)

  • Prevention of symptoms of heat
  • Prevention of false pregnancy (pseudopregnancy)
  • Prevention of mismating
  • Prevention of birthing problems
  • Prevention of unwanted litters
  • Prevention of pyometra in females
  • Prevention of reproductive system cancers and related diseases
  • Preventing of roaming and fighting
  • Males can still be as aggressive if neutered if trained to be so.
  • Weight gain can be avoided if exercise is encouraged
  • Females DO NOT need to 'experience' a first litter, there is no scientific or psychological benefit
  • Spaying and neutering can be performed as early as 8 weeks of age and should be done BEFORE they reach sexual maturity

Reasons and methods for having the animal permanently identified

Tattooing – permanent, may be changed by surgical removal or tattooing over, best if done with the animal under light anesthesia or sedation, may not be seen if hair grows over it, needs to be info that can lead to the owner.

Microchip – rice grain sized identification marker that is placed under the skin, usually between the shoulder blades and is read by a scanner for identification of a patient number. The number must be tracked to the proper company and the owner notified. Most shelters scan for these.

Docking, notching, tipping – surgically removing tissue to create a scar or absence of tissue for identification (often used in feral cats for easy identification at a distance). Techniques may vary.

Freezing – often used in large animal identification, freeze branding using liquid nitrogen to permanently alter the hair follicles and cause the hair to change color

Burn branding – Hot irons are used to burn the flesh and permanently scar the hide; can be “burned over” to change the brand.

Behavior – Well Care

  • Behavior issues are the number one reason pets are surrendered to animal shelters. Programs that may help avoid this are:
    • Puppy/kitten classes – handling experience, basic grooming (brush, toenails, etc.) critical socialization for pets age 4-12 weeks
    • Training classes – behavior training or modification (housebreaking, appropriate play, crate training, dominance exercises to prevent aggression, etc.) learning basic theory and commands (verbal, clicker, or hand)
    • Problem resolution – one on one or small group sessions directed towards specific behaviors (barking, digging, marking, new child/adult/pet, etc.)
    • Behavior consultation – appointment with veterinarian and/or behavior experts to address/resolve problem behaviors or resistant problem behaviors (use after all other programs above have been unsuccessful)

Dental Home Care

*A complete oral examination should be done at each routine office visit. Dental prophylaxis should be done at their earliest onset of any notable gingivitis, plaque, tartar, or other problems.

ActionUseDescriptionExamples of Products
BrushingRemoval of plaque accumulation Daily – twice weekly using pet approved dentifrice and toothbrushes/finger gauzeCET, Virbac dentifrice
Gel/RinsePromotes enamel strength/integrity; Controls microbial populations; Aids in healing gumsMay contain fluoride, chlorhexidine, zinc ascorbate, or other compounds dependant on the function to be used forCHX Gel, Maxi-Guard, others
Dental SealantsCoats teeth semi permanently to slow plaque accumulationApplied in the Veterinary Hospital followed by applications by client or hospitalPro-V-Seal
Dental chews (edible)Enzymatically debride plaqueUse if brushing is not regular (not as an alternative to brushing!)Chew-eez, CET chews, etc.
Dental chews (non-edible)Mechanically debride plaque and tartarRope toys, rawhides, large fresh bones (do not use if dry or brittle), NylaboneMany
Dental dietsMechanically debride plaque and tartarSpecial fiber composition, shape, etc. discourage plaque accumulationsHill's T/D

Grooming Basics

Hair coat: should be brushed as often as needed for the breed type. Typically the longer the hair the more frequent the brushing

  • Brushing helps remove dead hair and skin and helps minimize mats
  • Brushing helps get air to the skin and minimize moist dermatitis
  • Brushing helps improve your relationship with your pet
  • Routine grooming may help you identify early disease or changes with your pet
  • Brushing is extremely important in cats, both long and short hair to help avoid hairballs

Toe nails/hooves: should be trimmed regularly if the pet is not able to keep them short on its own.

  • Toenails/hooves should not be curled sideways, upwards, or splitting lengthwise
  • Routine observation of the toenails/hooves may help you detect early disease or nutritional problems
  • When trimming, trim to the 'shiny' quick. For best results have a trained groomer or veterinary technician show you how until you are ready.
  • The darker the nail, the more difficult to assess the location of the quick (nail bed)
  • Always have “quik stop” or some other method to stop the bleeding if you over cut.

Nutrition Counseling

Proper nutrition is essential for a long and healthy life (Nutrition section is pending). The client may be counseled about the following:

  • Proper feeding of growing pets
  • Adult maintenance diets
  • Body condition scoring
  • Evaluating pet foods (interpreting labels)
  • Home prepared and alternative diets
  • Feeding the breeding animal
  • Weight loss/weight control
  • Feeding geriatric animals
  • Feeding for specific medical conditions

Parasite Control

Generic (active ingredient)Trade Name(s)Route/FrequencyEfficacy
Fipronil + methopreneFrontline +Topical/monthlyAdult fleas and ticks
ImidaclopridAdvantageTopical/monthlyAdult fleas
IvermectinHeartgardPO/monthlyHeartworm preventative
Ivermectin + pyrantelHeartgard+PO/monthlyHeartworm preventative, also effective against hooks and rounds
LufeneronProgramSC, PO/monthlyInterrupts flea life cycle. Does not kill adult fleas
MilbemycinInterceptorPO/monthlyHeartworm preventative, also effective against hooks, rounds, and whipworms
MoxidectinProheart 6SC/q 6 monthsHeartworm preventative
NitenpyramCapstarPO/q 24 hoursAdult fleas
Pyrethrins (permethrin)Many insect sprays and over the counter flea/tick spot-onsTopical/monthly **Use with caution in catsInsects
SelamectinRevolutionTopical/monthlyDogs: Adult and developing fleas, heartworms, ear mites, sarcoptic mange Cats: also controls hookworm and roundworms

VACCINATIONS

*Vaccine schedules and protocols vary from practice to practice and are dependent on label recommendations and veterinarian-established procedures. Check your hospital's vaccine protocol for definitive information. MLV = modified live virus; DOI = duration of immunity

Common vaccinations for canines (dogs)
DiseaseFormsPuppy ScheduleBooster ScheduleNotes
Canine distemper virusMLV Recombinant2, 3, and 4 months of ageAnnualBooster every 3 years may be recommended based on recent DOI studies
Canine adenovirus-2 (CAV-2)MLV Killed2, 3, and 4 months of ageAnnualVaccine provides cross protection against CAV-1 (infectious hepatitis)
Parainfluenza virusMLV2, 3, and 4 months of ageAnnual 
Bordetella bronchisepticaKilled (parenteral)6-8 weeks, then 10-12 weeks of ageAnnual Optional vaccine: may not be as effective as intranasal
Bordetella bronchiseptica + parainfluenza + adenovirus-2Live, avirulent + MLV (intranasal)One dose, 8 weeks of age or olderAnnualRecommended for dogs at risk of exposure to the pathogens
Canine parvovirusMLV, killed2, 3, and 4 months of ageAnnualBooster every 3 years may be recommended based on recent DOI studies
Borrelia burgdorferi (Lymes)Killed, recombinant9-12 weeks, then 2-4 weeks laterAnnualOnly recommended for dogs with known high risk of exposure (regional prevalence)
Corona virusMLV, killedEvery 2-4 weeks until 12 weeks of ageAnnualRoutine vaccination not justified by incidence/severity clinical disease
Leptospira canicola + icterohaemorrhagiae, also available with grippotyphosa + pomonaKilled12 weeks (not less) and 16 weeksAnnual, possible every 6 months for dogs at significant risk of exposureOptional vaccine-risk of adverse reactions is high in young and small breed dogs (anecdotal evidence)
GiardiaKilled8 weeks (not less) and 2-3 weeks laterAnnualNot recommended for routine use-prevents shedding of oocyts but not infection
RabiesKilled3-4 months of age, then 1 year later as statues requireAs statutes require in state, county, cityRequired vaccine-administration is governed by local statues; check the law in your area
. DOI = duration of immunization

Common vaccinations for felines (cats)
DiseaseFormsKitten ScheduleBooster ScheduleNotes
Panleukopenia virus (feline distemper/feline parvovirus)MLV (parenteral) MLV (topical) adjuvanted inactivated (parenteral)Every 2-4 weeks between 6-12 weeks of ageOne year after initial series, then every 3 years 
Herpesvirus and calicivirusMLV (parenteral, topical), adjuvanted inactivated (parenteral)Every 3-4 weeks between 6-12 weeks of ageOne year after initial series, then every 3 yearsTopical may be preferred for cats in high-risk environments such as shelters
Feline leukemia virus (FeLV)Adjuvanted, non-adjuvanted (parenteral)Two doses 3-4 weeks apart, 8 weeks of age or olderAnnualRecommended for cats not restricted to an indoor only, FeLV negative environment; not recommended for cats older than 4 months with minimal exposure
Chlamydia psittaciMLV, adjuvanted inactivated (Parenteral)Two doses 3-4 weeks apart. 9 weeks of age or olderAnnualNot recommended for routine use-may be useful as part of a program to control symptomatic clinical disease in multi-cat environments
Feline Infectious Peritonitis (FIP)MLV (topical)Two doses 3-4 weeks apart, 16 weeks of age or olderAnnualNot recommended for routine use-evidence does not support vaccine efficacy
Microsporum canisAdjuvanted inactivated (parenteral)First dose at 16 weeks of age or older, second dose 12-16 days later; third dose 26-30 days laterNot definedNot recommended for routine use-may be useful as part of a program to control symptomatic clinical disease
Bordetella bronchisepticaMLV (intranasal)One dose to cats 4 weeks of age or olderNot definedNot recommended for routine use-may be useful as part of a program to control symptomatic clinical disease in multi-cat environments. Vaccine is NOT the same as canine-do NOT use canine vaccine for felines
GiardiaAdjuvanted inactivated8 weeks (not less) and 2-3 weeks laterAnnualNot recommended for routine use-may be useful as part of a program to control symptomatic clinical disease in multi-cat environments
RabiesAdjuvanted inactivated, recombinant3-4 months of age, then 1 year later as statues, counties, cities requireAs statues require (annual, every 3 years, etc.)Required vaccine-administration is governed by local statues; check the law in your area.

Courtesy of Elizabeth Warren, RVT

The Nerd Book
The VSPN Nerdbook was created by veterinary technicians and veterinary support staff for their colleagues. The Nerdbook provides information that veterinary technicians and support staff need in practice, but is not meant to contain everything. Procedures and policies vary among practices, so feel free to modify your Nerdbook fit your facility.
Volume One
Contributors
Introduction
Clinical Pathology
Critical Care - Triage
Emergency-Receptionist tips
Medical Calculations
Medical Records
Medical Terminology
Pharmacology
Physical Exam
You are herePreventative Health
Radiology

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