Examinations and Vaccinations

Regular Examinations

What do we do when you bring your pet to visit us for an examination?

We check your pets:

  • Eyes
  • Ears
  • Teeth
  • Coat
  • Heart
  • Lungs
  • Skin
  • Lymph Nodes
  • Joints
  •  Abdomen (Belly)
  • We may even ask your pet to walk, stand or run.

However, even the most thorough exam can’t tell us if everything is healthy on the inside. We may ask to do one, two or perhaps an intricate variety of tests to help us see the whole picture.

Blood Tests: Blood work, also referred to as a chemistry panel or profile, allows a view of organ function. Different tests are used to evaluate different organs. Discovering small changes early, before signs of illness appear in your pet, can allow us to help you create a proactive plan to protect your pet’s health and quality of life. Some types of blood tests require your pet to fast for 12-24 hours before the blood collection.

Urine Tests: A urinalysis is an evaluation of your pet’s urine. Changes in the acidity and the appearance of cells in the urine can indicate ongoing disease. A urine test may indicate kidney or bladder disease but can also detect other common diseases like diabetes and cushing’s disease.

Fecal Testing: Fecal testing is the evaluation of your pet’s feces under a microscope. Common parasites – better known as worms – include roundworms, hookworms and coccidia. While you might not see these worms  in your pet’s stool, special preparation and testing of the sample will allow us to find worm eggs and larvae, which are sure indicators of a parasite infection.

Thyroid Testing: The thyroid gland is a small gland found in the neck. Cats and dogs, and people too, depend on their gland to control their metabolism and maintain good health as well as control how sensitive the body is to other hormones. As cats age, they become more likely to develop hyperthyroidosm, or “overactive thyroid”; the thyroid gland produces too much thyroid hormone. This can result in weight loss, loss of condition, heart disease and kidney disease. Dogs tend to become hypothyroid or have an “underactive thyroid”; the thyroid gland isn’t able to produce enough thyroid hormone to maintain a normal metabolic rate. These dogs gain weight and often their coats start to become thin and dry. Serious medical concerns can arise if either of these conditions is left untreated.

Pets age differently than Humans! Our pets age much faster than we do. Cats and dogs go through the terrible twos and may even enter their teens before they are 12 months of age! Visiting your veterinarian annually is the equivalent of you going to the doctor just once every five to ten years. This is why many veterinarians recommend regular exams every six months.


The need for pet vaccinations

Vaccines are a breakthrough in medicine and an invaluable shield to help your pet stay strong and healthy by protecting them from diseases. Vaccines work by training the immune system to respond quickly when confronted by a specific disease. The animal’s rapid response to exposure to this disease reduces the severity of the illness, prevents possible death and speeds up recovery. By vaccinating your pet to the major common ailments, you are helping to boost their immune systems.

Vaccines are not only superb protection against disease for your pet but also for the pet’s human family and neighboring animals. They help the animal’s immune system to build up a highly effective defense against otherwise deadly diseases.

Types of Vaccinations: “Core” and “Non-core”

“Core” vaccines are based upon diseases that are a serious health risk to the pet and the human, and can be fatal. These important vaccines need to be administered to all dogs and cats. The vaccinations for dogs include canine adenovirus type 2 (CAV-2), canine parvovirus (CPV), canine distemper virus (CDV), and rabies virus. For cats, the important “core” vaccines are feline parvovirus, feline calicivirus, feline viral rhinotracheitis and rabies virus.

“Non-core” vaccines are vaccines that are recommended for pets when certain conditions are present. These vaccines are not necessary for all pets and the criteria for their administration is based on the animal’s lifestyle, health and the geography that they live in – certain areas expose them to region-specific viruses. Examples of the kinds of diseases that “non-core” vaccines build a defense for are: lyme’s disease, kennel cough, and feline leukemia.

Is it time for your pet’s vaccination and which vaccines should be given?

The best advice for your pet’s vaccination and health can be given by the veterinarian who examines your pet. The veterinarian is your most valuable resource for tailoring your pet’s vaccination and check-up program.

Through knowledge and examining your pet, we can help you to decide when it is time for the next vaccination session and how frequently your pet should be vaccinated in the future. When your pet is examined the veterinarian can recommend which vaccines are best suited.

Advancement of medical research and vaccinations:

International and local veterinary medicine recommendations on vaccinations are available on the internet and through various publications. Veterinarians in the province of Ontario, are supported by the Ontario Veterinary College (OVC). The OVC recommendations for the vaccination of young pets is to have a complete set of vaccines and full booster in the first year and to have subsequent vaccinations thereafter, depending on your pet’s needs.

The Centre Street Animal Hospital in Thornhill follows the latest protocols as determined by the OVC, in conjunction with the research findings of local and international veterinary medicine studies. Any modifications that are made in medicine to update current recommendations are made with caution, to ensure that vaccinations with long-term clinically tested data are not discontinued before the newer vaccines are fully understood.

By maintaining awareness of the recommendations made by the veterinary associations, and analyzing the data that supports the recommendations, our vet clinic can ensure that your pet is receiving a very effective, soundly tested vaccination protocol to protect them and their human family.

Lifestyle factors are important to consider when designing the vaccination protocol for your pet:

  • Is your pet mainly indoors or outdoors or both?
  • Does your pet travel with you? Where do you travel to?
  • Is your pet surrounded by other pets in the home?

Based on the information gathered from these questions and others, our clinic will customize a combination of the following vaccines and remind you when your pet should return to receive their next vaccination dose.

Vaccination and Examination: A combined benefit

The visit to the veterinarian for your pet’s vaccination involves more than just receiving the vaccines. We will investigate your pet’s health, past history and examine your pet. A complete examination helps us to detect signs of disease and includes checking the eyes, ears, teeth, skin, coat, abdomen, heart and lungs. The animal’s weight is also a good indication of their health and will be assessed. Your pet’s visit will determine their overall health and if any signs of illness are detected they can be treated right away. This vaccination and check-up session is also a good opportunity for you to mention any concerns and questions you may have and gain the advice of your veterinarian and health care team.

Are you planning on traveling with your pet? Your pet may need special vaccinations!

It is important to discuss any travel plans you may have that involve your pet with your veterinarian. Pets, like humans, are susceptible to contracting serious illnesses when exposed to a different environment. Other countries may also have specific vaccination and health guidelines that you and your pet must follow to gain entry to the country. Ask us for more information or consult the Canadian Food Inspection Agency and the Government of Canada Animal Health Office for more information about out-of-country vaccination regulations.