How often does my pet need a Rabies vaccination? The first Rabies vaccine your pet receives is good for one year. Subsequent canine Rabies vaccinations immunize your pet for 1- 3 years depending upon the vaccine your pet receives. Dogs are required under Virginia State Law to be vaccinated against Rabies. For cats, we use feline-exclusive rabies vaccines, which are good for one year.

What is heartworm protection and how many months should my pet be on heartworm prevention medication? Heartworm disease is a serious disease transmitted by infected mosquitoes and, if left untreated can be fatal. Heartworm prevention is administered once a month either orally or topically. Depending on the specific product you and your veterinarian choose for your pet, heartworm prevention medication can prevent other parasite infestations including internal parasites (worms) and external parasites (fleas and ticks). In accordance with the guidelines of the American Heartworm Society, we recommend all dogs and cats be given year round (12 months) heartworm prevention regardless of lifestyle.

Why does my dog need a blood test before purchasing heartworm prevention? Your dog will need a simple blood test for heartworm disease on an annual basis. Dogs could get sick (vomiting, diarrhea, and/or death) if placed on heartworm prevention when they have heartworm disease. Even if they have been on heartworm prevention year round there is always the possibility that the product may have failed for various reasons (your pet spit out the pill, did not absorb the pill appropriately, topical medicine was not applied properly, forgot to administer medication on time, etc.) and the earlier we can treat your pet for heartworm disease the better the prognosis. Some companies will guarantee their product providing you use the heartworm prevention year round and are performing yearly heartworm tests. When starting heartworm prevention, it is important that you perform an initial heartworm test.

My pet never goes outside so does it really need heartworm prevention? Yes. Heartworm disease is transmitted by the bite of a mosquito, and all mosquitoes can get into houses.

Doesn’t the fecal sample test for heartworms? No. Heartworm disease is a blood-borne disease that is transmitted through mosquitoes. A simple blood test will confirm whether or not your dog has heartworm disease. The fecal tests for intestinal parasites.

How can I prevent fleas? It is important to prevent fleas. We recommend all dogs and cats be given a monthly flea preventive regardless of lifestyle from April through December. Not only are they uncomfortable for your pet, but Fleas are also carriers of disease, such as tapeworms. There are many medications for the treatment and prevention of fleas. Ask us for more information!

Why does my pet need a dental cleaning and how often should this be done? Many of the pets that visit us on a regular basis need professional teeth cleaning. When bacteria irritate the gum line, the gums become inflamed in the early stages of dental disease causing gingivitis. Left untreated, this leads to periodontal disease, which causes the loss of the bone and gingival support structure of the tooth and subsequent tooth loss. Also, the bacteria are consistently released into the blood stream allowing for systemic infections, which can cause damage to internal organs, such as the kidneys, liver, and heart. A dental exam is a part of any physical exam at Healing With Heart Veterinary Care.

Do I need to brush my pet’s teeth at home? Yes. Proper dental care at home is highly recommended to help maintain the oral health of your dog and cat. At-home dental care for companion animals should start early, even before the adult teeth emerge. It is best if owners brush their dogs and cats teeth frequently. Although toothbrushing is the best method of preventing plaque, calculus, and bacterial build-up, there are many options for at-home dental care. Other oral at-home care options such as dental formulated foods, water additives, and dental treats can be considered just make sure to discuss it with us first.