Annual Senior Pet Wellness Examinations
We highly recommend regular annual comprehensive physical and dental examinations for your pet.
We are happy to offer at our veterinary hospital laser therapy which provides a non-invasive, drug free approach to pain management, wound healing and rehabilitation for those pets with arthritic conditions.
Call us at 239-353-5060 for an immediate appointment during regular business hours.
We offer a wide variety of Pet Grooming services to pamper or maintain your pets appearance and hygiene.
We use a 4” Schick Digital Radiographic Plate system that allows us to use digital x-ray technology to evaluate your pet’s dental x-rays almost immediately. Since the crown of the tooth only makes up 40% of the tooth, visualizing the roots of your pet’s teeth allows us to evaluate the whole dental arcade and not just what is visible above the gum line. By identifying dental pathologies early, we can treat your pet during the same dental procedure, reducing the need for another sedated treatment.
We also employ an Eklin Digital Radiography via a Merge Healthcare eFilm Workstation to evaluate larger body areas like the chest, abdomen and limbs. Digitized radiographs are available for immediate review by our doctors. We can also email your pet’s radiographs to Board Certified Radiologists and other specialists for second opinions if needed. These digital images are evaluated through the use of state-of-the-art computer technology to facilitate timely diagnosis and treatment. We also store our radiographs digitally for easy access and evaluation when we compare current views with studies we have performed in the past on your pet. These comparisons enhance our ability to detect subtle changes that may occur over time, allowing us to monitor treatments and diagnose disease processes earlier.
Regularly scheduled physical examinations are important for prevention, early diagnosis and treatment of diseases. Early diagnosis of organ failure through annual blood work, especially decreased kidney function, allows us to make mild adjustments to your pet’s diet instead of immediate hospitalization due to a crisis in function. Use of the 4DX Snap Test allows us to screen your dog not only for heartworm disease, but the three more common tick diseases seen in Naples, Florida. Fecal testing for not only the eggs to parasites, but the proteins the adult parasites release in a stool sample, help us identify an intestinal parasite infection before we see symptoms of bloody diarrhea, mucous, weight loss or poor growth. Yearly exams are a very important part of an overall pet healthcare plan. We not only examine your pet, but through our records, we can note small changes and monitor trends in your pet’s health. Noting those trends, we can suggest adjustments in the care of your pet. We routinely review things like home dental care options, grooming tips and ear cleaning during our annual exams. Did you know that having your pet examined by the vet once a year is equivalent to a human seeing the doctor every seven years?
We employ appropriate up to date anesthetics to maximize patient comfort, lower anesthetic risk and promote faster recovery. Pre-anesthetic blood testing is recommended prior to the use of any anesthetAt Town and Country Animal Hospital we use up to date anesthetics to maximize patient comfort, lower anesthetic risk and promote faster recovery. Pre-anesthetic blood testing is recommended prior to the use of any anesthetics, especially for older and other high risk patients. Pre-surgical blood work helps us screen our patients to make sure their vital organs are functioning normally and if not, what steps are needed to adjust the anesthetic protocol. Up to date technology is employed to monitor vital signs throughout all anesthetic procedures including a Cardell Veterinary monitor. This machine allows us to monitor the electrical conduction of the heart while under anesthesia. Changes in the pattern allow us to adjust anesthesia or administer medication if needed. This machine also monitors blood pressure and the percentage of oxygen in the blood (O2 saturation). We can fine tune our anesthesia to optimize both blood pressure and oxygen to your pet’s vital organs to make sure they are handling the procedure well. Body temperature tends to decrease during anesthesia. To make sure your pet stays toasty warm, we employ a Bair Hugger Warming Unit. We use a core body thermometer to continuously monitor your pet’s body temperature. It is normal for the body to produce carbon dioxide (CO2) as a gaseous waste of metabolism. We monitor CO2 as it is exhaled from your pet via a SurgiVet Capnometer to make sure their heart and lungs are functioning their best to move O2 into the body and CO2 out of the body while under anesthesia. ics, especially for older and other high risk patients. Up to date technology is employed to monitor vital signs throughout all anesthetic procedures.
Spay and Neuter Veterinary Services
We perform ovariohysterectomy (spay) and castration (neuter) on dogs and cats. We recommend surgical sterilization in our dogs when the males have completed puberty and the females have had one to two estrous cycles. Waiting is more important in our medium, large and giant breed dogs compared to our toy and small breed dogs. Studies have shown that we can reduce the rate of cruciate injuries within the knee, the development of hypothyroidism, and reduce the risk of urinary incontinence by waiting to sterilize. That said, there is a mild increase in the risk of developing breast cancer by waiting to spay your female dog until after puberty. Current research suggests that the formation of cancer in breast tissue is not only a function of continued hormone exposure but also genetics. There are some studies that suggest that spaying or neutering before puberty may make your pet more prone to certain types of cancer like prostatic adenocarcinoma in our male dogs.
Some recent studies have suggested the use of gonad sparing surgery where an ovary is intentionally left and the entire reproductive tract is removed (including cervix). In males, the ductus deferens is cut and sealed to prevent sperm from getting into the ejaculate. Sparing the gonad means your pet will still have sexual behaviors (roaming, territorial, mounting, urine marking). Males will still want to breed females and females will still cycle and accept a male even though she has no uterus to maintain a pregnancy.
Sparing the gonad requires more monitoring by the owner. If your male dog develops prostate enlargement later in life, he will need to be neutered or stay on expensive medication to keep the prostate small. If your female dog develops any mammary mass, she will require a second abdominal surgery to remove the ovary and removal of the mammary mass. When and what type of surgery is an important and often difficult decision for owners. But whatever decision you make for your pet, we can review the pros and cons of each option to help you make the best informed choice for your dog.
Interestingly, neutering cats before five months of age, has shown to reduce the risk of urine spraying and marking in our male cats. Spaying female cats can be done any time after they are over two pounds and greater than eight weeks of age. There is no current data regarding gonad sparing surgeries for indoor cats.
We are fortunate to have Dr. Deirdre Carver-Raffa perform our spay and neuter surgeries. Dr. Carver-Raffa not only has been practicing veterinary medicine since 1993, but she spent a week at the prestigious ASPCA Spay/Neuter Alliance Clinic in Asheville, North Carolina learning advanced surgical techniques for safer and more efficient sterilization surgeries. Dr. Carver-Raffa performed more than 8,000 spay and neuter surgeries at local rescue and animal control centers over a three year period with less than a 1% complication rate.
Tele-Medicine Diagnostics and Specialist Consultation
Because we use a digital radiology system, we have the the capability to electronically transmit x-ray images to Board Certified Veterinary Radiologists for further evaluation. Their evaluation is returned to us by way of electronic reports which are typically received within an hour.
We use Idexx Laboratory for evaluation of our fluid and tissue samples. This gives us access to a variety of specialists ranging from internal medicine, parasitology, pathology, dermatology, and oncology. We also work closely with a variety of local specialists in surgery, oncology, ophthalmology, neurology, cardiology, dermatology, dentistry and internal medicine. This allows for a smooth transition from our clinic, to the specialist and then back to us for follow up if needed.
We have on-site ultrasound capability through a working arrangement with Dr. Micah Bishop, DVM, PhD, DACVIM. Dr. Bishop, as a Board Certified specialist with many years of experience, comes to our clinic to perform a variety of special diagnostics including ultrasound guided aspiration of abnormal tissue, endoscopic tissue sampling of the stomach and upper intestines, and endoscopic evaluation of the upper airway. Dr. Bishop gives us a written report of his findings and recommendations on how to manage your pet’s case. He also is available for further follow up or subsequent testing. This service is very valuable when it comes to the continued care of your pet when complicated medical issues arise.
Vaccines are recommended where we consider the benefits to be greater than the risks associated with the administration of the vaccine. In determining which vaccines are appropriate we should consider the pets age and lifestyle along with regional variations. For those dog and cats that live in Naples, Estero and Marco Island and never travel, some vaccines would be considered unnecessary. At Town and Country Animal Hospital we adhere to the most recent vaccination guidelines that are periodically reviewed by the American Animal Hospital (AAHA) in which we are proud to be a member.
There are vaccines which we refer to as ‘core’ vaccines. Dogs and cats living in Naples, Estero, Marco Island or across the country should be kept current on these immunizations. Core vaccines are those that every pet should receive, regardless of circumstance. These protect against diseases that are too dangerous to risk any absence of immunity. Non-core vaccines, on the other hand, should be used when an animal’s particular lifestyle puts it at greatly increased risk. For example, dogs that socialize with other dogs of unknown history, what we like to refer to as social doggies, should be kept current on the Bordetella vaccine.
It is worth noting that as pets get older it is not always necessary to keep boostering the vaccines as over time animals build a memory response. There are also instances where vaccines titers can be performed to show evidence that an individual’s immune system has been adequately primed based on its previous vaccine history.
The support staff and veterinarians at Town and Country Animal Hospital will discuss your pet’s lifestyle with you so that we can determine the appropriate vaccines that your dog or cat should receive.
Dentistry – Cat and Dog Teeth Cleaning
Veterinary dentistry is in the mainstream of our practice. We employ dental digital radiography, high speed ultrasonic teeth cleaning and polishing equipment and have the capabilities to address routine hygienic prophylaxes , cleanings, both simple and complicated surgical extractions and the treatment of periodontal disease.
When we perform a physical exam on your pet we include an evaluation of the oral cavity. Preventing dental disease through regular brushing at home and promptly attending to dental pathologies is important because it eliminates severe pain and significantly improves the quality of a pet’s life. The unattended progression of dental diseases can have serious irreversible health consequences and even hasten death.
If we should identify evidence of dental disease a dental cleaning will be recommended. Pre-surgical bloodwork is performed prior to the dental. On the day of the dental your pet will have an IV catheter placed and while under general anesthesia a full set of oral xrays are performed. This is important as 60% of their teeth are below the gum line. Your pet’s teeth will be probed, scaled and polished. If any further care is recommended such as tooth extractions or bonded sealants, we will discuss with you the further recommendations on the phone.
Check out our video feline dental cleaning here
Check out our video on canine dental cleaning here
Our animal hospital is equipped to perform a broad range of surgeries from tumor removal, limb amputation, intestinal foreign body retrieval and bladder stone removal. We use the latest in anesthetic protocols, monitoring devices and pain medications to promote safety and wellbeing both during and after the surgery. Up to date technology is employed to monitor vital signs throughout all anesthetic procedures including a Cardell Veterinary monitor. This machine allows us to monitor the electrical conduction of the heart while under anesthesia. Changes in the pattern allow us to adjust anesthesia or administer medication if needed. This machine also monitors blood pressure and the percentage of oxygen in the blood (O2 saturation). We can fine tune our anesthesia to optimize both blood pressure and oxygen to your pet’s vital organs to make sure they are handling the procedure well. Body temperature tends to decrease during anesthesia. To make sure your pet stays toasty warm, we employ a Bair Hugger Warming Unit. We use a core body thermometer to continuously monitor your pet’s body temperature to verify your pet is nice and warm. It is normal for the body to produce carbon dioxide (CO2) as a gaseous waste of metabolism. We monitor CO2 as it is exhaled from your pet via a SurgiVet Capnometer to make sure their heart and lungs are functioning their best to move O2 into the body and CO2 out of the body while under anesthesia. We also employ our Companion Therapy Laser to help with post-operative inflammation and pain. Laser therapy improves circulation by stimulating the formation of new small vessels within the tissue and dilating other vessels around the affected area to move out excess fluid. It increases cellular metabolic activity and reduces the formation of scar tissue. The Companion Therapy Laser also helps accelerate healing by stimulating the production of fibroblasts that form the building blocks of tissue repair.
Mosquitos area a fact of life in Naples, Florida – all year long. The heartworm larva must pass through a mosquito to complete its final maturation. Once mature, it is injected into a dog or cat through the saliva of the infected mosquito. If your pet is not on heartworm prevention, the larva continues to develop to eventually live in the great vessels of the lung and portions of the heart. With heartworm prevention, the larva are killed before they can reach maturity and cause severe damage to your pet’s lungs and heart. We carry several different types of heartworm preventatives from oral to topical in order to meet you and your pet’s needs and lifestyle.
We all live busy lives and it is easy to forget a dose of heartworm prevention when life gets crazy. Studies have shown that people may forget up to four doses of monthly heartworm prevention on an annual basis. That is why yearly heartworm tests are also strongly recommended. At Town and Country Animal Hospital, we routinely use SNAP 4Dx Plus test from Idexx Laboratories. This test not only evaluates for proteins to Heartworms, but it also evaluates the blood sample for proteins to the three most common tick borne diseases we have in the area. Anaplasma Phagocytophilum-Platys (Anaplasmosis), Borrelia Burgdorferi (Lyme Disease), Ehrlichia Canis-Ewigii (Ehrlichiosis) are the three tick borne diseases we test for on an annual basis. By diagnosing these tick borne diseases before we see symptoms of fever, lethargy, lameness, anemia (loss of red blood cells) or kidney damage, we can treat your dog early in the infection process before a crisis situation arises or permanent organ damage occurs.
Heartworm preventative prescription refills may be ordered by telephone (239-353-5060) or from our on-line store. Our on-line store offers free shipping on all medications in just 2-3 days. We also have the ability to compound medication into a different form (liquid, soft chews, mini pills) and flavor. Compounded medications may take 3-5 days for arrival. Our on-line store also offers periodic coupons and manufacture specials that will greatly reduce your cost.
We carry a wide range of quality pet foods, including prescription diets, and recommend appropriate food selections based on your pet’s specific needs –from the overweight dog to the diabetic cat. We are happy to provide you with nutritional counseling for your pets. If you have a complicated medical situation with your dog or cat, we can consult with veterinary nutritionists at either Hill’s Science Diet or Royal Canine for a variety of recommendations for your pet. Our in clinic and on line store give you different options for the nutritional needs of your pet. Our friendly staff will gladly help you with placing pet food into your car, just ask one of our staff members for assistance.
On-Site Laboratory and Diagnostics
Fluid analysis equipment in our hospital allows us to diagnose and start treatment when time is critical. We use state of the art Idexx supported SediVue Dx, SNAPshot Dx, LaserCyte and Catalyst Dx. These machines help us to evaluate your pet’s blood and urine in less than thirty minutes. You can have confidence of the accuracy and reliability these test results since our equipment is supported by Idexx electronically. Other support equipment we employ to process your pet’s test samples include our Idexx StatSpin, Unico Microhematocrit Centrifuge and our Eppendorf Centrifuge. We can also do basic on site evaluations of tissue and fluid aspirations. If we find those samples questionable, we can easily send it to a Board Certified Pathologist for further evaluation and confirmation of diagnosis. We also have an on-site rigid endoscopy and otoscopy that complements our in-house medical laboratory so you can your pet’s results you quickly.
Our pets are wonderful animals and they bring great joy to our lives. They can be very curious creatures and love to explore their environment. Unfortunately, for some of our four footed friends, this exploration may take them to parts unknown far outside the boundaries of their home. A microchip provides a unique, permanent and tamper-proof source of identification for your pet should it become lost or run away. The procedure is economical, essentially painless and quick. Even if your pet stays indoors, natural disasters like hurricanes and fires may open the door for opportunity for a confused or frightened pet to become lost.
The Datamars Microfinder microchip is very small – the size of a grain of rice. It only takes a few seconds to inject under your pet’s skin between the shoulder blades during a routine appointment or during a surgical procedure like a dental cleaning or spay/neuter. A microchip cannot be removed nor can it fall off like a typical collar.
After your pet has been microchipped, you register your unique number on line with PetLink. It is easy to keep your contact information current and it is password-protected. The PetLink registration is included in the cost of the microchip implantation. So you and your pet will be covered for the lifetime of your pet.
Behavioral problems are the number one reason that pets are relinquished to animal shelters. Our doctors can address your concerns, discuss a behavioral modification plan and, when appropriate, prescribe medications to decrease your pet’s anxiety levels. Anxious pets cannot learn until they are calm and focused on you. Many times we can use treats and other aids to refocus your pet’s attention on you and away from the item of interest.
Most behavior problems start when a pet is young. That is why our puppy and kitten visits take twice as long than our typical visits. We review a variety of fear free training techniques to help you communicate to your new pet what is acceptable and expected in your home in a fun and playful way. We also recommend local trainers that we have personally worked with and know.
Dermatology (Allergy and Skin Care)
There can be many reasons why your pet is itching and scratching – from fleas and food to environmental molds and pollens. Diagnosing and treating the cause of your pet’s skin problem is the key to a successful outcome. We carry and can recommend a variety suitable flea and tick preventions made to fit you and your pet’s life style. We also carry other skin products and medications for your pet in our clinic pharmacy and our on line store. Our online store also offers a variety of compounding options of medication if your pet proves to be a challenge to medicate. From specially flavored medications to topical (transdermal) medications, we have the ability to help you to treat your pet at home with as minimal stress to both of you.
For complicated skin cases, we can perform the Greer Allergy test. This test evaluates the concentration of a variety of antibodies to known allergens in our area of the United States. Once we determine what allergens are a problem for your pet, Idexx creates a vaccine custom made just for your pet’s needs. This vaccine helps reduce the over-active nature of your pet’s immune system which is the main problem with animals with allergies.
We also refer difficult dermatology cases to our local Board Certified Dermatologist. Intradermal skin testing, which is the gold standard for allergy treatment albeit more expensive than Greer Allergy testing, can be performed to help make a custom vaccine for your pet in addition to more specific testing by the specialist.
We are happy to offer the Companion Therapy Class IV Laser which provides a non-invasive, drug free approach to pain management, wound healing and rehabilitation for those pet’s with chronic arthritic or acutely inflamed conditions. This class IV cold laser increases circulation, reduces pain and inflammation by stimulating an endorphin release, accelerating tissue repair and cell growth. Laser therapy also improves circulation by stimulating the formation of new small vessels within the damaged tissue and dilating other vessels around the affected area to move out excess fluid. It increases cellular metabolic activity and reduces the formation of scar tissue. The Companion Therapy Laser improves nerve function by improving nerve cell regeneration and improving nerve conduction by normalizing impulse transmission. It accelerates wound healing by stimulating the production of fibroblasts that form the building blocks of tissue repair. The immune system is also stimulated directly by increasing the production of antibodies (immunoglobulins) and white blood cells (lymphocytes). It provides enough power to transmit photons of healing light energy deep within your pet’s affected tissue. This deep penetration of photons allows the stimulation, also called photobiostimulation, of cells throughout all the target tissues and aids in faster recuperation of your pet. The typical laser therapy session requires up to forty-five minutes depending on the target tissue(s) and reason for treatment. These treatments are absolutely painless and the effect is cumulative. In fact, many pets enjoy their therapy sessions and will doze off during the treatment. Many clients often elect to stay with their pets throughout the entire session. Frequency of treatments is determined by the type of tissue being treated, if the issue is acute or chronic and how your pet is progressing with their therapy. The Companion Therapy Laser heals tissue is the most powerful therapeutic laser available today.