Pet Health Tips
Please review our list of common questions related to your pet.
How much does it cost for a checkup?
An annual exam with a heartworm check, all booster shots and a fecal examination for a dog usually costs - $205; a yearly examination and boosters for an adult cat is - $180. Things like bloodwork or deworming cost extra.
What shots do I need annually?
Vaccination schedules are based on the lifestyle of your pet - not all pets need every vaccine each year. Kittens and puppies should receive the core vaccinations. Dogs and cats are required by law to be vaccinated for rabies each year. Dogs and cats should receive an annual exam. Depending on lifestyle and age, vaccine protocol will be decided. Indoor/outdoor cats usually require an upper respiratory combo and a feline leukemia booster yearly. We can help you determine which shots are needed for your pet.
Depending on lifestyle and age, vaccine protocol will be decided. Indoor/outdoor cats usually require an upper respiratory combo and a feline leukemia booster yearly. If your pet visits boarding or grooming facilities, they may be required to have updated Canine Flu and Bordetella vaccines.
We can help you determine which shots are needed for your pet.
When should I spay or neuter my pet?
Spaying (females) and neutering (males) is best done when the animal is about 5-6 months of age. Spaying and neutering may improve your pet's behavior, helps prevent pet overpopulation and prolongs the health of your pet.
What is microchipping?
A microchip is a tiny piece of metal that is implanted under a dog or cat's skin, usually between the shoulder blades, that contains a number. When a pet is found, the first thing that's done at a shelter or vet clinic is to scan the pet for a chip. The shelter or clinic can then contact the microchip company or contact the owner directly to get the pet returned to its home.
I found a stray dog - what do I do?
If the dog can be approached safely, bring it to your veterinarian or the closest shelter to be scanned for a microchip. If you cannot approach the dog safely, contact your city or county animal control.
My dog is lost - what do I do?
Lost dogs may be picked up by citizens or animal control, and brought to the shelter or vet clinic to be scanned for a microchip. Calling the SPCA, animal shelters and vet clinics in the area is a good place to start. If your dog has not been turned in, posting fliers around the area your dog was last seen can be helpful. Microchipping and collars with ID tags can help your dog get home to you sooner.
What is heartworm disease?
Heartworms are parasites that are transmitted to dogs (and cats!) through the bite of an infected mosquito. Heartworms need the mosquito for their life cycle, and cannot be transmitted from dog to dog. Heartworm can cause coughing, decreased energy, heart failure, and even death if untreated.
Do cats get heartworm?
YES! Cats often suffer from more severe heartworm disease than dogs, and can die from it. Monthly heartworm prevention should be used year-round, especially in warm areas such as the South.
When should I start heartworm prevention?
Heartworm prevention is important for both dogs and cats. It is best to start prevention at ~10 weeks of age. If a puppy or dog is older than 6 months and has not had any prevention yet, a heartworm check should be performed before beginning prevention. When preventions are used properly, heartworm is 100% preventable. Heartworm prevention is available as either monthly pills or liquid applications, and injectable heartworm prevention is available as well. Many of these products protect against other harmful parasites as well, such as fleas, ear mites, ticks, mange mites, mosquitoes, and intestinal parasites such as hookworms, roundworms and whipworms. Down here in the balmy South, parasites such as heartworm and fleas live all year round so prevention is needed even during the "winter months."
What can I do about fleas and ticks?
Fleas and ticks carry diseases, can infect people, and make dogs and cats miserable. Fortunately, there are many affordable monthly preventions available for both dogs and cats, many of which protect against heartworm and other parasites. Your veterinarian can help you decide which product is best for your pet.
My cat is not using the litterbox...What do I do?
Cats who are having problems urinating, spend more time than usual in the litterbox, or who urinate outside the litterbox may have either behavioral problems or may have a urinary tract infection or blockage. A physical exam and a urinalysis can identify what is causing the problem and how to eliminate this behavior. A cat who cannot urinate needs to be seen immediately by a veterinarian- this is an emergency!
What is Canine Influenza Virus?
There are confirmed reports of canine influenza (canine flu) in Southeastern states. Aiken Animal Hospital wants you to be aware of symptoms of the disease and offer canine flu vaccines to protect your pets.
Canine Influenza (Canine Flu) Transmission
Canine influenza is spread via respiratory secretions (viacoughing, barking and sneezing)and contaminated objects (kennel surfaces, food and water bowls, collars and leashes) and people moving between infected and uninfected dogs.
The virus can remain alive and able to infect on surfaces for up to 48 hours, on clothing for 24 hours and on hands for 12 hours.
Strands of canine influenza has been reported to infect cats (dog to cat or cat to cat)and there is some evidence that guinea pigs and ferrets can become infected.
Canine Flu Symptoms
Two clinical syndromes have been seen in dogs infected with canine influenza virus:
- Mild form: Soft, moist cough that persists for 10 to 30 days, loss of appetite, lethargy, fever, sneezing, discharge from the eyes, and a thick nasal discharge.
- Severe form: High fevers (104ºF to 106ºF) and have clinical signs of pneumonia, such as increased respiratory rates and effort, aside from the symptoms of the mild form.
Cat Flu Symptoms
- Upper respiratory illness, such as runny nose, congestion, lip smacking, excessive salivation, lethargy, fever, and anorexia.
Please watch for any of these symptoms and alert Aiken Animal Hospital if you witness any immediately.
Aiken Animal Hospital has canine influenza vaccines (canine flu vaccines) and anyone is welcomed to have their dog vaccinated. The dog flu vaccine does require a booster 3 weeks after the first dose and then annually.
Canine Flu Vaccine Requirement for Boarding
Most of the Aiken pet boarding facilities now require your dogs to have the canine flu vaccine updated for you to board your dog. Contact us for an appointment to keep your pet protected!