Fisher Animal Hospital is the only American Animal Hospital Association (AAHA) accredited veterinary clinic in the Shoals area. We follow AAHA recommendations on yearly vaccines and diagnostic testing.
Annual Physical Examination: Yearly visits to the veterinarian are imperative to your dog's health. The most important party of your pet's yearly visit is the physical examination. Each year with vaccines your dog will receive a thorough physical examination. Your veterinarian will auscultate (listen closely with a stethoscope) your dog's heart and lung sounds. This is a great way to screen for advanced or even early signs of cardiac or pulmonary diseases. Abdominal palpation may allow the doctor to feel large tumors, large bladder stones and even detect painful conditions such as constipation or pancreatitis. Visual assessment of the eyes, ears, nose and mouth give a large amount of insight to your pets health as well. Changes in muscle size can indicate osteoarthritis, cancer or even heart disease. Changes in hair coat or skin condition can signal certain diseases or conditions that may need treatment. Some pets with chronic diseases or senior pets require examinations more than once a year.
Three vaccinations are recommended yearly for most dogs.
DAPP- This core vaccine is recommended by the doctors at Fisher Animal Hospital and the American Veterinary Medical Associaton (AVMA). It protects dogs against Distemper, Parvovirus, Adenovirus and parainfluenza virus.
Rabies- This core vaccine is required by state law on all dogs. Alabama allows both yearly and 3 year rabies vaccines. Please keep in mind that a 3 year rabies vaccine may only be given to dogs who have had a 1 year rabies vaccine within the past 12 months or a 3 year rabies vaccine within the past 36 months. Keeping your dog up to date on its rabies vaccine is important when the health department receives documentation of a dog scratch or bite to a person.
Bordatella- This vaccine helps protect your dog from kennel cough and is often required before a dog enters a grooming or boarding facility. Any dog who is boarded, seen on drop-off basis or treated as an inpatient at Fisher Animal Hospital is required to have had a Bordatella vaccination within the past 12 months.
Intestinal Parasite Test- This quick and easy screening test requires a fresh sample of feces from your dog. Samples may be collected in a plastic bag prior to the visit or collected in the exam room by one of our friendly veterinary technicians. This fecal flotation test checks the sample for any parasite eggs. Intestinal parasites include roundworms, hookworms, whipworms and coccidia. Placing your dog on a heartworm preventative prevents infection with common intestinal parasites. It is important to check for these parasites at least once a year as some of these may cause disease in people. Please see CDC for more zoonotic potential of roundworms and hookworms.
Heartworm Test- Heartworm disease is a serious and fatal disease dogs get from mosquitos and it is 100% preventable. In order to get a preventative for heartworms a quick and easy test is required at a minimum of every 12 months. The test requires a small blood sample that our technicians are able to retrieve from the dog during the yearly visit. Frequent rebates are available for the preventatives Heartworm preventatives also control common intestinal parasites.
If your dog has any ongoing diseases or is over 7 years old, check with your veterinarian as there may be other annual or semiannual recommendations.
In order to minimize unwarranted vaccines in cats we tailor recommendations for our patients.
Indoor Cats should still get a yearly exam and require two vaccines at a minimum.
Rhinotracheitis, Calici virus, Panluekopenia- This core vaccine is recommended to all cats to protect them from common upper respiratory infections that are commonly transmitted by nose to nose contact or through the air. Even if a cat does not routinely come into physical contact with other cats, it is possible to contract these diseases if even in close proximity to another cat. Because the effects of these diseases can be devastating, all cats should recieve this vaccine.
Rabies- This core vaccine is required by state law on all cats. Alabama allows both yearly and 3 year rabies vaccines. Please keep in mind that a 3 year rabies vaccine may only be given to cats who have had a 1 year rabies vaccine within the past 12 months or a 3 year rabies vaccine within the past 36 months. Keeping your cat up to date on its rabies vaccine is important when the health department receives documentation of a cat scratch or bite to a person. Testing an animal for rabies requires euthanasia so the best way to protect your cat is to keep its rabies vaccine up to date.
Outdoor Cats (or Cats who come into contact with outdoor cats)
If your cat spends any time outdoors, frequents boarding facilities, is "friends" with any cat with outdoor access you should follow the same recommendations as indoor only cats but your pet should recieve a few additional precautions. Keep this in mind if you are interested in fostering any cats as well!
Feline Leukemia- FeLV is a deadly viral infection that is the second leading cause of death in cats, killing 85% of infected felines within three years of diagnosis. FeLV is contracted mainly by direct contact with an infected cat. It is mainly spread by fighting, breeding and other close contact between two cats. The virus commonly causes anemia (low numbers of oxygen carrying red blood cells) or lymphoma (low numbers of infection fighting white blood cells) but because it suppresses the immune system, it can predispose cats to other infections that could become much more severe and even deadly when compared to non-FeLV infected cats. Our FeLV vaccine is combined with the core vaccine recommended for indoor cats so these cats don't have to tolerate the stress of more injections.
Rabies- All cats and dogs are required by state law to receive an up to date rabies vaccine which can be given every 1 or 3 years. The same conditions apply to outdoor cats as those listed above for indoor cats regarding rabies vaccination.
FeLV & FIV testing- Yearly testing for feline leukemia and feline immunodeficiency virus is recommended for cats who are routinely exposed to other potentially infected cats. While there is a vaccine for FIV some veterinarians do not recommend it as it may cause a vaccinated cat to appear infected with FIV on tests. FIV is spread mainly through breeding, fighting or is passed down from the mother to her kittens. Because of the continual exposure to other cats, outdoor cats are at a higher risk for these disease, especially if they have not been spayed or neutered.
If your cat has a chronic disease or is over 7 years old have a discussion with your veterinarian as other routine tests or exams may be recommended.