Examinations and Vaccinations

Home Pet Care Resources Examinations and Vaccinations

Veterinary Examinations

It is very important for your pet to get veterinary exams. A yearly “well visit” is recommended in addition to any visits that occur due to illness.

Your pet ages much faster than you do. One “human” year can equal anywhere from 5 to 21 years in your pet. Needless to say, a lot can change in that time and a veterinary exam is one way to spot early signs of illness. Exams also help to give your veterinarian an idea of what is normal for your pet so that when an illness does occur, they can more easily determine what is going on.

Please call SouthPaw Animal Clinic if there is anything unusual that you notice about your pet’s health.


Vaccinations are often done during the yearly “well visit” examination. Different vaccinations are required for dogs and cats and not all vaccinations that are available are considered “core” or even necessary for each pet. Your veterinarian will get a history from you to help you determine the best course of treatment for your pet’s unique circumstances.

For example, dogs that are strictly “inside dogs” might have a different vaccination need than dogs who frequent the dog park. Dogs who are boarded require other vaccinations than non-boarding animals.

One caveat – Rabies is a vaccination that is required for all dogs and cats. The reason that it is required is that Rabies is a viral disease that can be spread to other animals (and humans!) and is nearly 100% fatal. Animals that can carry rabies, such as bats, do get indoors on occasion. Because of this, even indoor only cats or dogs that “rarely” go outside should still have this vaccination. Often it is the law!

Parasite Preventative

Dogs and cats need parasite prevention all year round in the Midwest. Unfortunately, parasite preventatives do not prevent all parasites, but they do help to prevent many common internal parasites (such as heartworms, round worms, hookworms, and whipworms) and external parasites (such as fleas and ticks).

There are many different forms of parasite preventatives. Not all preventatives work the same and not all preventatives protect against the same parasites. There are many preventatives available over the counter, but many of these are minimally effective and some are potentially deadly to pets. Make sure to always read the labels, and consult with your veterinarian if you have questions.

One way to ensure it is the correct preventative is to actually order it from your veterinarian. Parasite preventatives that you purchase from your veterinarian are backed by both the manufacturer and your veterinarian.

What makes parasites a challenge is that many different types of parasites develop resistance to chemicals over time due to the process of natural selection. Parasites that survive the chemical and are able to reproduce pass those resistance genes on to their offspring.  Each generation becomes more and more resistant to the chemical until it no longer works. In this case, the chemical either becomes obsolete or the manufacturer adds additional chemicals to the product to try to kill the resistant parasites.

We recommend parasite prevention that we have not seen this resistance with and that we have seen is safe to use in pets.  Please call SouthPaw Animal Clinic if you are in need of parasite prevention or if you have any questions concerning these products.

*Important Note: Do not ever use a parasite preventative labeled for dogs on a cat. Do not ever use a parasite preventative labeled for a larger animal on a smaller animal. This could kill your pet!

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