Wellness and Prevention

Annual Wellness Exams

wellness-01Annual wellness exams are an important part of preventative care for your pet. During yearly wellness exams we get a health history and do a full physical exam to evaluate your pet. Wellness exams are important to find problems that may have gone undetected over the past year such as new growths, dental disease or subtle arthritis. Wellness exams are equally as important to discuss preventative care. Did you know that pets with healthy teeth and gums can live 2-4 years longer? Did you know that 80% of pets will suffer from arthritis at some point in their life? We want your pet to live a long and healthy life. Ideally we want to prevent diseases from occurring but if they do occur we want to diagnose them as soon as possible. Yearly wellness exams help us do just that.

Health history questions:

  • Has your pet experienced any vomiting/diarrhea/coughing/sneezing?
  • Is your pet drinking or peeing more than normal
  • Has your pet’s appetite changed?
  • Have you noticed any lumps or growths anywhere?
  • Is your pet stiff or sore at any time?
  • Do you do any home dental care?
  • What diet do you feed your pet?
  • What supplements and medications does your pet get?
  • Do you travel with your pet? Where?
  • Is your pet on heartworm preventative?
  • Do you have any other concerns or questions?

Wellness exams evaluate:

  • Coat & skin
  • Eyes
  • Nose & throat
  • Mouth, teeth & gums
  • Legs & paws
  • Heart
  • Lungs
  • Abdomen
  • Gastrointestinal system
  • Urogenital system
  • Weight history
  • Diet

After a full history and complete physical exam we may recommend further diagnostics such as heartworm or fecal parasite testing.  For older pets we may recommend screening bloodwork.  If any growths are found will can do a FNA (fine needle aspirate)to help determine if the growth is of concern.  The physical exam may reveal soreness , loss of muscle mass or imbalances indicating arthritis.  If indicated we will discuss arthritis prevention and supplements.  We will recommend vaccines based upon your pet’s history and level of exposure.  Finally , we will discuss nutrition and general supplements.

Your pet is unique and deserves personalized care!  From the first puppy or kitten exam until their senior years, we live by our mission statement……    “to treat your pet like one of our own, with unparalleled compassion, experience and teamwork.”


We recommend microchips for all pets. A microchipped pet is 4 times as likely to be returned to their owner. It is inexpensive and easy to do during a regular appointment. Microchips cost $48 and that includes the $19.99 lifetime registration fee with PetLink. The microchip will last the lifetime of your pet and there is no renewal fee. The most important thing to remember it to update your contact information anytime it changes and always keep Pet Kare’s contact information as part of your pet’s registration. If you are unable to answer your phone we are always available and have your pet’s microchip # in our data base. Every single day there is a story about a lost pet being reunited with their owner because they have a microchip!

A microchip is as tiny as a grain of rice (about 12mm) and the process is as easy as giving a vaccine. We will inject the microchip right under the skin between your pet’s shoulder blades. There is no anesthesia required and it can be done during a regular appointment. The whole process takes only a few seconds and your pet will not react any more than he would to a vaccination. We safely microchip kittens as small a 3lbs! If your pet is anxious or especially sensitive we can apply a topical numbing agent to the skin to reduce the sensitivity. We want your pet to like coming to us so we want to make it a good experience!

Microchips don’t have any internal energy source and are not GPS locators. A microchip is read by passing a scanner over your pet’s shoulder blades. The scanner emits a low radio frequency that provides the power to transmit the microchips unique code. That code is then used to positively identify your pet providing you have registered your contact information and kept it up to date. We recommend registering with PetLink as they have a large database that accepts all microchips regardless of the manufacturer. The $19.99 registration fee is included with your microchip.

What does PetLink registration include?

  • Lifetime registration for your pet with no additional renewal fees
  • 24/7/365 access to the PetLink Recovery Hotline
  • Free Lost Pet posters, complete with your pet’s photo
  • Encouraging Together Again stories, where pet owners just like you talk about their successful experiences with PetLink’s reunification services
  • Useful tips and offers
  • Travel tips and recommendations for domestic and international travel with your pet
  • Unlimited access to petlink.net

Visit PetLink to register your pet now.

Other useful links regarding microchipping

    • Pet Statistics: The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals lists statistics about pet ownership and recovery.
    • Microchipping Your Dog or Cat: A veterinarian at WebMD answers reader-submitted questions about the practice of microchipping.
    • Pet Microchip FAQs: Pet Finder offers a basic fact sheet about microchipping for pet owners concerned about their pets’ safety.
    • Microchipping of Animals FAQ: The American Veterinary Medical Association addresses concerns and common misconceptions about microchipping for the public.
    • Microchipping Myths: The American Animal Hospital Association dispels popular myths about microchipping.

Customized Parasite Prevention

We are fortunate enough not to live in a place where parasites are always affecting every animal. However, this doesn’t mean we’re immune or there are no parasite concerns. The following provides some information concerning the most frequent parasites we encounter in our patients.

Heartworm Disease

Since spring of 2008, we’ve been recommending all dogs and outdoor cats in the valley be on a heart worm prevention therapy during the summer months. Trends show the mosquitos that transmit this disease are living at increasing altitudes and lower temperatures. Due to the severity of the disease it is best to be on the safe side, which means spring time testing and summertime preventative treatments. Call for more information about heartworm disease any time!

Handouts on heartworm disease:
About the Parasite
Heartworm Prevention
Heartworm Treatment

Website of interest:
American Heartworm Society

Intestinal Worms

Intestinal worms may vary in severity and may or may not cause signs you would notice. Transmission is usually through eggs in feces, eating a prey animal that is a host (usually rodents), mother’s milk, or in utero. In dogs, worms can cause diarrhea or vomiting and in extreme cases pneumonia and intestinal obstruction. In humans, some worms can cause a serious diseases. Children are especially prone to contracting zoonotic parasites, so routine fecal exams and check ups will not only keep your dog healthy but will reduce any risk to you and your family.

Handouts on intestinal parasites: 
Pets, Parasites & KidsTapeworms
Roundworms – Dogs
Roundworms – Cats
Roundworms – Humans
(Giardia is not a worm but a GI parasite)

Ectoparasites (Ticks, Lice, Mites):

Ectoparasites can cause a variety of symtoms ranging from itchy skin to systemic disease. We see ticks, lice, mites and occasional fleas in the Yampa Valley.

Ticks can be a vector for diseases such as Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever, Ehrlichia, and Lyme Disease. While not every tick bite is cause for great concern – tick checks each day are extremely important because they allow for prompt removal of the tick! While we are not as great of a risk area for the diseases transmitted by ticks, we do have positive cases that never left the valley. Therefore, prompt removal and identification is useful – if you have questions please call!

Handouts related to Ticks:
Ticks: Arthropod Parasites
Lyme Disease
Ehrlichia Infection in Dogs
CDC Website information on Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever

Lice are contagious among species but do not spread to humans or other species (A dog with lice will not be able to spread the infection to cats or humans). Each year we see lice infestations spreading through the population with the chief symptom being intense itchyness! If your dog or cat is itching like crazy, we need to see them for an exam.
Handout on lice: Lice in Cats and Dogs