Pet Wellness Services at Chimacum Valley Veterinary HospitalWellness Examinations

At Chimacum Valley Veterinary Hospital and Pet Townsend Veterinary Clinic, we provide preventive care for dogs, cats, and ferrets. The veterinary teams at both our Port Hadlock and Port Townsend locations believe that prevention contributes to your pet's long-term health and minimizes the lifetime cost of care. We strongly recommend routine wellness exams, vaccinations, regular lab work, deworming and fecal checks, and for many pets in our area, medications to prevent fleas and ticks to help keep your pet in optimum health.

Wellness examinations are the same for your pet as the yearly physical you receive from your doctor. It is a chance for us to assess your pet's overall health, discuss any changes we see, and educate and update you on advancements in veterinary care. It is also an opportunity for you to discuss any of your concerns or ask questions. Please take a look at the services we offer to learn why we believe they are important to the care and well-being of your pet. Then give us a call to set up an appointment today!

Your pet's wellness examination includes our commitment to:

  • Examine your pet's teeth, throat, and oral cavity
  • Check your pet's vision and examine the eyes
  • Examine the ears for infection, ear mites, allergic reactions, and other related health issues
  • Examine the respiratory system
  • Assess your pet's heart and evaluate cardiac function
  • Test your pet's reflexes
  • Palpate lymph nodes and abdomen
  • Inspect the skin
  • Palpate joints and muscles for arthritis and other orthopedic conditions
  • Test to evaluate the function of internal organs and other systems
  • Assess changes in body weight, appetite, urination, and bowel habits
  • Inquire about your pet's activity level
  • Palpate the skin for unusual growth developments
  • Monitor your pet's blood count
  • Utilize laboratory testing to detect early signs of Lyme or heartworm disease
  • Assess general or specific changes in your pet's health since the last wellness visit
  • Discuss preventive techniques with you
  • Examine fecal samples for signs of parasitic infestation
  • Evaluate your pet for repetitive licking or biting in one area
  • Assess your pet's hair/fur and check for matting
  • Demonstrate (to you) how to administer at-home medication
  • Engage you in conversation and answer your questions and concerns

Annual baseline testing of your pet’s blood and urine can identify the presence of underlying diseases and helps create a baseline should your pet become ill between regular examinations.

Deworming and Fecal Check: Dangerous parasites are always present in the environment. If brought into your home, these parasites can be passed from your pet to you and your family. Regular fecal checks and deworming are the best way to prevent parasitic disease and the transmission of intestinal parasites. It also prevents the shedding of parasite eggs, which can contaminate lawns (or any other place a pet defecates).

Regular Blood Work: A complete physical includes parasite screening, blood tests, and depending on travel history, a heartworm test. Not only can a blood chemistry panel and complete blood count (CBC) identify the presence of underlying disease processes, but these tests help create a baseline should your pet become ill. Additionally, blood work is necessary if a dental cleaning, removal of a skin mass, or any other procedure that requires anesthesia, is recommended.

At home, watch for subtle changes in your pet's body weight, appetite, water intake, urination and bowel habits, as well as general attitude and activity level. These changes may be signs of medical problems. Lumps and bumps under the skin may seem harmless, but can be cancerous. Ear infections, abscessed teeth and gum disease are common, painful conditions that may not become obvious until seriously advanced. A comprehensive physical exam is the tool to evaluate your dog's, cat's or other pet's health status and to help you make informed decisions about the care of your special companion.

Pet Wellness Services at Chimacum Valley Veterinary HospitalVaccinations

Due to the many innovations in veterinary medicine, your pet can be protected against most major infectious diseases. Today, many immunizations and preventative treatments are available that did not exist a decade ago. Up-to-date vaccinations play a large part in keeping your pet healthy and free from disease.

Core Vaccines for Dogs, Cats, and Ferrets

Core vaccines for dogs include canine distemper, canine adenovirus (hepatitis), canine parvovirus and canine parainfluenza. Combined in one injection, the vaccine is called DAPP. Rabies vaccine is required for all dogs by the state of Washington.

Core vaccines for cats include panleukopenia virus (also known as feline distemper), feline calicivirus, and rhinotracheitis (also known as herpes virus). The vaccines are combined in one injection called FVRCP. Rabies vaccine is required for all cats by the state of Washington.

Core vaccines for ferrets include ferret distemper (a unique vaccine made for ferrets, which protects them from Canine Distemper virus) and rabies. Rabies vaccine is required for ferrets by the state of Washington.

Non-Core Vaccines for Dogs

Non-core vaccines for dogs include Bordetella and Leptospirosis vaccines.

Bordetella is a bacteria commonly associated with respiratory infections in dogs. It is one of the more common bacterial causes of canine infectious tracheobronchitis—also known as kennel cough. Bordetella is highly contagious, easily transmitted through the air or direct contact, and fairly resistant to destruction in the environment. The vaccine is strongly recommended if your dog attends day care, visits dog parks, boarding kennels, or any other location where he or she comes into nose-to-nose contact with other dogs.

Leptospirosis is caused by a bacteria found in soil, water and the urine of infected animals. The vaccine is strongly recommended if your dog is exposed to areas where there are possible carriers such as raccoons, rodents, coyotes, and opossums, or is a “puddle drinker.”

Non-Core Vaccines for Cats

Feline Leukemia Virus (FeLV) is a contagious disease of cats and spreads primarily through intimate nose-to-nose contact with infected saliva. This very often occurs during cat fights, grooming, and mating. Contaminated urine, blood, and feces are also sources of infection. Though FeLV is not a core vaccine, it is recommended for cats at risk of exposure to this serious disease.

Pet Wellness Services at Chimacum Valley Veterinary HospitalOur Vaccination Policy

For the health and safety of our patients, clients, and staff, we strongly recommend that all core vaccinations be up-to-date. If you choose not to vaccinate your pet according to our recommended schedule, we may require serum blood titers to determine if your pet has adequate protection against certain diseases as a result of previous vaccines. In certain situations, you may be asked to sign a waiver stating that you understand the potential consequences if your pet bites or scratches someone and we have no proof that he or she has received a proper immunization against rabies.

Most of our patients are exceptionally sweet animals that would not show aggression under normal circumstances, but animals that are fearful or in pain can behave in unexpected ways. We have a responsibility to protect everyone at our facilities and appreciate your understanding and cooperation. Exceptions to this policy will be made if your veterinarian feels that a vaccine is not in the best interest of your pet’s health.

Titer Testing

Titer testing or "titering" is the act of submitting a blood sample to determine whether an animal has enough antibodies to suggest immunity against a particular disease. While titering is not foolproof, it can be useful to help establish an animal's response to previous vaccinations or exposure to certain diseases. If you are interested in titer testing for your pet, please discuss this with one of our veterinarians.

Titer tests we most commonly perform are:

  • Canine Distemper virus
  • Canine Parvo virus
  • Rabies virus

Flea and Tick Prevention

Fleas and ticks are more than a nuisance; they carry diseases dangerous to both you and your pet. Although they're a bigger problem in certain parts of the country and at specific times during the year, no cat or dog is completely safe from them... especially in our area.

Fortunately, flea and tick problems can be avoided by using parasite prevention products that are available at our hospital. When used properly and according to our directions, these products are very safe and effective. Please talk to our veterinary staff about your pet's specific needs as no one product is "the best" for every patient.