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Pet  Wellness  Services

Columbia Veterinary Wellness in SCYour Pet's Wellness Exam

An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, so the old saying goes. At Ambassador Animal Hospital in Columbia, Drs. Joe and Erin Trimmier, Dr. Jennifer Bonovich and our medical staff recommend regular wellness examinations for the same reason that your personal physician or dentist recommends them: if a health problem or issue can be detected in its early stages, there is a far greater likelihood that it can be resolved and treated with less difficulty, less expense and greater success.

Good Communication Leads to Good Health

During your pet's wellness examination, your veterinarian performs a complete physical to assess your pet's overall health and to give you, the pet owner, an opportunity to discuss any questions or concerns you may have. Have you noticed any recent subtle shifts in your pet's health or behavior? Have you observed any changes in body weight, appetite, water intake, urination and bowel habits and/or activity level?

Changes may be signs of medical problems. Seemingly insignificant lumps and bumps under the skin may be indications of infection or cancer. Ear infections, abscessed teeth and gum disease are common, painful conditions that may not become noticeable until seriously advanced. A comprehensive physical examination helps your veterinarian and you evaluate your pet's health and make informed decisions about your dog's or cat's veterinary care.

Our goal is to provide you with the best veterinary care possible so that you and your companion can enjoy a long, healthy and happy life together.

Wellness Examination for Your Columbia PetPreventive Health Care at Ambassador Animal Hospital

When you bring your pet to Ambassador Animal Hospital, we work with you to create a lifetime preventive health care plan. This includes a balanced schedule of vaccines (to protect your pet against dangerous, but preventable, diseases), regular dental care (good oral health protects overall systemic health), and microchip identification (should your pet become lost). We also provide internal medicine services, nutritional and behavioral counseling, general and orthopedic surgery, advanced diagnostic testing capabilities and much more.

Our commitment to you and your pet's health begins with an annual examination which includes:

  • Examining your pet's teeth, throat and oral cavity
  • Checking your pet's vision and eyes
  • Examining ears for infection, ear mites, allergic reaction and other related health issues
  • Assessing your pet's heart and cardiac function
  • Examining the skin
  • Palpating lymph nodes and abdomen
  • Examining the respiratory system
  • Evaluating internal organ function and other systems
  • Monitoring your pet's blood count and serum chemistry
  • Performing laboratory tests to determine the presence of specific diseases
  • Assessing changes in your pet's health since the last wellness visit
  • Fecal check for the presence of intestinal parasites

During each examination, we also take the time to listen to your concerns, answer your questions and keep you up to date on all the information you need to be the best caregiver to your pet. Good communication between you and your pet's doctor ensures that your companion is receiving the optimal care for a long and healthy life.

Puppy and Kitten Care

The first year of care for your new puppy or kitten is the most important. Like human infants, puppies and kittens require special attention in order for them to grow and develop well. Our doctors and veterinary team partner with you to create a custom health plan so that your new companion receives the vaccinations and examinations required to get the best start in life.

Puppy and Kitten Health CareYour puppy's or kitten's first year of care includes:

  • Physical Examinations: Lifetime wellness starts with comprehensive physical exams. Puppies and kittens should have wellness visits every 3-4 weeks. These visits are important because they provide our veterinarians with an opportunity to assess your pet's overall health and to administer vaccines.
  • Vaccinations: Due to their developing immune systems, puppies and kittens must receive a series of properly staged vaccines. Because every puppy and kitten is unique, we tailor our vaccination recommendations based on their lifestyle and/or breed and according to the suggested medical guidelines.
  • Diagnostic Testing: Puppies should be tested for Heartworm and kittens tested for Feline Leukemia and Feline AIDS.
  • Additional Recommendations: Your veterinarian will also discuss and recommend other services, such as spaying, neutering and microchipping.

Senior Pet Care

Congratulations! By taking the time to learn more about the special needs of your senior aged pet, you have taken the first step toward providing the best care for your friend in his or her golden years. At Ambassador Animal Hospital, we place a special emphasis on senior care. We recommend that pets in their senior years have a wellness visit every six months.

As with humans, pets in their senior years — those about 7 years of age and older — begin to go through a gradual reduction of their physical capabilities. However, this process can be slowed and managed through proper veterinary care thereby offering your beloved pet an extended period of vitality and good health. Additionally, preventive care tailored to your pet's age, lifestyle, breed and other risk factors can help prevent common diseases or detect them at early and easily treatable stages.

There is also an important role for you to play as your pet's primary caregiver. While you cannot control age related decline, you can influence your pet's activity level, living conditions, access to quality senior veterinary care, and daily nutrition. With help from your Ambassador Animal Hospital veterinarian, you can manage these factors in order to prolong your pet's good health, vitality, and increase his or her wellbeing, even as his or her pace slows a bit.

Columbia, SC Pet VaccinesVaccinations

Vaccinations are the number one way you can protect your beloved pet from serious infectious diseases and bacteria. Health threats vary from region to region and your veterinarian can create an individual immunization program for your pet based on his or her lifestyle and our local conditions.

Essential Vaccines For Your Dog

  • Distemper Vaccine (DAP): This combination vaccine protects against three diseases: Distemper, Adenovirus, and Parvovirus.
  • Bordetella ("Kennel Cough"): The Bordetella bacteria causes an extremely contagious upper respiratory infection. Your veterinarian may recommend this vaccine before your dog attends a doggy daycare program, a boarding facility or a dog show.
  • Rabies: Rabies virus is fatal and all warm-blooded animals (including humans) are susceptible to infection. Most states require rabies vaccinations by law.

Other Vaccines For Your Dog

  • Leptospirosis: This bacterial infection is most prevalent in moist climates where dogs may encounter standing or slow-moving water.
  • Lyme Disease: Carried by ticks, Lyme disease is extremely prevalent in certain parts of the country, including our area.
  • Canine Influenza: Outbreaks of this disease are most often seen in animal shelters and boarding kennels.

Essential Vaccines For Your Cat

  • Feline Viral Rhinotracheitis, Calcivirus and Panleukopenia (FVRCP): Commonly referred to as a "distemper vaccine," this combination vaccine protects against Feline Viral Rhinotracheitis, Calicivirus and Panleukopenia.
  • Rabies: Rabies virus is fatal and all warm-blooded animals (including humans) are susceptible to infection.

Other Vaccines For Your Cat

  • Feline Leukemia: Feline Leukemia is a viral infection transmitted from one cat to another through close contact. This vaccine is highly recommended for cats that go outdoors or live in multi-cat households.

Flea and Tick Prevention

Beyond causing serious discomfort and infesting your home, fleas and ticks carry diseases dangerous to both you and your Columbia pet. Fleas can transmit tapeworms, and often you can see segments of the tapeworm in your pet's stool. Your pet can also be allergic to fleas, and even just one flea bite can cause an intense allergic reaction, resulting in a severely painful skin infection. Ticks can carry a variety of serious illnesses, including Lyme disease. These same ticks can bite people and transmit disease as well.

The best course of action to protect both your pet and yourself from fleas, ticks and the potential of tick-borne disease is prevention. There are many safe and effective topical, oral and collar-based flea and tick control products available at our hospital, and our veterinary team will help you choose the correct preventive regimen based on your pet's risk factors and health status. We also offer a Lyme disease vaccination and we recommend discussing whether it is right for your pet with one of our veterinarians.

Heartworm Prevention

Heartworm is a serious, life-threatening disease transmitted by mosquitoes. It affects dogs and, to a lesser extent, cats. In the U.S., heartworm disease is most common along the Atlantic and Gulf coasts from the Gulf of Mexico to New Jersey and along the Mississippi River and its major tributaries, but it has been reported in dogs in all 50 states.

Clinical symptoms of Heartworm disease develop slowly. Early symptoms include lack of energy, exercise intolerance, coughing, and difficulty breathing. Because Heartworm disease is increasing in frequency and is a serious and deadly disease, we recommend that your dog be tested annually.

Heartworm disease prevention is simple and effective. For dogs, a once-a-month heartworm preventive can be given as a tasty, chewable treat. This same chewable medicine prevents not only Heartworms from developing, but also kills and prevents most other types of worms that can infect your dog. Cats are protected by applying a drop of Heartworm prevention liquid to the skin once-a-month. We recommend this to prevent Heartworm disease as well as fleas, ear mites, and other types of worms that can infect your cat.

If you would like to have your pet tested for Heartworm disease, or if you would like additional information on how best to protect your pet from this dangerous parasite, please contact Ambassador Animal Hospital at (803) 787-3840 today.

For more information on our wellness services for pets in the Columbia, SC area or to schedule a wellness appointment, contact Ambassador Animal Hospital at (803) 787-3840.