FORT PAYNE ANIMAL HOSPITAL
Serving Fort Payne, AL
We provide both core and optional vaccines for dogs and cats. The American Animal Hospital Association (AAHA) recommends that all dogs receive canine distemper, hepatitis, parvovirus, parainfluenza, and rabies vaccinations. Core vaccines for cats include feline distemper, feline calicivirus, feline herpes, and rabies. Puppies and kittens should receive their first set of vaccines by eight weeks of age. We also offer Bordetella, leptospirosis, chlamydia, and feline leukemia vaccinations.
We recommend annual wellness exams for adult dogs and cats between one and seven years old. Puppies, kittens, and senior pets should have more frequent examinations. At each check-up, we record your pet’s weight and temperature, ask about eating habits and exercise and discuss parasite control. Our veterinarian can also do additional testing for specific health issues, such as diabetes and signs of cancer. You also have the chance to get help with any behavioral concerns.
It deals with the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of diseases that originate in specific body systems. These include the endocrine, gastrointestinal, immune, lymphatic, renal, respiratory, and urogenital systems.
Fort Payne Animal Hospital is equipped with a state of the art, high definition digital radiology unit. It is a Cuattro DR unit which means it delivers detail, resolution, and contrast. Proving the image quality to be visibly better than Standard Definition systems. We can avoid retakes, over-exposure, processing failures, and storage related to outdated technology. It shortens exam times and offers superior diagnostic imaging.
We also offer ultrasound technology to increase the accuracy and confidence of the diagnosis.
Your pet’s oral health is a good indicator of his or her overall well-being. We check the teeth and gums at every wellness exam to look for signs of infection or other dental problems. Additionally, you can schedule an appointment for a dental cleaning under general anesthesia. Our staff works with clients to teach them proper toothbrushing techniques for an at-home routine.
The wellness exam allows us to develop a picture of your pet’s overall health as well as spot potential issues before they become too advanced. We welcome questions about your pet’s health, habits, and daily care. No question is too small or too silly, and it is our pleasure to address your concerns. We want you to be informed and comfortable in all aspects of your pet’s healthcare and will provide you advice and education on how to help your pet live a longer, healthier, and happier life.
During your pet’s exam our veterinarians and staff will:
- Listen to your pet’s heart for heart murmurs, abnormal heartbeat patterns (arrhythmias), and signs of heart disease that can be heard through a stethoscope.
- Listen to your pet’s lungs – By listening to your pet’s lungs with a stethoscope, we can detect infections, diseases or other problems and assess the overall pulmonary health of your pet.
- Examine your pet’s teeth and mouth – Dental disease is the most common disease we see. Examining your pet’s teeth and mouth allows us to determine the level of infection and impaction, plaque and tartar so recommend needed dental cleanings. Puppies and kittens also need to be checked to ensure they are developing properly.
- Evaluate your pet’s eyes – Ocular conditions can be prevented through regular care and screenings. We will look for dry eyes, cataracts, corneal ulcers and glaucoma.
- Look into your pet’s ears – Check for ear mites, redness, odor or discharge or other signs of ear infections. Allergies and outdoor activities can irritate your pet’s ears.
- Feel the skin, lymph nodes and abdomen – We visually look and physically feel for lumps, bumps, or swellings and skin discolorations, lesions or patterns of hair loss or thinning. These can indicate the presence of systemic problems or metabolic diseases.
- Feel joints and muscles – By feeling and moving the joints and limbs, we look for swollen joints, decreased muscle tone and variations in muscle size and will observe your pet’s gait. Depending on your pet’s age, we will look for developmental problems in young pets such as hip or elbow problems, or signs of arthritis in our older friends.
- Administer vaccinations (additional vaccine charges apply).
- Consult on your pet’s behavior, appetite, exercise habits, and regular activities at home and provide nutritional counseling.
- Discuss heartworm, flea and tick and parasite control.
- Recommend blood and lab tests – A complete physical exam should include a heartworm test (additional charge) as well as blood and urine tests each year. Not only can these tests identify the presence of underlying disease, but they also create a baseline should your pet become ill. A few simple tests give us so many results about your pet’s kidneys, liver, pancreas, blood sugar, white and red blood cells and platelet counts.
- Screen for parasites – A recommended fecal examination allows us to check for parasites or worms in your pet (additional charge).Vaccinations
“Why should I vaccinate my pet?”
- Vaccinations are the best weapon against many viral and bacterial infections in pets.
- Millions of dog & cat lives have been saved through vaccines.
- Vaccines are safe and well-tolerated by most pets.
- Vaccines help your pet live a longer, healthier and happier life!
- Rabies vaccination – an estimated 60,000 people will die this year from Rabies. It is not seen as much in the US because it is required by state law. Think of it this way, Rabies is 100% fatal while Ebola virus has a 10% to 50% survival rate.
- Vaccinations are highly important while pets are still a puppy or kitten, when their young immune systems are developing and need protection to stay healthy. Keeping your pet up to date as they age on their annual or scheduled vaccines is vital to their health, the health of all pets and even the people in our community.
During an appointment, Dr. Baker will provide you with vaccine education, discuss the scheduling of booster shots (if necessary for puppies and kittens) and discuss the need to return annually or on a set schedule.
He will also discuss your pet’s history with you, lifestyle, prevalence of disease in Ft. Payne and other factors like dog parks or where you travel and determine a proper vaccination guideline and schedule.
Some of the pet surgeries we perform include:
- Spay and neuter
- Mass tumor removal
- Oral surgery/tooth extraction
- Aural Hematoma surgery
- Declaw and dewclaw removal
- Abdominal surgery
- Bladder surgery
- Foreign body/ foreign mass removal
- Fracture repair
- Femoral head osteotomy
- Cranial/Caudal Cruciate Ligament (CCL) repair
- Medial Patellar luxation repair
- Bone Plating
- Bone Screws, Wiring, and Pinning
- Cherry Eye, Entropian, Enucleation
Spay and Neuter
Spaying your female pet and neutering your male pet helps to control pet overpopulation. Unfortunately, millions of pets are euthanized every year because there are not enough homes for all of them. Additional benefits of sterilization include a longer lifespan, reduced risk of mammary gland and testicular cancer, no heat cycles or roaming behavior, and less aggressive behavior by both males and females.
Early Detection Testing
As a pet owner, there may be times when you recognize that your pet isn’t feeling well, yet you can’t figure out the reason. Reading symptoms in animals can be difficult, and you may need help understanding your pet’s condition. In this case, it might be the right time to enlist the help of your veterinarian, who may request lab tests to reveal the presence of certain illnesses or diseases, as well as rule others out. Lab results can also be a useful tool in determining any risks for complication from anesthesia during surgery.
Our staff is committed to helping you get a full picture of your pet’s health. Our animal hospital is proud to offer our pet owners the benefits of an in-house lab and early detection testing. Being able to run lab tests in our hospital saves valuable time and allows us to return results quickly and improve diagnostic and treatment times.
Early detection testing provides us with important information regarding:
- Platelet counts
- Kidney, liver, and heart functions
- Red and white blood cell counts
- Blood sugar levels
By identifying these diseases and their symptoms via lab testing, we can develop a treatment plan upfront, thereby increasing the chances of effective treatment and long-term health for your pet.
Blood & Lab Tests for Pets
Even when your pet is completely healthy, your vet may recommend running tests to establish baseline health values. Typically, these values are established through a series of lab tests— a complete blood count, a urinalysis, and blood chemistry panel. These tests may be recommended for pets of all ages, even when your pet is young and healthy. The establishment of baseline values allows your veterinarian to better diagnose changes and early development of disease as your pet ages. Early detection increases the effectiveness of the treatment plan implemented. Preventative and diagnostic testing is an important component of giving your pet a long and healthy life.
Some of the most common preventative and diagnostic lab tests are:
- Blood Chemistries: This test evaluates organ function, electrolyte levels, and levels of hormones among others. Vets find these tests useful when evaluating the health of older pets or pets who take medications for chronic conditions. Pets showing signs of vomiting or diarrhea, or which have been exposed to toxic substances, will also require blood chemistry tests.
- Complete Blood Count: A CBC gives a count of red blood cells, white blood cells, and platelets in your pet’s blood, allowing us to assess the vigor of your pet’s immune system. CBC tests look at your pet’s blood clotting ability, levels of hydration, immune system response, and any signs of anemia or infection. Your vet may request a CBC test for pets with symptoms of fever, diarrhea, loss of appetite, weakness or vomiting.
- Heartworm Test: Our vets recommend heartworm testing as part of your pet’s annual wellness exam. They should be tested even if they take a preventative heartworm medication. If your veterinarian suspects your pet has heartworms, he or she may also request the test as confirmation. In either scenario, a blood sample will be required to determine the results and necessary treatments.
Why do we recommend preventative testing for all of our patients each year?
- One in 10 dogs develops diabetes.
- Overweight cats have a greater chance of developing diabetes.
- Kidney disease occurs in 1 in every 10 dogs and 1 in every 3 cats.
- The fifth leading cause of death in dogs is liver disease.
Bringing your pet in for preventative testing allows us to determine your pet’s regulated health baseline. From there, we will be able to detect any changes and possible developing diseases as you bring your pet in for regular checkups.
Parasite Prevention and Control
Parasites that can affect your dog or cat include:
- Heartworms – parasites that can live in your pet’s heart and lungs
- External parasites – fleas and ticks
- Intestinal parasites – hookworms, roundworms, tapeworms, and whipworms
It takes one bite from an infected mosquito to introduce heartworms into your pet’s bloodstream! One infected mosquito is all it takes to infect your dog with the baby form (larval stage) of the heartworm parasite.
Heartworms are a serious and potentially fatal disease in pets. Twelve-inch-long worms (look like spaghetti) live in the heart, lungs, and blood vessels of infected pets, causing lung disease, heart failure, organ damage and can be fatal if untreated.
How does my pet get heartworms?
Heartworms living in an infected dog, cat or wildlife produce baby worms that circulate in the bloodstream. When a mosquito bites an infected animal, it picks up these worms and when it bites another animal, the worms enter through the bite wound. Heartworms can grow and live for 5 – 7 years in dogs and 3 years in cats.
How prevalent is heartworm disease?
Heartworm disease is a year-round problem. In our area, 1 in 10 dogs tested positive for heartworms.
What can I do to protect my pet?
Heartworm disease is preventable! Dogs should be tested annually and before starting prevention. Prevention is the safest and most cost-effective option. We do treat heartworms in dogs but it can be costly depending on the type of treatment chosen. We do have a low-cost treatment option. Cats should be tested before starting prevention and re-tested as the veterinarian deems appropriate. There is NO treatment in cats, so prevention is critical and the only means of protection.
Fort Payne Animal Hospital has safe, effective products available that cater to you and your pet’s lifestyle and budget. Heartworm prevention should be provided 12 months of the year – we have an option for an injection every six months to help you with not having to remember to administer monthly.
Fleas, Ticks & Intestinal Parasites
You may not always be able to tell if your pet has parasites. Fleas can hide under your pet’s fur, and some ticks are very tiny (only the size of a pinhead), so they are very difficult to find. Intestinal parasites like roundworms can cause diarrhea and other problems, but many infected pets don’t show any signs of illness at all. Ticks can transmit infections like Lyme disease, and fleas can transmit tapeworms and Bartonella – the bacteria that causes “cat-scratch fever” in humans.
We will examine your pet for evidence of fleas, ticks or other parasites during their preventative care exam and may recommend testing to see if your pet has parasites. We have the right medications to help control fleas, ticks and intestinal parasites in our pharmacy.
Each year, thousands of pets go missing, and many don’t make it back home. According to the American Humane Association, only 2% of lost cats and 15% of lost dogs are reunited with their owners. Microchips greatly increase your chances of being reunited with your pet. Ft. Payne Animal Hospital recommends all pets be microchipped.
Your pet needs a form of ID that is reliable and can’t get lost, stolen or damaged. Even if your pet wears a collar and ID tag, collars can break off and tags can become damaged and unreadable. A microchip is a safe, simple form of ID that can significantly increase the chance that your pet will return safely. A microchip is about the size and shape of a grain of rice and is placed underneath your pet’s skin between the shoulder blades. Microchip implantation takes only a few minutes and is very safe. Each microchip is unique. When a microchip is implanted, the pet owner must register the microchip.
Registering the number on the microchip includes your pet in a national pet recovery database. Veterinary hospitals, animal shelters, and animal control offices across the country are equipped with special electronic scanners that can detect the microchip and read the identification number. If a lost pet is picked up by animal control or found by a Good Samaritan and presented to a veterinarian, a quick scan of the microchip reveals the identification number. A toll-free phone call to the pet recovery database alerts the microchip company that a lost pet has been identified. The pet owner can then be contacted and reunited with his or her pet! Please call us today to have your pet microchipped. It is a safe, easy procedure that may be invaluable to you and your pet.