Your pet’s annual exam allows for early detection and prompt treatment of health problems, but it’s also the way that we get to know you and your pet. This doctor, patient, client relationship forms the foundation for caring for the health of your pet throughout its life. At least once, and then as patients age, twice per year, your pet should have a complete physical examination. Remember that your pet’s lifespan is shorter than ours and their health can change significantly over a 12-month period.
Puppy & Kitten Wellness
Due to vaccine protocol, our pediatric patients require three early visits to the vet. The shot series usually starts between 6 and 8 weeks and then boosters follow every 3-4 weeks until the animal is at least 16 weeks old. Usually, but not always, the three visits are scheduled for 8, 12 & 16 weeks. In conjunction with the requisite vaccines, the animals receive an exam at all three visits to check that they are developing properly and are tested and/or treated for fleas, worms, and other parasites. We also spend time talking with you, the owner, about issues pertinent to raising a little animal in your home, for example: diet, exercise, obedience (when appropriate), health & behavioral issues, and more.
Taking care of your pets’ teeth does more to ensure a long and healthy life than people realize. Proper dental care is as important for your pet as it is for you. In addition to preventing bad breath and periodontal disease it can also prevent infection from spreading through the blood stream to your pet’s liver, kidneys, and heart. This bacterial shower can lead to permanent organ damage affecting your pet’s overall health. Our hospital is equipped to provide dental care information and services including prophylactic cleaning, polishing (which prevents new tartar from easily adhering), digital dental radiology (x-rays), extractions, and more.
Animals can present with wide range of symptoms that fall into the category of internal medicine, for example breathing distress, vomiting, diarrhea, difficulty urinating, not eating, and just plain old acting puny. We use any number of diagnostics means to try and figure out what is wrong with your animal, including blood work, urinalysis, radiology, cytology (looking at small cell samples under a microscope), histology (sending out larger samples to a lab to look at under the microscope), and more. Because our patients can’t tell us what’s wrong with them, our doctors rely on these diagnostic services combined with their medical knowledge, experience, and conferring with specialists to help them put the pieces of the puzzle together and diagnose what ails your pet.
Our hospital is well-equipped to perform most minor and major surgical procedures from spays and neuters to more complicated emergency, orthopedic and soft tissue surgeries. Prior to surgery, each patient receives a thorough physical examination to identify any existing medical conditions that might endanger your pet’s health. Because not all problems can be detected on examination, we require pre-anesthetic blood work and if necessary urine testing. These tests not only give us a more complete picture of your pet’s health but also allow us to tailor an anesthetic regime that is specific for your pet. Your pet’s safety and comfort are our top priority. We believe in aggressive pain management and use many different modalities to ensure that your pet is as comfortable as possible.
Who doesn’t love to play with a little puppy or kitten, but for Dr. Howe and her team, a sweet (or grumpy) old dog or kitty illicits the same loving response. We feel that nothing could be more rewarding than taking care of old animals in their later years. The work is demanding as we are often dealing with more than one disease process at a time and again, the patient doesn’t have the ability to verbalize what’s ailing them. But helping our older patients live as healthily and comfortably as possible in their later years is one of the joys of practicing veterinary medicine.
Pet Euthanasia & Cremation
At Ballard Animal Hospital, euthanasia is strictly reserved for animals that, through illness or suffering, are nearing the end of their lives. For our terminal patients, we view euthanasia as a gift that we can give to not make them suffer to the very end. The decision to euthanize your pet is very personal, and we try to support our clients in every way we can at this difficult time.