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Wellness Exams

The goal of every caring pet parent is to help their furry companion enjoy as many healthy, The goal of every caring pet parent is to help their furry companion enjoy as many healthy, happy years as possible. The best way to achieve this goal is to make a commitment to ongoing wellness care. Because animals age at a much faster rate than we do, we recommend bringing your pet in for a thorough physical exam and comprehensive wellness check at least once a year. This allows us to both measure your companion’s current health, and to monitor it for any changes over time. Disease prevention and early detection can vastly improve the length and quality of your pet’s life.

Don Head Village Animal Clinic offers complete wellness care services designed to assist our patients through every life stage. As your pet ages, we will adapt our wellness services to meet their changing health care needs. For instance, while your kitten’s annual visits may focus on vaccinations and nutrition, your adult dog’s visits will target disease prevention and weight control. Likewise, your senior pet’s care will shift toward health screenings and how we can make his or her golden years as happy and comfortable as possible. We want to deliver the precise care your pet needs at the very moment it’s needed for optimum results.

One of the most important benefits of routine wellness visits is the opportunity they provide our doctors to detect, diagnose and treat illness and disease in its earliest stages. For many medical conditions, identifying and treating them right away can vastly improve the chances of a positive outcome for your pet. Early diagnosis of a disease process can help your pet live a longer healthier life. What’s more, disease prevention and early detection can also save you a great deal of money over time since it is always much less costly than treating a disease once it’s progressed.

Most importantly, when you bring your pet in to see us once or twice a year, it gives us a chance to develop a relationship with both of you. We believe that the better we get to know you and understand your pet’s unique needs, the better we will be able to develop the most customized, effective health care plan available. We want to become more than just your family vet – we want to become your trusted partner with the shared goal of ensuring that your pet receives the best possible care throughout his or her lifetime.

Don Head Village Animal Hospital offers comprehensive wellness care plans for animals of all ages, to provide your pet with everything he or she needs to stay happy and healthy, from birth through the senior years. These wellness programs include the following:

Puppy and Kitten Wellness Plans

Our puppy and kitten wellness program is designed to offer your new pet all the necessary veterinary care from 6 weeks of age to adolescence.

Starting from our first consultation, we’ll spend as much time as necessary to start your relationship with your new family member off on the right foot, and to develop our own special bond with your new four-legged friend. We’ll discuss basic behaviour and training, nutrition, preventative medical care including vaccinations and parasite control, as well as spaying or neutering.

Our preventative care program includes a full physical examination to make sure your new puppy or kitten is healthy, testing for intestinal parasites, nutritional counseling, training advice and suggestions, and any necessary vaccinations which will be tailored specifically to your new family member.

We encourage you to bring along a list of questions and all the family members who will be involved in providing care to your new pet. Please remember to also bring any previous medical records, should any exist. This will ensure that we will be able to customize the preventative care program that is most appropriate for your pet’s planned lifestyle, activity level and risk factors.

Adult Wellness Plans

Once yearly your healthy adult pet should be seen for a comprehensive physical examination. A complete medical history will be taken and nutritional or behavioural concerns will also be addressed. Each body system is carefully checked for optimal health and any abnormality or unusual finding is noted and addressed. Normal values establish your pet’ personal healthy baseline.

We recommend annual wellness testing (blood tests, fecal testing, urine testing), just as you would undergo similar tests at the time of your own annual check-up. These minimally invasive tests allow us to learn so very much about your pets clinical state, and to identify any potential concerns so they can be addressed before they have the chance to develop further.

Every year we detect many disease processes in the early stages in apparently ‘normal’ adult animals. There is always more that can be done when a disease is diagnosed and treatment started early – in fact, it can even improve your pet’s length and quality of life.

Depending on your pet’s lifestyle and risk factors, a vaccination schedule will be tailored specifically to your pet. It is important to ensure our animal companions are protected from serious diseases, without receiving any unnecessary vaccinations or treatments.

Senior Wellness Plans

When your dog turns 7 or your cat turns 8 years of age, we consider them to have reached their “senior” years. That is the age, statistically, when we can start to notice changes in organ function, osteoarthritic changes may creep up and behavioral changes may become evident. We recommend that your senior pet undergo a wellness examination twice a year, including health screening tests (blood and urine) to ensure that, if any problems are developing, we catch them early.

Even though you may believe your pet is perfectly healthy, there are many disease processes that do not show any outward symptoms until the disease is quite advanced. More advanced diseases can be more difficult to treat and are not always as responsive to treatment as diseases that are diagnosed early.

Keep in mind that our pets age faster than we do – a senior pet will age about 5-8 human years between annual examinations. For that reason, we recommend a wellness checkup every 6 months for elderly pets, or those with complicated health issues. Many symptoms that historically have been attributed to old age and considered untreatable are now treatable because we understand them to be early signs of disease

Diagnostics

When a pet is sick or has been injured, it’s not always easy to detect the signs of a problem by simply looking at them – especially if the illness or injury is internal. What’s more, many animals can tolerate pain and can therefore mask the signs of a problem for a long time, exhibiting few to no signs that something is wrong until the condition has progressed or worsened.

The only way to truly manage the health of your pet is through veterinary diagnostics. These tools allow our veterinarians to get a glimpse beneath the surface of the skin and learn exactly what’s happening inside your pet’s body. We can then effectively diagnose and treat whatever may be ailing your pet in a timely manner.

The comprehensive veterinary diagnostic services offered at Don Head Village Animal Clinic include everything from routine blood work and urinalysis to more complex diagnostic techniques, like digital x-ray and ultrasound imaging. Our hospital uses a local, internationally reputable veterinary-specific laboratory, where we are able to run a broad range of tests and obtain accurate results quickly. We are also able to run emergency blood work on our in-clinic blood machines for immediate results. This is especially important for cases in which time is of the essence and a timely diagnosis is critical.

When it comes to staying on top of your pet’s ongoing health, and identifying medical problems in a timely manner, veterinary diagnostics are our most valuable tools. The sooner we get to the bottom of the problem, the sooner we can have your pet back on the path to good health again.

Digital Radiology (X-Ray)

This type of imaging uses an x-ray beam which passes painlessly through the body, capturing images digitally. These images can then be closely analyzed and evaluated on a specialized, high-resolution screen to look for any abnormalities or inconsistencies that may need to be addressed. We use x-ray imaging to examine the bones, gastrointestinal tract, respiratory tract, heart, and genitourinary system.

Radiology can be used alone or in conjunction with other diagnostic tools to provide a list of possible causes for a pet’s condition, identify the exact cause of a problem or rule out possible problems. Here at DHVAC, we utilize digital x-ray, which allows us to instantly obtain images and share them electronically, should the need for the opinion of a specialist be deemed necessary.

Ultrasound

Ultrasonography, or ultrasound, is a diagnostic imaging technique similar to x-rays and is usually used in conjunction with radiography and other diagnostic measures. It allows visualization inside of the deep structures of the body.  The process uses sound waves that are transmitted painlessly into the body where they bounce off various organs and internal structures and are fed back to produce images on a monitor.

We have a Veterinary Radiologist or a Cardiologist reading the ultrasound for our patients. This means we can have a quick answer and diagnostic report to guide treatment for the diagnosed disease.

We use ultrasound imaging to examine the internal organs, including the heart, kidneys, liver, gallbladder, and bladder. We can also use it to detect and monitor the progress of pregnancy. Ultrasound is a painless procedure with no known side effects, and it does not use radiation.

Surgery

Learning that your pet needs surgery can be a nerve-wracking time. You want to be sure your companion will be in good hands and will receive the best surgical care available. At Don Head Village Animal Clinic, we want to make this unsettling time a little easier and set your mind at ease once and for all. We place the safety and comfort of our patients as our highest priority and will make every effort to ensure a positive, stress-free experience for you both.

Our veterinarians are experienced in performing a broad range of pet surgeries including routine spay and neuters, as well as a variety of other soft-tissue surgeries such as mass removals, eyelid surgery, bladder stone removal (cystotomy) and other abdominal surgeries. Some procedures, such as orthopedic surgeries, require specialized training. If it is determined that your pet requires that level of expertise, we will provide a referral to one of several Boarded Orthopedic Surgeons in York Region or the GTA – what every location is most convient for you. Our highly skilled team of technicians and assistants are always on hand to assist with surgery and to monitor your pet’s wellbeing at all times while in our care. Rest assured that your cherished animal family member will be in caring, capable hands with us!

Prior to any surgery being performed, we’ll first take appropriate measures to ensure that your pet is healthy enough to undergo surgery. Pre-anesthetic bloodwork is very important, particularly in older pets and animals that suffer from existing medical conditions. We want to make sure that your pet isn’t placed at any unnecessary risk, and remains as safe and comfortable as possible throughout the process.

Local Anesthesia

The general anesthetics we use the safest available and have been carefully chosen for their effectiveness and reliability. Going under general anesthesia is not needed in every case where surgery is performed. Some procedures can be done with sedation or even with local anesthesia (making the area of the surgery numb). Some small skin bumps can even be removed without actually cutting - using our Cryo-surgery unit. Regardless of which technique is used, your pet will receive a customized pain management plan that will address his or her specific needs, and provide optimum pain control with the least amount of risk. This is something we’ll discuss with you prior to moving forward with the surgery. We always do what is best and easiest for your pet to safely handle.

During surgery, our doctors work with precision and great care to conclude the procedure as efficiently and effectively as possible. If your pet requires full sedation or general anesthesia, our well trained veterinary technicians will closely monitor their vital signs, including respiratory rate, heart rate, blood pressure and oxygen levels, at all times throughout the procedure. Monitoring these vital signs allows us to intervene earlier and prevent any anesthetic risk to your pet.

Following surgery, we’ll continue to carefully and attentively monitor your companion asthey recover to their usual self. In our protocol, we have a technician assigned to your pet: the tech has one, vital responsibility – ensuring your pet has a smooth, gentle, and safe recovery. Once your pet if fully recovered, sitting up and comfortable, that technician will call you – explain how the surgery went, and discuss a time that your pet can be discharged from the hospital, to come back home into your loving care. Once you arrive, we’ll go over our aftercare instructions. This may include an appropriate pain control plan to help your pet recover as comfortably as possible once he or she returns home.

If, at any time following your pet’s surgery, you have any questions or concerns – no matter how small or insignificant they may seem – we encourage you to call us. We’d like to set your mind at ease and provide your pet with the best chance at a full and speedy recovery.

If you recently found out your pet needs surgery, there’s no need to panic. The surgical team at Don Head Village Animal Clinic is ready, willing and able to assist you with all of your pet’s surgical needs.

Dental

Healthy teeth and gums aren’t just important for us humans. Your pet’s dental health also plays an important role in their ongoing wellness. An unhealthy mouth can lead to everything from bad breath and tooth loss to periodontal disease, a much more serious medical condition that can negatively impact your pet’s entire body, including the heart, liver and lungs. The good news is you can easily prevent this and keep your pet’s mouth healthy and clean by bringing them in to Don Head Village Animal Clinic for regular dental visits.

An experienced veterinarian should evaluate your pet’s dental health at least once a year. We recommend this because bacteria and food debris accumulates around a pet’s teeth and, if left unchecked, will lead to deterioration of the soft tissue and bone surrounding the teeth. Don Head Village Animal Clinic offers comprehensive professional pet dentistry services to effectively manage your furry family member oral health.

Our preventative dental care services include comprehensive examination of the teeth, gums and mouth, as well as thorough dental cleanings, which are performed under general anesthesia. These cleanings are the same as what our dentists do for us, but our patients have to be asleep, since they won’t cooperate by keeping their mouths open! We also use cutting edge dental equipment to polish the teeth and to protect against future plaque and tartar buildup. While your pet is under anesthesia, we will take complete dental radiographs to ensure that the roots of the teeth and the bone of the jaw is healthy. Much of the dental disease our pets can develop occurs below the gumline and without taking radiographs we do not see the true extent of dental disease.

If your pet already suffers from an existing oral health problem, such as gingivitis, abscesses or dental disease, we can help with that too! Our team is experienced in the advanced treatment and management of existing dental problems, and can perform the necessary procedures to address and overcome these problems. We use dental radiographs to identify which teeth are unhealthy so we can preserve all the healthy teeth, perform any oral surgery needed to remove any unhealthy, infected, abscessed teeth before they cause more severe problems, and return your pet's mouth to a healthy state. Common signs of oral disease include tartar buildup, red and swollen gums, bad breath, changes in eating or chewing habits, pawing at the face and generalized depression.

Lastly, we’ll talk about the important role that you play in your pet’s oral health. Annual exams and cleanings aren’t always enough to keep the mouth free of buildup and bacteria, so it’s important that you continue to care for your pet’s teeth and gums at home, in between vet visits. Our friendly, knowledgeable staff will gladly show you ways that you can help your pet maintain a healthy mouth year-round. Together we’ll work hard to help your companion enjoy a lifetime of good oral health.

Pain Management & Control

Our pets can experience varying degrees of pain, just like we do. Animals that are in pain, whether it’s acute, as the result of an injury or surgery, or chronic, as caused by a degenerative disease like arthritis, it can vastly diminish their quality of life. Here at DHVAC, we believe it’s our duty to help our patients live as comfortably and pain-free as possible. We offer a full range of pain management services, including the use of a therapeutic laser, to help reduce or eliminate pain, as well as improve mobility, speed healing and improve quality of life.

Many animals tend to be very stoic in nature, particularly cats. They do not cry or whine when they experience chronic pain, and can often mask the signs of discomfort they’re experiencing. Changes in their behaviour, and decreases in energy level or appetite may be the only signs that there is a problem. In older pets, for example, the pain of geriatric-onset osteoarthritis is often discounted as because “they are getting old” and our pets can suffer in silence as a result. The doctors here are experienced in identifying and addressing the signs of pain in animals. We can help!

At Don Head Village Animal Clinic, we know the issue of pain management is of great concern to pet owners today – and it’s just as important to us. As in human medicine, we have a variety of medications and treatment options available to manage your pet’s pain, before and after surgery, in the event of trauma and over the course of time. We’d love to discuss your pet’s specific needs in greater detail, and work with you to determine the best course of action for helping them live a more comfortable life.

If you believe your pet may be experiencing pain, don’t let them suffer a moment longer. Let our professional pain management services provide your cherished companion with the relief he or she deserves.

Nutrition & Weight Management

There is so much information available about nutrition - how do you know what is accurate and what is best for your pet's health and longevity? Balanced nutrition, grain-free, raw, nutritional heart disease, food allergies, reactions... lots of topics and issues.

The nutritional needs of our pets change over their lives - from the pediatric needs as they grow and develop their bodies into their healthy adult state, to maintain a healthy adult in good body condition in balance with the daily activity they have, to help an aging body stay strong, mobile, and mentally sharp. Aside from helping healthy bodies continue to thrive, there are many medical conditions that can benefit from a diet selected to help support the body. Our veterinarians and veterinary technicians have had additional training to be able to answer all your questions.

No matter what diet you choose to feed your pet, we can advise you on managing a healthy weight. We can calculate the caloric and nutritional requirements to make sure your pet has everything they need to live their healthiest and happiest life!

Senior Care

When your dog turns 7 or your cat turns 8 years of age, we consider them to have reached their “senior” years. That is the age, statistically, when we can start to notice changes in organ function, osteoarthritic changes may creep up and behavioral changes may become evident. Keep in mind that our pets age faster than we do – a senior pet will age about 5-8 human years between annual examinations.

Even though you may believe your pet is perfectly healthy, there are many disease processes that do not show any outward symptoms until the disease is quite advanced. More advanced diseases can be more difficult to treat and are not always as responsive to treatment as they would be if we could discover them early.

We recommend that your senior pet undergo a wellness examination twice a year, including health screening tests (blood and urine) to ensure that, if any problems are developing, we catch them early.

Many symptoms that historically have been attributed to old age and considered untreatable are now treatable because we understand them to be early signs of disease.

Fear Free

We all understand that trips to the doctor can be scary, especially when we don't know what we are there for and what will happen. We pride ourselves on practicing a Fear Free approach. Our doctors are Fear Free certified, having undertaken additional study and training to prevent and alleviate fear, anxiety, and stress to improve an animal's emotional wellbeing during veterinary care, creating an experience that is better and safer for all involved, pets and pet parents alike. Most of our patients actually love coming to see us. They remember the cuddles and treats, not the medical care they received.

If your pet is nervous when they come to the veterinarian, let us know and we can discuss what we can do to help make them not just less stressed, but also more comfortable during their visit. We have extended visits, time to settle and relax after a car trip. We see pups who don't like the inside of the hospital, outside in our fully fenced yard. There are times when pets need something gentle to help them relax to allow medical care. We take the time to get to know what puts your pet at ease and how to work with them, especially if they were adopted, rescued from a scary past or have had previous negative medical experiences.