At the beginning of every wellness exam at Eastown Veterinary Clinic, an exam assistant will ask you questions to obtain a complete medical history for your pet. This way, we can determine immediately if there have been any changes in health or behavior since your last visit. Your pet's veterinarian will then assess your pet's overall appearance and body condition during a physical examination. This nose-to-tail examination includes:
- Listening to the heart and lungs
- Feeling for signs of pain, tumors, or any other unusual changes in the body.
- Checking joints for signs of arthritis or muscle weakness
- Examining the eyes, ears, and mouth for any signs of disease
You will be informed of any abnormalities they find and provided with recommended diagnostics or treatments that encourage the best health for your pet.
In addition to a complete physical exam, we will collect a blood sample to screen your pet for heartworm and tick-borne diseases and check a stool sample for intestinal parasites. We will recommend a comprehensive, tailored laboratory panel based on your pet's age and general health status to evaluate the health of the internal organs and help detect the early stages of a disease.
Wellness examinations are the most important part of preventative healthcare for pets in all stages of life, from puppies and kittens to senior pets. They allow us to detect changes such as weight gain or loss, dental disease, and other subtle differences you may not notice at home. Early detection and treatment can help extend your pet's life.
Vaccines are products designed to trigger protective immune responses and prepare the immune system to fight future infections from disease-causing agents. Vaccines stimulate the immune system's production of antibodies that identify and destroy disease-causing organisms that enter the body.
Vaccines provide immunity against one or several diseases that can lessen the severity or prevent certain diseases altogether.
Experts agree that the widespread use of vaccinations within the last century has prevented death and disease in millions of animals. Vaccinations protect your pet from highly contagious and deadly diseases and improve your pet's overall quality of life.
The top 5 reasons to vaccinate your pet:
- Vaccinations prevent many pet illnesses.
- Vaccinations can help avoid costly treatments for diseases that can be prevented.
- Vaccinations prevent diseases that can be passed between animals and also from animals to people.
- Wildlife-related diseases, such as rabies and distemper, can infect unvaccinated pets.
- In many areas, local or state ordinances require certain vaccinations of household pets.
It is common for pets to experience some or all of the following mild side effects after receiving a vaccine, usually starting within hours of the vaccination:
- Discomfort and local swelling at the vaccination site
- Mild fever
- Decreased appetite and activity
- Sneezing, mild coughing, "snotty nose" or other respiratory signs may occur 2-5 days after your pet receives an intranasal vaccine
- A small, firm swelling under the skin may develop at the site of a recent vaccination. It should start to disappear within a couple of weeks. If it persists for more than three weeks or seems to be getting larger, you should contact your veterinarian.
If these side effects last more than a day or two or cause your pet significant discomfort, you need to contact us.
More serious but less common side effects, such as allergic reactions, may occur within minutes to hours after vaccination. These reactions can be life-threatening and are medical emergencies. Seek care immediately if any of these signs develop:
- Persistent vomiting or diarrhea
- Itchy skin that may seem bumpy ("hives")
- Swelling of the muzzle and around the face, neck, or eyes
- Severe coughing or difficulty breathing
Always inform us if your pet has had prior reactions to any vaccine or medication. If in doubt, wait 30-60 minutes following vaccination before taking your pet home.
When you come in for a visit, your team will talk with you about your pet's lifestyle, including any expected travel to other geographical locations and/or contact with other pets or wild animals, since these factors impact your pet's risk of exposure to certain diseases.
In many instances, the first dose of a vaccine primes the immune system against the virus or bacteria, while subsequent doses help further stimulate the immune system to produce the important antibodies needed for long-term protection.
An incomplete series of vaccinations may lead to incomplete protection, making puppies and kittens vulnerable to infection.
A series of vaccinations are scheduled to provide optimal protection against disease in the first few months of life, usually 3-4 weeks apart. For most puppies and kittens, the final vaccination in the series is administered at about 4 months of age; however, your veterinarian may alter the schedule based on your pet's individual risk factors.
The following information was obtained from the AVMA Vaccination Resources Tool
As a community-focused veterinarian in Grand Rapids, MI, we offer a new level of full-service veterinary medicine at our facility on Lake Drive. We strive to offer excellence and earn the title as your favorite veterinarian in Grand Rapids.
1350 Lake Drive SE
Grand Rapids, MI 49506
Mon - Fri: 8:00 AM - 6:00 PM
We are closed from 12:00 PM - 2:00 PM on Tuesdays ONLY.