1 kitty hillPreventative Care – The Foundation of Health Care

Preventing and protecting pets from health problems is the heart of veterinary care and includes:

What will help my pet live a healthier and longer life?

Several ingredients are needed:

  1. Prevention of disease – vaccinations, flea protection, proper nutrition etc.
  2. Detection of disease by comprehensive health assessments – consists of physical examinations, blood screenings, fecal exams, urinalysis, etc.
  3. Health care plans & therapeutics if needed – involves choosing and implementing the most appropriate therapies for any medical condition(s) that are detected.
  4. Monitoring – evaluations and diagnostic tests to evaluate progress.

Why should I bring my pet in when he seems healthy?

People often think that the purpose of an exam or “office visit” is to receive vaccinations. This couldn’t be further from the truth. The most important reason to have your pet seen by a veterinarian is for comprehensive physical examinations and programs designed to prevent and detect disease. Prevention and early disease detection are the keys to your pet having a longer and healthier life!

View the Human-Animal Age Conversion Chart (PDF) to see how old your pet really is!

How often should I bring my pet in for a check-up?

Semi-annual physical examinations are the focal point for keeping your pet on the road of good health. During the 6 months between exams, your pet actually ages 3-5 years! Regular comprehensive examinations are critical to preventing and detecting disease because:

  1. Our pets age 5-7 times faster than us.
  2. Animals by nature tend to hide illness, so it can be difficult for you to detect problems at home.
  3. Pets cannot always tell us when it hurts.

1 kitty duoVaccinations

Vaccinations are designed to effectively reduce the extent and severity of infectious disease in our pets. It is recommended that vaccination protocols are selected for each individual animal based on risk of exposure, health status, age, and the individual needs and lifestyle of your pet.

Potential Risks

There is always a potential risk for an adverse reaction to a vaccine. Although the risk is very low, it is still there. Possible reactions include an immediate hypersensitivity reaction, auto-immune disease from over-vaccinating and the development of vaccine associated sarcomas in cats.

Our Vaccination Guidelines

We tailor your pet’s vaccination program to your pet’s lifestyle to reduce the risks of both diseases and possible side effects. It is important that you understand both the benefits and risks of the vaccination program that we have outlined for your individual pet(s). We are happy to discuss any questions or concerns that you may have regarding our vaccination protocol.

We also offer Vaccination Titer Screening as an alternative to prevent over vaccinating and for immune compromised animals.

Cat Vaccines


This is a combination vaccine commonly referred to as the “Feline Distemper” vaccine. This vaccine protects against three very serious viral diseases in cats: Panleukopenia (feline distemper), and the upper respiratory complex – Rhinotracheitis and Calicivirus . All kittens and cats should be vaccinated with FVRCP to protect them against these diseases. The vaccine that we use is licensed for 3 year protection. This allows for maximum protection while minimizing the chance of vaccine reactions with yearly injections.

FeLV – Feline Leukemia Virus

FeLV is a virus that attacks the immune system and eventually causes other disease to take over the body. A cat may be FeLV virus positive and not show any clinical signs but continue to infect other cats that he comes into contact with. Vaccination for FeLV is recommended for cats whose lifestyle puts them at risk of exposure to the organism: outdoor or indoor-outdoor cats, stray cats, open multiple cat households or cats in a FeLV positive household. All cats should have a negative FeLV blood test prior to vaccinating for FeLV.


Rabies vaccination is highly recommended for cats. Not only is there no cure for rabies but there is also a human health risk since humans can contract rabies from an infected animal.

1 kitten smoochParasite Prevention


Fleas can make your cat very uncomfortable and also allow a flea infestation into your home. Parasite prevention includes stopping a flea infestation before it starts. Flea control is also important since some fleas transmit intestinal tapeworms to your pet.

 Intestinal Worms

Intestinal worms (roundworms, hookworms) are abundant in the environment. Pets can acquire these worms from infected soil of feces. Intestinal worms can cause vomiting, bloody diarrhea, anemia and stunted growth. Hookworms and roundworms also pose a threat to human health if your family members are exposed to the worm eggs. Prevention is much easier and safer than treatment after the problem has developed.

Countrycare (& the Center for Disease Control) recommends a fecal examination EVERY 6 MONTHS to check for intestinal parasites.

In addition to the worms listed previously, there are also other types of parasites that may be detected on a fecal flotation and should be addressed accordingly.

1 kitty windowAging

As animals move through life, they go through many of the same aging processes that humans do. Their hair may turn gray, their body seems to wear out and the their senses dim. Diseases that are commonly known to afflict humans also affect our pets: kidney, heart, and liver disease, tumors, cancer, diabetes, depression, “Alzheimer’s”, etc.

We need  to consider what is a typical lifespan for a pet and realize that they age much quicker than humans do. Different breeds and lifestyles can also affect the aging process.

The old saying was seven dog years for every ‘human’ year. The table below is a more accurate quantification of comparing your pet’s age to “human years”. For example, if your dog is 75 lbs. and is 8 years old…it would be equivalent to a 55 year old human.

Aging is not a disease, but rather a manifestation of the body’s diminished repair response. In animals, ‘old age’ is generally referred to as the last 25% of their lifespan. In addition to the number of years lived, aging is affected by such important factors as genetics, nutrition and environment. While dogs and cats begin to undergo aging changes starting at about age 5-7 years, different pets will show the various signs of growing ‘old’ at different rates. The best time to recognize your pet’s “senior” status and need for extra TLC is long before advanced problems are apparent.

To increase the length and quality of your pet’s life, it is important to 1) realize the speed of the aging process and 2) take preventative steps to manage risk factors related to your pet’s health.

Important Steps

  • Have regular wellness check-ups by your veterinarian. Every 3-6 months is appropriate for seniors.
  • If you only have your pet examined once every calendar year, your pet has actually aged  4-8 years!!!!
  • The correct nutrition and supplements are especially important as the body ages and it cannot assimilate nutrients as well as when he/she was younger.
  • Exercise is important to keep their bodies from deteriorating physically. (Use common sense for the appropriate type & amount of exercise.)
  • Watch for any (even subtle) physical or behavioral changes so that they can be addressed as soon as possible.

View the Human-Animal Age Conversion Chart (PDF) to see how old your pet really is!

What People
Have Said

"Anytime I have visited Countrycare, the staff have been very inviting, informative, and willing to share information and knowledge. One of the main reasons I choose Countrycare is to have the options of doing things holistically for my pets. Any experience I’ve had there, whether it’s been holistic or not, has been the best. I feel like I’m being informed of all of the choices without having conventional medicine pushed as the only option. Keep up the great job!"
- - Anonymous