Wellness For Every Age and Stage

At Shaker Heights Animal Hospital, it’s our first priority to ensure the care and welfare of your pets. We understand pet owners want to provide the best for their four-legged family members, but budgetary issues can be significantly challenging. Dr. Welsh is committed to providing excellent, reasonably priced care for your pets.

Many illnesses can be avoided with preventative care, contributing to a longer, healthier life for your pet. This in turn can minimize the lifetime cost of care. We recommend routine pet wellness exams, vaccinations, routine laboratory testing, regular fecal checks and deworming, as well as medications to prevent heartworm disease, fleas, and ticks as they can carry diseases that can make your pet ill.

Despite our best efforts, our pets can develop illnesses or become injured. This can be an understandably stressful experience; all of us as pet owners want to know what’s wrong with our pet and how to treat it as soon as possible. With our internal medicine and surgical expertise, along with our advanced in-house veterinary diagnostics and laboratory, we can provide an accurate diagnosis and treatment plan for your pet.

Why Annual Preventive Examinations Are Important

An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. This statement could not be more true. At Shaker Heights Animal Hospital we recommend annual wellness exams for all of our patients. Just like any family doctor or dentist, our doctors like to see their canine and feline patients at least once a year.

Unfortunately, our animals can’t verbally tell us what is wrong with them or why they don’t feel good. Sometimes if an injury or illness is severe enough, we as owners can see there is a problem. Annual wellness exams are a way we can ensure there are no underlying issues that might result in serious illness down the road.

Our Wellness Exam includes:

  • Examining your pet’s teeth, throat and oral cavity
  • Checking your pet’s vision and eyes
  • Examining the ears for infection, mites, allergies and other related health issues
  • Assessing your pet’s heart and cardiac function
  • Examining the skin
  • Palpating lymph nodes and abdomen
  • Examining the respiratory system
  • Evaluating internal organ function and other systems
  • Monitoring your pet’s blood count and serum chemistry
  • Performing laboratory tests to determine the presence of specific diseases
  • Assessing changes in your pet’s health since the last wellness visit
  • Fecal check for the presence of intestinal parasites

Good communication between you and our veterinary team is key to making the most of your pet’s wellness exam. It is important that a well documented history is taken, so our doctor can offer the right recommendations and make informed decisions, including which tests to perform to aid in a diagnosis. No matter how insignificant a symptom or behavior might be have your doctor or technician take note – it could turn out to be something of significance.

Puppy and Kitten Care

Shaker Heights Animal Hospital is here to guide you through all the phases of your new family member’s life. Initial care of a puppy or kitten is very important, because they lack the ability to protect themselves from various diseases.

The first step you should take with your new pet is to schedule a wellness exam. This gives you the opportunity to ask questions and allows us to make sure your new pet is off to a healthy start. Our veterinary wellness program for puppies and kittens includes:

  • Comprehensive wellness examinations
  • Vaccines
  • Parasite prevention
  • Behavior counseling
  • Spay/Neuter surgery
  • Discussion of housetraining/litter box training
  • Nutrition and diet counseling

It is important to the entire medical team at Shaker Heights Animal Hospital that your new puppy or kitten starts out on the right paw toward a healthy and happy life. We offer complimentary puppy and kitten packs with information and coupons toward flea and tick prevention and the first dose of heartworm prevention for puppies.

Senior Pet Wellness

It’s hard to believe that around the age of seven, your pet is entering their geriatric years. They will experience a gradual reduction of their physical capabilities as they transition into their golden years. To help provide your pet with continued good health and longevity, our doctors and medical team at Shaker Heights Animal Hospital can help you manage this process. A key part is a tailored geriatric wellness program based on your pet’s age, breed and lifestyle to help prevent and detect common illnesses that can affect your senior pet.

You play a vital role in this process. While some changes in physical appearance or behavior may be immediately apparent, other changes will happen gradually. It is important to monitor these changes and schedule an appointment for a veterinarian to examine your pet when any changes begin to affect your pet’s quality of life.

Vaccinating Your Pet

With the advancements made in veterinary medicine over the years, your pet can be protected against most major infectious diseases. Today there are many immunizations and preventives that did not exist even a decade ago. With a vaccine plan for your pet in place based on risk assessment, our doctors can help provide the protection they need against these infectious diseases.

What is risk assessment and how do we determine a vaccine plan for your pet?

Risk assessment is the probability of your pet being exposed to an infectious disease, based on their living environment, where you take them and other animals they may come in contact with.

Vaccines are divided into two groups: core and non-core. Core vaccines are given to every cat and dog. These vaccines protect against the most common infectious diseases that are widespread throughout the country. Non-core vaccines are the vaccines that will be given to your pet based on how likely they are to contract a particular disease.

Core Vaccines for Dogs:

Non-Core Vaccines for Dogs:

Core Vaccines for Cats:
Panleukopenia (Distemper)

Non-Core Vaccines for Cats:
Feline Leukemia
Feline Immunodeficiency Virus

The veterinary team at Shaker Heights Animal Hospital believe strongly in the importance of vaccinations to protect your animal, but also want to provide a balanced vaccination plan as to not over vaccinate your pet. Once the initial vaccine series is given we will put your pet onto an extended vaccine protocol to safely protect them from these infectious diseases.

Heartworm Disease and Your Pet

Heartworm is a life-threatening disease transmitted through a mosquito bite. It affects dogs and cats and is widespread throughout the United States. 

Clinical signs of Heartworm may go unnoticed during the beginning stages of the disease and include lack of energy and exercise intolerance. As the disease progresses, coughing and difficulty breathing will develop and without treatment death will occur. 

Prevention of Heartworm disease is very easy. Prevention options available are a monthly Heartworm chewable given orally, a monthly topical application or by a once yearly injectable called ProHeart12. These prevention products also help with the treatment of intestinal parasites and fleas. Prior to starting your pet on heartworm prevention, a Heartworm test will be performed to ensure that your pet is not already Heartworm positive.

We recommend all pets be kept on Heartworm prevention year round. To ensure the effectiveness of the preventive treatment, we recommend testing your pet for Heartworm infection once every 12 months. 


Flea & Tick Prevention

Fleas and ticks can be a nuisance to your pet, but more importantly they can carry disease and parasites. Fleas can carry the bacterium that causes “cat scratch fever” and the larva that become tapeworms. They are most abundant during the warm weather but if left untreated they can be a problem year-round.

Ticks usually reside on tall grasses and are most prevalent during the spring and fall but some species can survive the winter as long as the temperature does not drop below freezing. Ticks can carry Erlichiosis, Lyme Disease and Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever, which are considered zoonotic. Zoonotic diseases can be transmitted from animals to humans.

It is important to keep these critters at bay by using some type of flea and tick prevention. The time to treat your pet is before you see any signs of a problem. Once a flea enters your home there is a good possibility it will lay thousands of eggs on your pet’s bedding, in your carpet and on your furniture. Remember, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.