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St. Charles County Pet Wellness Services

Pet Wellness Services at Bryan Road Animal HospitalYour Pet's Wellness Examination
at Bryan Road Animal Hospital

At Bryan Road Animal Hospital in O'Fallon, Missouri, our doctors and medical staff recommend wellness examinations at least once a year for the same reason that your physician or dentist recommends them: if a health problem or issue can be detected in its early stages, there is a far greater likelihood that it can be resolved and treated with less difficulty, less expense, and greater success.

Each age and stage of your pet's life presents different needs that require attention and care. Our team of doctors and veterinary staff provide individualized attention and develop a health care plan for your pet that takes into consideration age, lifestyle, breed, and personal history. We also listen to you, the pet owner, and take into account your schedule, routine, needs, and family life. By understanding the whole picture, we can better tailor a health care plan that suits both your pet and you.

During your pet's wellness examination, our veterinarians perform a complete physical to assess your pet's overall health and to give you an opportunity to discuss any questions or concerns you may have. Have you noticed any recent subtle shifts in your pet's health or behavior? Have you observed any changes in body weight, appetite, water intake, urination and bowel habits, and/or activity level? Changes may be signs of medical problems. Seemingly insignificant lumps and bumps under the skin may be indications of infection or cancer. Ear infections, abscessed teeth, and gum disease are common, painful conditions that may not become noticeable until seriously advanced. A comprehensive physical examination helps your veterinarian and you evaluate your pet's health and make informed decisions about your special companion's veterinary care.

The veterinary team at Bryan Road Animal Hospital also works with you to create a lifetime preventive health care plan. This includes a balanced schedule of vaccines (to protect your pet against dangerous, but preventable, diseases), routine dental care (good oral health protects overall systemic health), and microchip identification (should your pet become lost). We also provide internal medicine services, nutritional and behavioral counseling, general and orthopedic surgery, advanced diagnostic testing capabilities and much more.

Our commitment to you and your pet's health begins with a wellness examination that includes:

  • Examining your pet's teeth, throat and oral cavity
  • Checking your pet's vision and eyes
  • Examining ears for infection, ear mites, allergic reaction 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 Leads to Good Health

An ongoing dialogue between you and your pet's doctor ensures that your beloved companion is receiving the optimal care and attention that he deserves so that he can live a long and healthy life. Dr. Vricella and Dr. Clapper at Bryan Road Animal Hospital in O'Fallon, Mo. spend plenty of time with you so that you receive reliable information about your pet's health. Our goal is to provide you with the finest veterinary care possible so that you and your beloved companion can enjoy a long, healthy, and happy life together.

Vaccinations to Support Your Pet's Health

Pet Wellness Services at Bryan Road Animal HospitalVaccinations are the number one way you can protect your beloved pet from serious infectious diseases. Vaccines prevent diseases that were once responsible for the death of many dogs and cats. They prepare your dog or cat for exposure to certain viruses and bacteria, so when exposed, the immune system can destroy the invaders before the body becomes overwhelmed.

During the first few months of life, a series of vaccinations for both puppies and kittens is necessary. Sometime between age 6 weeks to 20 weeks, the maternal antibodies disappear and the puppy's or kitten's immune system begins functioning on its own. For this reason, vaccination every two to three weeks is considered the safest way to ensure protection for your young pet. As the maternal antibodies disappear and the immune system begins functioning, your pet needs fewer vaccinations.

Vaccinations are also important for keeping adult pets healthy and free from disease. However, not every pet requires the same series or frequency of vaccines. At Bryan Road Animal Hospital, our veterinarians determine a vaccination protocol based on your pet's lifestyle, susceptibility to disease, prevalence of disease in our area, and the most current recommendations from the American Veterinary Medical Association. Our goal to is to maintain optimal health and protection while not over-vaccinating your pet.

We recommend the following vaccines:

Puppies & Kittens

Core puppy vaccines: DHPP (Distemper, Hepatitis,
Parvovirus and Parainfluenza) or DHLPP (DHPP plus Leptospirosis), Rabies
Core kitten vaccines: DRC (Distemper,
Rhinotracheitis, Calicivirus), Rabies
Non-core puppy vaccines: Bordetella

Adult Dogs & Cats

Core adult dog vaccines: DHLPP, Rabies
Core adult cat vaccines: DRC, Rabies
Non-core adult dog vaccines: Bordetella
Non-core adult cat vaccines: Feline Leukemia

If you would like to schedule an appointment to get your pet up-to-date on vaccinations, please give us a call at (636) 272-3900.

Puppy and Kitten Care: Starting Off on the Right Paw

The first year of care for your new puppy or kitten is the most important. Like human infants, puppies and kittens require special attention in order for them to grow and develop well. Our team of veterinarians and technicians partner with you to create a custom health plan so that your new companion receives the care required to get the best start in life.

Your puppy and kittens first year of care will include:

  • Physical Examinations: Your puppy's or kitten’s lifetime of wellness starts with its first comprehensive physical exam. Puppies and kittens should have 3-4 exams between the ages of 6-16 weeks. These visits are important because they provide our veterinarians with an opportunity to assess your pet's overall health, administer vaccines, and discuss common behavioral situations.
  • Vaccinations: Due to their developing immune systems, puppies and kittens must receive a series of properly staged vaccines. Because every puppy and kitten is unique, we tailor our vaccination recommendations based on their lifestyle and/or breed and according to the suggested medical guidelines.
  • Diagnostic Testing: Kittens should be tested for Feline Leukemia and Feline AIDS.
  • Additional Recommendations: Your veterinarian will also discuss and recommend other services, such as spaying, neutering, and microchipping.

Senior Care: Some Extra TLC

Taking a moment to learn more about the special needs of your senior pet is the first step toward providing the best care for your companion in his or her later years. At Bryan Road Animal Hospital, we place a special emphasis on geriatric medicine and the care of chronic disease.

Pets that are about seven years of age and older begin to go through a gradual reduction of their physical capabilities. This process can be slowed and managed through proper veterinary care that can provide your pet an extended period of vitality and good health. Preventive care exams every six months that are tailored to your pet's age, lifestyle, risk factors and other elements can help prevent common diseases or detect them at early and easily treatable stages.

Pet Wellness Services at Bryan Road Animal HospitalThere is also an important role for you to play as your pet's primary caregiver. You can influence your pet's activity level, living conditions, access to quality senior veterinary care, and daily nutrition. With your veterinarian's help, you can manage these factors in order to prolong your pet's good health, vitality, and increase his or her well being, even as his or her pace slows a bit.

The best time to begin your pet's senior care program is before age related conditions begin to occur. The veterinary team at Bryan Road Animal Hospital recommends regular senior wellness exams, which should include specialized laboratory work to detect the early signs of disease processes. Dental care at this point in life also becomes even more important. We recommend regular dental exams and cleanings for all pets, but especially those in their senior years. Diet and weight gain are important issues to monitor. When you bring your pet in for a senior wellness visit, we evaluate his or her weight and offer recommendations based on what we observe.

Your pet's senior plan includes:

  • Urinary health check
  • Complete blood count
  • Complete urinalysis
  • Heartworm test
  • Abdominal and chest radiographs
  • Blood pressure monitoring
  • Full chemistry blood panel
  • Internal parasite test
  • Thyroid test
  • Electrocardiogram as recommended

These tests are not time intensive or difficult to do and can be performed during regular wellness exams.

Heartworm Disease and Your O'Fallon, Missouri Pet

Heartworm disease is a serious, life-threatening disease transmitted by mosquitoes. It affects dogs and, to a lesser extent, cats. In the U.S., heartworm disease is most common along the Atlantic and Gulf coasts from the Gulf of Mexico to New Jersey and along the Mississippi River and its major tributaries, but it has been reported in dogs in all 50 states.

Clinical symptoms of heartworm disease develop very slowly. Early symptoms include lack of energy, exercise intolerance, coughing, and difficulty breathing. Because heartworm disease is increasing in frequency and is a serious and deadly disease, we recommend that your dog be tested annually.

Heartworm disease prevention is simple and effective. For dogs, a once-a-month heartworm preventive can be given as a chewable treat. This same chewable medicine prevents not only heartworms from developing, but also kills and prevents most other types of worms that can infect your dog. Cats are protected by applying a drop of heartworm prevention liquid to the skin once a month. We recommend this to prevent heartworm disease as well as fleas, ear mites, and other types of worms that can infect your cat.

If you would like to have your pet tested for heartworm disease, or if you would like additional information on how best to protect your pet from this dangerous parasite, please call Bryan Road Animal Hospital today for an appointment.

Flea and Tick Prevention

Fleas and ticks are more than a nuisance; they carry diseases dangerous to both you and your pet. For example, fleas can transmit tapeworms, and often you can see segments of the tapeworm in your pet's stool. Your pet can also be allergic to fleas, and even just one flea bite can cause an intense allergic reaction, resulting in a severely painful skin infection.

In Missouri, ticks can carry a variety of serious illnesses, including Lyme disease, Ehrlichiosis, and Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever. Ticks tend to thrive in wooded areas or in high grass. It is often difficult to keep your pets away from tick infested areas, so if they do go exploring, check them carefully when they come inside. Remember, prior to feeding, ticks can be as small as a poppy seed.

The good news is that these problems can be avoided by using one of the safe and effective prescription strength parasite prevention products that are available at Bryan Road Animal Hospital's in-house pharmacy. Please ask a member of our medical team to recommend a product that is right for your pet.

Pet Wellness Services at Bryan Road Animal HospitalExotic Animal Care

We offer optimum wellness care programs for birds, pocket pets (including guinea pigs, rats, rabbits, and chinchillas), bearded dragons, ferrets, and pot bellied pigs. Since it is often difficult to determine if an exotic pet is ill, we strongly recommend physical examinations at least once a year to check for health problems plus check for nutritional and husbandry-related conditions.

In order to survive attacks from their predators, exotic animals normally conceal their illnesses in the wild. As a result, their medical problems often go unnoticed for long periods of time. By the time you recognize that there is a problem with your exotic pet, the condition is often extremely serious. With annual or biannual medical examinations by a veterinarian at Bryan Road Animal Hospital, problems are often diagnosed before they become serious medical conditions.

After acquiring your new exotic pet, a complete wellness appointment is strongly recommended. This exam includes a thorough physical examination, husbandry and nutritional consultation, disease screening and laboratory testing if necessary. Before bringing your pet into your home, you want to make sure that he or she is healthy.

To learn more about any of the St. Charles pet wellness services offered at Bryan Road Animal Hospital, please give us a call at (636) 272-3900.