Address: 4624 Harrison Road, Fredericksburg, Virginia 22408 Call Now: 540-891-1275
Wellness and Preventative Medicine
Regular wellness and preventive healthcare visits with your veterinarian are an essential part of caring for a pet. They help to maintain your pet’s optimal health and happiness. At St. Francis Animal Hospital, we recommend yearly wellness and preventive healthcare visits for pets under 6 years of age and twice a year for pets over the age of 7. Regular visits help our team detect early signs of disease, allowing for early treatment.
At St. Francis Animal Hospital, we have a full In-House Pharmacy stocked with prescription medications for preventive care, treatment of illnesses, and pain relief. We ensure that the medications your pet needs are immediately available, including oral, topical, and injectable medications. Our veterinarians are trained to compound formulations as needed for our patients.
We carry a full range of supplements, herbs, and vitamins specifically formulated for pets. Our veterinarians can advise you during your pet’s wellness and preventive healthcare visit on the supplements that would most benefit your pet.
Medicated baths can be administered by our veterinary healthcare team for a variety of skin conditions, including bacterial infections, yeast infections, skin allergies, parasites, or mange. As medicated dips for demodectic mange can cause serious side effects if improperly used, you may be more comfortable having our veterinary healthcare team take care of this.
While no one expects their pet to become lost, the reality is pets sometimes do wander away from home. At St. Francis Animal Hospital, we recommend that all our patients be microchipped and we can implant a chip at any time, since it is a quick and painless procedure. Even if your pet has a tattoo for identification or wears a collar all the time, microchipping is still recommended. A tattoo can be difficult to read over time and collars can easily slip off. A microchip is a permanent method of identification.
A microchip is tiny, about the size of a grain of rice, and has a unique number. The microchip is implanted in your pet just beneath the skin between the shoulder blades at the back of your pet’s neck. The unique number is registered with an international database and is associated with you, the pet owner. The registry stores information such as your name and contact information, along with information about your pet (e.g. breed, coat color, sex). The microchip is read with a small hand-held scanner that allows this information to be retrieved and immediately traces your pet back to you. Microchips greatly improve the chance of being reunited with your pet if he or she does happen to wander away from you.
To help keep your pet at his or her optimal weight, we screen all pets to ensure they are at their ideal weight as part of our Wellness and Preventive Programs. We know that obesity leads to many health issues and a shorter life span. To complement our obesity screening program, we offer Nutritional Counselling to help address or prevent weight issues with your pet.
With so many pet foods available, it can be overwhelming to choose a diet best suited for your pet – especially if your pet has underlying health conditions. Pets with health conditions (e.g. diabetes or periodontal, heart, or kidney disease), weight issues, allergies, or of a giant breed can present a challenge when trying to find an appealing, tasty diet that also meets their medical needs. Additionally, nutrient profiles and quantity of food required to vary by life stage (puppy/kitten, adult, and senior/geriatric), activity level (sedentary lap dog, or active, performance, or working dog), and the health of your pet.
Our healthcare team is ready to assist you in choosing the best food that suits your pet’s specific needs. We carry many nutritionally balanced veterinary-approved diets, including diets specifically tailored for all life stages and for those pets with specific health issues or dietary needs, such as diabetes, periodontal disease, kidney or heart disease, allergies, and pancreatitis. We can make dietary recommendations based on the health of your pet, as well as its life stage. We also will advise you on appropriate treats and supplements that will help keep your pet in top health. In conjunction with Nutritional Counselling, our healthcare team will assess your pet’s body condition score and screen for obesity as part of our Wellness and Preventive Programs.
At St. Francis Animal Hospital, we offer alternative diet options for your pet, our team can help you decipher through the information available on the internet and help you make sound decisions for your pet.
The goal of palliative care is to enhance the comfort and quality of life during the final phase of your pet’s life. At St. Francis Animal Hospital, we will compassionately care for all your pet’s medical needs and attend to pain management to maximize wellbeing, enabling your pet to live as comfortably as possible in your home or at our hospital. We will create a customized palliative care plan for your pet (e.g. nutritional therapy, fluid therapy, and pain relief) to maximize your pet’s quality of life until it’s the right and best time to say good-bye.
During wellness visits, our veterinarians will ensure that your pet has the vaccinations necessary to meet his or her lifestyle. “Core” vaccines are recommended for all pets, including the rabies vaccine, while other “non-core” vaccines are recommended based on your pet’s lifestyle. With the popularity of doggie daycares, dog parks, and pet-friendly hotels, retail outlets, and vacation destinations on the rise, exposure to viruses and bacteria (e.g. canine influenza virus, parainfluenza, and Bordetella), we recommend that our canine patients receive vaccinations to protect against these diseases. Bordetella doesn’t just impact dogs. Cats can be infected too. So, we recommend this vaccine for our feline patients as well. We recommend internal parasite testing twice per year for felines. Please be advised that owners should bring in a fresh fecal sample to the appointment for complete screening and diagnostics.
Recommended preventatives for dogs
- Distemper- Adenovirus-Parainfluenza- Parvovirus.
- Canine Influenza
- Heartworm Test
- Intestinal Parasite Test
- Parasite Control
Recommended preventatives for cats
- feline viral rhinotracheitis, calicivirus and panleukopenia
- Feline Leukemia
- Feline Bordetella
- Intestinal Parasite Test
- Parasite control
Rabbits, gerbils, guinea pigs, hamsters, and ferrets need just as much care and monitoring of their health as cats and dogs do, and at St. Francis Animal Hospital, we are knowledgeable in the care and treatment of exotic pets and offer a comprehensive preventive healthcare program.
As part of our preventive healthcare program, we do complete physical examinations on our exotic patients. As many exotic species are prey species, they are very adept at hiding illness until it is advanced, and sometimes too late to treat. Annual wellness checks are recommended to check for any early abnormalities or problems. At these appointments, you’ll have the opportunity to discuss any concerns that you have or ask questions about your pet’s health.
Screening for obesity is a part of our preventive care program. Obesity, as in cats and dogs, can lead to health problems and a shorter lifespan in exotic animals. During annual visits, your pet’s weight and body condition will be assessed. Changes in weight can indicate changes in your pet’s health and problems that may need to be addressed.
Proper nutrition is just as important for exotic pets as it is for cats and dogs. At St. Francis Animal Hospital, we offer Nutritional Counselling as part of our wellness checks. Diets for small mammals vary greatly and many commercial food products are not suitable for sustaining optimal health or maintaining dental health. Our veterinarians can provide advice on the best food for your exotic pet. Improving your pet’s diet can improve their overall health and longevity.
Dental health in small mammals is crucial for maintaining optimal health. Rabbits, guinea pigs, and rats can experience dental problems related to their continually growing teeth. If not treated, they can cause serious health problems. Ferrets can develop periodontal disease, which impacts their health and quality of life. Our veterinarians will perform an oral exam at each wellness check.
Preventive screening programs for certain diseases and intestinal parasites are just as important for some exotic species as they are for dogs and cats. Many diseases can be diagnosed with blood tests and/or a urinalysis. Intestinal parasites can affect all pets. Stool samples should be analyzed one to two times per year and appropriate deworming medication administered. Immunizations are also important. All ferrets should be immunized for rabies and distemper. Our veterinarians will discuss the vaccinations necessary for your pet. Intestinal parasites can affect all pets.
As your pet reaches certain life stages, Wellness Screening Tests will be recommended. Pets are very adept at hiding illness and unfortunately, diseases may be present even if your pet does not appear to be ill. When diseases are detected early on, steps can often be taken to manage or even cure the disease before it gets out of hand and permanent damage occurs. As your pet reaches certain milestones, our veterinarians will recommend screening tests to identify early signs of diseases that commonly affect senior pets, for example, diabetes, hyperthyroidism (cats), hypothyroidism (dogs), and kidney or heart disease. These tests may include urine and blood tests.