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Wellness Exam for your Pet in Ann ArborPet Wellness Exams in Ann Arbor

Dr. Clarkson and his staff at Westarbor Animal Hospital believe that prevention is the key to your pet's long-term health. This approach helps to identify health issues before they become serious and minimizes the lifetime cost of care. We recommend thorough, routine wellness exams, vaccinations, regular lab work, deworming and fecal checks, as well as medications to prevent heartworm, fleas and ticks. Dr. Clarkson and Dr. Anderson stay current with all the latest veterinary innovations to ensure your pet receives the best care.

We utilize a paperless, detailed computer record keeping system that connects all aspects of your pet's healthcare into one system so that we can maintain thorough, accurate and easily obtainable records whenever we, or you, may need them.

Your pet's wellness examination is our chance for us to get to know your pet, to assess your pet's overall health, discuss any changes we see, update you on advancements in veterinary care, and for you to discuss any concerns or questions you may have. Most of the tests we offer at Westarbor Animal Hospital can be performed during your dog or cat's regular exam.

We are a highly compassionate group of professionals who are committed to treating each and every one of our client's pets as if they were our own.

During your pet's annual wellness exam, we:

  • Examine your pet's teeth, throat, and oral cavity
  • Check your pet's vision and examine the eyes
  • Examine the ears for infection, ear mites, allergic reaction and other related health issues
  • Examine the respiratory system
  • Assess your pet's heart
  • Test your pet's reflexes
  • Palpate lymph nodes and abdomen
  • Inspect the skin
  • Palpate joints and muscles for arthritis and other orthopedic conditions
  • Test to evaluate the function of internal organs, blood, and other systems

Wellness for your pet in ann arbor, mi

Fecal Check

Dangerous parasites are always present in the environment. Importantly, if brought into your home, these parasites can be passed from your pet to you and your family. For example, we normally associate parasites such as roundworms, tapeworms, and hookworms with cats and dogs, but people can also be infected with the same parasites. Regular fecal checks and deworming are the best way to prevent parasitic disease and the transmission of intestinal parasites to your pet. It also prevents the shedding of parasite eggs, which contaminate yards or any place a pet defecates.

Regular Blood Testing

A complete physical includes a heartworm test, parasite screening, and should include a full blood workup. Not only can a full chemistry panel and complete blood count identify the presence of underlying disease processes, but these tests help create a baseline should your pet become ill between routine examinations. Additionally, blood work is necessary if your veterinarian recommends a dental cleaning, removal of a skin mass, or any other procedure that requires anesthesia.

We also recommend comprehensive blood work annually for all pets over the age of eight.

Fleas and Ticks

Fleas and ticks are virtually everywhere. Although they're a bigger problem in certain parts of the country and at specific times during the year, no cat or dog is completely safe from them. Fortunately, many safe and highly effective products are available. Today, there's no reason for any pet or owner to be bothered by these pests.

Fleas are so common because they are reproductive marvels. A single female flea can lay as many as 30 eggs a day and can live and breed on your pet for up to 100 days. The eggs then fall and land in carpets and upholstery where they can lie dormant for up to 8 months. The best management techniques of flea-proofing your home includes regularly vacuuming of carpets, furniture, floors and areas where your pet sits or sleeps. You should also wash your pet's bedding, toys, and towels weekly.

Beyond causing serious discomfort and infesting your home, fleas and ticks carry diseases dangerous to both you and your pet. Fleas can transmit tapeworms to your pet, 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 our region, ticks can carry a variety of serious illnesses, including Lyme disease and Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever. These same ticks can bite people and transmit disease as well.

The good news is that these problems can be avoided by using parasite prevention products that are available at our hospital. When used properly and according to our directions, these products are very safe and effective. They are what we use on our own pets.

Contrary to what you may have read or been told, there are no holistic or natural products available which have been shown to be effective in preventing or killing fleas and ticks. Ask a veterinarian or staff member at Westarbor Animal Hospital to recommend the flea and tick prevention product which is best suited for your pet.

Heartworm Disease

Heartworm disease is a serious, life-threatening disease of dogs and cats. Mosquitoes spread the disease by injecting the parasite into your pet at the time of the bite. After the infected female mosquito bites your pet, the heartworm migrates through the bloodstream and moves to the heart and adjacent blood vessels, maturing to adults within 6-7 months in dogs and 8 months in cats. As many as 30 species of mosquitoes can transmit heartworms.

Until the early 1970s, the occurrence of heartworm disease in the United States was primarily confined to the southeastern part of the country. Today, heartworm disease is found almost everywhere in the continental United States.

Clinical symptoms of heartworm disease develop very slowly. Often symptoms are not noticeable until several years after the initial infection. Lack of energy and exercise intolerance are early symptoms. Coughing and difficulty breathing are both common symptoms. As the disease progresses, most dogs develop congestive heart failure. Dogs often collapse in the final stage of the disease. In cats, the symptoms of heartworm disease are similar to those of feline asthma. Some cats may exhibit no signs of the disease, while others may suddenly die.

Since heartworm disease is increasing in frequency and is a serious and deadly disease, we recommend that your dog be tested annually. This test is highly accurate, and we often have the results in less than 10 minutes.

Heartworm disease prevention is simple. For dogs, a once-a-month heartworm preventative can be given as a tasty, chewable treat. This same chewable medicine prevents not only heartworms from developing, but also kills and prevents most other types of parasites that can infect your dog. Cats can be protected by applying a drop of heartworm prevention liquid to the skin once-a-month, or giving a once monthly chewable medicine. These medications also prevent other types of parasites 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 and your family from these dangerous parasites, please call us today for an appointment.

Puppy and Kitten Care

Bringing a new puppy or kitten into your home is always exciting. They add energy and fun and are a source of unceasing affection as they bond with you and your family.

New pets also require a little extra attention to ensure they get a good, healthy start at life. This means that comprehensive physical exams at key developmental stages are important, as well as time and veterinarian-tested advice on housebreaking and training.

During your puppy or kitten's first year, Dr. Clarkson and Dr. Anderson recommend periodic wellness exams, screenings for damaging parasitic infections such as worms or giardia, and periodic dental exams. At six months, we recommend spaying or neutering your puppy or kitten. For our clients with puppies, we strongly recommend starting heartworm prevention medication as well as getting a microchip lost pet ID as young pets are prone to running off and becoming lost.

We believe it is very important to take a balanced approach to vaccinating kittens and puppies. We spread vaccine visits throughout your pet's first year to ensure his or her immune system adequately responds and recovers from each vaccine challenge.

Your kitten's first visit includes:

  • Diet discussion, including types of food that are best for cats' unique requirements
  • Litter and litter box discussion
  • Behavior discussion
  • Spaying and neutering discussion
  • Declawing – Should I or shouldn't I?
  • Vaccine protocol (Additional fees may apply to each vaccine.)
  • Discussion of pet health insurance. - Should I get pet health insurance? What should I look for in a company?
  • Microchipping for cats going outdoors - Should I get this done? When is the best time to do this? (An additional fee applies for microchip placement.)
  • Fecal exam for worms and other intestinal parasites (An additional fee applies.)
  • Testing for Feline Leukemia Virus (FeLV) and Feline Immunodeficiency Virus (FIV) (An additional fee applies.)
  • Complete physical exam which includes detection of potential congenital problems.

Your puppy's first visit includes:

  • Diet discussion, including types of food to feed, balancing the diet for clients opting to feed raw or home-prepared diets, and guidelines on feeding intervals and quantities
  • Housetraining discussion
  • Behavior discussion
  • Spaying and neutering advice – Is this best for my dog? What are the consequences of spaying/neutering too early and what should I expect if I don't want to spay or neuter my dog? If I decide to spay/neuter, when is the best time to have this done?
  • Formulation of a minimal, individualized vaccine protocol
  • Discussion on pet health insurance - Should I get pet health insurance? What should I look for in a company?
  • Microchipping - Should I get this done? When is the best time to do this?
  • Fecal exam for worms and other intestinal parasites (An additional fee applies.)
  • Complete physical exam which includes detection of potential congenital problems and anything else you may want to discuss - This is your new pet and we're happy to answer any questions.

Geriatric Care

Ask us about our senior wellness packages.

Senior pets have special needs. By taking the time to learn more about these needs, you've taken the first step toward ensuring your pet leads a healthy and happy life for many more years.

Pets in their senior years – those of about six 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 thereby offering your beloved pet an extended period of vitality and good health.

Care for Senior Pets in ann arborAdditionally, preventive care 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.

There is also an important role for you to play as your pet's primary caregiver. While you cannot control age related decline, 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 wellbeing, even as his or her pace slows a bit.

At Westarbor Animal Hospital we offer personalized care to address the specific needs of older dogs and cats. This plan provides us and you a baseline to monitor your pet at a time when small changes can be detected and that may identify health problems before they become serious concerns or even life threatening.

Our senior plan includes:

  • Glaucoma 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 routine wellness exams.


Your pet can develop glaucoma too. This is a condition in which the fluid pressure inside the eye increases to a point where the optic nerve is damaged, causing loss of vision and blindness. Glaucoma is relatively common in animals and can develop as your pet ages – this is known as chronic glaucoma. If the condition is the result of an injury or illness it is known as acute glaucoma.

In many cases glaucoma can progress quite rapidly, especially when it is the result of injury or underlying illness. This can be considered an emergency situation. Glaucoma symptoms to look for include:

  • Redness in the eye
  • Tearing or discharge
  • Eye sensitivity to light
  • Pain
  • The eye may look cloudy
  • Bulging eyeball

We use an instrument called a tonometer to measure the fluid pressure inside your pet's eyes. It is a noninvasive procedure and should not cause your pet any pain or discomfort. We apply a mild anesthetic eye-drop to ensure your pet is comfortable during the exam.

Have your pet checked regularly for this condition. A routine glaucoma exam is not only an effective screening measure for chronic and acute glaucoma, but can also help set a baseline measurement for your pet. Setting a baseline measurement is important because normal Intraocular Pressure (IOP) can vary between species, breeds and even individual pets.

The examination is very quick to perform and once done, we explain your pet's measurement, what it tells us about the health of your pet's eyes, and provide any treatment options if necessary.