Working On Pet Patients

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Since 1982, Dr. Gerald Haggard has been taking care of Exeter’s four-legged residents. From cats to horses, Exeter Veterinary Hospital continues to provide complete care for pets from puppies and kittens to senior dogs and cats.

The only problem with Exeter Veterinary Hospital is that their office was too small to treat every pet at their original home at 251 S. F St. in Exeter. So five years ago, Haggard built a new office at 302 S. F St. The new facility offers three exam rooms (two for small animals and one for large animals), a surgical room and a horse chute for equine exams in the back of the building.

But then another problem began to surface. Exeter Vet Hospital was so sought after, it was becoming difficult for Dr. Haggard to see all of the pets in town in a timely manner. In order to remedy that situation, Haggard brought Dr. Hans Konrad on board last month.

Larissa Barnes, a technician at Exeter Vet Hospital, said the addition of Dr. Konrad has helped get pets into the vet sooner and has allowed Exeter Veterinary Hospital to take on new pet patients.

But still, a problem persists. How can Drs. Haggard and Konrad get all the necessary medications, flea prevention and nutritious pet food to animal lovers in the Exeter area? The answer, a new program called Remind Me. The program delivers flea, tick and heartworm preventatives, chronic medications, nutrition products, prescription drugs and other medications on a monthly basis right to your home. The pay-as-you-go program offers free shipping. For questions on the service, call 877-738-4443 or visit exetervet.com.

Exeter Veterinary Hospital treats any and every ailment from skin allergies to arthritis and offer X-rays, dental exams, all types of surgical procedures and micro chipping for pet identification. Dr. Haggard said the more dire issue facing puppies is parvo. Haggard said many people think their puppy only needs one vaccination, but in reality need a vaccination every three weeks from the time they are six weeks old until they are 16 weeks old.

“Parvo is the most serious threat to puppies, but there are a lot of other issues for older pets,” Haggard said.

He also reminded pet owners that cats need annual check ups and vaccinations as well. Cats must get a yearly vaccination called FELV/FERVP. FELV is for feline Leukemia and the FERVP is for upper respiratory and rabies. Both doctors agree their emphasis this month is on senior care for pets. Like humans, as pets get older they may require more trips to the vet to handle a variety of health issues that come with old age, such as arthritis, hormonal imbalances, organ failure, loss of vision and even incontinence.

“The most important thing you can do for your pet is an annual physical,” Dr. Konrad said. “Just giving your pet medication for one thing doesn’t help us diagnose another, possibly more serious problem before it gets too serious.”

Because dogs and cats age much faster than humans, their health declines in their senior years much faster than their owners. As a general rule, cats are considered to be seniors between 9-10 years of age. For dogs, senior citizen status depends on the size. Small dogs (less than 20 pounds) are seniors from 10-11 years of age. Medium sized dogs (20-40 pounds) between 9-10 years and large dogs (40-80 pounds) between 8-9 years. Dogs more than 80 pounds are considered elderly from 5-6 years old.

There are several warning signs to look for in older pets. Stiffness can be a sign of arthritis. Lethargy can be a sign for a variety of health issues from hormonal imbalances to mental health issues. Decreased appetite can be a sign of infection, cancer or dementia.

To make an appointment for your furry friend, call Exeter Veterinary Hospital at 559-592-5210 or visit exetervet.com.

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