Skokie Pet Wellness Services

Skokie, Chicago pet wellness examsWellness Care: Preventing Problems Before They Start

Why Should My Pet See Dr. Johnson Every Year?

Just like with humans, regular pet wellness examinations are the key to your pet's long-term health. If a health problem or issue can be detected in its early stages, there is a far greater likelihood it can be resolved and treated with less difficulty, less expense and greater success.

Comprehensive annual pet wellness examinations for your pet at North Shore Veterinary Clinic in Skokie are Dr. Johnson's chance to assess your pet's overall health, discuss any changes with you, educate and update you on advancements in medical care, and for you to discuss any concerns or questions you may have. Remember: dogs and cats age 4-6 "human years" for each year of their life. So visiting the veterinarian annually for your pet is like you only seeing your doctor only once every 5 or 6 years. Think of what can happen in that amount of time.

Your Pet's Wellness Examination

Your pet's physical exam is the most important service your veterinarian can provide because every diagnosis begins here. To ensure your pet is as healthy as can be, we begin by looking at multiple aspects of your pet's health and lifestyle. This includes:

  • A comprehensive nose to tail physical exam, including everything from examining your pet's eyes, ears, teeth, skin and coat to reflexes, joint mobility and behavior.
  • Discussion of any concerns you may have
  • Vaccinations
  • Fecal exam for intestinal parasites
  • Addressing your pet's special needs

During each examination, Dr. Johnson listens to your concerns, answers your questions, and gives you all the information you need to be the best caregiver to your pet. Good communication between you and your pet's doctor ensures your beloved companion is receiving the optimal care and attention needed to live a long, healthy life.

At home, watch for subtle changes in your pet's body weight, appetite, water intake, urination and bowel habits, general attitude and activity level. Should your pet exhibit any changes or signs of potential illness, please don't wait. Call our office today for an appointment.

skokie pet vaccinationsWhat Does Dr. Johnson Recommend For My Pet?

Our recommendations will vary based on your pet's age, breed, lifestyle and risk factors. See our basic guidelines for normal healthy pets:

Balanced Skokie Pet Vaccinations

Vaccinations are the number one way you can protect your beloved pet from serious infectious diseases and bacteria. However, not every pet requires the same series or frequency of vaccines. Dr. Johnson tailors a vaccine protocol to your pet based on his or her breed, age, lifestyle and recommendations from the American Animal Hospital Association.

Your pet's vaccine schedule is balanced to provide needed protection while not over-vaccinating. Please contact us for more information about our customized vaccination protocols and why they are best for your pet.

New Puppy & Kitten Programs: The Beginning Of A Long Life Together

Bringing a puppy or kitten home is a very exciting time for you and your family. Whether you have had pets all your life or this is your first fuzzy family member, we want to ensure your lifestyle changes and your pet's transition to its new home are as smooth and uncomplicated as possible, and check for congenital defects.

The First Year of Care

We strongly recommend bringing your new puppy or kitten to see Dr. Johnson within a few days of purchase or adoption. This way, we can address any potential medical problems as soon as possible. We will discuss any and all questions you may have regarding your pet and how to accommodate her into your home and family.

New Puppy Visit Schedule

New Kitten Visit Schedule

skokie pet wellnessNew Puppy Kit & New Kitten Kit

You will also receive North Shore Veterinary Clinic's New Puppy Kit or New Kitten Kit, which includes helpful informational handouts covering many topics:

  • Potential problems (potty training, chewing... etc.)
  • Training
  • Nutritional guidelines
  • Socialization
  • New food samples to help your puppy/kitten find something tasty
  • Safe pet toys
  • Pet insurance information
  • Local emergency care (when we are not open)
  • Wellness care recommendations
  • Neutering and other elective surgery
  • And much more!

We will help you conquer the common puppy problems with training, what and how to feed, chewing, discipline, baths, behavior, and the most important thing - housebreaking!

We can provide advice for those kitten questions including baths, diet, litter training, multi-cat households, indoor or outdoor lifestyle, scratching & declawing, and how to interact with children.

Immunizations (Vaccinations)

Just as children do, puppies and kittens receive a series of vaccinations and boosters. We will determine what vaccinations and care your little one has already received and transition her into the appropriate place in our program. We want to make certain your new pet has a strong immune system so she can play with other pets and explore her environment without worry.

Kitten CareWhat Do I Need To Bring?

Please bring three things with you to your little one's first visit to our office:

  • A relatively fresh stool sample (within 24 hours if possible)
  • Any documentation the breeder/pet store/shelter gave you
  • And of course, your new little puppy or kitten

New Puppy & New Kitten Resources

To help you get started on the road to a happy, healthy life with your new puppy or kitten, please download one of our quick reference guides:

New Puppy Cheat Sheet

New Kitten Cheat Sheet

Introducing a New Cat to Your Resident Cat(s)

Dr. Johnson and the team at North Shore Veterinary Clinic are committed to providing you and your new pet with everything needed to get started on the road to a happy and healthy life. Let's take these important first steps together. Please call today to schedule an appointment for us to meet your new pet!

Senior Wellness Programs: Thinking Long-Term About Your Pet

Older pets make wonderful companions, and thanks to advances in veterinary medicine, pets are living longer than ever. By taking the time to learn more about the special needs of your senior-aged pet, you've taken the first step toward providing the best care for your friend in its golden years.

skokie pet wellnessTwice A Year Visits

When dogs reach 7 years old (5 years old for giant breeds) and cats reach 8, we consider them seniors. Pets in their senior years begin to go through a gradual reduction of their physical capabilities. However, this process can be slowed and managed through twice yearly annual wellness examinations, thereby offering your beloved pet an extended period of vitality and good health. Additionally, preventative 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.

We recommend more frequent visits simply because health issues can change so quickly. During your senior pet's examination, we monitor his or her health in three ways:

  • Discussing with you how your pet has been doing at home
  • Performing a comprehensive physical exam
  • Performing blood screening and other diagnostic testing (radiographs, ultrasonography, urinalysis, etc.) as needed

Blood testing, including a chemistry panel and complete blood count, is the easiest and quickest method to assess your pet's internal health and develop an important baseline that will help us diagnose future problems. Depending upon your pet's history and the examination, we may use the same blood sample to conduct a thyroid test as well. Blood testing helps us uncover any internal problems before they become significant enough to affect your pet and is a vital tool in the diagnosis of canine and feline diseases.

Trouble Getting Around?

Sometimes, older pets have a difficult time moving from place to place. Navigating the stairs or jumping on the couch or simply walking can become difficult or even painful. Often, the cause of these symptoms is osteoarthritis. While its progression can't be reversed, we can recommend therapies, including joint mobility medication, special diet, pain relief medication, and lifestyle changes that can make your pet much happier and more comfortable.

With our help and some extra TLC, you can prolong your pet's good health and well-being, even as his or her pace slows a bit. Together, we can make sure you and your faithful companion enjoy many more years together.

Parasite Control: Safeguard Your Pet From Pests

What are Parasites and How Can Parasites Affect My Pet?

A parasite lives in or on a host animal and takes from it whatever the parasite needs to live and procreate. In the process, it usually causes harm to its host. Parasites can cause a variety of problems for you and your pets. Sometimes, parasites do not cause any difficulties, but much more often, they make your pets uncomfortable and irritable. Besides making life unpleasant, they can compromise your pet's health and occasionally even create life-threatening situations.

Parasites may introduce many issues:

  • Cause skin irritation, itchiness, lesions, and secondary skin infections
  • Transmit infectious viruses and bacteria
  • Carry antigens potentially causing allergic reactions
  • Ingest your pet's blood and cause anemia
  • Transmit other types of parasites
  • Compromise your pet's immune system to make it more susceptible to other diseases
  • Steal nutrients from your pet for their own growth and reproduction

Besides addressing how to remove any parasites we find, we will do everything we can to get your pet feeling comfortable and back to full health.

Parasite Prevention in Chicago Area PetsCommon Parasites of Cats and Dogs

The most common parasites that we see include:

While no one can guarantee your pet will never come into contact with these parasites, we will advise you on how to make your pet's risk of exposure as low as realistically possible. If your pet comes into contact with these unpleasant pests, we will help you eliminate them (This is usually much easier than most people think). Your pet will be able to run and romp and play without you having to worry.

Do People Need To Be Concerned About These Parasites?

Many parasites do not and cannot affect people, but some can infest humans. They can also have some of the same consequences for people as for pets, including risk of disease transmission and allergic reactions. We are especially concerned that young children, who constantly put their fingers in their mouth, get exposed to parasite eggs in dog or cat stools. If your pet has been checked and is parasite-free, there is no concern, and you don't need to worry.

The best course of action to protect both your pet and yourself is prevention. There are many safe and effective oral and topical flea and tick control products available at North Shore Veterinary Clinic. Dr. Johnson is happy to help you choose the correct preventive regimen based on your pet's risk factors and health status.

For further information regarding any parasite and the associated risks for you and your pet, please contact North Shore Veterinary Clinic today.

Heartworm Disease

Heartworm disease is a serious, life-threatening disease transmitted by mosquitoes. It affects dogs and, to a lesser extent, cats. 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 your dog be tested annually. The foxes and coyotes in the area frequently have Heartworm disease that is then spread by mosquitoes.

Every spring, we see all our canine patients for heartworm testing and preventative medication. We recommend giving the heartworm preventative from April through December to protect against the risk of heartworm disease. We do not usually give the preventative year-round because in Illinois the strong winters quite effectively kill all mosquitoes.

However, if your dog travels somewhere warm during January through April, we recommend giving heartworm preventative during that time. Giving heartworm preventative all year around is just fine, but we still will need to perform a heartworm blood test, simply because no medication is 100% effective all the time. If you would like to find out more information on how best to protect your pet from this dangerous parasite or if you'd like to have your pet tested for heartworm disease, please call North Shore Veterinary Clinic today for an appointment.

back to top