Peachtree Hills Animal Hospital
3106 Early Street
Atlanta, GA 30305
Phone: 404.812.9880  /  Fax: (404) 812-1818
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Veterinary Medicine is complicated, arguably more so than human medicine.  In addition to having multiple types of animals, there are many different breeds of cats and dogs who have special considerations. Unlike human medicine, which has specialization within age groups (pediatricians up to geriatric specialists)—a veterinary practice must consider the unique needs of animals as they age.

At Peachtree Hills Animal Hospital, we maintain a “lifecycle” approach to care.    There are special concerns with puppies and kittens in terms of vaccinations, food, at-home care, reproduction planning and training.   Similarly, there are unique needs throughout the life of our pets as they grow, age and live their very best life.  It is important to stay ahead of these issues as your pet matures and to look for key milestones in development.

While all breeds of cats and dogs are similar in that they have a relatively short infancy and "childhood", different breeds have different guidelines for when they are considered “senior”, and we must base our recommendations accordingly.

At the end of life, there are special things to consider from joint pain, weight management and overall maintenance of vitality.  

It has been our greatest honor to be entrusted with the care of an animal from the beginning.   However, we are cognizant of your pet’s age when we welcome a new patient family, no matter how old that pet is when we begin our relationship.

The benefit of a continued relationship with a doctor and a practice is that we maintain all records on your pet and can help you proactively manage the health and well being of your fur baby.   

Most veterinary and animal welfare organizations agree—it is best to spay your female and neuter your male dog or cat.  The most important reason?  To prevent animal homelessness, which is a huge problem throughout the country.  Many people are surprised to learn that nationwide, more than 2.7 million healthy, adoptable cats and dogs are euthanized in shelters annually. Spay/neuter is the only permanent, 100% effective method of birth control for dogs and cats.

SPAYING FEMALES

The spay procedure is more intense (it is major surgery) than neutering.   A spay surgery prevents pregnancy by removing the ovaries and the uterus.  Spaying females prior to their first heat cycle nearly eliminates the risk of breast cancer by preventing uterine tumors (which are malignant, or cancerous, in about 50% of dogs and 90% of cats), and spaying prevents uterine infections and uterine cancer. 

Some feel that spaying your female animal will make her less likely to roam, but don’t count on it (and always keep your pet on a leash and safely fenced).

NEUTERING MALES

The neutering procedure prevents the male’s ability to impregnate a female by removing the testes.  Neutering males prevents testicular cancer and enlargement of the prostate gland, and greatly reduces the risk of perianal tumors.

Some feel that neutering male animals will make them less aggressive and less likely to mount.  That is not necessarily a fix-all and should not be the only reason to neuter. 

Getting your pet spayed or neutered will not change their fundamental nature or personality.  If they are barkers, they will stay barkers.  

At what age should a dog be spayed or neutered?

Spaying or neutering can be done as early as a few months old, dog owners should consult with their veterinarian to determine the best age to spay or neuter their pet. Many vets in the U.S. recommend spaying or neutering be done between 5 and 9 months of age.

Remember to leave plenty of time for rest and recuperation after surgery and to follow up as instructed.  

 

Our philosophy here at Peachtree Hills Animal Hospital takes a slightly different approach than other animal hospitals. We believe our focus should not be exclusively on the animal, but on the owners and what you are experiencing as well.

The diagnosis and treatment of animals is a critical part of our job, but we must explain disease, treatments, and possible outcomes as they affect you, the owner.  We want to get to know you, what your lifestyle is, and the unique dynamic you have when it comes to your relationship with your fur baby.   

This relationship between pet owner and doctor allows us to customize a plan for prevention and positive health maintenance.  We would rather not have to see you only in time of emergency.  Wellness exams are our greatest joy!

As an independent hospital, we are not beholden to a corporate policy that encourages a “production” mentality with profit quotas and corporate rules and red tape.  This allows a very personalized approach, where you don’t feel rushed and where we can make recommendations that we know to be best for you and your unique situation.

Our goal is to have a long-term relationship with our patients because we have done everything in our power to enhance and extend the life of your precious animal.

 

Vaccines for animals can be every bit as confusing as they are for humans!  For one thing, the formal names of the diseases that vaccines prevent often go by commonly- used nicknames (for example BORDELLA is referred to as KENNEL COUGH.

Also, you must consider timing schedules as many vaccines are treated as a series.  Choosing the appropriate course can be complicated, as many options for vaccines depend on your pet’s lifestyle, environment and any medical problems as well.

We will try to clarify as simply as possible the schedules we recommend for dogs and for cats.

DOG VACCINE SCHEDULE

There are *two core vaccines that we feel all pets should receive:

  1. DHPP (stands for DISTEMPER, HEPATITIS, PARAINFLUENZA and PARVO). This five-series would require a first shot, then follow up shots at 6 weeks, 9 weeks, 12 weeks and 15 weeks after.  Adult dogs are moved to DHPP every 3 years after the age of one year old.
  2. RABIES This vaccine is once a year with a booster after 12 weeks.  It is state law that you must vaccinate your pet against rabies.

Additionally, there are three *non–core vaccines that many opt for, based on lifestyle and exposure:

  1. LEPTOSPIROSIS -  We strongly recommend this vaccines for dogs because this is a disease they can give to humans. It is only considered non-core because some parts of the country do not have Leptospirosis. However, Atlanta does have Leptospirosis. Two-injection Leptospirosis series is followed up at 12 weeks.
  2. BORDATELLA - Bordetella is also referred to as “kennel cough”.  We recommend this for dogs who are exposed to other dogs for extended play/visitation or boarding and grooming. Bordetella is a 2-injection series (first shot as a puppy followed up at six months).  This vaccine should be followed up yearly for those dogs boarding and grooming.
  1. INFLUENZA – This vaccine is a mixed injection of both the H3N8 and H3N2 strains. It is given as a series and then followed up once a year. 

*Learn more about these diseases on our website.

CAT VACCINE SCHEDULE

Cat vaccines that we recommend are:

  1. *FVRCP (which includes Rhinotracheitis (ferpes), Calici (upper respiratory), and Panleukopeniahe (feline distemper), It is given once then boostered at 8, 12 and 16 weeks.
  2. *FELV (feline leukemia) which is boostered at 12 and 16 weeks.
  3. *RABIES. This is given once then followed up once every year.  This is our only vaccine that is regulated by the state and county. Rabies is a very serious disease transmitted by saliva either by bite wounds or saliva contact with open wounds. 

The recommended schedule is based on the lifestyle of the cat. Cats that are kept indoors only do not require as many vaccines as those who go outside.

*Learn more about these diseases on our website.

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