When you bring your pet for a wellness exam at AWRC, we will provide a comprehensive examination. Click the tabs below for more information on each topic.
We will look into your pet’s eyes with an ophthalmoscope, and will use a lens to examine the retina. The retina provides valuable clues to your pet’s health. If indicated, we can offer further testing when a problem is found.
We will look into your pet’s ears with an otoscope and examine the ear canals and ear drum. If it looks like an infection might be present, we can offer testing to determine what type of infection is present and how best to treat it.
We will check your pet’s sniffer for changes in moisture, architecture, and color that can offer clues to illness elsewhere in the body.
We will examine your pet’s teeth, gums, palate, tongue and throat. If dental issues or other problems in the mouth are found, we will make a plan for cleaning it up.
We will carefully palpate all your pet’s lymph nodes to see if the immune system might be responding to a threat.
We will check your pet’s skin from nose to tip of tail. We are making sure that your pet is free of external parasites such as fleas or ticks, and free of infections such as bacteria, yeast, and other fungal diseases. If a problem is found we can offer advanced dermatological testing to find the cause and come up with a solution. We will examine the overall health and moisture of the skin and paw pads as well. The skin is the largest organ system in the body and a problem here is often a sign of other underlying issues.
We will listen to your pet’s heart so that we can assess the heart rate and rhythm, check for murmurs and assess pulse quality. We will then listen to the lungs to determine if breath sounds are normal and respiratory rate is normal. Next, we will listen to your pet’s belly to make sure that there are normal gut sounds, known as borborygmi.
We will palpate your pet’s abdomen so that we can feel the internal organs and determine if they are normal. We are able to palpate the spleen, liver, kidneys, bladder, and intestines. We will be checking to make sure that no masses are felt. We will also palpate your pet’s body for masses that may be on the skin or under the skin. If these masses are found, we will be taking measurements of them and recording them in your pet’s medical record in addition to notes on how the mass looks and feels on that day. If a mass in the abdomen is palpated, we will recommend x-rays and ultrasound to evaluate them, and these can also be done at AWRC.
We take vaccinations very seriously at AWRC. We work very hard to stay current on recommendations in leaders of the field including the American Veterinary Medical Association, the American Holistic Veterinary Medical Association, the American Animal Hospital Association, the American Association of Feline Practitioners, and private holistic research veterinarians such as Dr. Jean Dodds. From all of these organizations come one single truth- we are over-vaccinating our pets. We now know that vaccines are proven to last longer than initially thought and that not every pet is at risk for every disease. We understand that choosing to vaccinate our pets should be based on an individual risk assessment that should be discussed with the pet parent and the veterinarian at each annual exam. You can read more about Dr. Dodd’s research by clicking here: https://drjeandoddspethealthresource.tumblr.com.
When vaccinations are indicated, we proudly offer vaccinations that are highly purified with minimal or no adjuvant. We have studied and chosen each of the vaccines in our hospital carefully in order to provide your pet with the safest options available. Our vaccines are also known to be thimoseral-free.
Many of our “core” vaccinations for dogs and cats are now given every 3 years and titers can be offered as well in lieu of vaccinations in many circumstances. We use Kansas State University for our vaccine titer testing.
When your pet is acutely ill, you need answers now. We offer full in-house lab capabilities including Complete Blood Count, Chemistry and electrolyte analyzer, thyroid levels, pancreatic enzyme levels, urinalysis, parvo testing, giardia testing, and fecal parasite testing. We also use the 4DX snap test which checks your dog for heartworms and also checks for 3 important tick-borne diseases- Lyme, Ehrlichia, and Anaplasma. The feline triple snap is also offered to check your kitty for Feline Leukemia Virus (FeLv), Feline Immunodeficiency Virus (FIV), and heartworms.
When other specialized testing is indicated, we utilize many additional laboratories all around the country to find answers about your pet.
Cytology and Histopathology
What is this bump?
When a skin lump is noted, a needle is used to take cells out of a lump and the material within is sprayed onto a microscope slide. This is called fine needle aspiration. The cells are stained and examined under a microscope. This examination is called cytology. Dr. Pittman is very capable of examining most cytologies at AWRC, giving you answers quickly. Occasionally, she will choose to send out a sample for a pathologist to review.
If something is suspicious, she will sometimes recommend surgery to remove the lump. The lump will then be placed in a jar of formalin and sent to a pathologist for further examination. This is called histopathology. Histopathology can routinely provide a definitive diagnosis of the mystery lump and help us predict the impact that it has on the body.
We offer the following testing for dermatological workup:
Skin scraping– A blade is used to gently scrape the skin so that we may look for mites such as demodex or scabies that may be living within the hair follicles.
Skin cytology– a piece of clear tape is used to lift skin cells off the surface of the skin. The cells are examined for health and also for the presence of yeast or bacteria.
Fungal culture– Hairs are plucked or brushed from the skin and placed on a dermatophyte test medium to check for the growth of ringworm. Growth is allowed over 2 weeks and then cytology is done to look for the dermatophyte known as ringworm.
Ear cytology– A cotton swab is used to take a sample of the ear canal and smeared onto a microscope slide. The cells are stained and examined for the presence of yeast and bacteria.
We offer the following testing for eyes:
Tonometry– A tool called a tonovet is used to check the pressure of the eye. A high pressure would be indicative of glaucoma. A low pressure is indicative of uveitis.
Schirmer tear test– a small strip of paper is placed within the lower lid of the eye and a measurement is taken to understand if tear production is normal for a specified amount of time
Fluorescein stain test– a drop of colored liquid is placed in the eye and flushed out. If a corneal scratch or ulcer is present, it will take up the colored liquid and allow us to visualize how deep and wide the defect is.
An ophthalmoscope will be used to examine the cornea, lens, pupillary light responses, and, with the addition of an indirect viewing lens, examination of the retina and its vessels.
Digital x-ray imaging of the thorax (chest) will allow us to view the size and shape of the heart and pulmonary vessels, look for masses in the lungs or near the heart, look for lymph node enlargement within the chest, check for pulmonary edema or effusion, and evaluate the trachea (windpipe) and esophagus.
Blood Pressure- Just like for a person, a small cuff is applied to the patient, usually around the tail or the leg and doppler is used to determine the systemic blood pressure.
Electrocardiogram (ECG)– This test is used to check for rhythm disturbances. Small alligator clips are applied to the pet and a machine records the heartbeats and rhythm, usually over a period of about 2 minutes. The results are sent to a cardiologist for review.
Echocardiogram is an ultrasound of the heart. We are able to measure the thickness of the heart muscle and the diameter of the chambers. We can examine the valves of the heart and assess blood flow using color doppler. We will also calculate the fractional shortening, a measurement of how well the heart is functioning. Common diseases diagnosed with echocardiogram include Dilated Cardiomyopathy, Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy, Chronic Valvular diseases, and Endocarditis (infection of the heart valves). With this knowledge, along with the other components of the overall heart workup, we will be able to tailor a treatment plan for your pet right here at AWRC.
Our state of the art Idexx digital x-ray system allows us to take images of your pet with 40% less radiation to the patient than conventional systems. Because it is digital, we are able to take fewer x-rays, and we are not exposing our patients or staff to chemicals previously used in x-ray development. Our staff is highly trained in how to protect themselves and their patients from extraneous radiation. We are able to accurately collimate the image area to avoid exposure to adjacent tissues.
Ultrasound– Ultrasound is safe and painless, and produces pictures of the inside of the body using sound waves. High-frequency sound waves are transmitted from the probe through a small amount of gel and into the body. The probe collects the sounds that bounce back and a computer then uses those sound waves to create an image. Ultrasound examinations do not use ionizing radiation, thus there is no radiation exposure to the patient. Because ultrasound images are captured in real-time, they can show the structure and movement of the body’s internal organs. Most patients do not need to be sedated for the procedure making ultrasound a very safe and effective diagnostic tool. With our ultrasound, we are able to examine the abdomen and heart, and will be adding musculoskeletal imaging soon.
AWRC offers a unique blood test that detects inflammation and warning signs of cancer in dogs and cats. This test can provide valuable information about the health status of the pet before clinical signs of the disease are observed. If cancer is actually suspected there is also a Biomarker screen that can aid in a diagnostic workup and therapeutic monitoring. The two tests can also be supported with a canine Vitamin D test. Sufficient levels of Vitamin D are critical for assuring health of the immune system. The Cancer screening test is recommended for all pets who are aging. Early detection is the key to survival for pets as with humans when fighting most cancers.
We likewise offer Feline-specific Haptoglobin test for the objective determination of systemic inflammation. It is used to detect hidden inflammatory disease and monitor treatment and recovery. There is additionally a Feline Biomarker test for suspected cancer; it is also useful for the differential diagnosis of intestinal lymphoma and inflammatory bowel disease when intestinal biopsies are not desired or cannot be performed.
Do you have a plan in place if your pet should get lost? A microchip is the easiest way to reunite your pet with you. A microchip is about the size of a grain of rice, and a syringe is used to inject it underneath the skin, usually in the area between the shoulder blades. The procedure takes just seconds and does not require anesthesia. If your pet is picked up, any veterinarian or shelter will scan for a chip first- it is a lifelong ticket home to you. Schedule your appointment today!
A healthy mouth is an important part of your pet’s overall health and longevity. Bacteria from the mouth can enter the bloodstream through inflamed gums and travel to vital organs such as the heart and kidneys. Routine professional dental care is an important part of your pet’s health and wellness, just as it is for you. Once your pet’s teeth have been cleaned, we will work with you to develop a home dental health plan that is right for you and your pet to maintain those pearly whites! Our dental procedures are scheduled on surgery days, and we use the same intensive monitoring protocols and care that we do for any surgery patient. Take charge of your pet’s dental health today!
WEIGHT LOSS PROGRAMS
Pet obesity is a leading cause of health problems in our companions. Obesity creates added stress on the joints and inflammation in the body, and it can lead to multiple metabolic and endocrine diseases. If your pet has put on a few extra pounds, we will work with you to create a healthy diet plan and start on an exercise regimen. The underwater treadmill can increase metabolism and cardiovascular strength and endurance. Walking in the water takes the stress off the joints, allowing your pet to exercise without restriction. We will develop individual exercises to improve strength and balance that are fun for your pet. Losing the weight and getting healthy again increases your pet’s chance of a long life with you.
Senior pets have a special place in our hearts here at AWRC. As our pets age, their needs change. They require more frequent checkups and routine lab screening tests for early detection of disease in the body. It is our mission to improve the quality of life for our senior patients through nutrition, supplement advice, exercise, and TLC. When you schedule a senior health exam, we do a full rehab exam to look for painful areas, tight muscles, and joint problems. We will recommend options based on your pet’s individual needs at their current life stage so we can keep them happy and healthy for as long as possible.
We offer a well-stocked integrative pharmacy including Traditional Chinese herbals, Western herbals, homeopathics, topicals, whole food supplements, neutraceuticals, and conventional medications.
Did you know that many online pharmacies carry counterfeit products? We are proud to partner with Covetrus, a trusted online pharmacy that will ship your pet’s medications directly to your door. Simply place your request by using the link on our website. Dr. Pittman will approve your request, and your prescription will be on its way to you, saving you a trip to our office.
When your pet is sick, it is important to receive care from someone you trust. We will get your pet’s treatment started immediately so they can be zooming around your house in no time. We offer dedicated dog and cat hospitals, so that each species experiences less stress. Because we do not routinely board animals, our hospital wards are quiet and very clean. We incorporate many methods to reduce stress and ensure that patients are exposed to natural sunlight. We give them opportunities outside of their cage throughout the day as well as opportunities to visit with their families. Our staff is highly trained in emergency and critical care medicine and can care for even very complicated illnesses. Because we do not have staff overnight, if we feel that your pet needs round the clock intensive care, we will refer you to a trusted overnight ICU.