A wellness examination is a routine medical examination of a patient that appears healthy as opposed to a pet that is ill. At the Mississippi Mills Animal Hospital, we recommend a wellness examination at least once a year.  A wellness examination may also be called a 'check-up' or 'physical examination'.  How often your pet should have a wellness examination depends on your pet's age and health status.  We recommend monthly examinations for puppies and kittens, while for the average adult dog or cat annual wellness examinations are the norm.  Semi-annual examinations are recommended for older pets.  Pets with ongoing medical concerns will require more frequent wellness examinations as well. 

During a routine wellness examination we will take a full history on your pet, including information on their diet, exercise, appetite, activity levels etc.  The veterinarian will perform a physical examination.  Based on the history and physical examination, the veterinarian will then make recommendations for specific preventive treatments such as vaccination, parasite control, nutrition, dental care etc. 

Generally, puppies and kittens are vaccinated for the first time between 6 and 8 weeks of age, with booster vaccines administered at 10 to 12 weeks of age and 14 to 16 weeks of age.  In the past, veterinarians recommended booster vaccinations on a yearly basis. As research into vaccines progresses, however, recommendations for frequency of boosters continue to evolve. The appropriate interval for boosters will vary with individual circumstances.

Recent advances in veterinary science have resulted in an increase in the number and type of vaccines available for use as well as improvements to their safety and efficacy.  At the Mississippi Mills Animal Hospital, we recommend certain 'core' vaccines for cats and dogs, with additional vaccines being used more selectively according to circumstances. 

At this time, "core" vaccines, as recommended by the American Association of Feline Practitioners (AAFP) for all kittens and cats, include:

  • Feline panleukopenia, FPV or FPL (also called feline infectious enteritis or feline distemper) caused by FPL virus or feline parvovirus (FPLV)
  • Feline viral rhinotracheitis, FVR caused by FVR virus, also known as herpes virus type 1, FHV-1
  • Feline caliciviral disease caused by various strains of feline caliciviruses, FCV
  • Rabies caused by rabies virus

"Non-core" or discretionary vaccines, as recommended by the AAFP for kittens and cats with a realistic risk of exposure to specific diseases:

  • Feline chlamydiosis caused by Chlamydophila felis infection
  • Feline leukemia disease complex caused by feline leukemia virus (FeLV)
  • Feline infectious peritonitis (FIP) caused by FIP virus or feline coronavirus
  • Feline immunodeficiency virus (FIV)

"Core" vaccines for dogs, as recommended by the American Animal Hospital Association (AAHA) Canine Vaccine Task Force, include:

  • Canine distemper virus
  • Canine parvovirus
  • Canine adenovirus-2 (hepatitis)
  • Rabies virus

"Non-Core" Vaccines, recommended for puppies and dogs in special circumstances, dependent on the exposure risk of an individual dog by the American Animal Hospital Association (AAHA) Canine Vaccine Task Force:

  • Distemper-measles virus
  • Leptospira spp.
  • Borrelia burgdorferi or Lyme disease
  • Canine parainfluenza virus
  • Bordetella bronchiseptica or "kennel cough"