Wellness & Preventive Care
River Road Veterinary Hospital is a full-service, mixed-animal hospital committed to building lifelong relationships with our clients and helping their pets live long and healthy lives. Whether the patient is a dog, cat, horse, goat, pig, or rabbit, we treat them like they were our own. Our practice provides a welcoming and personalized atmosphere. Learn more about our wellness and preventive care services.
Annual Wellness Visits
We recommend your pet have a thorough physical examination every year. This is the Annual Wellness Exam, and we believe it is the cornerstone to our relationship with you and your pet. When we know you and your pets, we can better personalize and customize our recommendations for their optimal health. We will discuss behavior, dental health, aging/geriatrics, parasite preventatives, nutrition, and any concern you may have about your pet’s health. At this visit, we will give any necessary immunizations and check the stool for intestinal parasites. For dogs, we will also test for heartworms in order to prescribe the appropriate heartworm preventative. Cats that go outside may be tested for Feline Leukemia Virus and Feline Immunodeficiency Virus, and both indoor and outdoor cats will be prescribed flea and heartworm preventative as needed. Pot-bellied pigs need annual to semi-annual hoof and tusk trims as well as fecal parasite checks.
Our Vaccine Philosophy
We believe in regular immunizations for all companion animals, especially when they are young. Most disease is spread to young, unvaccinated animals from infected animals or a contaminated environment, and can cause a permanent carrier state if that animal survives the illness, resulting in continued spread of the disease. The more animals that are immunized means less disease, period.
Young animals should receive a series of boosters given every 3-4 weeks, starting at 6 weeks of age and finishing at 12-16 weeks of age, for full immunization. Annually, most dogs will receive boosters of DHLPP, Bordatella, and Rabies, although a 3-year Rabies vaccine is available. Cats will receive the Rabies vaccine and FVRC/P and FeLV vaccines, dependent on the cat's environment or exposure to other cats. We customize a vaccine program to each pet according to its needs. Some will not need a full set of immunizations annually, but all dogs and cats that are healthy receive regular Rabies vaccine boostering per Louisiana State law.
- DHLPP = Distemper, Hepatitis (Adenovirus), Leptospirosis, Parvovirus, Parainfluenza
- Bordatella = Kennel Cough
- FVRCP = Feline Viral Rhinotracheitis (Herpes), Calicivirus, Panleukopenia
- FeLV = Feline Leukemia Virus
New Baby Visits (Puppies/Kittens/Piglets/Kids)
Congratulations on your new family member! We wish you many years of health and happiness together; and we are here to help you get started off right!
It's important to bring your new one in as soon as possible so that we can examine him or her for fleas, ticks, intestinal worms, and contagious skin disease that you may not want to expose to your house, to your children, or other pets. We also want to share our knowledge about introductions to your current pets, vaccinations, diet, behavior, and much more.
We also want your new one to have nothing but positive experiences with us, so getting him or her used to us early will help to build that happy relationship. We are so excited for you, and we can’t wait to meet your new baby!
“You are what you eat.” We are all familiar with this adage. The same concept rings true for your pet as well. These days, we are bombarded by pet food advertisements that all claim to be the best. Dry, canned, home-cooked, raw… how do we choose? There are pros and cons to every one of these options.
The best diet is highly digestible, highly bio-available, and provides all necessary nutrients without under- or over-dosing, while being cost-effective and safe. Foods that are touted as “grain-free” are beneficial only if the animal has an intolerance or allergy to a specific grain. Grains do not cause food allergy. Grains are not inherently unhealthy; in fact, they have many healthy attributes like plant-based protein, Omega fatty acids, energy, and fiber. As far as commercially-prepared diets, we recommend major name brands that have stood the test of time: Science Diet, Iams, Nutro, Royal Canine. Some of these companies have developed prescription therapeutic diets that are used to treat or manage medical conditions like food allergy, diabetes, kidney failure, arthritis, and hyperthyroidism. The marvelous advantage to these diets is that they reduce or eliminate the requirement for pharmaceutical medications, which need to be metabolized and have potential side effects.
Nutraceuticals are dietary supplements which can also help to treat and manage medical conditions, and may also reduce the need for drugs. Omega fatty acids, glucosamine/chondroitin formulations, B vitamins, and probiotics are nutraceuticals that are widely used in veterinary medicine today.
Interested in a dietary consult? Call today for an appointment! Our doctors will happily discuss with you which diets and nutraceuticals may be beneficial for your pets.
Generally speaking, small dogs and cats can live well into their late teens, but average life expectancy is around 15 years. Large and giant breed dogs have a shorter lifespan, and with a life expectancy of 10-12 years. Senior dogs and cats are in the last third of their life, and geriatric animals are nearing the end of the life expectancy, but can still live past that, depending on their environment and genetics.
What can we do to extend our pets’ lifespans?
Part of the answer lies in how optimized their health has been up to this point. Good nutrition, parasite prevention, disease prevention, and exercise all play major roles in current and future health. For example, it is well known that periodontal disease and obesity both reduce life expectancy. That being said, with age comes degeneration, no matter how healthy an animal is, which leads to conditions like kidney failure, senility, and osteoarthritis, to name a few. With degeneration comes malaise, depression, lethargy, and sometimes pain. We may look at our aging pet and think that he/she is “just getting old,” but many times they are living with discomfort, confusion, or other symptom that prevents or reduces their enjoyment of life. The beautiful thing is that we can help alleviate these symptoms, especially if we take action at early onset. What can be challenging is noticing a change in our pet’s behavior that clues us in to a change in their well-being. Early signs can be subtle: the first sign of kidney disease is increased water consumption and urine output; the first sign of osteoarthritis is a decreased activity level to avoid using the uncomfortable limb; the first sign of senility may be increased sleep, or occasional break in house-training. We may not realize that something is amiss because these signs can develop gradually. This is why we want to discuss with you any new behavior from your pet. Sometimes, a medical condition is first diagnosed on routine bloodwork. Starting at the onset of the senior years, we recommend annual screening lab tests that can help us to find medical conditions when they first develop, when they are most easily and successfully managed. Success is defined by prevention or reduction of symptoms so that the pet experiences good quality of life for as long as he/she is able. Every year we have new products and medications that we can use in our arsenal against aging; let us help your pet live optimally!