According to the American Veterinary Dental College more than 80% of dogs and 70% of cats have dental disease by the age of 3. Dental disease can be very uncomfortable for pets and the longer it is left untreated, the more complicated and expensive it becomes to treat. Furthermore, improper care of your pet's teeth can often be the cause of serious illness. If left untreated, dental problems can lead to larger systemic problems in your pet due to oral bacteria entering the bloodstream and damaging the kidneys, heart and liver.
If your pet is experiencing any of these symptoms, please make an appointment immediately:
- Yellow or brown buildup (tartar) on the teeth
- Red, swollen, or bleeding gums
- Bad breath
- Excessive drooling
- Changes in eating or chewing habits
- Pawing at the face
- Loose teeth
Oral Exams: Proper dental care is one of the easiest ways to protect your pet’s health and keep them pain free. During your pet’s oral exam, we will examine your pet’s mouth, teeth, and jaw. We may recommend x-rays to assess the health of your pet’s tooth roots as well. Regular oral exams, help prevent irreversible dental disease, tooth loss, and possibly expensive oral surgery.
Teeth Cleanings: Your pet's dental cleaning will begin with a physical examination so that we can evaluate your pet's general health. After the physical exam, your pet will be given an anesthetic for a safe and painless teeth cleaning since most dental disease starts below the gumline. We require all senior patients to undergo pre-anesthetic bloodwork and IV fluid therapy during the dental procedure. The first part of dental cleaning requires the removal of tartar using an ultrasonic scaler. Next, we will clean above the gum line while a curette cleans and smooths the teeth under the gum line in the crevice between the teeth and gums. Lastly, we will polish your pet's teeth to make it more difficult for future bacteria to adhere and leave them whiter than before.
Extractions and Advanced Procedures: Our veterinarians will only recommend tooth extractions if we believe it is necessary for your pet’s wellbeing. We usually recommend this when we identify that your pet has an infected or broken tooth that is likely causing them pain. In the case that we recommend a tooth extraction, we will discuss what this means for your pet and how to properly care for them while they’re healing.
How To Prevent Dental Disease Before It Begins: Regular wellness visits allow us to check your pet’s mouth and teeth and identify issues before they progress. Additionally, at-home dental care, including regularly brushing your pet’s teeth and using teeth cleaning treats, can prevent plaque from building up. Lastly, avoid hard toys and bones that can potentially damage your pet’s teeth.
Family Pet Health Center recommends regular comprehensive wellness exams from the time pets are young. Wellness exams are a critical part of your pet’s healthcare routine regardless of size, breed, or age. Routine wellness exams are important to maintain your pet’s wellbeing and detect any medical issues before they progress. During your pet’s exam, we will assess their overall body condition, eyes, ears, mouth, internal organs and systems, skin and much more. We will also discuss any other recommended services, such as dental cleanings or diagnostic testing. If any areas of concern are identified during your pet’s exam, we will develop a treatment plan together.
Vaccinations are an essential part of your pet’s health care plan starting from the time they are very young. Pets should begin their vaccinations between 6 and 12 weeks of age and require boosters throughout their life. Many common diseases can easily be prevented by vaccinating your pet.
Core vaccines, or essential vaccines, for canines include rabies and DAPP. Core vaccines for felines include rabies and FVRCP. Depending on your geographical area and pet’s exposure, you may also consider optional, non-core vaccines. Noncore vaccines for canines include leptospirosis, bordetella, parainfluenza, lyme disease and canine influenza. Noncore vaccines for felines include feline leukemia.
At Family Pet Health Center, we’ll help you create a vaccine schedule appropriate for your pet’s age, breed, lifestyle, and environment. We will also review any possible side effects of your pet’s vaccinations and how to address them.
Parasite Prevention and Control
Parasites can pose a variety of health concerns for your pets and your family, but we can help you develop a prevention routine to keep everyone safe. At Family Pet Health Center, we recommend keeping your pets on year-round prevention to stop pests before they become a problem.
Common parasites include fleas, ticks, heartworms, and intestinal worms. During your pet’s annual exam, we will test your pet for parasites with a thorough physical exam, a fecal test, and a blood test. Even if your pet is on year-round prevention, annual tests are still extremely important to detect parasites, even if you don't see any symptoms.
Our knowledgeable healthcare team will help you develop a prevention plan that fits your lifestyle. You can keep your pets safe with either monthly oral medication or topical treatments. We will discuss what method can most effectively address your family’s needs.
Puppy and Kitten Care
The dedicated team at Family Pet Health Center is here to help you ensure your puppy or kitten gets off to the best start possible. Make sure to schedule your new pet’s first appointment within the first few weeks of bringing them home. The initial visit provides us an opportunity to meet and offers you a chance to ask questions. We strive to address any concerns you may have about owning a puppy or kitten and teach you the best ways to care for your new family member. This is a special time for you and your pet, and we want to ensure you feel supported in this transition. Our comprehensive approach addresses your pet’s needs from vaccinations to a proper diet. During your pet’s first visit, we will conduct a physical exam, develop a vaccine schedule, discuss your pet’s diet, and develop a parasite prevention plan. We will also discuss the importance of getting your pet spayed or neutered and microchipped.
Senior Pet Care
As pets age, their needs change. Pets over the age of 7 are more susceptible to diseases and heal more slowly, however, with proper care you can help your pet live a longer, happier life. Our team at Family Pet Health Center can help you navigate your pet’s senior years with you. We do recommend more frequent wellness exams which will help us detect problems before they become advanced. Additionally, we may recommend changes to your pet’s diet, exercise, and other aspects of their healthcare as they mature. It can be very difficult to detect when your pet is in pain, but there are some signs that they may be experiencing discomfort in their older years. If you notice any of the following, your pet may be in pain:
- Difficulty getting up, easing into a comfortable position or limping.
- Fatigue, including decreased stamina on walks.
- Reluctance to be groomed, picked up or touched in certain areas.
- Urinary or fecal accidents
If any of these behaviors begin to occur, visit us so a source of the pain can be identified, and treatment can begin.
Family Pet Health Center offers a wide range of basic surgical services, from spays and neuters to soft tissue and orthopedic procedures. During your pet’s procedure, their safety and comfort are our top priority. We will develop a safe and effective anesthetic protocol for your pet to ensure they experience very little pain. Our state-of-the-art hospital is equipped with the latest anesthetic and monitoring technology to ensure your pet is safe and comfortable throughout their surgery. We are here to answer any questions regarding your pet's specific surgery and even offer a pre-surgical consultation as an essential part of the process. Your veterinarian will also provide information on postoperative care to ensure your pet is recovers quickly.
We offer medical imaging to aid in the diagnosis of many different conditions. Radiographs and ultrasound are painless and noninvasive ways to evaluate organs and bones, allowing us to better understand what is occurring in a pet’s body. In some cases, medical imaging can detect conditions and situations that may otherwise have gone undetected for months or years. Our state-of-the-art radiology and ultrasound are conducted by our trained and compassionate staff, making it both safe and effective.
Diet and Nutrition
Proper nutrition is one of the easiest ways to keep your pet healthy. At Family Pet Health Center, we offer individualized nutrition counseling and customize a recommendation for your unique pet. Our doctors will perform a thorough body-condition evaluation during every physical examination and can give nutritional recommendations based on what we see. We can also provide you with important information on proper serving size, nutrient needs, and feeding strategies for your individual pet.
We focus on keeping your pet happy and healthy. Unfortunately, pets occasionally experience an illness or injury that requires urgent care. Our clinic is equipped to handle urgent care during hospital hours, schedule permitting. If your pet has an emergency outside of our hours, we encourage you to contact:
Night Owls Wellness + Urgent Care
Emergency Veterinary Care Center in Mishawaka
Open Friday - Sunday
Emergency Veterinary Care Center in Westville
End of Life Care
We understand that regardless of the situation, saying good-bye to a beloved pet is one of the most difficult situations a pet owner will ever make. Our staff of compassionate, caring professionals can help you through this painful experience. We will work with you to ensure your pet's comfort and dignity during their last days and final moments. We are happy to accommodate special requests and help you make arrangements for cremation or other options. Sedation will be administered prior to performing the euthanasia to ensure your pet is at ease. We are here to help you through this transition and make this process easier for you.
Laser Therapy is a drug free, pain free, surgery free treatment option. Laser therapy utilizes specific wavelengths of light to create therapeutic effects such as, improved healing time, pain reduction, and decreased swelling. This option is available to treat many issues, including osteoarthritis, soft tissue injury, and chronic wounds. Improvement is seen over a period of several treatments, although improvement seen with only one or two treatments is not unlikely. Patients typically express greater comfort and mobility within a day after receiving laser treatment.
Laser therapy treatment requires no patient sedation or restraint which creates a more relaxing treatment environment. Laser therapy is often used with other forms of therapy, including drug therapy and acupuncture. Ask us to recommend a treatment plan that fits your pet’s needs!
Our state-of-the art laboratory and diagnostic equipment allows us to do many lab tests onsite. Labs are essential to detect disease and underlying causes of illness in your pet. We may recommend lab work for a variety of reasons, and some common tests include complete blood counts, urinalysis and chemistry panels. Our laboratory is staffed by experienced veterinary technicians that will ensure your pet’s tests are interpreted quickly and accurately, allowing us to begin your pet's treatment immediately.
Microchipping is the most effective means of identification for your pet. Like vaccinations, microchipping is safe, quick and causes little pain. We always recommend that an ID tag be attached to your pet's collar, but the microchip will serve as an extra layer of protection if an accident does occur. Most veterinary hospitals and shelters are equipped with a handheld microchip scanner that can be used to check for a chip. If the pet has one, it will transmit its ID number to the scanner via a low-frequency radio wave. From there, they can retrieve the pet owner’s contact information from the manufacturer and call the owner.
We maintain a fully stocked pharmacy to fill your pet’s prescription needs quickly and conveniently. We also encourage you to browse our online pharmacy for convenient delivery and additional products.