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How Old is My Pet in Human Years?


As your pet ages - their healthcare needs become greater.  Since pets age at a faster rate than humans, we recommend an exam every six months after your pet reaches age 7 in order to ensure your older pet is happy, healthy and pain-free.  Good senior pet health care requires attention to several factors:

  • Diet and weight management
  • Joint health
  • Cancer screening
  • Heart disease screening
  • Dental maintenance
  • Diabetes screening
  • Function of thyroid, kidneys, and liver
  • Eye and vision health
  • Pain management


Regular Preventative Care Exams are Important for Senior Pets

Regular exams and testing allows us to determine what is normal for your pet.

Knowing these results help us detect any abnormalities or problems early.

When diagnosed early, many conditions can be successfully managed leading to better outcomes for your pet and treatment costs can often be reduced.

Herschel Animal Clinic has developed a comprehensive senior wellness program

designed to meet the changing needs of your pet as he or she ages.


Our senior wellness program includes:

  • Complete physical exam - evaluates the heart, lungs, eyes, ears, abdomen, joints and skin
  • Intestinal parasite exam – Check for worms
  • Early Disease Detection Testing: 
    • Urinalysis – detects ph balance, crystals in urine, abnormal cells and urinary tract infection 
    • Full biochemisty test and bloodwork – evaluates the liver, kidneys thyroid levels, blood sugar
      ​levels, white blood cell count, red blood cell count and platelet count.


*We may also recommend further diagnostics based on exam and test results.


Have We Seen Your Cat Lately?


Jacksonville cat owners – Have we seen your cat lately? Common Incorrect Cat Myths:

Cats are naturally healthier with less problems than dogs
Feline health problems come from outside and don’t affect indoor cats
Cats will display visible signs of illness
Cats are self-sufficient and do not need veterinary care like dogs

Cats are no more or less healthy than dogs and are notorious for hiding illness.

You might not know your cat is sick until the illness has become critical and

requires more extensive treatment.

To best serve your cat – we recommend an annual exam with vaccinations & parasite testing

and prevention. For the best preventative care as your cat ages, we recommend annual blood tests

to diagnose diabetes, kidney, liver, thyroid, renal and heart disease before they become advanced

and regular dental cleanings.

All cats, even indoor , are susceptible to health conditions and parasites. Diagnosing illness through 
exam and through tests & beginning treatment early can save your cat suffering later.  


What are some subtle signs your cat might be ill?

Inappropriate elimination outside the litter box
Change in food/water consumption
Change in activity/interaction
Lack of self-grooming
Bad breath
Weight loss or gain (overweight cats have higher chance of developing diabetes)
Do not assume behavior or physical changes are just “old age”.  

Many are medical problems that can be treated if caught early

We realize coming to the vet can be stressful on you and your cat.   Here are tips to ease that stress:
Before Your Vet Appointment

  • Top-loading carriers make it easier to place your cat inside – those with top and side
    opening have additional versatility
  • Bring the carrier out several days prior and place a familiar blanket, treats and toys
    inside the carrier
  • Take frequent short car rides to places other than coming to see us
  • Practice regular care such as brushing, nail trimming and teeth brushing and
    touching your cat’s face, ears, feet and tail at home

Coming to the Vet & At the Vet Appointment

  • Use Feliway diffuser, sprays or wipes at least 15 minutes before introducing cat to the carrier 
  • Come to our vet clinic for visits that don’t involve exams or procedures (such as weighing the cat) to create positive associations or just stop by for treats
  • Cats travel best on an empty stomach
  • Place a towel or blanket over the carrier when driving
  • Reinforce your cat’s positive associations with the carrier using calm praise
  • Let the cat walk out or gently remove from the carrier with calm voices and motions
  • Speak softly, because if you remain calm, chances are your cat will too
  • After each successful car trip and vet visit, reward your pet with positive attention and treats


Call 389-0364 for your cat’s appointment.


August 15th is Check the Chip Day


Microchips greatly increase the chances that pets will be reunited with their families if they are lost or stolen. However, a microchip will only work if the information linked to the chip is correct.  Learn more about microchips…

Why should you microchip your pet?

  • 1 in 3 pets get lost at least once in their lifetime
  • Over 10 million dogs and cats are lost or stolen in the U.S. every year
  • Only about 22% of lost dogs that entered the animal shelters were reunited with their families. However, the return-to-owner rate for microchipped dogs was over 52%


Dog and cat microchipping is a simple procedure. A veterinarian simply injects a microchip for pets, about the size of a grain of rice (12mm), beneath the surface of your pet’s skin between the shoulder blades. The process is similar to a routine shot, takes only a few seconds, and your pet will not react any more than he would to a vaccination. No anesthetic is required.

Stop by on August 15th to have your pet’s microchip scanned by one of our staff members to ensure its accuracy.

Don’t have your pet microchipped? Call 389-0364 for your appointment.


Why Should I Vaccinate My Pet?


Pet owners in Jacksonville, are you asking yourself, “Why should I vaccinate my pet?”

  • Vaccinations are the top weapon against many viral and bacterial infections in pets.
  • Millions of dog & cat lives have been saved through vaccines.
  • Vaccines are safe and well-tolerated by most pets.
  • Vaccines help your pet live a longer, healthier and happier life!


Vaccinations are highly important while pets are puppies or kittens, when their young immune systems are developing and need protection to stay healthy. Keeping your pet up to date as they age on their scheduled vaccines is vital to their health, the health of all pets and even the people in our community.

During an appointment, veterinarians will provide you with vaccine education, discuss the scheduling of booster shots (if necessary for puppies and kittens) and discuss the need to return annually or on a set schedule. Our veterinarians will discuss your pet’s history, lifestyle and other factors (location/ where you go like dog parks, where you travel, etc…) and determine a proper vaccination guideline and schedule.

Some of the main vaccines required/recommended for dogs

  • Rabies - Rabies is required by state law.
  • Distemper
  • Parvo
  • Lyme
  • Leptospirosis
  • Bordetella “Kennel Cough” (we require dogs boarding with us be current on Bordetella vaccine)
  • Canine Flu


Some of the main vaccines required/recommended in cats

  • Rabies - Rabies is required by state law.
  • Feline rhinotracheitis, calicivirus and panleukopenia (FVRCP) “Distemper”
  • Feline Leukemia
  • Feline Leukemia
  • Feline IV (FIV)
  • Bordetella “Kennel Cough” (we require cats boarding with us be current on Bordetella vaccine)


Simple Tests - So Many Results


Your pet cannot tell us how they feel - it’s usually how they look or act that tells you something is wrong. You play a key role in helping your pet combat illness and stay as healthy as possible.

Annual (and bi-annual every 6 months as the pet ages) exams and blood tests are the best ways to ensure that your pet lives a long, healthy and happy life.

Diabetes, kidney, heart & liver disease may not show symptoms at onset.  Identifying diseases and complications early allow us a better chance to develop a treatment plan for your pet.

Herschel Animal Clinic's Early Disease Detection Testing can provide information about your pet’s liver, kidneys & pancreas, blood sugar levels, white & red blood cell and platelet count.

Why do we recommend annual preventative care blood tests on healthy pets?

  • Over 1 in 3 cats and 1 in 10 dogs will develop kidney disease
  • Over 50% of cats over age 15 are afflicted with kidney disease
  • Liver disease is 5th leading cause of death in dogs
  • 1 in 200 dogs will develop diabetes
  • Overweight cats have higher chance of developing diabetes


Each pet is unique – annual testing allows us to determine what a normal baseline is for your pet. Trending these results over time allows us to diagnose problems early as we notice changes in your pet earlier. More advanced disease is associated with more complications and it can make treatment harder and more expensive.

Depending on your pet’s age, we offer different packages to allow us to best help you help your pet live a longer, healthier, happier life.


Can Pets Get Allergies?


Does your cat or dog itch constantly? Do they scratch obsessively certain areas or lick paws? Have you noticed a foul odor on their skin or ears, balding spots or discoloration?

Occasional pet itching is common – especially in dogs. Constant itching may be a sign of skin disease or allergies and can cause hair loss or skin damage. Additionally, it can be an annoyance to you, even keeping you up at night. If not addressed at onset, your pets may have a harder time battling this issue and it can be harder to treat and control.

Common Pet Allergies and Pet Skin Diseases:

  • Flea allergy
  • Food allergy
  • Contact allergy or contact dermatitis
  • Atopic dermatitis 


Our veterinarians will examine your pet to make a skin diagnosis and develop a treatment plan.

Fleas

Flea bite hypersensitivity causes severe pet itching. One or two flea bites can cause pruritis (itchy skin) with the hind end affected most often. Fleas and flea feces that contain your pet’s blood are not always visible to your eye. Herschel Animal Clinic recommends year-round flea prevention and, if needed, medicated flea baths to limit fleas on your pet and stop their itch.

Food Allergy in Pets

A food trial will be recommended in about 10% of cases to determine if your pet has food allergies. Pets will be fed a diet with one protein and one carbohydrate for at least 8 weeks. No other foods or treats are allowed. If symptoms disappear, food allergies are likely to blame.

Contact Dermatitis

Allergic contact dermatitis is rare but occurs when a pet’s skin overreacts to molecules in the environment such as nickel, rubber, wool, dyes and chemicals.

Atopic Dermatitis

A common diagnosis is atopic dermatitis, a chronic inflammatory skin disorder brought on by environmental allergens such as grass, mold, pollen or cigarette smoke.

Talk to your veterinarian about skin and blood tests for dermatitis.  A referral to a veterinary dermatologist might be recommended. In a skin test, a small level of allergens is injected under your pet’s skin to test for reactions. In a blood test, your pet’s blood will be analyzed for which allergens specific to your pet’s environment could be causing the reaction.

Pet Allergy & Itch Treatment

Once the pet allergens have been identified, we can develop a program to eliminate the source of the allergy in your pet’s environment and treat the skin.

Some options for pet allergies and itch relief include:

  • Antihistamines
  • Anti-itch shampoo and conditioners
  • Anti-fungal shampoo 
  • Cyclosporine therapy
  • Essential fatty acids (such as Omega 3)
  • Hypoallergenic diets 
  • Immunotherapy
  • Oral steroids in low doses to treat sporadic outbreaks
  • Prescriptions such as Apoquel
  • Topical steroid sprays


Contact Herschel Animal Clinic today to discuss your pet’s allergy and itch issues and how we can provide relief.

Want to take a quick 6-question quiz to learn more about your dog’s itching AND help military, police and service dogs?

Each time the quiz is taken, Zoetis will make a donation to K-9 Courage™ Program.  K-9 Courage provides healthcare assistance to retired military and active police dogs as well as active service dogs that assist veterans suffering from post-traumatic stress. Once admitted into the program, each dog receives a $300 credit every year for the rest of its life to help cover veterinary expenses like wellness and emergency visits, vaccines, prescription medications, food and treats.

Take the Itch Instinct Quiz

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Herschel Animal Clinic

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