OPVMC Life-Long Pet Wellness Care for the Health of Your Dog

pet health

Dogs are wonderful companions and help us enjoy life. Studies show that caring for a dog offers the owner health benefits such as lower blood pressure, healthier body weight, and a more positive attitude. At Orchard Park Veterinary Medical Center, we want to return that favor by promoting health, preventing disease, enhancing longevity, and developing a strong human–animal bond between you and your best friend.

Health & Wellness Care for Life

Health protocols are designed to meet the needs of your dog based on age, breed, condition, and lifestyle. A large breed farm dog will require dramatically different care than a medium-size competition athlete or a small elderly pet. Areas of care include:

Every canine companion meets with our veterinary team at least annually, while puppies, senior dogs, and those with compromised immune systems will likely need more frequent appointments.

Our personalized health protocols are designed to maintain optimum health, identify developing problems at the earliest stages, treat diseases or conditions aggressively and effectively, and keep your pet comfortable and happy for the longest time possible.

Support for Dog Owners

The OPVMC team is dedicated to supporting every pet owner with information, education, and veterinary health care planning tailored to meet your needs. From nutritional counseling and behavioral services to senior care and pet loss support, your OPVMC team guides you from the puppy years throughout your dog’s life.

Your canine companion is an important member of the family and, as such, we provide the quality of care both you and your pet deserve.

Intestinal Parasite Control

Dogs can be victims of several internal parasites such as roundworms, hookworms, whipworms, tapeworms, coccidia, or Giardia. Most parasite infections can cause these common symptoms, but many pets are asymptomatic. This means they do not show obvious signs despite having parasites, but internal damage still occurs. Symptoms of a parasite infection can include:

  • Diarrhea
  • Vomiting
  • Weight loss
  • Dry hair
  • General poor appearance

Many of these parasites can also pose a threat to humans, as well. Statistics show that one in three dogs will be infected at some time with intestinal parasites such as roundworms, hookworms, whipworms, and tapeworms.

More About These Parasites
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  • Roundworms are the most commonly seen intestinal parasite. These are the “spaghetti-looking” worms that are the most commonly seen in feces or vomitus for those pets that have them. Puppies and kittens are born with them and can be treated as early as three to six weeks of age. In puppies, the larvae penetrate the small intestine and then enter the bloodstream to arrive at the liver and lungs. Sometimes, they will even travel up the trachea where they can be coughed up, swallowed, then pass back to the intestines where they mature and reproduce. These worms can also migrate to the muscles where they form cysts and lie dormant. If the dog becomes pregnant, the worms can migrate to the lungs of the developing puppies as well as into the mother’s milk.
  • Hookworms actually attach themselves to the dog or cat’s intestinal wall. When untreated, they can cause intestinal bleeding, bloody diarrhea, anemia, and even death, especially in puppies. Generally not visible in the stool to the naked eye.
  • Whipworms are often the hardest to cure in dogs because of the prolific nature of the female worm. One female can produce in excess of 2,000 eggs a day. These eggs are passed in the dog’s feces and can survive in the soil for years regardless of the cold or heat of a given region. Also, not seen with the naked eye.
  • Tapeworms occur when a dog or cat bites and swallows fleas, usually while grooming. Cats and dogs can become infested with tapeworms also from eating wild game such as rabbits and mice. Tapeworms are made up of many flat segments that resemble moving grains of rice, when broken into segments. They are the most common worms seen by the owner when cleaning up the feces of their dog. Sometimes the tapeworm segments cling to the hair of cats and dogs or are found in the bedding. 
  • Heartworms are exactly what the name implies. They are the most serious and deadly parasite to attack an adult dog. These worms are carried by mosquitoes and transmitted when the dog is bitten. Lodging in the heart, the sheer number and size of the worms restrict blood flow and cause damage to other internal organs. Without treatment, heartworms will cause chronic illness, heart problems, and ultimately can cause death.

Parasite Prevention & Treatment

At OPVMC, we perform a fecal examination at least annually at the wellness visit. Should symptoms occur between visits, we may recommend a fecal diagnostic test to identify any internal parasites.

Our on-site pharmacy carries most brands and types of worm medications. There are medications to treat and prevent internal parasite infections combined with heartworm preventive and flea treatments, for an easily administered once-monthly treatment regimen.

Heartworm disease can be contracted in cats; however, it is extremely rare, especially in the WNY area, which is why we do not routinely test for it. To answer questions you may have about heartworm disease and your dog, read our informative handout, Heartworm Standards of Care.

For more information about various types of parasites and preventing them in your pets, visit the Companion Animal Parasite Council.