Preventative Care/Wellness Care

Just as with yourself or your child, annual well checks are very important to maintain the health of your pet. Pets cannot verbalize what problems they may have. Your observation of your pet’s behavior is carefully considered so your veterinarian performs a full head to toe physical examination. It is not uncommon for us to detect a problem such as a heart murmur, infection, growth, etc. that we are able to help treat or correct prior to them being an uncomfortable or painful issue for your pet. Annual wellness care is certainly about more than vaccinations.

Wellness Blood work

Well pet blood work (inclusive of a CBC, Chem 17, T4, Heartworm test for dogs, a complete urinalysis), is offered to pets as they age or to any pet whose family chooses this service for their pet. This type of testing is important. Of course, we hope that this blood work comes back normal. However, it is not uncommon for us to detect problems early, BEFORE a crisis was to arise (abnormalities or subclinical disease is detected on average of 1 in 5 times for dogs greater than 5 years of age, and 1 in 6 times for cats greater than 5 years of age). Many conditions that affect our pet family members are treatable or manageable if detected in a timely manner (just like in people).

Annual Testing

Annual, routine testing includes an intestinal parasite check for dogs and cats as well as annual heartworm testing in dogs.

Pet Vaccinations - Wilmington NC Animal Hospital - Wilmington Animal Healthcare
Image above courtesy of the American Heartworm Society

Although annual heartworm testing is not routinely recommended in cats, heartworm prevention is very important for our feline family members as well.


Wilmington Animal Healthcare prescribes to a modern vaccination protocol. We choose tested, labeled vaccinations for every 3 years usage (after puppy or kitten series) for Distemper Adenovirus and Parvo for dogs and Herpes Calici-Panleukopenia for cats. Additionally, our Feline Leukemia vaccine is labeled and approved for a 2 year usage. We reserve the routine use of this vaccine for cats who visit outdoors. Our vaccination protocol is paired down to what the America Veterinary Medical Association and American Animal Hospital Association considers as “core” for each species (canine & feline).

Routine K9 vaccinations:
  • DAP (Distemper Adenvirus & Parvo)
  • Rabies
  • Bordetella
Lifestyle K9 vaccinations:
  • CIV (Canine Influenza Vaccine)
  • Lyme
  • Leptospirosis  

Routine Feline vaccinations:
  • HCP (Herpes Calici-Panleukopenia)
  • Rabies
  • FELV (if an outdoor feline)
Other vaccinations are chosen for individual pets by owners and veterinarians working together to determine “risk”. These include Leptospirosis for dogs, Lymes (B. burgdorferi) for dogs, FIV for cats. It is important to note that Rabies vaccine is required by North Carolina law.

Puppy and Kitten Care

Adding a new baby to your household is a fun, exhausting, joyful, sometimes frustrating time. We are here to help you through the trials and ups and downs of puppyhood and kittenhood. In addition to a complete physical exam evaluation intermittently as your baby grows and vaccinations, our staff will discuss with you the following:
  • Training (and provide contacts for help if needed)
  • Preventative care like heartworm and flea/tick control
  • Education on the benefits of spaying and neutering
  • Careful/thoughtful deworming and intestinal parasite checks
  • Feline Leukemia/FIV testing for any new cat or kitten
  • Discuss breed specific problems
  • Gladly answer any questions you may have

Senior Care

Just as human life expectancy increases with good nutrition, quality of life and good healthcare, so does that of our pets. As a result of medical advances and the place the our pets occupy in our homes and hearts, pets are living longer than ever. Many diseases and problems we encounter in our senior pets (arthritis, heart disease, diabetes, kidney disease, cancer to name a few) are considered to be chronic, manageable conditions. Annual (to bi-annual) well checks are especially important for your aging pet. Wellness blood work is essential in helping detect problems in your senior pet as well. Blood pressure checks are often advised as well for senior dogs and cats, especially in those with diseases that place them at risk for the development of hypertension. Other considerations for senior pets include:
  • Nutritional changes
  • Weight loss or gain
  • Behavioral or cognitive changes
  • Optimizing quality of life