Wellness Care for Dogs & Cats in Northern Baltimore County

MCAH believes that preventive care is the key to healthier pets. Regular checkups with a veterinarian can extend a pet’s length and quality of life. Early detection of illnesses often enables our veterinary team to provide more treatment options, keep treatment costs manageable, and can lead to more positive outcomes. Regular wellness exams and diagnostics provide the MCAH team with the most accurate picture of a pet’s health


Wellness Care Standards for Dogs

Preventative Care

Wellness Exams

  • Puppies should be seen every 3-4 weeks until 16 weeks of age, then again at 14-16 months of age.
  • Adult dogs should be seen for wellness exams annually.
  • Senior dogs (ages 8 years and older) should be seen for wellness exams one to two times per year, based on their individual health conditions. Very large breeds such as Great Danes, Irish Wolfhounds, etc. are considered senior pets at an earlier age.

Wellness Diagnostic Profiles – may include urinalysis and blood tests

  • For healthy dogs, we recommend beginning wellness diagnostic screening at age 6 and then annually beginning at age 8.

Screening for Heartworm & Tick Borne Diseases

  • Beginning at 16 months of age if the dog has been on preventative since puppy days.
  • Every other year for pets on preventative year round (recommended in our region).
  • For pets not on heartworm preventative year round, screening must be performed before restarting preventative and six months after restarting. Year round protection is highly recommended in our region.

Fecal Screening for Parasites

  • Every year to check for intestinal parasites. Dogs may not show symptoms of intestinal parasites but left untreated, they may cause intestinal inflammation, failure to grow and thrive, or weight loss.
  • Pets should be retested four weeks after testing positive and being treated for intestinal parasites.

Dental Health

  • Begin tooth brushing at home as early as possible to develop good habits – even those puppy teeth! Continue regular tooth brushing at home through the senior years.
  • Annual assessment of dental health is part of our wellness exam.
  • Dental cleanings and X-rays as recommended by the veterinarian. Brushing at home can extend the time between dental cleanings at the hospital.

Parasite Prevention

Flea & Tick

  • Due to the prevalence of fleas and ticks in our area, we recommend year-round preventatives.
  • Bravecto, an oral chewable soft-tab provides 12 weeks of protection and is our first choice. Dogs can begin Bravecto at 6 months of age.
  • For puppies under 6 months of age, we recommend NexGard, an oral chewable soft-tab which provides one month of protection.
  • For clients who prefer a topical treatment, we recommend Effitix which provides one month of protection. Effitix may be used on dogs older than 8 weeks of age.

Heartworm

  • Due to the prevalence of mosquitoes in our area and the seriousness of heartworm infection, we recommend year-round heartworm preventatives.
  • Interceptor Plus is an oral chewable tablet which provides one month of protection against heartworms as well as hookworms, roundworms, whipworms, and tapeworms.
  • Most puppies begin Interceptor at 12 weeks of age. If not started by 5-6 months of age, puppies must be tested prior to starting preventative.
  • All dogs must be tested prior to starting or restarting heartworm preventative. For missed doses (more than 7 weeks between doses), dogs should be retested 6 months after last dose.

Vaccines Core Vaccines – Recommended for all dogs

Rabies – Required by Maryland and Pennsylvania law for all dogs

  • Puppies should vaccinated between 14-20 weeks of age, with a booster vaccine administered at 1 year.
  • Re-vaccinate every three years.
  • Booster vaccine within 7 days if your pet gets into a scuffle with wildlife or other pets with unknown vaccine status.

DHPP/DHLPP (Distemper, Hepatitis [Adenovirus], Parvo, Parainfluenza/Leptospirosis)

  • Begin at 6-8 weeks of age and booster vaccine every 3-4 weeks until 14-16 weeks of age.
  • Re-vaccinate at 1 year, 2 years and every 3 years thereafter.
  • If DHLPP is given, Leptospirosis must be re-vaccinated annually.

Leptospirosis

  • Vaccinate at 12 weeks, booster at 16 weeks.
  • Re-vaccinate every year. May be given as the DHLPP combo.
  • May not be recommended for some breeds due to increased possibility of vaccine reaction. 

Vaccines Non-Core Vaccines – Recommended based on life style, activity, location, individual health condition

Bordetella (Kennel Cough)

  • Recommended for dogs that will be in contact with other dogs at a grooming or boarding facility, dog park, training classes, shows, etc. Often required by boarding facilities.
  • Vaccinate at 8 weeks (intranasal), booster with subcutaneous vaccine in 4 weeks and then annually thereafter.
  • Intranasal vaccine should be used for annual vaccine in adult dogs if they will be boarding within 1 week.

Lyme Disease

  • Due to the prevalence of ticks and Lyme disease in our area, we recommend for all dogs.
  • Vaccinate at 12-14 weeks, booster in 3-4 weeks, then annually thereafter.

Canine Influenza

  • Very low risk in our region. If a local outbreak occurred we would recommend for all dogs that may be in contact with other dogs.
  • Vaccinate at 12-14 weeks, booster in 2-4 weeks and then annually thereafter.

Wellness Care Standards for Cats

Preventative Care

Wellness Exams

  • Kittens should be seen every 3-4 weeks until 16 weeks of age, then again at 14-16 months of age.
  • Adult cats should be seen for wellness exams annually.
  • Senior cats are those 10 years and older. They should be seen for wellness exams one to two times per year, based on their individual health conditions.

Wellness Diagnostic Profiles – may include urinalysis and blood tests

  • For kittens and adult cats with unknown health history, we recommend screening for Feline Leukemia (FeLV) and Feline AIDS (FIV). Both of these conditions are contagious and any new cats should be screened before being introduced to a home with other cats.
  • For healthy cats, we recommend beginning wellness diagnostic screening at age 6, age 8, and then annually beginning at age 10.

Fecal Screening for Parasites

  • Every year to check for intestinal parasites. Cats may not show symptoms of intestinal parasites but left untreated, they may cause intestinal inflammation, failure to grow and thrive, or weight loss.
  • Pets should be retested four weeks after testing positive and being treated for intestinal parasites.
  • Annual screening and deworming with Drontal is very important for cats that spend any time outdoors and may come in contact with wildlife.

Dental Health

  • Begin tooth brushing at home as early as possible to develop good habits – even those kitten teeth! Continue regular tooth brushing at home through the senior years.
  • Annual assessment of dental health is part of our annual wellness exam.
  • Dental cleanings and X-rays as recommended by the veterinarian. Brushing at home can extend the time between dental cleanings at the hospital.

Parasite Prevention

Flea & Tick

  • Due to the prevalence of fleas and ticks in our area, we recommend year-round preventatives.
  • Bravecto for Cats is a topical treatment which provides three months of protection. It is our first choice for flea and tick control. Kittens may begin it at 6 months of age.
  • For Kittens under 6 months, we recommend Revolution which is a topical treatment providing 30 days of protection against fleas and internal parasites.

Vaccines Core Vaccines – Recommended for all cats

Rabies – Required by Maryland and Pennsylvania law for all cats

  • Kittens should be vaccinated at 16 weeks of age, with a booster vaccine administered at 1 year.
  • Re-vaccinate every three years.
  • Booster vaccine within 7 days if your pet gets into a scuffle with wildlife or other pets with unknown vaccine status.

FVRCP (Feline Rhinotracheitis Virus, Calicivirus, Panleukopenia)

  • Begin at 6-8 weeks of age and booster vaccine every 3-4 weeks until 14-16 weeks of age.
  • Re-vaccinate at 1 year, 2 years and every 3 years thereafter.

About Vaccines
Whether at doggie daycare, at the groomer or out in your own backyard, there is the possibility of our pets coming into contact with a contagious disease. Keeping up to date on the appropriate vaccinations helps protect pets and helps ensure they are with us for many years to come. We will tailor our recommendations to your pet and your lifestyle. We want to be sure that your pet is protected but doesn’t get more vaccines than is necessary. In addition to administering vaccines, we also perform vaccine titers. Titers tell us that your pet has antibodies to protect against distemper, adenovirus and parvovirus. It is a little more expensive but will decrease the amount of vaccines that your pet will get over their lifetime.