Preventative Care Exam

You go to the doctor regularly, but does your pet? Regular veterinary wellness exams are an integral part of your pet's preventive health care program. A routine examination provides you and your Kanas city area veterinarian with the opportunity to develop a picture of your pet's overall health as well as to spot potential medical issues before they become serious health concerns. It's also an opportunity for you to ask your veterinarian important questions about your pet's health, habits and daily care. We also use this time to inform you about home healthcare for your pet and offer important advice and new information on the care of your particular type and breed of animal.
For these reasons, Somerset recommends a complete nose-to-tail physical examination once a year for young and adult dogs and cats. For our geriatric and senior patients, dogs ages 8+ and cats ages 10+, we strongly recommend a twice annual examination.
During your pet's wellness checkup at our Prairie Village animal hospital, your veterinarian will:
Listen to your pet's heart – Early signs of cardiac disease such as heart murmurs and abnormal heart beat patterns known as arrhythmias can be heard through a stethoscope. Discovering these initial indicators of trouble ahead can lead to identifying and treating the underlying condition before it becomes a more serious health threat.
Listen to your pet's lungs – Health issues such as infections, obstructive diseases and other problems can be detected by listening to your pet's lungs through a stethoscope. The doctor can also assess the overall pulmonary health of your pet.
Check your pet's teeth and oral cavity – Infections and other forms of dental disease can lead to very serious systemic health issues. We will also take the time to discuss proper home dental care with you.
Evaluate your pet's vision – Ocular conditions–such as glaucoma, corneal ulcers and dry eye–can be prevented or better treated through regular care and screenings.
Look into your pet's ears – Ear disease is relatively common in many types of pets. Regular examinations can prevent most forms of ear disease from developing or stop its progression.
Palpate the lymph nodes, abdomen and skin – By feeling these areas, we are looking for unusual lumps or swellings as well as evaluating the skin for discolorations, lesions or patterns of hair loss or thinning, which could be signs of serious health issues.
Palpate joints and muscles – By examining the joints, legs and other areas of the body, we are able to evaluate for swollen joints, decreased muscle tone and variations in muscle size between the limbs that may indicate developing orthopedic issues. In older pets, we look for signs of arthritis, which can be treated if found early.
Lab work – A complete physical includes a heartworm test and should include a full blood workup. A full chemistry panel and complete blood count can screen for the presence of underlying disease processes and create a baseline should your pet become ill between routine examinations.
Parasite Testing – Checking your pet for intestinal parasites is an important component of any preventative care plan for your pet and your family. For example, parasites such as hookworms are considered zoonotic, which means they can affect humans too.
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Puppy & Kitten Care

If you have a new puppy or kitten – congratulations! You are beginning an exciting and highly rewarding chapter in your life. Owning a pet can be an incredible experience. However, you are also taking on a great number of obligations. As his owner, you are solely responsible for ensuring that your newest and furriest family member enjoys a healthy, active life. The good news is that you aren’t alone in that endeavor. Your veterinarian is your biggest support when it comes to keeping your pets healthy and happy and between you, it is possible to become a pro at caring for your cute furbaby very quickly. Here are our recommendations as to the key things you should prioritize for the first year of your new puppy or kitten’s life:

One of the first things that you should do when you first adopt a new pet is to get them registered with our veterinary practice. Contrary to popular belief, vets aren’t just there to treat animals that are already sick and in need of medical attention. We also have a range of other services that they can provide that will benefit your furbaby. More on that to come! However, before you can start to take advantage of these additional services, we need you to register your pet with us. This allows us to start a medical record for him, and this will be used to log all visits to us as well as other important health and lifestyle information. These will be used to monitor his health and stop any developing health problems early so that they can be treated quickly.

You can either undertake this visit while registering your pet, or shortly afterwards. Nevertheless, an initial visit is important so that we can start monitoring the condition of your pup or kitten right from the beginning of his life. It will enable us to ensure that you have adopted a healthy animal and that there are no immediate concerns. We will also be able to answer any of the questions that you are bound to have about raising a puppy or kitten if you haven’t owned an animal before.

Routine vaccinations are a standard part of pet care and begin from as young as 8 weeks old. There are many different infectious diseases that can affect our pets and cause them harm, particularly when they are young, and their immune system is still developing. Vaccinations are the single best defense against these diseases. However, because your pet cannot have the full dose while he is still so small, a number of smaller doses are given over a short period of time to build up his immunity. This vaccination schedule is crucial and will be discussed with you by our veterinary team. It is essential that your pet has these on time in order to stay fully protected. In addition to vaccinations, preventative care advice and treatments will also be discussed with you. This includes protection against parasites such as mites, fleas, ticks and worms, all of which can have unpleasant and potentially serious consequences for the health of your pet.
If you haven’t owned a pet before, there may be many different aspects of his care that you would like support with. Fortunately, our experienced veterinary team can provide all of the advice and guidance that you need, including:
  • Information on pet microchipping
  • Dietary support
  • Spaying/neutering advice and procedures
  • Behavior support
  • Information on pet training classes
  • Grooming recommendations
  • Pet dental care

All of the above services are of course in addition to any medical attention that your furbaby needs in the event that he does become injured or unwell.
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Dental Services

You probably brushed your own teeth at least once or twice yesterday, but did you stop to think about cleaning those of your pet? Owning an animal comes with many responsibilities but taking care of our pet’s teeth is something that many people overlook – at least until they visit their vet for the first time and are made aware just how important it is. Our pets depend on their teeth just as much as we do, using them to eat, hold items, play and even as a tool for self-defence should the need arise. However, since they cannot choose what they will eat or brush their teeth for themselves, it is the responsibility of their owners to keep their teeth in tip top condition. Failing to properly care for your pet’s teeth could leave him suffering unnecessary dental pain and unpleasant symptoms including bad breath, a foul taste in his mouth and bleeding gums. In severe cases of dental problems, your pet could lose a tooth, develop dental disease and even see a wider impact on his health and wellbeing. This is because pets with dental disease have been shown to have an increased risk of developing medical problems such as diabetes, high blood pressure, heart, liver and kidney problems and some types of cancer. While there are a variety of things that you can do at home to support your pet’s teeth, regularly scheduled appointments with a professional are crucial. At Somerset Animal Hospital, we are committed to helping your pet’s teeth be as clean and healthy as possible, so that he can enjoy a long, happy and active life with you and your family.

Our pet dental services
We are delighted to be able to offer a number of different pet dental services to our patients and their furry pals in and around Prairie Village, KS. These include the following:
Just as your dentist almost certainly invites you for regular check-up appointments, so too can your pet benefit from such visits. Our dedicated pet dentists have the training and experience necessary to be able to spot potential dental problems early on so that they can be treated before they cause your pet pain and suffering. This can also help to ensure to keep dental disease and the associated health complications at bay. Most pets will be recommended to attend an annual dental wellness check. However, if your pet is suffering from dental problems then our pet dentists may recommend that you increase the frequency of these visits. Types of problems that can be identified at a pet dental wellness check can include:
  • Dental decay
  • Dental disease
  • Hyperplasia (a condition where the gums overgrow)
  • Feline resorptive lesions
  • Broken teeth
  • Loose teeth
  • Infections or abscesses
  • Dental impaction or retained baby teeth
  • Oral growths/tumors
Obviously, if dental treatment is required our experienced team will be able to explain what problems have been uncovered and what treatment is needed to rectify the issue. We will support you and your pet through every stage of treatment, ensuring that you understand what is happening at all times.
Although your pet dentist will definitely encourage you to brush your pet’s teeth at home, there is nothing quite like a professional clean for boosting the dental wellbeing of your furbaby. These are carried out while your pet is under the effects of a general anesthetic and this is for two reasons. Firstly, it helps to ensure that your precious furbaby isn’t scared and traumatized during the procedure. Secondly, it ensures that he remains completely still. This is important for his safety as well as your pet dentist’s. Your pet doesn’t realize the importance of keeping still and keeping his mouth open, and not being able to follow instructions can lead to him or your professional being injured. In some cases, complications can occur, such as if a sudden movement causes your pet dentist to accidentally nick the inside of your pet’s mouth with one of the sharp instruments typically used to clean his teeth.
Since your pet is asleep, the level of cleaning performed is far superior to anything you can do at home. All plaque and calculus can be removed from your pet’s teeth, helping to prevent dental problems from developing. Your pet dentist can also thoroughly assess the oral cavity and teeth without relying on the cooperate of your pet.
After your pet’s professional clean, our pet dentistry team will talk to you about the importance of brushing at home, showing you the best techniques to use and answering any questions that you may have.
If you have not yet got your beloved pet registered with an experienced pet dentist, look no further than the team here at Somerset Animal Hospital, Prairie Village, KS. Contact us today to schedule an appointment for your pet.
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Vaccination Programs

At Somerset Animal Hospital we see cats and dogs from all walks of life. From our super gregarious and social butterfly patients who regularly visit doggie daycare and play at Franklin Park, to those content to be home bodies and lounge around in their plush surroundings, and even those who must be properly prim and pampered at the groomer every month, and finally, those who visit the “hotel for dogs (and cats)” on a regular basis.

Therefore, we custom tailor our vaccination strategies to best fit your pet’s lifestyle, risk-exposures, and personal health status.

As an example, Rabies, Distemper and Lepto are “core” vaccines for nearly every dog in the Midwest US, while our social dogs will often also need to utilize Bordatella (the cause of Whooping Cough in people) and Canine Flu vaccine (yes, dogs have their own version of the flu!).

For our feline friends, we recommend Rabies and Distemper as core, but we only utilize “adjuvant-free, heavy metal-free” vaccines, as is the gold standard of care. Our cats who regularly visit the outdoors, however, are at greater risk for potentially deadly viruses like Feline Leukemia and FIV. Sadly, there is no vaccine currently to protect against FIV, but the Feline Leukemia vaccine is safe and effective.
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Laboratory & Diagnostic Services

From annual health screening tests such as fecal parasite exams (dogs and cats like to “share” their parasites with their humans! Gross!) and heartworm testing, to Critical Needs point of care testing, Somerset Animal Hospital is privileged to feature state-of-the-art laboratory and diagnostic services.

Our full service in house diagnostic lab allows us to perform:
  • Complete blood counts
  • Organ function panels
  • Electrolyte panel
  • Digital advanced urinalyses
  • Fecal parasite centrifugation tests
  • Digital tonometry to screen eye pressures for glaucoma or uveitis
  • Advanced digital dental/oral x-rays
  • Digital whole body x rays
  • Sophisticated ultrasound
We have the ability to offer rapid diagnostic testing, while you wait, when Mother Nature strikes.
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Sick Care & Hospitalization

While many animals can receive treatment during a routine veterinary appointment and go home the very same day, there are occasions when an animal requires comprehensive medical care by trained professionals throughout the day and night. When this happens, you will be informed that your precious pet needs to be hospitalized.

Here at Somerset Animal Hospital, we have state of the art facilities that mean that we can provide superior quality care as well as the love and attention that your pet needs while she is away from home. When you choose our animal hospital, you can relax knowing that we are as committed to helping your pet return to full health as you are.

There can be several reasons why an animal may need to be hospitalized. Your pet may have had surgery that requires her to be closely monitored around the clock afterwards, or she is simply too sick to be able to be treated properly as an out-patient. Whatever the cause of her need for medical attention, hospitalization helps to ensure that your pet gets the professional care that she needs in order to remain comfortable and get better.

When your pet is hospitalized, she will be able to receive specialist treatment that includes:

X-rays, blood testing, and more may be required to obtain a firm diagnosis for your pet and to monitor her health throughout her treatment and how well she is responding to it. These can be carried out during your pet’s stay in our animal hospital, enabling your veterinary team to make prompt adjustments to her treatment plan.
Intravenous fluids can be needed for a variety of reasons. Your pet could be dehydrated, suffering from severe vomiting or diarrhea and losing fluids or require fluids to help her heal after surgery. Since intravenous fluids are delivered via a catheter placed under your pet’s skin, she may need to be confined and potentially wear a cone that will prevent her from pulling the IV out.
Some medications work better if they are delivered directly into the bloodstream and the best way to do this is to administer them intravenously which needs to happen in a hospital setting. Other types of medication may also be difficult for owners to administer at home. Fortunately, when your pet is hospitalized there are trained and experienced professionals on hand to undertake these important tasks on your behalf.
There are a range of reasons why an animal may require oxygen or nebulizer treatments, including kennel cough, respiratory failure and heart problems. Since compromised breathing is such a serious matter, it is essential that pets with breathing problems that require oxygen or nebulizer treatment remain in professional care until your vet believes that they are stable enough to go home.
If your pet has recently had surgery or has been particularly unwell, she will need special care while she gets back on her feet. This is often referred to as nursing care and involves various different elements including:
  • Cleaning wounds and changing dressings
  • Close monitoring of fluids and how much your pet eats/drinks
  • Check on vital signs such a temperature, pulse etc
  • Administering medications
  • Monitoring the speed of healing
  • Assistance with going outside to empty her bladder/bowels
  • Ensuring she gets sufficient exercise to help with the healing process

Exactly what services your pet will need will depend on the severity of her illness or operation. However, her medical team will be able to give you a clear indication of what her care package will include.

We are pleased to be able to offer care for a wide range of pets, including in-patient care at our animal hospital in Prairie Village. To schedule an appointment for your furbaby or to discuss our care and hospitalization services further, please contact our offices today by calling 913-341-9191.
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Spay & Neuter

Do you want to help resolve the problem of unwanted pregnancy, reduce the figure of unloved animals living in shelters across the United States and lower the number being euthanized every year because there are simply not enough resources to care for them? If you are a loving and compassionate pet owner, then the answer to these questions will undoubtedly be ‘yes’. You can help achieve all these things and more through one important act – spaying or neutering your pet.

Spaying and neutering refer to the same thing – the removal of the reproductive organs in animals so that they can no longer produce offspring. It is more commonly referred to as spaying in females, while neutering is a gender-neutral term. Each procedure is performed while your pet is under the effects of a general anesthetic meaning that they will be asleep and will not experience any stress or pain. As you probably expect, the procedure to remove the reproductive organs of females is significantly more invasive due to their internal location. This means that it may take her a little longer to recover from her surgery. Nevertheless, it is still considered extremely safe and complications are fairly unusual. Somerset also believes that identifying and relieving pain is essential to the recovery of your pet. Therefore, pain management is an important aspect of our intra- and post-surgical protocols. Our advanced techniques are designed to make our patients as comfortable as possible.

There are a variety of different health and lifestyle benefits associated with sterilizing our pets. These include:

  • No messy bleeding when she comes into season. For those owners with female pets, the inevitable mess that comes with her coming into season can be avoided completely.
  • Reduced risk of cancers of the reproductive system and more. Obviously, animals that have had their ovaries or testes removed are no longer at risk of ovarian or testicular cancer. However, the risk of some other related cancers is also dramatically reduced in neutered pets. This is especially the case for breast cancer, which can occur in both sexes and is fatal in approximately half of dogs and around 90% of cats.
  • Lower chance of developing urine infections, especially if the surgery is performed after the 6 month of life. Urine infections can be painful and debilitating for your pet. However, studies have shown that by spaying your female, she is less likely to suffer from this problem.
  • Improved behavior. Male animals who are un-neutered can become territorial and aggressive. They can mark their territory with urine and harass females that they come into contact with. However, by removing the reproductive organs of a male animal, you can reduce this behavior. Females who have their reproductive capabilities removed will be able to avoid unwanted attention from males which can be frustrating and upsetting for her.
We are pleased to be able to offer a comprehensive spay and neuter service to pets in around our animal hospital in Prairie Village. To schedule an appointment for your furbaby, please contact our Prairie Village, KS office today.
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Nutrition Counseling

Although there are lots of different areas of pet ownership that are important, one of the elements that you will begin to concern yourself with early on is whether or not your pet is eating the right diet. And rightly so. Just like us, our pets are reliant on receiving the proper nutrition for them to grow and develop when they are small, and, once they are adults, to sustain them, protect them from illness and generally keep them healthy. However, since we are the ones that provide our pets with their food, the responsibility of making sure that they eat the right foods in the right amounts falls solely to us. A trained and experienced pet nutrition counselor can advise and support you.

Most people know that a balanced diet involves a combination of different elements, including proteins, fats, carbohydrates, minerals and vitamins. However, exactly what quantities these should be given in should be tailored to the specific needs of your pet. This will be based on several factors including:

  • Her age
  • Her weight
  • Whether or not she is pregnant or nursing
  • Whether she has any health problems that would benefit from dietary changes
Age is particularly important since an animal’s nutritional requirements change as they get older. This means that you can expect your pet’s diet to have to change multiple times throughout her life as she progresses through each life stage, even if she doesn’t have health problems that would benefit from dietary changes.

What will be involved in your pet’s nutritional counseling will depend on your individual circumstances. However, typically you can expect:

To be supplied with a tailored diet based specifically on the needs of your pet
Dietary advice for animals that are pregnant or nursing (if applicable)
Advice on portion control
A schedule of mealtimes
Guidance on which treats are best for your pet
General advice on pet obesity and how to avoid it
Information on how to switch your pet to a new brand or type of food
Information on dietary supplements

Most pets will suffer from at least one health problem during their lifetime, and studies have shown that tailoring the diet of a sick animal can actually help alleviate some of their symptoms. Some of the health problems that can be effectively managed and potentially treated through nutrition include the following:

  • Arthritis
  • Cancer
  • Diabetes
  • Food Intolerances
  • Inflammatory bowel disease
  • Kidney disease
  • Liver disease
  • Lower urinary tract disease
  • Thyroid disorder
Nutritional counseling can also help prevent your pet from becoming obese. Obesity is the largest contributing factor in the development of many serious and potentially deadly health problems, including diabetes, high blood pressure, and heart disease. Your nutritional counselor will be able to give you guidance regarding both diet and portion control to ensure that your pet remains a healthy weight.

If you would like to learn more about nutritional counseling, or if you would like to schedule an appointment for your pet, please get in touch with our Somerset Animal Hospital in Prairie Village, KS today.
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Heartworm Treatment

Parasite prevention is something that needs to be a significant priority for every pet owner. This is particularly true when it comes to heartworms, which are largely considered to be the most dangerous of all.
Heartworms are a form of parasitic infection that can prove deadly for animals if it is left untreated. While dogs make the most natural host pet for heartworms,they can also affect cats and ferrets, although infestations are much rarer. Animals contract parasites through the bite of an infected mosquito which deposits heartworm larvae into your pet’s blood stream. The larvae migrate through her body until it reaches the blood vessels of the heart and lungs where it makes its home. Over the course of the next six months, the larvae mature into adult heartworms which are capable of reproducing. Each heartworm can grow up to 12 inches long and in severe infestations, it is not unheard of for a dog to have several hundred heartworms.

As the number of heartworms inside your pet’s body grows, they start to block the effective flow of blood around her body. Damage to her organs starts to occur since they cannot receive the necessary flow of oxygenated blood to stay healthy. Eventually, a sudden blockage of blood flow within the heart can lead to something known as caval syndrome. This is a type of cardiovascular collapse and can be life-threatening.

One of the most difficult aspects of heartworm infestations is that many animals will show no symptoms at all until the problem is moderate to severe. At this point, permanent damage may have already started to occur. For this reason, regular heartworm testing is often included in your pet’s annual wellness exams.

When symptoms do become apparent, they can include:

  • A soft cough
  • Decreased appetite
  • Weight loss
  • Fatigue after moderate activity
  • A swollen abdomen
Although a heartworm diagnosis may be devastating, it doesn’t have to mean the worst for your pet. It is possible to eradicate the infestation of worms before it can cause irreversible damage to your precious furbaby.

There are three different elements to treating heartworms. These are:
  • Destroying the larvae, so that no more adult heartworms can develop into adults and reproduce, continuing the cycle.
  • Destroying the adult worms. It is these worms that are blocking the blood vessels in your pet’s body and putting her life at risk. By destroying all adults and the larvae you can completely eradicate the infestation.
  • Destroying the Wolbachia. Wolbachia is the name given to tiny organisms present in heartworm that cause inflammation in the blood vessels of the lungs.

There are two types of treatment that can be given to eradicate heartworm infestations in dogs. These are as follows:

  • Ivermectin: Ivermectin is a medication that destroys heartworm larvae. This particular drug kills them slowly, but experts agree that this is a safer way to eliminate them since destroying too many too fast could cause your pet to go into shock.
  • Melarsomine (Immiticide®️): This is currently the only approved drug available for destroying adult heartworms. It is administered via injection which is placed in the muscles of the lower pack. Unfortunately, this means that they can be painful for your pet to experience and so you may be offered pain medications for your pet to have alongside the heartworm treatment. Your pet will need to be closely monitored by your veterinarian for at least the first 24 hours after the injection and so will need to stay in the care of your veterinary facility.
  • Antibiotics and Steroids: If your pet has inflammation present in the heart and lungs, your vet may recommend a course of antibiotics or steroid medication which will help to reduce these.

Unfortunately, there is currently no approved drug therapy for heartworm infection in cats, and the drug used to treat infections in dogs is not safe for cats. Nevertheless, it may still be possible to help your cat by treating the symptoms she is experiencing. In doing so, you can manage her condition. In some instances, surgical removal of heartworms may be possible.

If you are concerned that your pet may have heartworms and would like to obtain a diagnosis or arrange for treatment, our experienced veterinary team would be happy to help. Please contact our Animal Hospital in Prairie Village, KS today.
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Parasite Prevention

Despite being very common, parasites don’t have to be a normal part of pet ownership. There are countless different products available that, when administered properly, can ensure that your pet never needs to suffer from the debilitating effects of a parasite infestation. Our experienced veterinary team understand the importance of parasite prevention and so incorporate advice, support, and treatment into our usual preventative care programs. Here is what you need to know about the parasites that can affect your pet and how to keep them at bay.

Parasites tend to be contracted in one of two ways. In the case of internal parasites, infection usually happens when your pet comes into contact with the feces of another, infected animal. For example, just one pile of dog poop can contain a million roundworm eggs and if your furbaby sniffs or licks or even inhales just a small amount of the feces, he could become infected.

External parasites live in the environment and will opportunistically attach themselves to your pet when he comes by. Ticks cling to the tips of long grasses and tree leaves and will drop onto your pet when he walks past, biting down to secure themselves and then feasting on his blood.

Heartworms are one of the most serious parasites to affect our pets. Unlike other internal parasites, heartworms are actually transmitted by mosquitos who transfer immature heartworms from host to host. Once bitten, the immature heartworms travel in the blood to the lungs and heart, for which they get their name.

Many people think that parasites are simply a nuisance and a little unpleasant for your pet. However, there other reasons why it is so important to protect your pet from parasites. These include:

Protecting your pet from the irritation and unpleasantness of living with a parasite problem
Living with parasites isn’t nice for your pet. In some cases, it is downright awful. The exact symptoms that your pet will experience will depend on which parasite he is affected by, but examples include:

  • Severe, intense itching
  • Sore, broken skin
  • Hair loss
  • Abdominal pain
  • Vomiting and/or diarrhea
  • Respiratory problems
  • Loss of appetite
By giving your pet the relevant preventatives, you can protect him from unnecessary pain and suffering.

Parasites can have very severe consequences for the health of your pet. For example, a large flea infestation can cause severe blood loss that leaves your pet suffering from anemia. External parasites can also carry a range of diseases. Many fleas carry tapeworms, causing your pet to develop a secondary parasite problem, meanwhile, ticks are well known for causing a whole host of different infectious diseases including Lyme Disease, Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever, Ehrlichiosis, Babesiosis and more. Fleas have been known to come through doors, windows, and cracked screens. This is why it is strongly recommended for year around prevention.

Heartworms are particularly dangerous for your pet to develop. This is because they accumulate in the blood vessels of the heart and lungs, restricting the flow of oxygenated blood and damaging your pet’s organs. Left untreated, it is nearly always fatal.

Fortunately, there are many different types of parasite prevention for your pet, and our veterinary team will be happy to advise you which are most suitable for your pet based on his species, breed, age, and location. They come in a selection of forms, from topical treatments to tablets to, in the case of heartworms, injectables. You will be able to pick a type based on the form of administration that you think will be most appropriate for your pet.

The most important thing to remember is the schedule with which your chosen preventatives will need to be administered. Most topical and oral treatments are given every 30 days, while heartworm injections are 6-monthly. This schedule must be strictly adhered to to keep your pet adequately protected. Even being a day or two late can leave your pet vulnerable to contracting a parasite that puts his health at risk.

Regardless of the product chosen by you and your vet, it is very important heartworm and tick prevention is done year round.
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Pet Skin Care

Beneath the layer of feathers or fur, your pet’s body is covered with skin. Its purpose is the same as our own – to protect the delicate inside of his body from harmful substances such as toxins, viruses, and bacteria, and to prevent water, heat, and blood from leaving it. Despite its important role in the health and wellbeing of your furbaby, many owners inadvertently overlook the condition of the skin in favor of what they believe to be potentially more serious concerns. Nevertheless, skin conditions are one of the most common triggers for a trip to the vet.

If your pet is experiencing any of the following symptoms, it is advisable to have him assessed by our pet skincare team:

  • Recurrent/persistent itching
  • Rubbing his body along the floor or against furniture
  • Hair loss
  • Redness of the skin
  • Dandruff/dry skin scale
  • Discolored skin
  • Sores, bumps or scabs that don’t heal
  • Unusual lumps or bumps on the skin
  • Rashes
  • Visible parasites such as a tick or fleas
In order to discover what skin problem is plaguing your pet, we will need you to bring him in for a consultation. This will enable us to undertake a complete assessment of skin health and make an accurate diagnosis. Some of the key elements of the diagnostic process include:

  • Information about your pet’s medical history
  • A full, clinical examination
  • A detailed skin examination
  • Skin samples can be taken and tested (if necessary)
In some instances, it may be necessary for your pet to have slightly more advanced testing. This is often the case if we believe that an allergy is the cause of your pet’s skin problem as we will need to determine which allergen is the trigger. This can often be a process of elimination.

In many cases, skin disorders are a symptom of another, underlying cause. There are many different things that can trigger skin reactions – many of which can affect humans and pets alike. Some of the most common include:

  • Environmental triggers – think hypersensitivity to things like pollen, dust, mold spores and even perfume or tobacco smoke.
  • Food triggers – food allergies are just as common in pets as humans, and they can sometimes manifest in a skin rash.
  • The infection triggers – bacterial, fungal and yeast skin infections can affect our pets.
  • Parasite triggers – there are many different parasites that can harm our animals, including fleas, ticks, and worms. Many of these can cause skin reactions. For example, flea saliva contains toxins that are extremely irritating to your pet, causing him to scratch excessively. This can create a wound that becomes infected and doesn’t heal.
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Pet Allergies and Dermatology

We all know just how terrible allergies can be for humans. There are also a number of pets that have allergies too. While you may have noticed changes in behavior or even some skin irritations, it may not have occurred to you that your pet is actually experiencing an allergic reaction. Allergic reactions in pets can range from being uncomfortable irregularities to being dangerous threats to their health and lives.

There are three basic types of allergies that affect pets. These are:
  • Skin Allergies – Skin allergies are often caused by the environment. However, the allergen does not have to come in contact with the skin to cause an issue. Instead, allergens can be inhaled or consumed but will have a visible reaction on your animal’s skin. Pets can often begin scratching an irritated area. The intense scratching can cause additional damage to your pet.
  • Food Allergies – Many pets have specific allergies to a certain type of food. You may recognize that after your pet eats a specific item that they can respond with an allergic reaction. These often manifest as vomiting, diarrhea, extreme gassiness, other gastrointestinal issues, or itchy skin.
  • Flea Allergies – Pets are commonly allergic to the bite of a flea. Once they are bitten, the body reacts with an extremely itchy area on the skin of your pet. When your pet begins to scratch that area, it can often trigger fleas to bite even more voraciously and make the situation even worse.
There are a number of tools that we can use to help determine what your pet is allergic to. We often recommend testing the blood. These tests can reveal a number of potential issues, including items that are commonly found in your pet’s natural environment.

When testing a food allergy, we will often prescribe a rigid diet for about 12 weeks. Once your pet has become symptom-free, we can start to reintroduce individual foods back into their diet until we identify which food is the culprit.

If you are participating in testing for a food allergy, it is important that you strictly adhere to the guidance of our staff so that your animal continues to get the proper nutrition.

The issues that cause your pet to have an allergic reaction can vary by the area where you live. If you travel with your pet frequently, it is important to let our staff know where you have been, so we can also assess that environment to help treat your animal. At Somerset Animal Hospital, we have an intimate knowledge of the potential allergens that affect pets in Prairie Village and Kansas as a whole. Some of the most common allergens include tree pollen, dust, dander, fleas, grass pollen, mold, cleaning products, perfumes, and household materials. If you know that your pet has recently come into contact with these items, it is important to let your vet know.

70% of dogs and cats are said to be allergic to fleas. This is one reason, we highly recommend having full year round flea preventative care.
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Surgical Services

Somerset Animal Hospital, located in the heart of Prairie Village with convenient access from Leawood, Fairway, Mission Hills and Overland Park, provides modern, safe, effective veterinary surgical services. Whether it be tumor removals, spay/neuter surgery, or more advanced soft tissue procedures like bladder stone removals, intestinal surgeries, spleen removals, etc., our staff are highly trained to provide safe anesthesia, and outstanding surgical outcomes.

Following graduation, Dr. Alexander Betzen completed a highly competitive surgical and internal medicine internship at a prestigious referral hospital in San Diego. We utilize state-of-the-art anesthesia monitoring equipment, have a dedicated technician to monitor your pet, and perform all necessary lab work prior to surgery to optimize outcomes and decrease risk. Somerset Animal Hospital’s veterinary surgery services are here to help your beloved family pet have the best quality of life possible when the need arises.
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