Lakeland Veterinary Hospital

Preventative Care

Preventative care and regular wellness exams allow your pet’s veterinarian to monitor their health and catch diseases in their earliest stages. Being able to catch any potential ailments as soon as possible is helpful for many reasons; when caught early, diseases are easier and cheaper to treat, and your pet can be saved from needless suffering.


Habits that may eventually cause problems down the line can be addressed, such as difficulty with training, weight gain, weight loss, exercise, and general behavior and lifestyle factors. Having regular opportunities to discuss your pet’s habits, personality, and tendencies helps the veterinarian to understand a baseline of what “normal” is for the individual animal, so if anything is ever amiss, the doctor will be able to fully understand the relevancy of any potential behavioral changes. We encourage our clients to ask questions and share insights about their pet’s day-to-day wellness.

We recommend that healthy, adult animals receive at least one wellness examination a year. Puppies, kittens, and senior pets should have more frequent visits, because these pet populations have weaker immune systems and are at greater risk of disease. On a case-by-case basis, your veterinarian will help you decide the proper frequency of visits for your pet.

During the wellness examination, the veterinarian will conduct a complete physical exam, from paw pads to whiskers. The examination will include:

  • Looking inside of the ears
  • Checking the eyes and surrounding area
  • Opening the mouth to inspect the teeth and gums
  • Measuring the temperature
  • Weighing the pet
  • Checking the skin and coat
  • Feeling the musculature and joints
  • Palpating the abdomen
  • Checking for any unusual lumps or bumps throughout the body

In addition to the physical examination, our doctors gather information about pet health and wellness through routine laboratory tests during wellness exams. For example, we suggest that every pet have a fecal test performed annually, because parasites are one of the most frequent health concerns for dogs and cats.

Based on your pet’s medical history and age, the veterinarian may ask to run more tests to inform any diagnostic inquiries.


In the 21st century, vaccinations are the most reliable medical defense against infectious diseases. Diseases such as rabies that commonly took the lives of many humans and animals yearly have been successfully controlled in most American communities by vaccinations.

Our veterinary doctors recommend a vaccine protocol that is specific to the risks associated with our geographic area, and also the lifestyle factors of particular patients.

Our core vaccinations for cats and dogs are as follows:

  • Dogs: Rabies*, DHPP (Distemper, Hepatitis, Parvovirus, and Parainfluenza Virus) and Lyme and Leptospirosis
  • Cats: Rabies* and FVRCP (Feline Viral Rhinotracheitis, Calicivirus and Panleukopenia)

*Rabies vaccination is legally required by the state of Minnesota for all pets.

For individual pets, we may recommend additional non-core vaccinations based on their lifestyle, health status, and risk of exposure. For example, indoor/outdoor cats should receive the Feline Leukemia vaccination and dogs who spend time in kennels should receive the bordetella vaccination (kennel cough) and canine influenza vaccination because they are at a greater risk of infection.

Any of our clients have the right to refuse any vaccination that we recommend. But please be advised that our veterinarians are constantly reading the latest medical research about vaccine protocols, and some vaccines such as rabies will incur a legal penalty if not routinely received.

How do vaccinations work?

Vaccinations expose the immune system to a small amount of the disease-causing agent. The small dose will not make the pet sick, and their immune system should be able to fight if off. When the immune system gears up to fight off the offending disease, it will create specialized antigens that are tailored to the specific attacker. If the pet ever encounters the same disease again, their immune system will have already been through a training course and have antigens at the ready to combat the attacker.

Parasite Control

Parasites are a perennial nuisance for all pets and their owners. Not only are parasites dirty and bothersome, they can also carry a series of harmful diseases and have a severe and negative impact on a pet’s health.

In order to prevent parasites from infecting your pet, we recommend a three step approach:

  • Your pet should be on continuous, uninterrupted preventative medicine for fleas, ticks, heartworms, and intestinal worms. It is not a coincidence that this step is listed first; it is the most effective and simplest method of preventing parasites. Our veterinarians can recommend an option that suits your pet’s needs and your lifestyle. Several preventative products are available for purchase in-house, and even more options are available on our online pharmacy.
  • Regular grooming can keep parasites that affect the skin and coat, such as fleas and ticks, at bay. Both professional grooming and at-home grooming can be beneficial. We recommend routine professional grooming, especially for long-haired pets. 
  • Regular veterinary appointments will allow any parasitic infections to be caught early. Some parasites, such as heartworms, are not externally visible. To catch and treat parasites as early as possible, a veterinarian should regularly examine and test your pet.

A variety of parasites are present in the Minnesotan environment. In the following bulleted list, you can get to know the particular parasites that can put your pets in danger a little better.

  • Fleas are small insects that are reddish brown in color. They do not have wings, but they are capable of jumping great distances. Fleas survive by the blood of animals and leave painful, itchy bites. That’s why one of the first signs of a flea infestation is excessive scratching and biting. Although fleas often live on dogs, cats, and other furry mammals, they can also bite people.
  • Ticks are technically arachnids, like spiders. Ticks also survive by ingesting the blood of animals, which they receive by biting the victim. Unlike mosquitoes and fleas, tick bites do not last for seconds at a time, but rather days. Many varieties of tick will remain attached to the host animal, drinking their blood, for 2-3 days at a time. Ticks can carry dangerous diseases. For instance, deer ticks (the smallest kind) are infamous for being the harbingers of Lyme disease. Dog ticks (the larger tick variety) spread another dangerous disease called Anaplasmosis. Other diseases spread by ticks include Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever, babesiosis, and ehrlichiosis – among others.
  • Heartworms are transmitted by mosquitoes. When the mosquito bites the animal, it not only causes itchy, uncomfortable bites, but can also introduce heartworm larvae to the body. Without proper heartworm prevention, the heartworm larvae can grow to adult worms that occupy the heart, blood vessels, and lungs. Over time, heartworm infestation causes irreversible damage that is painful to treat and highly fatal. Dogs are natural hosts for heartworms, but cats can be infected too. It’s important to understand that heartworm infection shows little to no symptoms until disease progression is severe and and its late stages.
  • Intestinal worms include a variety of parasites that live in the digestive systems of their victims, including hookworms, roundworms, tapeworms, whipworms, and giardia and coccidia. Many of these parasites can be contracted when a pet plays in or eats dirt. Their eggs enter the body through the mouth and leave the body through the excrement. A serious infection of intestinal worms can be fatal. And as if that was not bad enough, some can be spread to humans.


Every year, millions of cats and dogs live on the streets as strays or are turned into animal shelters. Inevitably, many of these pets do have homes, but they were inextricably separated from their families because of some sort of accident.

According to a survey conducted by the ASPCA in recent years, the amount of pets separated from their families are becoming reunited at much higher rates than those of the past. This fortunate trend is mostly attributed to a singularly important factor: the rise in the popularity of microchipping. Because microchips are so effective, they are strongly recommended by animal adoption organizations and veterinarians nationwide; leading many owners of lost pet’s to have a better chance of finding them again.

A microchip located in your pet’s skin can be read by animal care professionals at veterinary offices and animal shelters around the country using a special scanner. The identification code associated with the microchip will lead the veterinary or shelter staff to your specific contact information. Once they reach you, you can be happily reunited with your lost pet.

The procedure for inserting the microchip is fast and has very little associated risk. It is inserted with a needle, and hardly any more painful or timely than a routine vaccination. Some pets do not even notice it happening.

Once the microchip is in place under the skin, the pet will never be separated from a form of identification for the rest of their lives.

Remember to update your contact information in the Home Again database following the insertion, and if you ever move or change phone numbers. This will ensure your pet’s identification will always be effective.

Nutrition & Weight Management

Nutritional counseling is a critical factor for both preventative health and treatment options for sick pets. Obtaining both the correct quantity and quality of food can affect your pet’s quantity and quality of life!

During both wellness examinations and sick visits, a discussion of your pet’s diet and physical activity can be relevant and helpful for improving their health. Our veterinarians can help to recommend a diet that will provide the nutrients required for your pet’s specific needs.

During different phases of life, dogs and cats have different micronutrient and macronutrient requirements. For example, a puppy that will eventually grown into a large-sized dog needs a higher calorie intake than their similar-sized counterparts that are not going to grow as large. Older pets should begin to slowly eat less food as their metabolisms slow down in old age. And pets who have chronic illness can benefit from clinically-proven prescription pet foods.

Weight Control

A common problem seen in pets nationwide is weight gain. One out of every three cats or dogs is overweight or obese. Pets who are overweight have shorter average lifespans because they are at greater risk of chronic diseases, and their day-to-day quality of life suffers because of decreased mobility.

To begin helping an obese or overweight pet, the first step is to discuss the issue with a veterinarian. The specific needs of that pet can only be addressed on a case-by-case basis, and only a professional will be able to accurately project a helpful goal weight, so you will know how much weight your pet needs to lose to be healthy.

In general, unless an underlying health condition is at play, the reason most pets are overweight is because of overconsumption. They are taking in more energy in the form of food than they can burn off. In order to correct the problem, the solution is similar to what a human who is losing weight needs to do; exercise more and eat less. The amount that your pet could stand to exercise more or eat less can be ascertained by your veterinarian.

Join the Lakeland Veterinary Hospital Family Today!

Located behind Arby’s off Hwy. 371 in Baxter.

Phone: 218-829-1709

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