Bakersfield, CA Pet Wellness Services

pet wellness care in BakersfieldWellness Care for Every Age and Stage

The Bakersfield veterinarians and medical staff at Stiern and Southwest Veterinary Hospitals care for pets of all ages and stages. Whether you're a new pet parent to a cuddly kitten or puppy or you've shared your life with a now senior pet for more than a decade, your veterinarian will want to know about your pet's lifestyle and routine as part of his or her annual wellness examination. It's vital for our veterinary teams to understand your pet's regular daily behavior, including his or her diet, water intake, and exercise routine.

If your pet is seven years of age or older, some common questions may include:

  • Is your pet maintaining normal eating, drinking, and bathroom habits?
  • Does your pet have trouble getting up in the morning?
  • Does your pet ever show signs of weakness or imbalance?
  • Does your pet show an unwillingness to exercise?

Your veterinarian may also ask about your pet's risk of exposure to fleas, ticks, heartworms and intestinal parasites depending on the area where you live, your pet's lifestyle, age, and other factors. After taking everything into consideration, your Bakersfield veterinarian will work closely with you to develop an individualized treatment and/or preventative plan.

bakersfield pet examsAnnual Check-ups For Your Pet

Wellness examinations are the same for your pet as the yearly physical you receive from your doctor. It's a chance for us to assess your pet's overall health, discuss any changes we see, educate and update you on advancements in veterinary care, and also address any of your questions or concerns.

During our comprehensive Bakersfield veterinary examination, we will check your pet's ears, eyes, teeth, gums and skin, as well as the functioning of his or her bodily systems, such as the digestive, circulatory, muscular/skeletal, respiratory, neural, genito-urinary, and lymphatic systems.

We take the time to get to know you and your pet. Wellness examinations are an opportunity for us to listen to you and your concerns, answer your questions, and thoroughly examine your cherished friend.

Preventive Medicine is the Best Medicine

No one wants to see their pet sick - that's why at Stiern and Southwest Veterinary Hospitals, we do everything possible to take steps to maintain your pet's good health long before they become sick. The best way to ensure your pet is well and lives a long life is to promote a healthy lifestyle and be proactive in preventive care.

To keep your pet in optimum health and minimize the lifetime cost of veterinary care, we strongly encourage your pet receive annual wellness examinations, needed vaccinations based on risk and other factors, as well as screening for internal parasites, regular laboratory work and year-round medications to prevent heartworm, fleas, and ticks.


Puppy and Kitten Care

Bringing home a new puppy or kitten is an exciting time for pet owners, whether it's your first or tenth new pet. By purchasing, adopting, or rescuing a puppy or kitten, you have taken on the responsibility of providing the care it needs to live a long, happy and healthy life. Puppy and kitten-hood is often a time when you will have many questions about your new pet's care, and we are here to support you with exceptional pet care and guidance. All of us at Stiern and Southwest Veterinary Hospitals share your joy at welcoming this new family member into your life.

bakersfield kitten/puppy servicesJust like infant children, your puppy or kitten will need specialized care during his or her first months of life. A visit to your veterinarian for a comprehensive physical examination will get your new pet on the right track toward receiving all the fundamental health care he or she will need during the early life stages.

Care for a new puppy or kitten will include:

  • Comprehensive wellness examinations
  • A series of necessary vaccines
  • Discussion on options for parasite prevention, spaying/neutering and microchipping
  • Guidance nutrition and diet recommendations

Needed and recommended pet vaccines include:

  • For puppies: Distemper, Parvovirus, Leptospirosis, Adenovirus, Parainfluenza and Rabies.
  • For kittens: Distemper, Respiratory Virus Complex, Feline Leukemia and Rabies.
  • Additional recommendations: Kennel Cough, Lyme and Rattlesnake.

It is important to all of us at Stiern and Southwest Veterinary Hospitals that your puppy or kitten start off on the right paw and enjoy a healthy and happy life.


senior pet health in bakersfieldSenior Pet Care

New pets aren't always youngsters. Whether new to your home or a longtime family member, older pets make wonderful companions. Thanks to advances in veterinary medicine, pets are living longer than ever; however, your senior pet has different medical needs from puppies and kittens.

Prevention is the key to keeping older pets healthy. Symptoms of arthritis, periodontal disease, kidney failure or cancer are often mistaken for signs of aging. We recommend all senior pets undergo at least one physical examination each year, though more frequent examinations are encouraged.

You are an important ally in keeping your senior pet healthy. If your pet is experiencing any changes in behavior, we urge you to bring him or her in for a check-up. We can make sure you and your faithful companion enjoy many years together.


Threats to Your Bakersfield Pet's Health

With a variety of infectious diseases and parasites present in the Bakersfield area, such as Valley Fever, leptospirosis, giardia, and occasionally heartworm and other intestinal parasites, vaccinations are the number one way you can protect your beloved pet from serious health threats.

Central and Southern California also pose some unique threats to pets in the form of rattlesnake bites and plant awns. Plant awns, such as foxtails, can cause many problems for your pet if they become lodged in the ears, between the toes, under the skin, or even migrate as deep as into the chest cavity, where they can become stuck in key organs such as the lungs.

Your veterinarian can discuss these risks and create an individual immunization program for your pet based on his or her lifestyle and your local conditions.

bakersfield pet vaccinationsRattlesnake Venom Inoculation

Since 2003, a vaccine has been available in California to help lessen the effects of rattlesnake bites in curious canines. Although any bite from a venomous snake should still be treated as an emergency situation, this inoculation can reduce the pain and swelling that accompany a bite.

With about 300,000 dogs and cats bitten by a venomous snake each year in the U.S., dogs are 500 times more likely to be bitten by a venomous snake than to contract rabies. Rattlesnake bites can be deadly and can cause permanent muscle, liver and neurological damage. Because of this, we strongly recommend dogs living in or visiting high-risk geographical areas receive this vaccination.

The rattlesnake vaccine triggers a pet's immune system to produce antibodies against snake venom. It takes 30 days for the vaccine to reach its full effectiveness and your pet will need a booster shot every six months or so to keep it active. Although this vaccine won't make your dog resistant to the effects of rattlesnake venom, it can reduce or eliminate the need for anti-venom – which can cost hundreds to thousands of dollars and lead to adverse side effects which can complicate a dog's recovery.

Flea and Tick Prevention

Fleas and ticks can be very damaging to the human-animal bond, particularly when flea invasion gets out of control or when ticks hitch a ride with your pet. Not only can these unfriendly parasites make your pets extremely uncomfortable, they can pose significant health risks.

Most indoor environments and our geographic area California offer fleas a perfect combination of warm temperature and humidity that allows them to vigorously thrive, acting as a nuisance to pets and their people. Consider the following flea facts:

  • One single flea can bite your pet up 400 times a day
  • A female flea can lay 2,000 eggs in its short 2-3 month life span
  • The adult flea you may see only represents 5% of the infestation, the rest are often in unseen egg, larval, and pupae stages, in the process of becoming biting irritants to your pets

Preventative measures should be taken year round. By undergoing measures to inhibit these outbreaks, the diseases these parasites transmit to pets and people can also be mitigated or prevented.

There are many safe, effective topical or oral flea and tick control products available, and our veterinary staff will help tailor a parasite protection plan based on the needs and preferences of you and your pet.

Heartworm PreventionHeartworm Prevention

Heartworm disease is a serious, life-threatening disease transmitted by mosquitoes. It affects dogs and, to a lesser extent, cats. Heartworm disease is a concern in the Bakersfield area, and has been reported in dogs in all 50 states.

Clinical symptoms of Heartworm disease develop slowly. Early symptoms include lack of energy, exercise intolerance, coughing, and difficulty breathing. Because Heartworm disease is increasing in frequency and is a serious and deadly condition, we recommend your dog be tested annually.

Heartworm disease prevention is simple and effective. For dogs, a once-a-month Heartworm preventive can be given as a topically applied systemic treatment or a chewable treat. At Stiern and Southwest Veterinary Hospitals, we carry a variety of products for Heartworm prevention. These treatments prevent not only Heartworms from developing, but also control most other types of worms that can infect your dog. Cats are protected by applying several drops of Heartworm prevention liquid to the skin once a month. We recommend this to prevent heartworm disease as well as fleas, ear mites, and other types of worms that can infect your cat.

If you would like to have your pet tested for Heartworm disease, or if you would like additional information on how best to protect your pet from this dangerous parasite, please contact either of our locations today for an appointment.


bakersfield exotic pet careExotic Animal Care

Stiern Veterinary Hospital offers Bakersfield pet wellness care for pocket pets, such as rats and guinea pigs. Southwest Veterinary Hospital, on the other hand, offers Bakersfield pet wellness care for turtles and tortoises. Since it is often difficult to determine when these pets are ill, we strongly recommend physical examinations twice a year to check for health problems.

To survive attacks from their predators, these animals normally conceal their illnesses in the wild. As a result, their medical problems often go unnoticed for long periods. By the time you recognize there is a problem with your exotic pet, the condition is often extremely serious. With bi-annual medical examinations by a veterinarian at Stiern or Southwest Veterinary Hospital, problems are often diagnosed before they become more serious.