Wellness Plans: A good choice for you and your pet

Wellness Plans are for pets of all ages and sizes!

Wellness Program

When you take your pet to the veterinarian, you may be asked to sign up for a wellness plan. As the technician or receptionist goes on about what a great program it is, and why you need it for your pet, you quickly start to zone out. By the time they have finished you’re overwhelmed and just want to leave! In the hope of shedding some light on what is actually a really great option for many pet owners we wanted to talk a little about Wellness Plans. In a nutshell, wellness packages are groups of needed services including examinations, vaccines, parasite testing and treatment, lab tests, nail trims, routine spay/neuter and dental care. The total cost is discounted and paid over a period of time in monthly installments or some have the option to pay all at once for an even bigger discount. In many ways, wellness programs are a loyalty program offered to help clients with the ever rising cost of services. Each veterinary practice tailors their program to the needs of their clients and patients, so each one will look a little different.

Why join a Wellness Program?

The advantage of the Wellness Program is that it includes the preventive care necessary to keep your pet healthy; the fees are discounted so it is budget friendly, and you either pay a small monthly payment or you can pay all at once. As the year goes by, you will receive reminders about the services and treatments in your pet’s specific package.

I have a puppy and a kitten, what will I get in a wellness package?

All babies, of the canine or feline variety, have a set of basic health needs. These needs include at minimum: vaccines, parasite testing, and deworming. These three things will help prevent your new loved one from contracting or sharing any harmful diseases or parasites. In addition, packages for puppies and kittens will often include pedicures (just like human babies, pet-baby’s nails grow very fast), wellness exams, and health certificates. These additional items help ensure the overall health of your pet and add an element of convenience for you!

Your veterinarian will almost always encourage you to consider spaying or neutering your pet while they are young. This not only helps with the stray and unwanted pet population, but also reduces the likelihood of aggression in males and cancer in females. Some hospitals, PAH included, have spay/neuter services as part of their package.

My pets are all older; does this still apply to me?

Unlike puppies and kittens, adult pets have needs that are more in-depth than just vaccines. For juvenile pets, preventative care is about establishing a base line of wellness. In other words, what does the pet look like when they are healthy and happy. Wellness packages often include wellness exams, vaccines, blood test, and heartworm and parasite testing. Adult packages help ensure your pet is healthy, and that common problems that pets face as they age are caught early.

Just like the other adult packages, senior pet packages have everything your pet needs for the year’s basic care, and will include additional services to check for arthritis or other bone/joint issues as well as blood test and pressure monitoring to ensure they are staying healthy internally. As our senior pets age, it becomes very important to address their specific care needs early, before they become a life threatening issue.

To help our clients and families, Pacific Animal Hospital, offers a wellness program, including packages for puppies, adults, and seniors. Our programs address the needs of pets at all ages (baby, young adult, adult, and senior). They include many of the services listed above and even a few extra perks!

For more information on our Wellness Packages give us a call (760-757-2442) or send us an email (info@pacificanimalhospital.com) and we will send you a copy of the plan that is best for your pet. Our receptionists and technicians are always happy to discuss your pet’s healthcare.

We are excited to offer this loyalty program and hope it helps everyone receive the preventative care their pets need!

Bordetella: Why my pet has to have it to board


Frequently we have clients who have tried to board their pets at a facility only to have the receptionist tell them they could not board because the pet did not have updated vaccines. As boarding facilities are often not staffed by medical professionals, the client is not given much of an explanation as to why the vaccine requirement exists. To help alleviate some of the confusion we wanted to discuss one of the key vaccines required by boarding facilities and groomers: Bordetella.

Most commonly required vaccine for boarding  

Shy Sam, is a regular boarder at PAH. His mom is great about making sure he is always up to date with his bordetella vaccine.

The most commonly required vaccine for boarding is Bordetella. This vaccine protects against the bordetella  bronchiseptica  which is one of several organisms that can cause Kennel Cough. As if the scientist who named the vaccine was trying to give us hints (putting “bord” and “kennel” in the titles), kennel  cough is most often passed between dogs that spend time together in confined spaces, such as boarding facilities. This is not to alarm you or deter you from thinking about boarding your pet. Thousands of pets visit boarding facilities every day and go home happy and healthy. Requiring all dogs be vaccinated for Bordetella reduces the chances of any pets bringing in the disease. The vaccination requirement is really just a sign of a clean facility!

What is kennel cough:

Similar to a human’s cold, Kennel Cough’s main symptom is a coughing sound. Often clients will go to their pet’s  doctor complaining that their dog cannot stop coughing and they are concerned something is caught in their pet’s throat. Although no object is found in their throat, the doctor will often find inflammation of the windpipe and voice box. Kennel cough can be spread at a boarding facility, but can also be caused by dog-to-dog contact at the park, germs on shared toys, or even shared water dishes.

Other symptoms the doctor may look for include:

  • Sneezing
  • Runny nose
  • Eye discharge

Treating Kennel Cough:

Kennel cough is very contagious. Many veterinary offices, including Pacific Animal Hospital, will often have suspected kennel cough dogs come in through a separate door to reduce the chance of transmission. If you have a dog at home that you think may have kennel cough, keep them away from all other pets and wash your hands after coming into contact with them (you can’t catch it, but you could assist in passing it between your pets). Kennel cough will run its course in about three weeks

Common forms of treatment:

  • Antibiotics that target Bordetella
  • Keeping your pet in a room with a humidifier to help reduce the coughing
  • Using a harness instead of a collar to avoid causing distress to the throat
  • Keeping your pet in a low-stress environment (i.e. food and water always available, lots of love and attention, quiet, a comfy place to sleep, etc.)
  • Avoid exposure to fumes or smoke

The easiest way to avoid kennel cough all together is to get your pets vaccinated. Except in rare instances, vaccinated pets will not get kennel cough.

If your pet is social and goes to parks, beaches, or comes in contact with other dogs  or will be boarded,  please contact (LINK) Pacific Animal Hospital to make an appointment to see a doctor and get vaccinated!

Advances in surgical safety: How we keep your pet safe

Shawn and Diane cuddling with Sally after her surgery.

It used to be that everyone who went into surgery “went under the knife,” but now with advancements in technology and science, it is much more common and safe to go “under the laser.” At Pacific Animal Hospital, we have been using lasers in surgery for more than a decade and love the results we receive. As if we haven’t spent enough time talking about how much we love our class IV laser for therapy, we wanted to spend a little time talking about our surgical CO2 laser.

What it is:

The CO2 or Carbon Dioxide laser is a gas laser. Gas lasers utilize a mixture of carbon dioxide, nitrogen, hydrogen, and helium to turn an electrical charge into usable energy. The gases are mixed together in the laser gun, and electricity is pushed into and through the gas mixture. The gases excite the electrical charge and create energy. The built up energy is directed, with the assistance of mirrors, through the tip of the instrument. This process produces an infrared laser beam, which is absorbed very well by water, and as we all know the mammal body (pets and humans alike) is made up of a majority of water. This absorption in turn can make an incision, remove tumors, and vaporize away material from the top of the pet’s skin, such as excessive dead skin build up on a dog’s nose. The doctor is able to decide whether they want to make an incision or vaporize by switching out the tip of the instrument.

What it does:

Unlike our therapy laser, the CO2 laser is used directly in surgery to make incisions and remove tumors, cancer, and cysts. The surgical laser provides a much cleaner and more precise incision than a scalpel. Doctors can quickly switch between making an incision and vaporizing away diseased cells, making surgery quicker and more efficient, which means your pet is under anesthesia for a shorter period of time; and allows for shorter healing times.

Benefits to your pet:

Surgery using our laser reduces the amount of blood loss and seals nerve endings which results in less pain and discomfort for your pet. With two of every 10 pets developing cancer, having a laser to remove or vaporize cancerous cells is an incredible advancement in combating cancer.  For many procedures the laser also reduces or eliminates the need for stitches or staples, shortens healing time, and with the assistance of the therapy laser can minimize the amount of scarring.

If you have a pet in need of surgery or you think you may need one in the future, consider coming to our hospital for a tour! We would love to show you our treatment area and surgical suite. Contact us by phone (760-757-2442) or email (info@pacificanimalhospital.com)


Written by: Megan Roberts