Wags & Whiskers Veterinary Hospital

The goal of every loving pet parent is for his or her furry companion to live a long, happy and healthy life. Wags & Whiskers Veterinary Hospital takes this objective very seriously, so we place a strong emphasis on wellness care – the foundation of good health.

Wellness care is just that – monitoring pets while they are well to create a baseline for catching issues before they become health risks. Annual checkups offer a wealth of benefits, both preventative and for early treatment. From vaccinations to monitoring your pet’s overall well being including weight and nutrition, we get to know your pet and track their course of health.

Our wellness visits are two-fold. First, we develop a trusting relationship with you and your pet. When your pet feels safe and comfortable with us, we can more accurately evaluate their health and administer care to manage that health over time. The second component is clinical, including a thorough physical examination to ensure that your pet’s body is functioning as it should be. It is here that we’ll devise a customized preventative health care plan that includes vaccinations, intestinal parasite screens, blood and urine screens, dental cleanings and other services.

Vaccinations protect your pet from many major diseases. Wags & Whiskers Veterinary Hospital recommends creating and adhering to a customized vaccination schedule as part of a comprehensive wellness plan.

Vaccinations are sometimes referred to as “core”, which are recommended for all dogs & cats and “non-core”, which are recommended based on the individual pet and environmental risk factors.

Core: Rabies vaccine prevents the spread of the rabies virus between animals and humans. The vaccine is required by Louisiana law at 3 months for new puppies and kittens and either annually or every 3 years, depending on the vaccine used.

Core: FVRCP, commonly known as “feline distemper”, is a combination vaccine that includes protection from 3 major airborne feline viruses: rhinotracheitis, calicivirus and panleukopenia. Administered in a single dose every year.

Non-Core: FeLV vaccine prevents an immunosuppressant virus from causing such fatal diseases as anemia or lymphoma, among others. Although non-core, Wags & Whiskers recommends the vaccine for cats that have frequent exposure to other cats. Administered in a single dose every year.

Vaccinations protect your pet from many major diseases. Wags & Whiskers Veterinary Hospital recommends creating and adhering to a customized vaccination schedule as part of a comprehensive wellness plan.

Vaccinations are sometimes referred to as “core”, which are recommended for all dogs & cats and “non-core”, which are recommended based on the individual pet and environmental risk factors.

Core: DA2PP combines protection against distemper, adenovirus (hepatitis), parainfluenza, and parvovirus. Administered in a single dose for adult dogs every 3 years.

Core: Bordatella Vaccine aids in the prevention of kennel cough. Administered in a single dose, orally, dose every year.

Core: Rabies Vaccine prevents the spread of the rabies virus between animals and humans. The vaccine is required by Louisiana law at 3 months for new puppies and kittens and either annually or every 3 years, depending on the vaccine used.

Non-Core: Leptospirosis vaccine prevents a serious infection from bacteria found in water and soil. We include this vaccine as “core” if you are living in South Louisiana and your dog has frequent contact with still water and public parks. Administered in a single dose every year.

Imagine going weeks, months or even years without brushing your teeth. Despite its importance, dental care is one of the most neglected components of pet health. What begins as pesky bad breath and yellow teeth can often escalate into a more serious and costly condition. An estimated 85% of adult dogs and cats suffer from dental disease by the time they reach the age of two years old. Not only does this create extreme discomfort, but it can also lead to infection throughout the entire body that could compromise your pet’s overall well being. At Wags & Whiskers, we work with you as a team to be proactive in good oral care. With our commitment to offering the best in oral hygiene and dental care for your pet, you and your pet are certain to leave with a smile.

Obesity can bring on respiratory problems, diabetes, arthritis and heart disease. The right diet helps dogs shed pounds and get fit. During your pet’s wellness exams, our veterinarians can create a feeding plan and exercise schedule to achieve their ideal weight and body score.

Therapeutic diets, or diets by-prescription-only, support a wide range of health issues such as: Urinary Health, Skin and Food Allergies, Diabetes, Digestive Support, Liver Health, Joint Support, Illness and Surgery Recovery Support, Renal Health, Weight Management, and Cardiac Health.

Pets age much quicker than humans, with every year equal to roughly seven of ours. Because of this accelerated aging rate, we recommend seeing your senior pet at least twice per year, which is similar to you going to the doctor once every three years.

Our veterinarians offer comprehensive testing and treatment for common senior ailments and diseases. As part of our geriatric pet services, we offer onsite diagnostics work ups to screen for internal diseases and cancers with blood work, urine tests, X-rays, and ultrasound exams, as well as pain assessment and end of life counseling. We manage chronic conditions such as arthritis through a multi-faceted approach using acupuncture and anti-inflammatory medications, as well as pain medications, to relieve pain and inflammation. We also offer a variety of supplements such as glucosamine and chondroitin, omega-3 fatty acids, and nutraceutical products to keep your senior friend at his or her best.

We encourage you to bring in your new kitten or puppy for their first visit. Not only will this allow your new companion to become comfortable with our clinic, it will also help lay the foundation for a long, happy relationship by allowing us to prevent, diagnose, and treat any health issues early on.

When you first bring in your new pet, we thoroughly examine him or her from the tip of their nose to the tip of their tail. Because kittens and puppies are especially vulnerable, proper screening and preventive products can help protect them and are absolutely essential. It’s important to ensure your new family member is healthy, so disease is not transmitted to other animals or humans in your household. We will discuss the following during your new pet’s first exam: Vaccinations (declared by the American Animal Hospital Association as the most effective preventive health measure for pets), Parasite prevention (heartworms, fleas and intestinal worms), Spay/neuter, and Behavioral counseling

A sample schedule for your puppy will look like this:

6-8 weeks
First Physical Exam
DA2PP vaccine (1 of 3)
Bordetella
Heartworm preventative

9-11 weeks
DA2PP (2 of 3)

12-15 weeks
DA2PP (3 of 3)
Rabies
Leptospirosis (1 of 2)
Influenza (1 of 2)

16-18 weeks
Leptospirosis (2 of 2)
Influenza (2 of 2)
Heartworm Preventative

A sample schedule will look like this:

7-8 weeks
First Physical Exam
FVRCP (1 of 3)
FeLV/FIV test

9-11 weeks
FVRCP (2 of 3)
FeLV (2 of 2)

12-15 weeks
FVRCP (3 of 3)
FeLV (2 of 2)
Rabies

Wags & Whiskers Veterinary Hospital recommends neutering your new puppy or kitten. For dogs or cats, both procedures are generally performed around six months of age. These procedures will result in your pet no longer being able to reproduce. Better overall health and behavior are key reasons to consider this procedure. In general, pets that are spayed (female) or neutered (male) live longer and reduce or eliminate the risk of serious disease. Many behavioral problems are reduced or eliminated, resulting in a calmer, better socialized companion.

Both procedures are abdominal surgeries performed under general anesthesia. Surgical time can range from 30 minutes to over an hour. All spays & neuters patients are discharged from our care on the same day. Full recovery will occur over the following 7 to 10 days following restricted activity and comfortable rest. A recheck appointment is booked to make sure the incision has healed and your furry friend is fully recovered.

Becoming separated from a loved pet is a stressful experience that can happen all too easily. Microchipping is the only unique, unalterable, tamper-proof, permanent form of identification for pets. A pet microchip containing a unique 15-digit identification code is implanted under the animal’s skin by our veterinarians.

After implantation, the microchip code has to be registered in a pet national database. The owner’s contact information as well as the pet’s description are entered in so when a microchip is scanned, the database will be able to pull up the owner and pet information assigned to that microchip in order to reunite the missing pet with his or her family.

From falls and animal bites to eating the wrong thing, we are ready to help. Our clinic includes state-of-the-art diagnostic equipment to provide our veterinarians with the best tools to make a fast and accurate diagnosis. We treat chronic conditions, such as allergies, arthritis and thyroid conditions, as well as routine illnesses, such as ear infections, vomiting, intestinal upset, and urinary tract infections.

While person-to-person conversation helps a doctor understand a patient’s concerns, when it comes to our pets, we need to let something else do the talking. This is where veterinary diagnostics come into play. If your animal friend hasn’t been acting like his or her self and you suspect an underlying illness or injury as the cause, it might be time to do a diagnostic evaluation. This allows us to learn what’s happening inside your pet’s body, so that we can take the appropriate measures.

Our digital radiography/X-ray machine allows us to image your pet’s internal organs and bones within seconds. This also proves helpful during dental cleanings by giving us visual access to such conditions as tooth abscesses and retained fractured roots.

At Wags & Whiskers Veterinary Hospital, we understand the many questions and concerns you have, and we want to place your mind at ease. Whether routine or complex, surgery can be a time filled with anxiety and uncertainty. We work hard to ensure that every surgery performed in our hospital is stress-free and as positive an experience as possible. We offer a variety of general surgical procedures performed to the highest standards of care.

Our state-of-the-art ultrasound (sonogram) machine allows us to image internal organs in real time and detect abnormalities such as internal tumors/growths, bladder stones, and abnormal fluid within the lungs or abdomen.

Wags & Whiskers Veterinary Hospital uses IDEXX Reference Laboratory to provide our patients with a complete diagnostic solution. As the industry-leader, IDEXX has led diagnostic innovation over its 30-year history, which means our veterinarians have access to the most accurate and comprehensive diagnostic results to better inform our diagnoses.

Wags & Whiskers Veterinary Hospital offers acupuncture and holistic care.

Dr. Liz Waguespack is certified in Veterinary Acupuncture and Food Therapy.

Acupuncture may be defined as the insertion of needles into specific points on the body to produce a healing response. Each acupuncture point has specific actions when stimulated. This technique has been used in veterinary practice in China for thousands of years to treat many ailments. The Chinese also use acupuncture as preventative medicine. Acupuncture is used all around the world, either along or in conjunction with Western medicine, to treat a wide variety of conditions in every species of animal. Clinical research has been conducted showing positive results in the treatment of both animals and humans, and the use of acupuncture is increasing. Acupuncture will not cure every condition, but it can work very well when it is indicated.

For Which Conditions is Acupuncture Indicated?

Acupuncture is indicated for functional problems such as those that involve paralysis, noninfectious inflammation (such as allergies), and pain. For small animals, the following are some of the general conditions which may be treated with acupuncture:

  • Musculoskeletal problems, such as arthritis, intervertebral disk disease, or traumatic nerve injury
  • Respiratory problems, such as feline asthma
  • Skin problems such as lick granulomas and allergic dermatitis
  • Gastrointestinal problems such as diarrhea
  • Selected reproductive problems

For large animals, acupuncture is again commonly used for functional problems. Some of the general conditions where it might be applied are the following:

  • Musculoskeletal problems such as sore backs or downer cow syndrome
  • Neurological problems such as facial paralysis
  • Skin problems such as allergic dermatitis
  • Respiratory problems such as heaves and “bleeders”
  • Gastrointestinal problems such as nonsurgical colic
  • Selected reproductive problems

In addition, regular acupuncture treatment can treat minor sports injuries as they occur and help to keep muscles and tendons resistant to injury. World-class professional and amateur athletes often use acupuncture as a routine part of their training. If your animals are involved in any athletic endeavor, such as racing, jumping, or showing, acupuncture can help them keep in top physical condition.

How Does Acupuncture Work?

Although acupuncture has its roots in ancient times before modern scientific methods were available with which to study it, many important studies have been done to indicate how acupuncture works and what physiologic mechanisms are involved in its actions. Using functional MRI (fMRI), to examine 15 different points, the basic tenets of acupuncture have been proven. Those are that acupuncture is based upon the point selected, the method of stimulation, and the duration of stimulation. Stimulation of these points result in specific changes in the central nervous system. It was shown that acupuncture points that have pain relieving properties associated with them tend to activate specific pain-association brainstem regions. The National Institute of Health developed a consensus statement about acupuncture and its efficacy. NIH said that there was compelling evidence that acupuncture was useful in the management of osteoarthritis and musculoskeletal pain.

In western medical terms, acupuncture can assist the body to heal itself by affecting certain physiological changes. For example, acupuncture can stimulate nerves, increase blood circulation, relieve muscle spasm, and cause the release of hormones, such as endorphins (one of the body’s pain control chemicals) and cortisol (a natural steroid). Although many of acupuncture’s physiological effects have been studied, many more are still unknown. Further research must be conducted to discover all of acupuncture’s effects and its proper uses in veterinary medicine.

Is Acupuncture Painful?

For small animals, the insertion of acupuncture needles is virtually painless. The larger needles necessary for large animals may cause some pain as the needle passes through the skin. In all animals, once the needles are in place, there should be no pain. Most animals become very relaxed and may even become sleepy. Nevertheless, acupuncture treatment may cause some sensation, presumed to be those such as tingles, cramps, or numbness which can occur in humans and which may be uncomfortable to some animals.

Is Acupuncture Safe for Animals?

Acupuncture is one of the safest forms of medical treatment for animals when it is administered by a properly trained veterinarian. Side effects of acupuncture are rare, but they do exist. An animal’s condition may seem worse for up to 48 hours after a treatment. Other animals become lethargic or sleepy for 24 hours. These effects are an indication that some physiological changes are developing, and they are most often followed by an improvement in the animal’s condition.

How Can My Pet Benefit from Acupuncture?

The success of the treatment will vary according to the skill of the veterinarian, the condition being treated and the number and frequency of acupuncture treatments. The length and frequency of the treatments depends on the condition of the patient and the method of stimulation (dry needle, electroacupuncture, aquapuncture, etc.) that is used by the veterinary acupuncturist. A simple acute problem, such as a sprain, may require only one treatment, whereas more severe or chronic ailments may need several treatments.

How Safe is Acupuncture?

Acupuncture should never be administered without a proper veterinary medical diagnosis and an ongoing assessment of the patient’s condition by a licensed veterinarian. This is critical because acupuncture is capable of masking pain or other clinical signs and may delay proper veterinary medical diagnosis once treatment has begun. Elimination of pain may lead to increased activity on the part of the animal, thus delaying healing or causing the original condition to worsen.

In general, acupuncture can be effectively combined with most conventional and alternative therapies. Certified Veterinary Acupuncturists have the comprehensive training, knowledge and skill to understand the interactions between different forms of treatment and to interpret the patient’s response to therapy.

The American Veterinary Medical Association considers veterinary acupuncture a valid modality within the practice of veterinary medicine and surgery.

IVAS.org

Food therapy is the practice of using different foods and herbs to treat pets based on genetic tendencies, age, species, environment, personality, stress level and disease patterns.

Food therapy is used to enhance traditional and integrative therapies and is rarely used as a stand-alone treatment, though it may be continued indefinitely as other therapies are discontinued. From an Eastern perspective, food and stress are frequently the root of disease. While food is the easiest one to control, addressing both roots is ideal.

Food therapy is not just a discussion about what food is healthy to feed. Instead, it addresses particular foods that are beneficial for specific problems within the body. It encourages the use of certain fresh foods, usually cooked, to address disease patterns. It reflects the individuality of feeding.

Because one diet rarely suits all pets in the same way, making a blanket statement about which food is best becomes very complicated. One “best” food simply doesn’t exist, especially where disease is concerned. The goal of food therapy is to determine distinct patterns in each pet and suggest ingredients based on individual needs and constitution.

Formulating a balanced diet with the help of a veterinary nutritionist is ideal; in some cases, however, adding ingredients to the original diet may be enough.

Foods are chosen based on flavor and energetic properties. For instance, watermelon is a very cooling fruit. We may not think about that when we crave it in the summer, but its intrinsic energetic property is cooling to the body. Cooling foods are good for hot, inflamed bodies, like pets with itchy skin, inflammation or infection. White fish is a cooling protein source.

While most vegetables and fruits are cooling in nature, there are a few that are actually warming to the body, like pumpkin. Warm foods are great for older, weaker animals. Lamb is the most warming protein source.

Neutral foods may be fed to pets who are either warm or cool. Carrots and cauliflower are great examples of neutral vegetables, while beef is a neutral protein source.

Foods may also be selected based on which organs they are most likely to nourish. Just as in human nutrition, we know that some foods support specific areas of the body, such as the kidney, liver, heart, gastrointestinal tract or skin, better than others. For example, nourishing the liver often includes using foods that build blood, like beef and beets.

It is important to note that foods should also be balanced with the season. We do not generally eat the same foods in the summer as we do in the winter. This makes sense to most of us even though we do not really think about why. Most people would not crave watermelon on a cold winter day—and if they did, I would be concerned with the presence of excessive heat or inflammation within the body.

The same is true in pets. Food therapy recommendations may be modified with the changing seasons. This aspect of food therapy is even more important in northern climates where the seasonal change is very dramatic.

Palliative care at end of life is a compassionate, humane approach to treating your beloved companion. We manage pain through a variety of drug therapies and supportive treatments. Our goal is to block discomfort in advance, predicting the pain response and providing treatment before it becomes out of control.

Palliative care is tailored to the specific needs of each patient. Often, pharmaceutical and other supportive therapies are used in combination for the best possible response. Available treatments include pain medications, infection control, GI support medications, anti-anxiety measures, surgical procedures, nutritional support and supplements, heat & massage, and rehabilitation.

Deciding to end suffering can be difficult for pet owners. Our veterinarians are pet owners too, and understand your need for guidance and support. Whenever possible, we support the needs and wishes of our pet owners.

We respect the life of every animal, and believe your pet deserves a humane end. When the time comes, our process of sedation helps create a peaceful passing. You have the option of being with your companion or trusting us to care for your pet during this procedure.