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Prevention is the key to your pet’s long-term health. The Albany veterinarians and medical staff at The Village Animal Clinic in Voorheesville, New York, recommend that your pet receives a complete wellness examination at least once a year, but more frequent exams are encouraged. During wellness exams, we perform a complete physical and recommend a heartworm test, fecal flotation test for intestinal parasites, and blood tests that can indicate the presence of underlying diseases.

Albany Pet Wellness Examinations

We also recommend preventive medication for heartworm disease, fleas, and ticks to keep your pet parasite free. Our preventive approach allows us to detect potential medical issues before they become serious health concerns that are expensive to treat.

Regular veterinary examinations are our chance to assess your pet’s overall health, discuss any changes we see, educate and update you on advancements in veterinary care, and for you to discuss any concerns or questions you may have, including behavior problems. Wellness exams are essential for senior pets: for canines, these are animals over seven years of age. They give us a general picture of your pet’s overall health and are invaluable in diagnosing and treating your companion.

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During your pet’s annual wellness exam, we:

  • Examine teeth, throat, and oral cavity
  • Check vision and examine the eyes
  • Examine the ears for infection, ear mites, allergic reactions, and other related health issues
  • Examine the respiratory system
  • Assess your pet’s heart
  • Test your pet’s reflexes
  • Palpate lymph nodes and abdomen
  • Inspect the skin
  • Palpate joints and muscles for arthritis and other orthopedic conditions
  • Test to evaluate the function of internal organs, blood, and other systems

Deworming and Fecal Check

Dangerous parasites are always present in the environment. If brought into your home, these parasites can be passed from your pet to you and your family. Regular fecal checks and deworming are the best way to prevent parasitic disease and the transmission of intestinal parasites to your pet. It also prevents shedding parasite eggs, which can contaminate lawns or any place a pet defecates.


Regular Blood Work

A complete physical includes a heartworm test and parasite screening and should consist of blood tests. Not only can a chemistry panel and complete blood count (CBC) identify the presence of underlying disease processes, but these tests help create a baseline should your pet become ill. Additionally, blood work is necessary if a dental cleaning, removal of a skin mass, or any other procedure that requires anesthesia is recommended.

At home, watch for subtle changes in your pet’s body weight, appetite, water intake, urination, bowel habits, general attitude, and activity level. These changes may be signs of medical problems. Lumps and bumps under the skin may seem harmless but can be cancerous. Ear infections, abscessed teeth, and gum disease are common, painful conditions that may not become obvious until seriously advanced. A comprehensive physical exam is a tool to evaluate your dog’s, cat’s, or other pet’s health status and to help you make informed decisions about the care of your special companion.

Exotic Animal and Pocket Pet Care

The Village Animal Clinic is the most advanced exotic animal practice in the Capital District. We offer optimum wellness care programs for birds and other exotic pets, including lizards, snakes, sugar gliders, chinchillas, rabbits, ferrets, mice, rats, guinea pigs, hamsters, prairie dogs, hedgehogs, and wildlife. To survive attacks from their predators, exotic animals normally conceal their illnesses in the wild, and as a result, their medical problems often go unnoticed for long periods. Since it is often difficult to determine if an exotic pet is ill, we strongly recommend physical examinations twice a year to check for health problems and annual monitoring for nutritional and husbandry-related conditions. With bi-annual medical examinations by a veterinarian at The Village Animal Clinic, problems are often diagnosed before they become serious medical conditions.

After acquiring your new exotic pet, a complete wellness appointment is strongly recommended. This exam includes a thorough physical examination, husbandry and nutritional consultation, disease screening, and laboratory testing if necessary. Before bringing your pet into your home, you should ensure they are healthy. If your exotic pet needs intensive care or hospitalization, you want to be sure that your veterinary hospital is specifically equipped to care for exotic species. The Village Animal Clinic has the technology, training, and know-how necessary to treat your exotic pet.


Our veterinarians are available for ailments of ferrets in the areas of medicine, surgery, and husbandry. Dr. McCarthy has extensive experience in exotic animal care and has professional interests in the medical and surgical management of adrenal gland disease and insulinomas in ferrets.


The Village Animal Clinic medical team provides triage care for injured or orphaned/abandoned wildlife. We aim to get the animal to a point where a licensed wildlife rehabilitator can release it back into its correct wild habitat. Our wildlife treatments are conducted pro bono. However, donations are always welcome.


Medical and surgical care, plus recommendations on the proper husbandry of iguanas, lizards, sugar gliders, chelonians (turtles), snakes, and amphibians, are available.

Birds, pocket pets, rabbits, and others

Medical and surgical care, laboratory services, advice on proper husbandry, consultations, and preventive care are offered at The Village Animal Clinic.

Vaccinating Your Albany Area Pet

Due to the many recent discoveries and innovations in veterinary medicine, your pet can be protected against major infectious diseases. Today, many immunizations and preventive treatments are available that did not exist a decade ago.

Vaccines help prevent canine distemper, parvovirus, bordetella, rabies, Lyme disease, leptospirosis, and other diseases in your dog, and feline leukemia, panleukopenia, respiratory viruses, and rabies in cats. Our Albany pet wellness staff can assist you in deciding which preventive measures are necessary for your pet.

Up-to-date vaccinations play a large part in keeping your pet healthy and disease-free. However, not every pet requires the same series or frequency of vaccines. Our veterinarians tailor a vaccine protocol specific to your pet based on their lifestyle and American Animal Hospital Association recommendations.

Vaccine schedules are balanced to provide needed protection while not over-vaccinating your pet. Please contact us at (518) 765-0111 for more information about your pet’s vaccinations.

Core Vaccines for Dogs and Cats

Core vaccines for dogs include canine distemper, adenovirus (hepatitis), parvovirus, and parainfluenza. Combined into one injection, the vaccine is called DHPP. When leptospirosis is added, it is called DHPPL. Due to the increased frequency of the disease, bordetella (kennel cough) is included as a core vaccine for dogs. Rabies is also a core vaccine and is a legal requirement for all dogs living in the state of New York.

Core vaccines for cats include feline panleukopenia, calicivirus, and rhinotracheitis, also known as herpes virus. The vaccines are combined into one injection, called FVRCP. FVR is feline viral rhinotracheitis, which causes respiratory infections; C is for calicivirus, another upper respiratory infection; and P is for panleukopenia, also known as feline distemper. Rabies vaccine is a core vaccine for cats, and a booster injection must be given every third year (after the initial vaccination) by New York state law, even for indoor animals.

Puppy and Kitten Care

Bringing a new puppy or kitten into your home is always something to celebrate. Young pets add energy and fun and are a source of unceasing affection as they bond with you and your family.

However, new pets require extra attention to ensure a healthy start in life. This means that comprehensive physical exams from one of the veterinarians at The Village Animal Clinic at key developmental stages are essential. Any time you get a new pet, it’s important to schedule an appointment immediately so that we may review their prior medical records and make timely recommendations for appropriate wellness care.

Your first visits with your new puppy or kitten at The Village Animal Clinic are perhaps the most important. These initial visits are where you, one of our doctors, and your pet first meet and begin to form the relationship that lasts throughout the life of your pet. We take plenty of time with these visits to give your puppy or kitten a thorough examination, discuss concerns you may have, offer health care and training advice, and more.

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Some of the issues discussed during your kitten’s first visits include:

  • Diet, including types of food that are best for cats’ unique requirements as obligate carnivores
  • Litter box use
  • Behavior issues
  • Should my cat be allowed to go outdoors?
  • Spaying and neutering recommendations
  • Vaccine protocol
  • Pet health insurance: Should I get pet health insurance? What should I look for in a company?
  • Microchipping: Should I get this done? When is the best time to do this?
  • Fecal exam and treatment for worms and other intestinal parasites
  • Testing for Feline Leukemia Virus (FeLV) and Feline Immunodeficiency Virus (FIV)
  • Fleas (treatment and prevention) and heartworm disease

Some of the issues discussed during your puppy’s first visits include:

  • Diet, including types of food to feed and guidelines on feeding intervals and quantities
  • Housetraining
  • Behavior issues
  • Spaying and neutering advice: Is this best for my dog? If I decide to spay/neuter, when is the best time to have this done?
  • Formulation of an individualized vaccine protocol
  • Discussion on pet health insurance: Should I get pet health insurance? What should I look for in a company?
  • Heartworm disease and fleas
  • Microchipping: Should I get this done? When is the best time to do this?
  • Fecal exam and treatment for worms and other intestinal parasites

During these visits, we take plenty of time to give your puppy or kitten a thorough examination, which includes detecting potential congenital problems, offering health care and training advice, and talking with you about any concerns you may have. This is your new kitten or puppy, and we’re happy to answer all of your questions.

Flea and Tick Prevention

Fleas and ticks are more than a nuisance; they carry diseases dangerous to you and your pet. Although they’re a bigger problem in certain parts of the country and at specific times during the year, no cat or dog is completely safe.

Fleas can transmit tapeworms, and often you can see segments of the tapeworm in your pet’s stool. Fleas are most abundant during warm weather; however, if left untreated, they can be a major nuisance year-round.

In our region, ticks can carry a variety of serious illnesses, including Lyme disease, anaplasma, and Ehrlichia. Ticks tend to thrive in wooded areas or high grass. It is often challenging to keep your pets away from tick-infested areas, so if they go exploring, check them when they come inside. Since Lyme disease is carried by ticks, we recommend vaccinating your dog against Lyme disease annually.

Fortunately, flea and tick problems can be avoided using the safe and highly effective parasite-prevention products available at our hospital. These products are safe and effective when used properly and according to our directions.

Heartworm Disease

Heartworm disease is a severe and life-threatening disease in dogs and cats. Until the early 1970s, the occurrence of heartworm disease in the United States was primarily confined to the southeastern part of the country. Today, heartworm disease is found almost everywhere in the continental United States.

Mosquitoes spread the disease by injecting the parasite into your pet during the bite. After the infected female mosquito bites your pet, the heartworm migrates through the bloodstream and moves to the heart and adjacent blood vessels, maturing to adults within 6-7 months in dogs and eight months in cats. As many as 30 species of mosquitoes can transmit heartworms.

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Clinical symptoms of heartworm disease develop very slowly. Often symptoms are not noticeable until several years after the initial infection. Lack of energy and exercise intolerance are early symptoms. Coughing and difficulty breathing are both common. As the disease progresses, most dogs develop congestive heart failure. Dogs often collapse in the final stage of the disease. In cats, the symptoms of heartworm disease are similar to those of feline asthma. Some cats may exhibit no signs of the disease, while others may suddenly die.

Because heartworm disease is increasing in frequency and is a severe and deadly disease, we recommend that your dog be tested annually. This test is highly accurate, and we usually have the results in less than 10 minutes.

Heartworm disease prevention is simple. A once-a-month heartworm preventive can be given as a tasty, chewable treat for dogs. This same chewable medicine prevents not only heartworms from developing but also kills and prevents two other species of intestinal worms that can infect your dog. Cats are protected by applying a drop of heartworm prevention liquid to the skin once a month. We recommend this to prevent heartworm disease, fleas, ear mites, and other 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 call The Village Animal Clinic today for an appointment at (518) 765-0111 or email us.