Laddie's World
Preventative Medicine

      Every dog deserves the very best that you can give him or her. While "the best" dog food and toys may be a relative issue, your dog's veterinary visits and everyday health are not. There are certain things that your dog must have in order to be able to maintain peak physical, physiological, psychological, behavioral and mental health. I believe that all of these are connected. They help to comprise the whole dog. None of these by themselves depicts the entire dog.

   For example, a dog on the wrong diet may not be getting enough of a certain type of nutrient. This particular nutrient could be essential in the production of certain chemicals necessary for maintaining a stable mental or psychological balance. A chemical imbalance in the brain could cause the dog to be unusually sharp and jumpy around other dogs. In his unbalanced state he may see a friendly overture as something to defend from and could end up being a danger to other animals. Because of this issue the training he may have received in an earlier stage will not be reliable and thus increase the danger. The humans may assume he needs more training but he can't join any classes with his "aggressive " behavior and would obviously negate the possibility of training to better respond in the presence of other dogs. Even if he were in training, the chances of him performing or even learning are very slim because he places a higher priority on keeping a sharp eye on protecting himself rather than trusting the human to handle him. One day a dog wanders to close and in an effort to divert a potential disaster the owner grabs his dog and winds up getting bit. Ten stitches and twenty-four hours later there may be one less dog in the world.

   It may seem a little a little extreme and even hypothetical, but believe me, it happens more often than you think.

   "So how does one go about making sure this does not become their story", you may ask.
   By making and keeping regular Veterinarian visits.
   "What! Vet visits? How could a vet visit possibly prevent a food related disaster like that? Couldn't I just change his food?
   If you knew it was a food caused problem. What if it wasn't a food caused problem? It could be caused from an allergy to your carpet shampoo or an undiagnosed neurological problem.

   Unless you are a vet yourself, a vet tech, or someone with extended knowledge of dogs, chances are you may not truly understand what really goes on inside the average dog and you'll need someone who does in order to help keep your collie healthy and happy.

   During a visit, it's the vet's job to play "detective" by checking for problems and asking questions and judging from your answers. By being honest and thorough in your answers, you and your vet will become a "team" and both in your own way help to maintain the highest level of health possible for your dog.

    I'll describe my average vet visit so you have an idea of what to expect. And please remember that every vet is different and so are the dogs they see. You may see minor differences in the way your vet checks your dog compared to how my vet checks me.

   When I go for a well visit, the first thing that usually happens is a vet technician or assistant will weigh me and log it in my file. They will ask if there are any specific reasons for my visit today while they prepare my chart for the doctor to check and since its usually for a shot and general check up my mom will tell them so. The vet tech will usually get the needle and serum bottles I need for that visit ready for the doctor and will many times take a moment or two to make a fuss over me and even offer a cookie or two if my mom says they can. My vet office knows I have certain allergies so they make sure to only offer me cookies I can have.

   They leave to tell the doctor I am in the examining room and am ready along with any initial behaviors or issues they may have noticed so the doctor is prepared when they walk in.

   When the doctor comes in, she will check my chart and the bottles the tech brought in just to verify that everything is in order and to note if there is anything that needs to be checked up on. The doctor will greet me in a manner befitting the dog's size and recorded temperament and will begin to check my general muscle tone by working in gentle massage in her petting. She will visually look to see if there is any evidence of fleas, ticks, dry skin or any other skin/fur related problems. Sometimes they will then want me up on the table for the rest of my exam, sometimes they don't. My vet has a large dog room complete with a table that can be raised and lowered by pressing foot pedals on the floor. The first time it was a little scary, but after I realized it couldn't hurt me I now usually jump on by myself when the vet walks in or if my mom asks me to.

   The doctor will press gently in several locations where different glands are located to make sure none are swollen or oddly sized in any way. She will lift my tail to check my anus and anal glands and will feel my belly to make sure it is not hard or swollen. She will quickly check to make sure there is nothing wrong with my pee area and all the while she is talking to me and to my mom, asking questions and giving answers.

   In other male dogs that are intact she will check their testicles or what many humans have taken to loosely referring as  "balls". (I personally see no reason to equate a very sensitive area on a dog's body to something you throw for us to play with. Sometimes I'm very glad that I don't have mine. I definitely wouldn't want some dog trying to fetch mine by accident!)

   Female dogs will have their vulva checked. She will also check my heartbeat and my lungs with her stethoscope to make sure that they sound strong and clear. She checks my ears and nose and mouth and then always gives me a good eye check. Thorough eye checks are very important for collies as we are prone to some serious eye conditions that will be mentioned in the Genetic Issues page.

   Then, if there are any needed, shots will be given. Many dogs require at least one vet tech be present during the entire check up to help hold a dog still, but the only time a vet tech comes in during my visits are when its time for shots. She isn't needed to hold me still, she just stands and watches. I think they may have a policy about giving shots with a witness other than the pet's owner present. I think its a good policy to have.

   Afterwards she will give her recommendations if any are needed and answer questions my mom may have before saying goodbye. If there are any medications needed, the vet tech will usually get them and bring them to us along with any information we may need to know. My stuff safely in my mom's hands, we go pay for the services, get a receipt and any mandatory paperwork and make an appointment for my next visit. Then we go straight home so I can take a two hour nap!

   So now that you know what a general exam usually entails, you may be wondering how often this is supposed to happen.

   Excellent question.
   The average vet visit or "well visit" should occur no less than once a year in order to receive the necessary shots, some of which are required by law. When and how often you take your dog to the vet will also depend on his or her stage of life, general health and role or job. I should mention that because I spend a great deal of time with many other different dogs and work in a public area where up to a hundred different dogs can visit on any given day, I go to the vet three times a year. My shots are spaced out and I get a general physical exam every visit. This is especially important to my mom since I have just recently entered what is considered for most large dogs and collies the "Senior years". What exactly that means, I'm not completely sure, but there are apparently many more things to consider as we dogs get older, but there will be more on that specific issue in another page.

   The following is a schedule of recommended typical vet visits for a collie we'll call "Athena", an average, healthy, family pet.

Shots Given and Recommendations

 While still with the breeder, Athena received her first vet check. Her eyes were
 checked for any signs of congenital eye defects, her teeth were coming in
 properly and she received her DHLPP-C shot. (Distemper, Hepatitis,
 Leptospirosis, Parainfluenza, Parvovirus, and Corona virus)


 Athena received her second general vet check with her new family. She
 received her DHLPP vaccination booster, her first fecal sample was tested for
 parasites (with follow up de-worming in 4 weeks).


 Athena had her third general check up and was given her DHLPP booster. She
 also received (on recommendation from the vet) a Lyme Disease shot because
 she lives near woods and a Bordetella vaccine for kennel cough because she
 was starting a puppy kindergarten. If the nasal drop form of the Bordetella
 vaccine is given, the dog is protected for 6 to 12 months. The injection form will
 need a booster in 4 months.

 Another general visit with another DHLPP vaccination booster and her first
 Rabies vaccination. (Rabies vaccinations are mandatory in US and a dog
 cannot be locally licensed without proof the shot was given. Please note that some vets will not give small breed dogs their first rabies shot until they are at least 6 months.)


 Visit number five with either a DHLPP, DHLPP-C vaccination booster or Parvo
 by itself. A second fecal check for parasites and recommendations for
 neutering discussed... appointment made.


 Athena is a good pet quality collie and the owners have no intention of
 breeding her, so to prevent an accidental, unwanted litter and help Athena live
 longer and healthier, she is spayed and while under anesthesia she gets her
 first tooth polishing. She also has her blood drawn and it is checked for
 heart worms. If she is free she will begin a heart worm preventative that does
 not have Ivermectin as recommended and explained why by the vet. It is also
 recommended that the family have her hips checked with the Penn Hip *
 technique for any signs that may predict hip dysplasia.

 Athena gets another general examination and all of her (now) annual booster
 vaccinations. Her blood is drawn again and a full panel test is done to use as a
 base line for detecting any new health problems (ie - thyroidism).


 Athena has her yearly exam and booster shots and her family is encouraged
 to have her hips and elbows x-rayed and certified by the Orthopedic
 Foundation for Animals (OFA). Athena is found to be clear of any signs of
 dysplasia and the family lets Athena's breeder know.

3 -7 YEARS

 Athena continues to have regular yearly exams and booster shots. Every year
 her teeth are cleaned and polished to help her mouth stay healthy.


 Athena is now in her senior years and along with her regular check ups and
 booster shots she now has her blood drawn and checked yearly. She will
 continue to have her teeth cleaned yearly unless the vet decides it may no
 longer be safe for her to be put under anesthesia unless there is an emergency.

   Please don't forget that this is just a sample schedule and not an absolute. Your collie's vet may suggest a different booster schedule or recommend services that aren't mentioned based upon anything from your collie's health, any personal knowledge of your collie's parentage and lines, the age at which your puppy's first booster shots were given or even the veterinarian's schooling.

Special thanks to Dr. Hoffman and all my friends at Bethel Mill Animal Hospital for allowing my mom to take these pictures and especially for all the wonderful care they give to help me stay happy and healthy!