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Yearly Examination

Dogs should be examined by a veterinarian once a year to help them stay in tip-top shape.

  • Getting information about the dog's health since its last examination.

  • Weighing

  • Listening to the heart and lungs with a stethoscope.

  • Palpation of the abdomen and lymph nodes.

  • Examination of the skin and coat.

  • Examination of the eyes with an ophthalmoscope.

  • Examination of the ears with an otoscope.

  • Microscopic examination of a stool sample, to check for internal parasites.

  • Vaccinations when needed.  

A yearly examination should include:

Heartworm (Dirofilaria immitis) was once non-existent in certain parts of the United States, including Tucson, but has now become a nation-wide problem. Strickland Veterinary Clinic recommends that all dogs in the Tucson area receive heartworm preventative. Heartworm larvae are transmitted from dog-to-dog by mosquitoes, and the larvae develop into adult worms within a dog's heart. Treatment during later stages of infection is potentially dangerous and is costly. Heartworm preventative chewables are a safe and simple way to protect your dogs.


Heartworm preventative should be given year around in this area due to our mild temperatures. If your pet has not received the preventative consistently, then, before giving a dog it’s first chewable, a blood test must be taken by your vet to check for the presence of larvae.   If preventative medication is given in a dog with an already existing heartworm infection, a deadly reaction could occur.

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Did you Know?


All breeds of the domestic dog (Canis familiarus) are believed to be descended from European or Asian wolves. The social habits of dogs and wolves are in many ways similar, and dog trainers use this knowledge to interact more effectively with their trainees. One difference between domestic dogs and wolves is that domestic dogs have been bred to bark when guarding their (or territory).


Spaying and Neutering Guidelines

All dogs not intended for breeding should be spayed or neutered to avoid unwanted litters and unwanted behaviors. Puppies should be spayed or neutered between four and six months of age; your veterinarian will recommend the right age for your puppy's surgery during one of its vaccination exams. Adult dogs can and should be spayed, but there are usually additional charges if the dog is in heat or over 6 years of age.

Vaccination Guidelines

The development of vaccinations against infectious diseases has evolved and dramatically improved the health of pets. As we gain more knowledge regarding the duration of vaccine immunity, we are seeing changes in the recommended vaccine schedule.  The American Veterinary Medical Association’s Council on Biologics and Therapeutic Agents recently released a report that includes recommendations on the vaccination of dogs:


*Vaccinations are an important part of preventative medicine.


*Vaccination is associated with benefits and risks for animals.  


*Revaccination recommendations should be designed to create and maintain immunity to disease while minimizing the risk of adverse effects.


*Vaccines should be divided into two classes:  core and noncore. Core vaccines are defined as those that are appropriate to provide protection in most animals against diseases that pose a risk of severe disease because the pathogens are virulent, highly infectious and widely distributed in the region.  Core vaccines are considered to be highly efficacious, to have benefit-risk ratios high enough to warrant their general use, to be of substantial public health importance, or are required by law.   Noncore vaccines meet one or more of the following criteria:  they target diseases that are of limited risk in the geographic region or in the lifestyle of the pet, they help protect against diseases that represent less severe threats to infected animals, their benefit-risk ratios are too low to warrant product use in all circumstances, or inadequate scientific information is available to evaluate them.  Veterinarians and owners/clients need to carefully consider the benefits and risks of using noncore vaccine products on an individual basis.


Core vaccines identified by the council for dogs are the Canine Distemper virus, Parvo virus, Hepatitis virus, and Rabies virus vaccinations.  Parainfluenza virus (the viral cause of kennel cough) is considered noncore but is included in most combination vaccines.  Noncore vaccines are Bordetella, Leptospirosis, Coronavirus and Lyme Disease vaccines.



All puppies should begin a series of vaccinations at six to eight weeks of age. Young animals must receive vaccines in series because the immunity transferred through the mother's colostrum (first milk) interferes with the vaccine's effectiveness in the offspring. Strickland Veterinary Clinic vaccination recommendations for dogs are as follows:


Puppies between six and eight weeks of age are given their first DA2P combination, protecting against distemper, adenovirus-2 (hepatitis), parainfluenza, and parvovirus. This "distemper combination" shot must be repeated every three to four weeks until the pup is past 16 weeks of age, when the colostral interference subsides.  A Parvo virus vaccination is given at six months of age. The DA2P vaccine is given as a booster the following year, then the revaccination schedule is determined by the individual pet’s exposure. Unvaccinated older dogs must initially receive a series of two DA2P vaccinations, three to four weeks apart, and then a booster in a year.  Revaccination would be determined by the individual pet’s exposure level.



A single initial vaccination against rabies should be given to a puppy when it is 12 to 16 weeks of age. State law requires revaccination one year later then every 3 years. Owners must provide proof of rabies vaccination to obtain a dog license.


Kennel Cough

Infectious tracheo-bronchitis, or "kennel cough," can be caused by viruses or bacteria. Frequently, a combination of disease agents is causing the persistent coughing. Although not all kennel cough can be prevented with vaccination, a single vaccine protects against two of the common culprits (Bordatella bronchiseptica and parainfluenza). Bordatella/parainfluenza vaccine can be given either intranasally (in the nose) or by injection. The intranasal vaccines only require a single vaccination and take effect quickly, while the injectable version requires two doses. To be effective, this vaccine should be given more than one or two weeks prior to kenneling. Most boarding facilities require that dogs receive bordatella vaccination.


Vaccines available for less common diseases:

Corona virus is an intestinal virus which usually causes a mild gastrointestinal illness. The Corona virus vaccine is often only given in young puppies, where even a mild gastrointestinal disease can be life threatening, especially if this virus infects a puppy already sick with another disease, such as parvo virus.


Lyme disease, spread by deer ticks, is caused by the bacteria Borrelia burgdorferi, which has rarely been reported in the state of Arizona. Dogs that are being moved out of state may benefit from the vaccine, which Strickland Veterinary Clinic can special order.