Keeping Your Valrico Pet Healthy

Health Care ServicesYou love your pet. When your pet is sick, you want to find the best care possible. Dr. Antuñano and the entire veterinary medical team at Animal Medical Center provide the best possible care for your pet in a compassionate and loving environment. The entire staff is committed to medical excellence and prides themselves on open communication with all their clients.

To maintain our high standards, we offer a broad range of veterinary services to our patients. Our focus is on disease prevention and wellness care. Through our preventative care program, your pet receives a comprehensive "nose-to-tail" physical examination in order to establish his or her own overall health profile. We use a personalized approach to high quality pet care based on you and your pet's lifestyle.

Whether your pet is a playful puppy or a cat entering the golden years, he or she receives the best care possible at Animal Medical Center. We offer a full range of treatments from traditional spays and neuters to more advanced diagnostic, medical and surgical procedures. Our highly qualified and skilled veterinary staff performs advanced diagnostic tests for your pet. Test results are usually available immediately, allowing us to treat your sick or injured pet as quickly as possible.

Dermatology & Allergies

If left untreated, allergy-related and dermatological conditions can fester and become serious health concerns for your pet. Therefore it is important to be able to identify the first signs and symptoms of allergies and dermatological conditions. These include:

  • Inflamed ears
  • Hotspots, especially those that recur
  • Scratching or rubbing the eyes or mouth area
  • Flaking
  • Lesions on the skin
  • Hair loss
  • Red itchy bumps on the skin
  • Asthma-like wheezing or respiratory issues

These problems can indicate a serious dermatological condition or allergic reaction to allergens such as fleas, pollen, dust and various foods. If you notice any of these issues, it is important that you bring your pet in for an evaluation. If left untreated, they can become severe medical concerns.

Animal Medical Center has the technology and expertise to test and treat a number of allergic and dermatologic conditions in pets. Treatment for specific allergies may include progressive hyposensitization in which your pet is exposed to small doses of an allergen over a period of time.

For allergies and other skin problems, we take the time to explain your pet's condition, how to prevent future occurrences and the proper method of home treatment.

Senior Pet CareSenior Care

Congratulations! By taking the time to learn more about the special needs of your senior aged pet, you have taken the first step toward providing the best care for your friend in his or her golden years. As with humans, pets in their senior years-those of about six years of age and older-begin to go through a gradual reduction of their physical capabilities. However, this process can be slowed and managed through proper veterinary care thereby offering your beloved pet an extended period of vitality and good health. Preventive care tailored to your pet's age, lifestyle, risk factors and other elements can help prevent common diseases or detect them at early and easily treatable stages.

There is also an important role for you to play as your pet's primary caregiver. While you cannot control age related decline, you can influence your pet's activity level, living conditions, access to quality senior veterinary care, and daily nutrition. With your veterinarian's help, you can manage these factors in order to prolong your pet's good health, vitality, and increase his or her well-being, even as his or her pace slows a bit.

However, the best time to begin your pet's senior care program and recognize the need for a little extra TLC is well before age-related conditions begin to set in.

Senior Preventative Care Exams

This semi-annual visit includes a routine physical examination, gives you an opportunity to discuss concerns regarding your pet's age, and may include a specialized blood work profile to detect the early signs of disease processes. Our doctors tailor these exams and tests to your pet's age, breed, lifestyle and physical condition in order to best meet his or her health needs. Because a mature pet's condition can change significantly in a short period of time, we recommend that families bring in their senior pets approximately every 6 months.

Dental Care

Unfortunately, dental disease is all too common in pets, especially older pets, and it represents a significant systemic health risk. Because bacteria in the mouth can enter the bloodstream and be passed to other organs, periodontal disease has been found to have associations with kidney, liver, lung, and heart disease. Additionally, pets in oral distress will often have difficulty or discomfort when eating. Animal Medical Center recommends regular dental exams and cleanings for all pets, but especially those in their senior years.

Skin Conditions

As with humans, aging causes your pet's skin to become more susceptible to a range of medical issues as well as become less elastic and heal more slowly. A range of dermatological conditions can cause changes, such as hair loss and new growths; therefore, we recommend regular examinations of your pet's skin and hair, especially if you notice itching, hair loss, or painful areas.

Home Care

During your pet's senior exams your veterinarian will discuss with you ways that you can help maintain your older pet's health at home. These suggestions include:

  • Senior Pet HealthAvoid excessive weight gain. Your veterinarian may recommend an exercise program as well as a special senior pet food.
  • Keep your pet's living areas clean, dry and warm at all times.
  • If possible, regularly check your pet's mouth for reddened gums, loose teeth or unusual swellings. Check eyes for redness, unusual cloudiness, discomfort and discharge. Check ears for wax build-up, discharge or unusual odors.
  • Thoroughly groom and inspect your older pet's skin regularly. Look for lumps, bumps and wounds.
  • If your older pet's eyesight is impaired, avoid relocating furniture and changing his or her surroundings. Also, try not to drastically change your pet's daily routine.
  • Any changes associated with eating, drinking or elimination should be noted and discussed with your veterinarian, as these may be manifestations of disease.
  • Take your older pet for regular senior checkups, even if he or she seems to be well. It is always easier and less expensive to prevent a problem rather than treat a problem.
  • Discuss your pet's diet. Many "treats" are high in sodium or fat; therefore, it is important to talk to your veterinarian about the source(s) of your pet's daily calories.

Your older pet is a real member of the family. With proper care and regular testing, your loyal companion should be able to live a long and healthy life.

Glaucoma Prevention

Glaucoma doesn't only affect humans - your pet can develop this condition, too. Dr. Antuñano and his team of veterinarians at Animal Medical Center are skilled at identifying the early signs of this dangerous eye condition.

Glaucoma is a condition in which the fluid pressure inside the eye increases to a point where the optic nerve is damaged, causing loss of vision and blindness. Glaucoma is relatively common in animals and can develop as your pet ages - this is known as chronic glaucoma. It can also develop as the result of an injury or illness - this is known as acute glaucoma.

In many cases, glaucoma can progress quite rapidly - especially when it is the result of injury or underlying illness - and is considered an emergency situation.

Glaucoma TestingSymptoms to look for include:

  • Redness in the eye
  • Tearing or discharge
  • Eye sensitivity to light
  • Pain
  • Cloudy-looking eye
  • Bulging eyeball

Due to the severity and incidence of glaucoma, we test for glaucoma as part of our annual and biannual preventative care examination. A routine glaucoma examination is not only an effective screening measure for chronic and acute glaucoma, but it can also help set a baseline measurement. Setting a baseline measurement is important because normal intraocular pressure (IOP) can vary between species, breeds and even individual pets.

At Animal Medical Center, we use an instrument called a tonometer to measure the fluid pressure inside your pet's eyes. This is a noninvasive, simple procedure that should not cause your pet any pain or discomfort. Dr. Antuñano will apply a mild anesthetic eye-drop to ensure your pet is comfortable during the exam.

If your pet requires further observation for an eye related condition, we refer clients to Dr. E. Dan Wolf in Tampa.

Exotic Animal Care

We offer wellness care programs for birds and reptiles. 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 plus annual monitoring to check for nutritional and husbandry-related conditions.

Oncology & Cancer Treatment

The word cancer strikes fear in all of us. However, with new advances in veterinary medicine, many pets are living longer with a greatly improved quality of life.

Successful cancer treatment often lies in early detection. Early detection can be difficult at times as cancer may not only present itself as a lump on the skin, but may develop inside the body. If this occurs, a thorough examination with diagnostic tests (x-rays, ultrasound) can often discover the tumor. If left undiagnosed, the disease may not be noticed until clinical symptoms develop.

Treatment also depends on the type and location of the cancer. If possible, surgical removal of the tumor is recommended. Some types of cancer are responsive to chemotherapy, which include a variety of oral and injectable drugs. Dogs and cats tend to tolerate chemotherapy well and do rarely develop side effects similar to humans.