Three Reasons Why a Yearly Exam is a Must for Pet Wellness

At Lake Forest Animal Clinic, we treat your pet like a member of the family. Just as it’s recommended that you see a doctor at least once a year, we recommend the same for your pet. These yearly visits allow us to build benchmarks for your pet’s overall health and allows us to really get to know them, so we can quickly diagnose when there is a change. These visits will be spent looking at overall health, checking oral/dental, going over diet, lifestyle changes, and anything else you’d like to discuss with us.

Here are three good reasons to schedule an annual pet wellness exam at Lake Forest Animal Clinic:

  1. Catch problems early. Just like with people, getting a check-up for your pet friend can help alert you to any issues. During a pet wellness visit, our team may notice signs of problems, such as a fever, fleas, heart murmur, or dental disease, which you may not be aware of. We can also alert you to problems specific to your town or region, such as an increase in Lyme disease or feline leukemia.
  2. Get a certificate if you take your pet on vacation. Many states require travelers to carry a current Certificate of Veterinary Inspection from an accredited veterinarian if they travel with their pet. This document verifies that your pet is healthy and has no signs of disease that could be spread to humans or other animals. Many airlines require such a certificate when travelers fly with their pets. Even if you don’t need a certificate, it is a good idea to get your pet checked out before and after the trip, just to make sure he or she didn’t bring home an unwanted souvenir!
  3. Get to know the vet. Even if your furry friend is in perfect health, an annual pet wellness exam can help you stay connected with our veterinarian’s office. You and your pet will be more familiar with our staff, and they’ll know your family better. With consistency in your pet’s care, we’ll be able to make sure that changes in their health are monitored and quickly diagnosed based on previous appointments.

Your pets can’t always let you know when they aren’t feeling like their usual selves. An annual check-up can help you better understand your pet’s health and what you can do to give them the best, longest life possible.

Puppy and Kitten Exams

When you bring home a new puppy or kitten, it’s essential to bring them in right away so that we can do a full exam, and get your ready for a long, healthy life together! We recommend setting up an appointment for your puppy or kitten as soon as you bring your new pet home. During your first visit, we’ll perform a complete physical exam, discuss pet nutrition, socialization, house training, and behavioral training. We will initiate disease and parasite prevention protocols as well as create a personalized vaccination schedule to meet the exact needs of your puppy or kitten. We want to partner with you to ensure your pet is in good health and starts down the fast track to a long and healthy life.

Pet Vaccinations

Vaccinations are essential to protect your pet against major infectious diseases. The vaccinations are given every 3 to 4 weeks in a series of three and usually begin around eight weeks of age and end around 16 weeks of age.

Dogs: Canine Distemper, Hepatitis, Parainfluenza, Parvo Virus, Bordetella, and Rabies.

Cats: Feline Viral Rhinotracheitis, Calicivirus, Panleukopenia, Feline Leukemia (as kittens and for outdoor cats) and Rabies.

Keeping your pet on a strict vaccination schedule will keep them protected from diseases they can commonly come in contact with in public.

Intestinal Parasites

Parasite prevention is not only crucial for the health of your pet, but it’s also vital for the health of your entire family. That is because some parasites are zoonotic, which means they can infect both animals and people. Common intestinal parasites in both dogs and cats include roundworms, tapeworms, whipworms, hookworms, coccidia, and Giardia. Most of these intestinal parasites are not overtly visible in feces. Please bring in a fresh stool sample (that is less than 6 hours old) at the time of your first visit so that we can test for intestinal parasites by microscopic analysis in our laboratory.

Fleas & Ticks

It is wise to begin flea and tick control before you have a problem! Prevention is much easier than dealing with a flea or tick infested animal, home or yard. There are many safe, effective treatments, both oral and topical, available through your veterinarian. We will help you choose the most effective treatment for your pet.

Heartworm Disease In Dogs

This deadly disease is carried by mosquitoes and is transmitted to your pet through a bite. We recommend annual Heartworm testing starting at six months of age and monthly Heartworm prevention.

Feline Leukemia and FIV Testing in Cats

We recommend a simple blood test for the Feline Leukemia Virus and Feline Immunodeficiency virus in your kitten at around 12 weeks of age.


Microchips are the only form of permanent pet identification. A microchip is approximately the size of a grain of rice that is injected beneath your pet’s skin. The microchip is registered to you, the owner, and will help with identification if your pet is ever lost.

Spay or Neuter Your Pet

We recommend this surgery be done at six months of age, but please note that all pets are different. Visit our SSN (Simply Spay or Neuter) program of OC for further details.

Senior Pet Care

You want nothing but the best for your beloved pet, and as they grow older, you want them with you as long as possible. Senior pet care aims to keep you two together while ensuring your pet is comfortable and stays in good health.

After the age of 7, cats and dogs are considered seniors and that’s when you may start seeing changes such as lethargy, decreased or increased appetite, intermittent vomiting or diarrhea, increased thirst, coughing or breathing problems or just a gut feeling that something is “off.” These are the signals that it’s time to shift gears and keep an even closer medical eye on your pet than before.

Wellness for Your Senior Pet

We encourage all pet patients to visit our animal hospital for an annual exam. We will take a comprehensive history, perform a thorough physical, administer vaccinations and discuss appropriate diagnostic tests and treatments. For our seniors, we encourage semi-annual visits to keep even closer tabs on them. Our senior veterinary services include testing designed to find and diagnose unique symptoms of age including a complete blood count, an inclusive chemistry panel, parasite evaluation, and urinalysis.

Keeping Senior Pets Healthy

We are committed to doing our part to keep your pet healthy, but there are things you can also do. Older pets need a change in diet with different nutritional values and regular exercise is important. A 5-mile run is probably out, but a brisk walk around the block for dogs is enjoyable. Be sure to keep a close eye on your pet’s weight and call us when there is a sudden or marked change.

Problems Senior Pets May Encounter

As pets age, so do the organs that have worked so hard to serve them. Kidney disease and heart disease are common in seniors. Pets that have kidney disease lose their appetite, drink copious amounts of water, increase or decrease their urine output and may have vomiting. Pets with heart disease have symptoms that include coughing, trouble breathing, lethargy and decreased appetite. Pay special attention to behavioral changes which may indicate discomfort, pain or senility. It is also common for older pets to have aches and pains associated with disc disease or arthritis. A combination of a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory, pain medication and glucosamine/chondroitin supplement can keep your pet active, pain-free and a happy senior citizen.

Dealing with Cancer

Cancer is in a category by itself. It can strike pets at any age, but is more common in seniors. Unfortunately, 50 percent of pets above age 10 will be diagnosed with it. Cancer symptoms vary greatly, ranging from swollen bellies to lumps, to wounds that don’t heal, and more.

We’ll Be There When You Need Us.

At Lake Forest Animal Clinic, we are committed to providing your pet with the very best veterinary care possible in a warm and friendly environment. You and your pet’s needs are always our first priority.


24301 Muirlands Blvd. Suite P
Lake Forest, CA 92630
Click here for directions.

Our Hours

Mon-Fri: 7 am - 6 pm
Sat: 8 am - 4 pm
Sun: Closed



We are conveniently located on the corner of Muirlands Blvd. and Ridge Route Dr. in the Lake Forest Village Shopping Center.

Have a Question?

We’re here to help. Please complete the form below and a member of our team will get back to you as quickly as possible. If you need immediate assistance, please call us at 949-837-7660.