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Please keep an open mind and give it a read,  We are going to cover the basics about dog and cat health and safety but we promise you that you'll learn something new to protect your fur child,  What's more important than keeping your fur child happy and healthy??

Companion Animal Health & Safety

Preventative Vet Care for Dogs

Your dog should see his/her veterinarian annually for preventative care services, unless they get sick, then they will need to see the veterinarian more often. When it comes to seeing the veterinarian, puppies are on a different schedule, we'll cover breifly.  We will also cover cat health in detail. Besides the preventive care exam, your dog should have vaccines, a heartworm test and get a script for living saving heartworm prevention and other preventatives to protect them from parasites.  We've put together a key that shows the different annual services your dog should have. We will then elaborate about each service, as well as preventative's, and some other pet health topics. 
This information may be common knowledge to some pet owners but not to others, and that's ok!  Everyone has to start somewhere!  
If you have questions regarding any of the information on this page please email us at  We'd be happy to help!


We are not veterinarians!  Please don't email us specific health questions regarding your pet.  If you think your pet is sick, take them to the vet.  Strawberry Fields can only cover basic dog and cat health information and that's it! 

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Preventative Care Exam=yearly exam where your vet examines your dog from head to tail

Vaccines= rabies & DHPPV are considered core vaccines, non-core vaccines are discussed below

Heartworm Test=
tested through the blood for presence of mature adult female worms or Microfilariae

Blood test=(example could include CBC or comprehensive.Learn more about what they test for below.

Fecal Screen=
through the stool we can test for a number of intestinal parasites such as round worms, hook worms, giardia and more.

Heartworm Prevention= given as a monthly chewable or injection (Proheart 6 or Proheart 12) to protect your pet against deadly heartworm disease

Flea/tick preventative= given monthly as a chewable or topical to protect against external parasites (like fleas and ticks) and other pesky vermin


Keep those nails trimmed on a regular basis!  Make sure they never get too long where they are curling or growing into the paw pad!


Anal gland expression.  We know it's not pleasant to talk about, but we must talk about the rear end!  We'll talk about it more below.  When they get to scootin' you know it's time to get them anal glands expressed!


Preventative Care Exam




Heartworm Test

An adult dog should have a preventative care exam once a year, consecutively and at the same time each year.  As your dog reaches 7-8 years+ (senior age) your vet may suggest bringing him/her in twice a year (every 6 months).  We will cover frequency of puppy visits later. 

Taking your dog to the vet for their preventative care exam ONCE A YEAR IS VITAL!  You might say.... "My pet acts so healthy!  I can skip this year!" 

Pets are genetically wired to hide any illness.

The net result of routine wellness exams is early detection and prevention of disease, which is nothing to take lightly. 

During the exam, make sure your veterinarian is VERY THOROUGH!  Thorough means the vet is examining every inch of your pet from HEAD TO TAIL- eyes, ears, (inside too), nose, mouth, teeth, skin, genitals, anus, skin, feet, nails and anything else you need examined! 

Bring ANY and ALL health concerns you have noticed with your pet to the attention of your vet.

If you believe the veterinarian is rushing and is not  thorough, YOU MUST SPEAK UP! 

It is not wrong to ask the doctor to slow down, explain something again or give a second look to an area of concern.


Bring ANY and ALL health concerns you have noticed with your pet to the attention of your vet.

If you believe the veterinarian is rushing and is not  thorough, YOU MUST SPEAK UP! 

It is not wrong to ask the doctor to slow down, explain something again or give a second look to an area of concern.


Vaccines are important for dogs because they help prevent disease in your pet and reduce the risk of diseases spreading to people.  

Core vaccines are important for prevention of common diseases (some of these diseases are treatable if they are contracted and some are not).  Core vaccines are necessary for all dogs due to the risk of exposure, severity of certain diseases vaccines protect against, and the possibility of transmission to humans.  

Vaccines for canine parvovirus, distemper, canine hepatitis (DHPPV) and rabies are considered core vaccines. 

Rabies is the only vaccine required by law in Illinois. The Rabies vaccine can be administered as a 1 year vaccine or a 3 year vaccine.  The 3 year rabies vaccine can only be administered to a dog that has already had a 1 year rabies vaccine the previous year. 

The same is true with DHPPV (distemper, hepatitis, parvovirus and parainfluenza, the last V stands for virus). 

If you see a distemper vaccine written as DHLPPV it also protects against leptospirosis, which we'll cover later (a non-core vaccine).

Some non-core vaccines may be appropriate because a disease is common in our area or because of the lifestyle you and your pet lead.  

Non-core vaccines are given depending on the dog's exposure risk. These include vaccines against Bordetella (kennel cough,) Influenza, Lyme and Leptospira bacteria.  

We will discuss non-core vaccines that should be given in this area of Illinois.Puppies they are on a different schedule during the first 18-20 weeks of their life (again we will cover later).  

Please visit the links provided for more information regarding canine core vaccines.

Rabies Vaccine

Rabies Vaccine

Heartworm disease is a serious and potentially fatal disease. It is caused by foot-long worms (heartworms) that live in the heart, lungs and associated blood vessels of affected pets, causing severe lung disease, heart failure and damage to other organs in the body. The dog is a natural host for heartworms, which means that heartworms that live inside the dog mature into adults, mate and produce offspring. If untreated, their numbers can increase, and dogs have been known to harbor several hundred worms in their bodies. Heartworm disease causes lasting damage to the heart, lungs and arteries, and can affect the dog’s health and quality of life long after the parasites are gone.

The mosquito plays an essential role in the heartworm life cycle. Adult female heartworms living in an infected dog, coyote or other animal produce microscopic baby worms called microfilaria that circulate in the bloodstream. When a mosquito bites and takes a blood meal from an infected animal, it picks up these baby worms, which develop and mature into “infective stage” larvae. Then, when the infected mosquito bites another dog, cat, or susceptible wild animal, the infective larvae are deposited onto the surface of the animal's skin and enter the new host through the mosquito’s bite wound.  Each mosquito season can lead to an increasing number of worms in an infected pet.

Heartworm disease has been diagnosed in all 50 states. Infected mosquitoes can come inside, both outdoor and indoor pets are at risk.  Heartworm disease is a serious, progressive disease. The earlier it is detected, the better the chances the pet will recover. There are few, if any, early signs of disease when a dog is infected. Detecting the presence with a heartworm test administered by a veterinarian is important. The test requires just a small blood sample from your pet.

We discuss how to keep your dog safe here with heartworm preventative.  There is a ton of additional, important information about heartworm disease that every pet owner should know.  We've provided a link to the American Heartworm Society's website.


Additional Vaccine History


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