Pet Wellness

The veterinarians at Conneaut Lake Veterinary Hospital recommend an annual visit for all dogs and cats 6 weeks to 6 years of age. 

A dog and cat lying on a blanket

Wellness Exams

At Conneaut Lake Veterinary Hospital, we’re committed to the health of pets in the Erie, Pittsburgh, and northwest PA areas. That’s why we recommend regular wellness exams to provide pets with vaccines and other routine health services.

What is a wellness exam?

A wellness exam is a thorough physical examination of your cat or dog to establish a baseline of their health.

In these examinations, one of our veterinarians will first ask you about your pet’s health, including diet and appetite, bowel movements and urination, and any health problems you may be concerned about. Next, they will examine your pet’s eyes, ears, coat, and skin to check for signs of disease or other issues, such as fleas, ticks, or masses. They will then auscultate the heart and lungs, check for any signs of dehydration, and confirm your pet has normal neurological functions. Finally, they will conduct a dental exam and assess your pet’s weight. The veterinarian will then discuss your pet’s health in detail, answering any questions you may have.

We advise all our patients undergo a wellness exam each year to ensure ongoing health and proactively diagnose potential issues before they become severe. For our senior or geriatric patients, we recommend an examination every 6 months to check for common issues in older pets such as kidney and heart disease. 


Many vaccines are available for your pet. Some vaccinations are recommended for all dogs and cats, while others are based on your pet’s lifestyle. Below is a list of the vaccinations and an explanation of the disease each one protects against, as well as how often each should receive a booster.


Canine vaccinations given at Conneaut Lake Veterinary Hospital follow AAHA guidelines. All dogs in the Meadville, PA, area should be vaccinated against the following:


  • Fatal viral disease affecting all mammals
  • Originates from wildlife and unvaccinated animals and spreads through saliva
  • In Pennsylvania, all dogs and nonferal cats greater than 3 months of age are required to be vaccinated
  • Signs: Foaming at the mouth, seizures, abnormal behavior, circling, aggressive behavior, lethargy, and death
  • Vaccination frequency: 1st vaccine given as early as 12 weeks, then boosted 1 year later. Some rabies vaccinations are labeled as annual, others as every 3 years.


  • Highly contagious and severe virus that attacks the gastrointestinal tract and immune system
  • Virus is shed through fecal material and can survive in its environment for months or years
  • Signs: Severe depression, loss of appetite, vomiting, high fever, profuse (and sometimes bloody) diarrhea, abdominal distention (pot belly appearance)

Lepto or Leptospirosis

  • Shed through urine from infected carrier animals (raccoons, skunks, opossums, squirrels, and rats)
  • Infection occurs when dogs drink or wade through contaminated water
  • Puppies and young dogs are most commonly affected.
  • Signs: Fever, vomiting, loss of appetite, diarrhea, or lethargy. Noticing the signs early is KEY!
  • Vaccination frequency: Bi-annual or annual vaccinations are given based on exposure. Vaccinations start at 12 weeks and are boosted every 3 weeks until they are 16 weeks of age.


  • Virus affecting the nervous system
  • Nearly ALL dogs will be exposed to this virus in their lifetime
  • Convulsions may occur in the final stages
  • Signs: Fever, anorexia, listlessness, dry cough, water discharge from eyes becoming thick yellow, diarrhea
  • Later stage signs: Head shaking, chewing movements, seizures, confusion (indicates brain affected)


  • Virus spread by urine, feces, and other secretions from infected animals
  • Primarily affects liver function
  • Signs: Lethargy, anorexia, fever, bloody diarrhea, painful movement, clouding of cornea (blue eye)

Our duramune max vaccine provides protection against Distemper, Hepatitis, Parvovirus and lepto. This vaccine in puppies is administered starting at 6-8 weeks with boosters every 3-4 weeks until 16 weeks of age.

Vaccines Dependent on Your Dog's Lifestyle:


  • Bacterial disease, Borrelia burgdorferi, transmitted by ticks
  • Present in 48 states, where increased exposure to ticks increases the threat of Lyme disease
  • Can be difficult to diagnose because of the long incubation period and the vague symptoms
  • Signs: Lameness, anorexia, depression, inflammation leading to vital organ dysfunction, fever, stiffness, joint pain/swelling
  • Vaccination frequency: Series of 2 vaccinations (2-3 weeks apart) starting as early as 12 weeks, then boosted annually

Kennel Cough a.k.a Infectious Tracheobronchitis, Parainfluenza, Adenovirus Type 2, or Bordetella Bronchiseptica

  • Several types of bacteria and viruses are known to infect and inflame large airways in the lungs
  • Dogs exposed to high-traffic situations (e.g. daycare, groomers, boarding facilities, bark parks) are at risk
  • Can progress to pneumonia in some pets
  • Signs: Harsh, dry, hacking cough, lethargy, decreased appetite
  • Vaccination frequency: Depending on your veterinarian, a series of 1-2 vaccinations (booster 3-4 weeks apart) to build immunity, then boosted either bi-annually or annually depending on exposure

Canine Influenza

  • Quickly spreading disease caused by a “flu” virus, causing respiratory infection
  • Spreads through direct contact between dogs (licking, nosing, etc.), through the air (sneezing, coughing), and contaminated surfaces (shared toys, beds, etc.)
  • Signs: Lasting cough, low-grade fever, nasal discharge, lack of energy, loss of appetite
  • Vaccination frequency: Initial vaccination requires 2 doses (3-4 weeks apart) then annual vaccination


Our hospital follows AAFP guidelines for vaccinating our feline patients. Vaccines for all cats include:


  • Fatal viral disease of all mammals
  • Infected wildlife and unvaccinated animals are the source, spread through saliva
  • In Pennsylvania, all dogs and nonferal cats greater than 3 months of age are required to be vaccinated
  • Signs: Foaming of the mouth, seizures, abnormal behavior, circling, aggressive behavior, lethargy, and death
  • Vaccination frequency: 1st vaccine given as early as 12 weeks, then boosted 1 year later. Some rabies vaccinations are labeled as annual, others as every 3 years.


  • Sometimes known as feline distemper, this is a widespread and often fatal disease
  • Most cats will be exposed to panleukopenia in their lifetime
  • Signs: Fever, depression, anorexia, vomiting, diarrhea


  • Relatively mild upper respiratory infection affecting the mucous in the membranes of the eyes
  • Signs: tearing, occasional sneezing, nasal discharge
A cat lying down on the floor

Calicivirus or FCV

  • Virus that affects the upper respiratory system
  • Cats infected can be lifelong carriers with clinical signs
  • Signs: Moderate fever, ulcers, blisters on the tongue

Feline Herpes Virus FHV

  • Most common upper respiratory virus in cats
  • Can cause lifelong infection
  • Signs: Moderate fever, appetite loss, sneezing, tearing, discharge from eyes and nose, mouth breathing, coughing.

Cats are vaccinated for Panleukopenia, Calicivirus, Feline Herpes virus, and Chlamydia using our combination vaccine, which is administered as early as 6 weeks and given every 3-4 weeks until 16-20 weeks of age.

Vaccinations Dependent on Your Cat's Lifestyle:

Feline Leukemia Virus (FeLV)

  • Viral disease that attacks the immune system and leaves it susceptible to other infections
  • Transmission is usually through contact with other cats
  • Signs: Immune system suppression, chronic infections, death within 3 years of infection
  • Vaccination frequency: Highly recommended for all kittens. Series of 2 vaccinations (3-4 weeks apart) as early as 8 weeks, then an annual booster (especially if exposure is high).

Call us and schedule an appointment to talk to one of our veterinarians at 814-382-5446. Together you will perform a risk assessment to determine which vaccinations are right for your pet. You can also look to our medical care team to help find additional ways to reduce disease risk for your pet.

Screenings Performed During Exams

Although annual physicals and vaccinations are the primary reason for a wellness exam, other screenings are of utmost importance as well. At your wellness exam, we will discuss additional screening tests for your dog or cat, such as:

4DX screening
Feline Lvk/FIV testing
Fecal flotation

This test is performed on your dog to screen for heartworm as well as 3 of the most common tick-borne diseases: Lyme, anaplasmosis, and ehrlichiosis. To perform this screening, a small blood sample of 3 drops is used for a rapid test, done in-house for immediate results. This test is performed yearly. One of our veterinarians will recommend this test before starting or refilling any heartworm prevention. In rare cases, applying heartworm prevention to a pet while they have heartworm disease can be fatal, making annual 4dx screenings vital for your dog's health.

This test is performed on your cat to screen for feline leukemia and Feline Immunodeficiency Virus. We recommend this test for new kittens/cats with unclear medical history. Similarly, this test is recommended for pets who frequently have contact with other cats outside. Testing for feline leukemia and FIV is especially important for those felines that will be introduced into a family with other cats. Only a small blood sample (3 drops) is necessary for the rapid test done in-house.

  • Your veterinarian will recommend that you bring a fecal sample with you will be tested for intestinal parasite eggs (ova) under a microscope. This test is performed in-house, so you will have results the same day.
  • With new puppies, it will be recommended to bring in at least 2 samples. Due to the eggs' lifecycle, it is possible that they will not be seen on your puppy’s first visit. By the second visit, the ova will be present.
  • Some parasites are zoonotic, meaning it is transmittable to people. Some zoonotic parasites include roundworms, hookworms, and tapeworms. As a result, fecal checks are an important part of your wellness in addition to your pet's.

Other Benefits of a Wellness Physical

New Puppy or Kitten Information

The medical team at Conneaut Lake Veterinary Hospital is thrilled to help new pet owners by providing them with all the answers to their questions! Our veterinary team will offer you with a puppy/kitten kit to provide you with all the newest information.

Behavioral Counseling

The veterinarians at Conneaut Lake Veterinary Hospital strive for our clients to have a long and happy relationship with their pets. Thus, we will provide counsel for any behavior issues your pet may have. Our veterinarians will first rule out any medical conditions that could stimulate their behavior. If no medical issues are present, options to control the behavior will discussed, such as information for trainers or, if necessary, behavioral modification medication.

Breed-Specific Medical Conditions

As with any breed, some conditions may not be common. Consequently, the veterinarian will discuss any breed-related medical conditions and advise what tests are necessary to rule out any conditions for your pet.


The veterinarians at Conneaut Lake Veterinary Hospital recommend a monthly flea preventative and heartworm preventative as a regular part of your pet’s wellness all year round.

We offer a variety of flea, tick, and heartworm preventatives to suit your pet’s particular needs and lifestyle. Ask your veterinarian at your appointment for a personalized recommendation based on your companion’s needs.