Preventative Health Care and Vaccination Program

The Exam

We will perform an annual examination for your family pet to look for any undetected problems. During the examination we will evaluate your pet’s eyes and ears for signs of infections or problems. We will perform a full oral exam to determine if there are any signs of gingivitis or dental disease. We will also listen to your pet’s heart and lungs to detect any heart murmurs or other abnormalities. We will examine your pet’s skin and coat for any signs of skin disease or parasites. Your pet’s abdomen will be palpated to check the internal organs for enlargement, tumors, pain or other abnormalities. The joints and spine will be examined for any signs of pain indicating possible arthritis or other injuries. We will make dietary recommendations based on your pet’s body condition (weight) or other medical concerns. Based on your pet’s lifestyle we will make personalized recommendations for vaccinations or other routine screening tests. We recommend heartworm screening dogs yearly with a 4Dx test. This test also gives valuable information about exposure to 3 important tick borne diseases including Lyme, Anaplasma and Ehrlichia. We recommend screening for feline immunodeficiency virus (FIV), feline leukemia virus (FeLV) and heartworm disease for all new cats and those that go outside. Indoor/outdoor cats and outdoor only cats should be screened yearly. For older animals we recommend senior wellness blood testing (CBC, chemistry profile, and thyroid level) since many diseases don’t show any abnormalities on the exam until they are significantly advanced. These tests are intended to help with early disease detection so your pet can stay healthy and live a longer life.


For kittens we recommend testing them for feline immunodeficiency virus (FIV) and feline leukemia virus (FeLV) at their first exam at 6-8 weeks of age. These are 2 separate viruses that affect the immune system. FIV is very similar to HIV/AIDS for people and suppresses the immune system causing infected cats to be susceptible to other common diseases. FeLV also affects the immune system but will most commonly invade the bone marrow and can lead to lymphoma or cancer of the white blood cells. These viruses are contagious to other cats and so it is very important to know if your kitten is carrying them.   Starting at 6-8 weeks of age your kitten will receive its first fvrcp (distemper) vaccine. This vaccine helps to provide protection against several common upper respiratory viruses and one intestinal virus. These viruses can lead to life-threatening conditions and severe illness. This vaccine should be boostered every 3-4 weeks until your kitten is 16-20 weeks of age. Most kittens will receive 3 distemper vaccines in order to complete a series. All kittens will also be de-wormed at their first visit. At 12 weeks of age we will give the first feline leukemia vaccine. This vaccine is recommended for all kittens during their first year of life since kittens are the most susceptible to becoming infected. It is picked up by contact with an infected cat (usually stray outdoor cats). If after a year your kitten does not go outside or have contact with other cats that do go outside, this vaccine can be discontinued since their risk of exposure is minimal. This vaccine should be boostered once in 3-4 weeks. At 16 weeks old your kitten will be vaccinated for rabies.   Once your kitten has completed a vaccine series, the vaccines will need to be boostered a year later. The rabies vaccine will need to be given yearly while the distemper vaccine is given every 3 years. The feline leukemia vaccine is given every 1-2 years depending on the risk of exposure.


Our general vaccine recommendations for puppies start at around 6 weeks of age with a first dhpp (distemper) vaccine. This vaccine provides protection against parvovirus, distemper virus, Adenovirus and parainfluenza virus. These viruses can be life threatening or even fatal. This vaccine should be boostered every 3-4 weeks until the puppy is 16 weeks old. Most puppies will receive 3 dhpp vaccines during their puppyhood. For many puppies that will spend a lot of time outside, especially in the summer, we recommend also having Leptospirosis vaccines given. Leptospirosis is a bacteria that is picked up from contact with the urine of an infected animal (usually wildlife or cattle) that can cause liver and kidney failure.   This vaccine can be given with the distemper vaccine starting at 12 weeks of age and should be boostered once in 3-4 weeks. Starting at 9 weeks of age we will discuss giving your puppy Lyme vaccines. We see a large number of dogs that are infected with Lyme disease which can result in severe muscle pain and kidney failure. This vaccine should be boostered once in 3-4 weeks. For some puppies that will need regular grooming, boarding or will be attending puppy classes we will discuss having a Bordetella or kennel cough vaccine given. This disease is caused by a bacteria that is picked up through contact with other dogs, especially in closely confined areas such as boarding kennels or grooming facilities. It is very contagious and can cause a hacking cough and in some cases pneumonia.   At 16 weeks of age your puppy will receive a rabies vaccine that will provide protection for 1 year. After your puppy has completed its series of puppy vaccines they will need to be boostered at one year of age.   After vaccines are given at 1 year old the distemper and rabies vaccine is boostered every 3 years but the lyme, leptospirosis and bordetella will need to be boostered yearly. All puppies will also be de-wormed and started on heartworm prevention at their first visit. Heartworm disease is a life-threatening parasite that is transmitted by mosquitoes. Once infected, this parasite travels to the heart and can cause severe heart failure and lung disease. The preventative is given once monthly to eliminate any heartworm disease that was picked up in the previous month. We recommend using the prevention year round because it also eliminates intestinal parasites, including roundworms, hookworms and tapeworms. Once your puppy is 1 year old we will do a heartworm test (the 4Dx test mentioned above).

Where to Find Us:

Pierce Vet Clinic
707 N Brown St
PO box 657
Ellsworth, WI 54011

Phone: 715 273-4632

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Regular Business Hours



8 AM to 5 PM


8 AM to 1 PM


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