Animal Medical Clinic of Gulf Gate

Preventative Care

The best time to treat sickness in your pet is before it happens— that’s why we recommend regular check-ups regardless of your pet’s age. These check-ups allow us to assess your pet’s health from nose to tail, identifying any potential issues and making recommendations about how even healthy pets can improve their wellbeing and live even fuller lives.


All pets benefit from routine physical exams, even if they appear seemingly healthy! Pets are adept at masking signs of disease and illness, and while we hope your pet is always feeling their best, we take our role as your pet's veterinarian seriously. Your friends at the Animal Medical Clinic of Gulf Gate are highly experienced to confirm that your pet is in prime physical condition and mental wellbeing.

By visiting us once or twice a year, even if everything seems okay at home, we are able to maximize the health of your pet by catching small signs of illness and disease that may easily go unnoticed. This way, treatment can begin in early stages with the least amount of pain to your pet and less expense to you, and treatment outcomes are much better the sooner a condition is addressed.

Annual wellness visits, at minimum, are the universal recommendation for all pets under our care. Pets that are seniors, puppies, kittens, or living with a health condition benefit from visiting us at least twice a year so we can keep a closer eye on changing health trends and help guide them on the road to wellness.

Our medical team has years of experience assessing a pet's overall health in the exam room. We will check your pet from nose-to-tail, and discuss what's going well and if any areas of concern need addressed in the best interest of your companion's health and happiness. Diagnostic recommendations are recommended on a case-by-case basis, and will shine light on issues unseen by the naked eye.

In the exam room, a complete physical examination will assess the health of the:

  • Eyes, ears and nose
  • Teeth and gums
  • Skin and coat
  • Joints and muscles
  • Abdominal region
  • Weight and body composition
  • Heartbeat and respiratory rate
  • Temperature

An annual fecal examination is recommended to ensure your pet is free of intestinal parasites that are harmful to their health. If possible, bring a fresh stool sample to your pet's routine examination. If parasites are detected, we will discuss treatment options with you.

Come ready with any questions or concerns you may have about your pet's general health and behavior! We are always here to offer insight into your pet's unique health considerations, as well as provide education and advice surrounding how to be the best pet parent. Together, we can help give your pet the best health - physically, behaviorally, emotionally, and mentally.

We often hear the following common questions from our clients. Consider the following:

  • How many hours per day is your pet home alone?
  • Is your pet friendly towards other animals and people?
  • Does your pet enjoy playtime?
  • Does your pet have a comfortable place to sleep?
  • Does your pet have any phobias and anxieties?

If you have questions about your pet's health that may be better addressed with a specialist or at another facility, we are prepared to offer recommendations that we trust in the local area.


There are countless conditions out there that can cause a pet's health to suffer. Thankfully, vaccinations are a trusted line of defense against conditions that in the past may have cost a pet their overall health or life. By offering core vaccines, along with non-core vaccines, we can safeguard against infectious condition, thereby keeping your pet, along with the rest of the pet community, safe and protected.

What works for one pet may not work for another, which is why over-vaccination is actively avoided in all of our patients through personalized vaccination plans. Our medical team is highly knowledgeable in disease prevention through vaccination, and we will work with you to devise a vaccination plan that is suitable to your pet's age, species, lifestyle, and health status.

Core Canine Vaccines

Core vaccines are recommended for pets of all ages and lifestyle considerations.

  • DHPP vaccination protects against four diseases: distemper, hepatitis, parvovirus, and parainfluenza. Nearly all dogs are exposed to these life-threatening conditions during their lifetime, so vaccination is a must.
  • Rabies vaccination prevents dogs from contracting this deadly infection. Vaccination is required by law.

Core Feline Vaccines

  • FVRCP vaccination stands for Feline Viral Rhinotracheitis, Calicivirus, and Panleukopenia, protects against three common, but potentially serious, airborne viruses that cause respiratory and gastrointestinal infections, painful mouth ulcers, nervous system damage, and even death.
  • Rabies vaccination prevents cats from contracting this deadly infection. Vaccination is required by law.

Non-core Canine Vaccines

Non-core vaccines are based on lifestyle factors, such as age, health status, and risk of exposure.

  • Bordetella vaccination prevents kennel cough, a highly contagious condition that causes a dry hacking cough that can persist for 6+ weeks.
  • Leptospirosis vaccination is passed from wildlife to dogs and people. Symptoms include fever, vomiting, or living and kidney failure.
  • Lyme vaccination prevents tick-borne diseases.
  • Canine Influenza Virus (CIV) vaccination prevents the spread of dog flu.

Non-core Feline Vaccines

  • FeLV vaccination protects against Feline Leukemia Virus, a virus that infects only cats. Depressing the immune system, FeLV tends to lead to persistent infection. Unfortunately, there is no treatment, and the disease is ultimately fatal.

Like in human medicine, vaccines work by exposing the body to an extremely low-level of the disease-causing organism. Exposure is safe and controlled, allowing the immune system to form disease-fighting antigens that will be prepared the next time the body comes in contact with the condition in an uncontrolled setting, like their everyday environment.

If you have any questions about your pet's vaccine recommendations, or if you're unsure if your pet is current on his or her vaccines, please don't hesitate to ask! Simply give us a call, stop by our office during open business hours, or inquire during a scheduled visit.

Parasite Control

Sarasota, FL, is no stranger to parasites like fleas, ticks, mosquitos, and intestinal parasites. Parasites like these are troublesome, and pose serious risks to our pets. Avoid the diseases, illnesses, and general irritations parasites cause by administering continuous, year-round parasite preventatives. This is for the benefit of your pet, the pet population at large, and in some cases, your human family too.

Parasite prevention is easier than treatment, in every single case. The medical team at The Animal Medical Clinic of Gulf Gate effectively prevents parasites in its patients using a two-step prevention method: continuous preventative medication and annual parasite testing.

Your veterinarian will help you choose preventative medication that is most suitable for your pet and your lifestyle. Our recommendations are easy-to-administer, and generally come in the form of a pill, treat, or collar. Parasite testing comes in the form of a fecal test or blood sample, depending on the type of parasite being tested for.

Keep reading to learn more about common parasites, how to prevent infestation in your pet and, in some cases, how to keep your human family safe too:

  • Fleas bite and latch on to the skin. The saliva of flea bites can lead to a variety of ailments, including allergic reactions, dermatitis, tapeworms, and bacterial infections like Bartonella. In serious and untreated cases, anemia and/or death can result. Flea populations peak in the warmer months. But, fleas are present in the environment year-round. Fleas also multiply quickly and are transmissible from animals to people. Female fleas can lay up to 50 eggs in a single day!
  • Ticks carry dangerous conditions like Lyme disease, Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever, Bartonella, anaplasmosis, tick paralysis, and ehrlichiosis. Ticks are commonly found in wooded areas, grassy terrain, and humid climates. That's why it's imperative that you check your pet's skin and coat during daily grooming, especially after spending time outdoors. Ticks are also transmissible from animals to people.
  • Mosquitos cause itchy, uncomfortable bites. Mosquito bites also pass heartworm larvae to an animal, which poses the life-threatening risk for heartworm infection if unprotected. Dogs are natural hosts of heartworm disease, but cats can get sick with heartworms as well. Heartworms are brutal parasites that occupy the heart, lungs, and blood vessels. Ultimately, heartworms cause irreversible damage that is highly fatal - and a very long, painful disease to treat and/or manage. Signs of heartworm infection are minimal until disease progression is in its late stages. Save your pet from the pain of heartworm disease by keeping up with monthly preventatives!
  • Intestinal Parasites such as roundworms, hookworms, tapeworms, whipworms, and giardia and coccidia are very common in pets and will result in serious illness if left untreated. Worms are easily spread through contact with contaminated soil and the stool of other pets. This means your pet can contract intestinal parasites simply by going outside. However, infection is easily prevented.

Puppies and kittens are most at risk for intestinal parasites due to their premature immune systems, so it's best to begin parasite prevention methods during the first year of life and keep up with preventatives and annual fecal exams for the rest of the pet's life.

People are not safe from contracting intestinal parasites either. This means continuous parasite protection for your pets also protects you and your family! Children have the highest rates of infection due to lack of hygiene after playtime. Infection in humans can range from mild dermatitis to severe illness. To prevent exposure, wash your hands frequently after interacting with animals, wear gloves when handling pet waste, and pick up and dispose of pet waste properly and promptly.

  • Roundworms look like angel hair spaghetti. Heavily infected pets may pass roundworms in their stool or vomit.
  • Hookworms look like a fishing hook - hence their name! Hookworms are typically about 1 inch in length, and have teeth that attach to the lining of the intestine causing painful ulcers and bloody diarrhea.
  • Whipworms curl at one end like a whip and are about 2-3.5 inches in length. Whipworms cause bloody diarrhea. Cats are rarely infected.
  • Tapeworms are extremely common in pets, and are transmitted by an intermediate host like a rabbit, rodent, or flea. Tapeworms cause intestinal obstruction, which can be life-threatening.
  • Giardia & coccidia are protozoal intestinal parasites, meaning they are single-celled organisms and not visible with the naked eye. Giardia can cause illness at any age, including vomiting, diarrhea, and dehydration. Coccidia tend to cause illness in younger pets.


Microchips help to prevent the heartbreak of a lost or stolen pet not returning home. Even if you consider yourself a conscientious pet owner, accidents happen. So much so that an estimated 10 million dogs or cats are lost or stolen on an annual basis. This equates to about one out of every three pets!

For this reason, the veterinarians at Animal Medical Clinic of Gulf Gate highly urge all pet owners to be prepared with reliable identification to maximize the likelihood of a pet making a safe return home. This recommendation is universal for both indoor and outdoor pets. Microchips can be inserted at any age. But, we recommend microchipping your pet sooner rather than later for their safety and your peace of mind.

The insertion process causes no pain to your pet. It is a quick and simple procedure, and can be performed at the same time as other services, such as administering vaccines or performing spay/neuter procedure. Once your pet's microchip has been inserted, complete the registration process by providing the national database with your current contact information. Importantly, should you ever move or change phone numbers, be sure to update your pet's microchip registration!

Each microchip has a unique serial number attached to it. This way, when a lost pet is found, animal shelters, animal hospitals, and animal care workers can use a special scanner to read the serial number and how to contact you.

In addition to microchips, our veterinary team supports the use of collars and ID tags. Although these forms of identification are not foolproof, they are an added resource and signifies to others that your pet has a home and family.

Nutrition & Weight Management

Obesity is on the rise in the pet population - and its repercussions are serious. A 2017 clinical survey taken by the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention found that an estimated 56% of canines and 60% of felines are overweight or obese in the United States. These numbers only continue to rise.

With this in mind, it's important to our medical team to aid in keeping our patients at an ideal body weight, active, and eating nutrient dense diets in proper portion sizes.

Consequences of excess fat in pets include respiratory disorders, kidney dysfunction, liver disease, chronic inflammation, metabolic and endocrine disorders, high blood pressure, orthopedic disease, skin disorders, cancer, and diminished life expectancy and lesser quality of life.

Like humans, weight gain in pets is gradual and does not happen overnight. However, it is not always easy to notice a few extra pounds in our animal counterparts. For small dogs and cats, it only takes a few pounds to make a huge difference in their health and quality of life.

Consult with your veterinarian if your pet is overweight or obese. Weight loss is not an easy or fast process, but it is entirely possible with a little bit of patience and the expert guidance of our medical team.

So, why are so many pets overweight or obese? Consider the following factors:

  • Food is often associated with love and, because we love our pets so much, we tend to fall into the trap of showering pets with an excess amount of treats and food, which in turn leads to high caloric intake.
  • Lack of Exercise. When our lives and schedules are busy, it's easy to get in the habit of opening the back door and allowing your dog to go spend some time outside. Although this may seem like an adequate amount of physical activity, for many dogs it is not. A simple daily walk is typically all of the physical exercise most dogs need to balance out calories consumed and calories burned. In addition, exercise is equally as important for cats as it is for dogs. Choose toys that require your cat to jump, chase, and hunt, such as a laser pointer.
  • Premature spay/neuter procedure can elicit hormonal changes than cause reduced caloric requirements, which can slow down metabolism and lead to weight gain.
  • Pet Parents. When people are exposed to environments with a high amount of overweight and obesity, they often develop inaccurate perceptions of what constitutes a normal body shape. This can contribute to an increase prevalence of obesity within the pet population.
  • Medications. Certain medications can cause weight gain when increased appetite is a common side effect. For example, phenobarbital (a common anti-seizure medication) and Prednisone (a common steroid).

Join the Animal Medical Clinic of Gulf Gate Family Today!

Located 1.5 miles in from Siesta Key, just half a mile past S Tamiami Trail.

Phone: 941-922-0756

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Fax Number: 941-922-2835