Preventive Medicine

At Creekside Veterinary Hospital we believe preventing diseases is far easier than treating them. Let us help you keep your pet healthy and happy.
Health Certificates
In order to prevent the spread of animal diseases across state and international lines, departments of agriculture and other federal agencies have created rules and regulations which govern the importation of livestock, companion animals, equines, and other animals.

While all states and countries have set forth stringent requirements for the importation and movement of livestock, not all have stringent requirements for the importation of companion animals. Talk to the team at Creekside Veterinary Hospital about your destination and the specific requirements needed for travel.

Flea, Tick, and Parasite Control
For many people, pets are an important part of the family circle. Naturally, you want to protect your family, and your baby in particular, from needless exposure to internal parasites such as worms and external parasites such as fleas and ticks. Some pets can harbor zoonotic parasites that can potentially be transmitted from your pets to your family.

Making sure your pet is on a year-round parasite control program is good health care for your pet and your family. Also, be sure your pet receives regular checkups from your veterinarian and is treated for any external and internal parasites that might be present.

If you have young children, infants or exploring toddlers at home, ensure that pet feces are picked up outdoors at least daily and that any play areas and sandboxes are covered to prevent animals from soiling them.

Parasites carried by wildlife can be particularly concerning, so do not feed wildlife and do not allow children to play in areas frequented by wildlife.

Toxocara (a type of roundworm) is a zoonotic parasite that can be acquired from soil contaminated with the feces of cats and dogs. While of little concern during pregnancy it does pose a potential risk to infants and small children. Roundworm eggs are extremely hardy and remain in the environment (e.g., dirt, sandboxes) for a long time. Young children are particularly vulnerable to exposure and infection because they are more likely to put dirt, contaminated food or other objects into their mouths.

Pets greatly enhance our lives. However, precautions for preventing the spread of zoonotic diseases are necessary, particularly when small children are involved. Do not allow children to put foreign objects from the ground in their mouth, and always wash children’s hands and your own after playing with pets.

Though the risk of these diseases affecting your baby is low, any danger can be further minimized with a few simple measures.


Vaccines are products designed to stimulate protective immune responses in pets and prepare them to fight future infections from disease-causing agents. They can lessen the severity of future diseases and certain vaccines can prevent infection altogether. Today, a variety of vaccines are available for use by veterinarians.

Pets should be vaccinated to protect them from many highly contagious and deadly diseases. In some cases (rabies, for example), vaccinating your pet can also protect you from diseases. If an unvaccinated pet develops one of these diseases, treatment can become very expensive and many of these diseases can be fatal, even if your pet received prompt and appropriate treatment. Rabies vaccination is required by law in many states and counties.

Not all pets should be vaccinated with all available vaccines. “Core” vaccines are recommended for most pets in a particular area because they protect from diseases most common in that area. “Non-Core” vaccines are reserved for individual pets with unique needs. Your veterinarian will consider your pet’s risk of exposure to a variety of preventable diseases in order to customize a vaccination program for optimal protection throughout your pet’s life.

Talk with your Creekside veterinarian about your pet’s lifestyle including its expected travel to other geographic locations and/or contact with other animals (such as exposure at kennels, obedience classes, shows, and dog parks) since these factors impact your pet’s risk of exposure to certain diseases. For older pets, make sure your veterinarian is aware of any previous adverse reactions to vaccines.

There are risks associated with vaccination, but they are usually outweighed by the benefits. The most common adverse responses are mild and short-term, including fever, sluggishness, and reduced appetite. Pets may also experience temporary pain or subtle swelling at the site of vaccination. Although most adverse reactions will resolve within a day or two, any excessive or continued pain, swelling, or listlessness should be discussed with your veterinarian. Rarely, more serious adverse reactions can occur. Allergic reactions appear within minutes or hours of a vaccination and may include repeated vomiting or diarrhea, whole body itching, swelling of the face or legs, difficulty breathing or collapse. Contact your veterinarian immediately if any of these symptoms are seen. In very rare instances, death could occur from an allergic reaction. There are other uncommon but serious adverse reactions, including injection site tumors (sarcomas) in cats, which can develop weeks or months after a vaccination.

A microchip is a small, electronic chip enclosed in a glass cylinder that is about the same size as a grain of rice. The microchip itself does not have a battery – it is activated by a scanner that is passed over the area, and the radio waves put out by the scanner activate the chip.

The chip transmits the identification number to the scanner, which displays the number on the screen. It is injected under the skin using a hypodermic needle and is no more painful than a typical injection, although the needle is slightly larger than those used for injection. No surgery or anesthesia is required – a microchip can be implanted during a routine veterinary office visit.

If your pet is already under anesthesia for a procedure, such as neutering or spaying, the microchip can often be implanted while he or she is still under anesthesia.

Behavioral Counseling
Animal behavior problems play a significant role in the breakdown of the human/animal bond in families that own pets.

Many animal behaviorists focus on treating problems after they have developed. At Creekside Veterinary Hospital we also can help you avoid problems before they occur by advising you how to select the right pet for your family and establish proper behavior expectations as a preventative measure.

We can help you understand the behavioral and physical differences among different dog and cat breeds so you can select the pet that is most appropriate for your lifestyle.

Your first stop should always be to your local veterinarian to rule out any physical ailments that may be causing behavior problems. For example, cats with urinary tract infections may urinate outside the litterbox. Dogs that have physical discomfort may become aggressive when handled. In some cases, once the medical condition is resolved, the behavioral problem may persist, requiring the assistance of an animal behaviorist.

It is important to understand that not all “normal” animal behaviors are acceptable to owners. It is helpful to understand your pet’s natural instincts, which will allow you to provide outlets for normal behaviors that you and your pet enjoy. Appropriate management and regular training will help you raise an emotionally well-balanced companion whose company you will enjoy for years.

Many animal behavior problems involve fear. Dogs and cats fear the unknown. It’s critical to introduce your pets early on to a variety of people, situations, places and other animals. Early exposure to a variety of experiences will help them develop proper social skills and avoid fears and aggression later in life. Understand your lifestyle needs and prepare your pets accordingly. For example, board them in daycare if you travel frequently; introduce them to children and elderly people even if they’re not currently a part of your life; and introduce them to a variety of other animals and environments.

Always introduce new experiences in a positive manner and remember that patience is a virtue. Be prepared to allow your pet ample time to acclimate to new experiences.

Infectious Disease Control

Pets provide many benefits to humans. They comfort us and they give us companionship. However, some animals can also pass diseases to people. These diseases are called zoonotic diseases. Your veterinarian is dedicated to providing you with information about the health-related risks of owning and caring for animals and preventing zoonotic diseases. Pets can appear to be healthy even when they have germs. Here are a few tips to keep you and your family healthy.

1. Picking the Right Pet

Before you purchase or adopt a pet, make sure that it is the right one for you and your family. Creekside Veterinary Hospital recommends the following:

  • Households with children under 5 years of age should not own reptiles, such as turtles, or amphibians, such as frogs.
  • Pregnant women should avoid contact with pet rodents to prevent exposure to lymphocytic choriomeningitis virus, which is a virus that can cause birth defects.
  • Pregnant women should avoid adopting or handling stray cats, especially kittens. They particularly should not clean litter boxes to avoid getting toxoplasmosis from them.
  • Immune-compromised persons and persons with HIV infection or AIDS should take extra precautions when choosing and handling pets. Talk to your veterinarian and health care provider to help make this decision.

2. Wash Hands After Touching Your Pet

Always wash hands thoroughly with soap and water right after touching a pet, their housing, or anything (for example, food or treats) that comes in contact with them or the areas where they live. It is especially important to wash your hands after touching a pet and before preparing, serving, eating, or drinking.
Adults should assist young children with hand washing. Running water and soap are best for hand washing. Use hand sanitizers if running water and soap are not available. Be sure to wash your hands with soap and water as soon as a sink is available.

Call your healthcare provider if you or a family member are concerned about illness and be sure to tell them about the pets you have contact with.

Contact your pet’s veterinarian if you are concerned that your pet may be sick.

Many pets, such as dogs, cats, reptiles, rodents, and birds, carry germs that can be spread from animals to people. Always wash hands upon leaving areas where animals live (i.e. coops. barns, stalls, etc.) even if you did not touch an animal, after going to the toilet, before eating and drinking, before preparing food or drinks, and after removing soiled clothes or shoes.

It is also important to wash your hands right after handling pet foods and treats, which can be contaminated with bacteria and other germs. Pet food and treats might include dry dog or cat food, dog biscuits, pig ears, beef hooves, and rodents used to feed reptiles.

3. Keep Your Pet Healthy

Whether you have a horse, parakeet, or iguana, providing regular, life-long veterinary care is important to having a healthy pet and a healthy family. Keep up with your pet’s vaccines , deworming, and flea and tick control. Provide your pet with a good diet, fresh water, clean bedding, and exercise. By keeping your pet healthy, you keep yourself and your family healthy. Regular veterinary visits are essential to good pet health. Contact your veterinarian if you have any questions about your pet’s health.
Your pet may carry ticks that can spread serious diseases like Lyme disease and Rocky Mountain spotted fever to people. In areas with plague, fleas present a risk to both animals and their owners. Consult your veterinarian about ways to prevent ticks and fleas on your pet.

4. Practice Good Hygiene Around Your Pets

Make sure to wash your hands right after touching an animal, cleaning up after your pet, and before eating or preparing foods. Make sure to remove your dog’s feces from your yard or public places by using a device or bag, and dispose of in proper areas. Dog feces contain many types of bacteria, some of which can be harmful to people. Keep young children away from areas that may contain dog or cat feces to prevent the spread of roundworms and hookworms. Cover sandboxes so cats don’t use them as a litter box. Clean the cat’s litter box daily. Pregnant woman should not change a cat’s litter box, because cats can carry a parasite that causes toxoplasmosis, which is a disease that can cause birth defects.

5. Prevent Rabies

Rabies can kill your dog or cat and can even kill you. Get your pet, especially dogs, cats, and other mammals, vaccinated for rabies by a licensed veterinarian. Talk to your veterinarian about whether or not other pets need a rabies vaccine. Make sure your pet gets and wears a tag with its vaccine history, name, and your contact information. Keep your pet in a fenced yard or on a leash. See more information about preventing rabies and dog bites.

6. Keep Wildlife Wild

Though they may be cute and cuddly, don’t encourage wild animals such as raccoons, prairie dogs, or wild rodents to come into your home by feeding them. You may find a young animal that appears to be abandoned and want to rescue it, but often its parent is close by. Refrain from touching wild animals and their habitats, as many carry germs, viruses, and parasites.

7. Teach Children To Appropriately Care For Pets

Children younger than 5 years old should be supervised while interacting with animals. Teach children to wash their hands right after playing with animals or anything in the animals’ environment (e.g., cages, beds, food and water dishes). Children younger than 5 years old should be extra cautious when visiting farms and having direct contact with farm animals, including animals at petting zoos and fairs. See more information on safety at petting zoos and animal exhibits.

Caring. Competent. Compassionate. Creekside.

Creekside Veterinary Hospital

3720 Blackwood Rd
Bozeman, MT 59718
Click here for directions.

Fax: 406-522-0958


Mon-Fri: 8:00 am - 6:00 pm
Sat: 9:00 am - 5:00 pm
Sun: Closed