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Matthew Sisk: Pup grows to full size in one year
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It’s been almost a year since I’ve seen Lemmy. This is a good thing.

After finishing the puppy visits and neutering, a lack of contact is usually a good sign for overall pet health. Still, he makes an impression, and I’m excited to see him on the schedule.

My assistant prepares his visit and puts him and his owners in the exam room. When I enter, it takes a second to recognize the little pup I met just over a year ago. He’s now full grown at 20 months old and is a 65-pound hunk. His fluffy puppy hair has given way to a shorter reddish blonde coat. Apparently, he’s some sort of Labrador and/or golden retriever genre of mutt. I like it.

He sandwiches my hand with his trademark handshake and plants a wet kiss on my glasses. Some things never change.

Happily, he’s not overweight. This is sadly rare, and I congratulate his owners.

They report he has a neighbor dog with a fenced yard and gets daily vigorous play. I tell them this may be the secret of life.

I draw blood to screen for parasites, including heartworms. Even though he’s been on prevention, sometimes failure occurs. He tests negative, which is of course what I want.

However, now that he has a negative test and is still on prevention, the company that makes the medication will guarantee it. Thus, if he does contract heartworms, the company will pay for all his treatment. It’s a great deal in more ways than one.

I update Lemmy’s vaccines, including the Distemper combination, the kennel cough vaccine and rabies vaccine. Since this is Lemmy’s second rabies vaccination and he wasn’t past due, it can legally be licensed as a three-year vaccine. Essential protection and it saves him a poke in the hip for the next couple of years.

I remind the owners of the benefit of daily tooth brushing and praise them for Lemmy’s weight. Another handshake from the fuzzy guy and he’s on his way. His next expected visit in one year.

Matthew Sisk is a practicing veterinarian from Habersham County. Have questions about your pet? He can be reached at