I think you already know how I feel, huh? I think that a baseline blood test is a good idea, but don't think that doing it yearly is necessary UNLESS you are doing a dental yearly then I would definately go with the pre-anesthetic blood work.
You can't always determine the presence of intestinal parasites with the naked eye. A fecal exam is done to look at the sample under a microscope to check for eggs (or larvae). The exam is done one of two ways, either by smearing the poop directly onto a slide and looking at it or by mixing the poop with a saline solution, putting a filter in the mixture, then putting the slide on top of that. After about 5 minutes the slide is checked.
A heartworm test is also done either directly (a drop of blood on a slide) or with a test kit. In the situations I've been in, the test kit is used first and if it shows positive then you want to do a direct test. (It's not a good feeling to find the live heartworms on the direct test, but it is fascinating!)
Cathy, I'm surprised that your dogs aren't on heartworm preventative year 'round in Ohio. In KY we always used it year 'round because of the life cycle of the heartworm and mosquito. But I don't remember what part of Ohio you are in.......
Sara, the ointment you were given sounds like an antibiotic based ointment. Unless they have covered all the writing with a label, you should be able to get a magnifying glass (the writing is SMALL!) and read words like "bacitracin" and "neomycin" and "polymycin", etc. (can't think what the "H" might be).
Two of my group had yearly vx done while we were gone. You've made me look at my receipt to see what they did! (When the bill was either $700 or $900 - don't remember which - I didn't even want to look! I just considered it about half a Cavalier I had spent!) Okay, here it is. Wallis and Sasha both got their yearly exam, Adult DHP/Parvo, Rabies, Occult HW, fecal exam and kennel cough vx. Wallis also had another chest x-ray because she has been coughing and Tibby had to be treated for a hotspot.
RIP Wallis, John Robert, Tibby & Pip
Mom to JoJo, Roxie & Linguini (Cavaliers)
and my birds Moji (Senegal) and Walter (Blue Front Amazon)