**Please note, the following questions and answers are intended to be general guidelines, and do not replace the need for medical attention. If your pet is having a problem, we recommend you call our office for an appointment.
Why do I need an exam with every visit?
Our physical exam fee also covers the office visit, therefore, you are charged this type of fee at any doctor’s office. However, each time that you present to our clinic, for any problem, your pet will receive a full exam, head-to-toe. This way we can catch any problems that your pet may be having in addition to the presenting complaint. We pride ourselves on this thorough care.
Why does my pet need an annual exam, and what is it about the 6 month wellness exam?
Our doctors need to examine all patients once yearly to keep an established client-patient-veterinary relationship, which is required by law to be able to prescribe any medications (including prescription foods). Since animals age faster than people, we recommend every 6 month exams to try to keep abreast of any developing issues, such as heart murmurs or arrhythmias, tumors, ear infections, etc.
What are some tips on giving my animal medications?
The easiest way to give a dog medication is by tricking them and putting it in some food. This could be canned food, a piece of hot dog or vienna sausage, a piece of cheese, some cream cheese, some peanut butter, or some other snack. (DON’T FORGET THESE FOODS ARE ONLY TO BE GIVEN IN VERY SMALL AMOUNTS WITH MEDICATION. WE DO NOT RECOMMEND GIVING THEM TO DOGS AND CATS ROUTINELY.)
If this doesn’t work you can ask for the doctor to compound the medication, which means liquifying the medication. This can only be done with certain medications. At times putting a syringe in the corner of your pet’s mouth may be easier, but sometimes the bitterness of the liquid can cause intense slobbering.
When all else fails, pill the dog. This will be described later.
Pills can be given to cats as described below. Sometimes cats will take a crushed pill in canned food or tuna. Liquid may be easier for some, but remember that the bitter taste can cause excessive slobbering. Another way of medicating cats is transdermal (absorbed through the skin). This can be done for only certain medications. Transdermal medications are changed into a paste that is then applied to the skin inside of the ear.
PILLING A PET
In large dogs, you can just push the pill to the back of the throat. Pulling the tongue slightly as you come out will cause the dog to swallow.
In smaller breeds or in cats. Place the rear of the pet in the elbow of your non-dominant arm. Hold the pill between your thumb and first finger. Hold the head with your non-dominant hand like a baseball and lift the mouth to the ceiling. While continuing to hold the pill between your thumb and first finger, Open the bottom jaw with your third finger. Place the pill in the back of the throat and gently pull the tongue out to encourage swallowing, being careful to not get bit.
My cat is peeing outside the litter box. What does this mean?
This could be something medical, such as a bladder infection. It could also mean stress or behavioral. It could also be due to something as straight-forward as not scooping the box enough or changing brands of litter. You should follow through with an exam and urine evaluation. If it is a bladder infection, it can be treated. If it is stress or behavioral, the veterinarian will have some treatment suggestions too.
My dog is licking its feet, is itchy, and is scooting its rear.
Allergies is one condition that can cause all of these signs, as well as chronic ear infections. There are many types of allergies (such as flea, food, and seasonal) and many treatment options for them. Do not let your dog continue to be uncomfortable; seek care from your veterinarian.
My pet has fleas. How do I get rid of them?
Fleas are a common problem that no one is immune too. If your pet has fleas,, the following steps are both recommended to ensure that the fleas are eliminated. Remember it may take several months to completely break the life cycle of the fleas.
- TREAT THE PET. Use a high quality, veterinarian approved flea control for every pet in your household. These are now available in topical and oral forms. There is also a short-acting (24hr) pill available (Capstar) that will kill all fleas within an hour. This pill is sometimes used in combination with a longer acting flea control to get more immediate relief and control. We can help you decide which product is best for you and your pets’ needs.
- TREAT THE ENVIRONMENT. Topical or oral flea control is not enough to eliminate fleas once they are established in your home and yard! Without this, your pet will still have fleas! In more severe cases, treating the environment is necessary. The house can be treated with pet-safe sprays. Be sure to also treat all carpeted areas including under furniture, beds, etc. Hardwood floors should be cleaned well and sprayed around the outer edges. Blankets and bedding should be washed. Foggers are not effective as the mist does not get under the furniture, not to mention the residue they leave on furniture, electronics, and other valuables. The house should be treated monthly for several months in a row to ensure that the life cycle of the fleas is broken. The yard is also extremely important to treat. We carry pet-safe products to treat both the house and the yard.
I am seeing little white worms in my pet’s stool. What should I do?
If you are seeing little white worms either in your pet’s stool or coming from their anus, or dried worm segments around the anus (looking like fried rice), they are most likely tapeworms. These worms are treatable with a prescription dewormer. Tapeworm infestations are caused by eating a flea. Therefore, flea prevention used at the same time is important to keep tapeworms from coming back. Please contact our office to arrange for a thorough treatment plan for your pet to both remove and prevent further tapeworms.
Why are vaccines required for animals that are boarding, grooming, or having surgery?
It is important that all animals be up-to-date on vaccines for the health of your pet, as well as the health and safety of other pets and people in our hospital. We work diligently to keep our hospital free of disease and to keep the animals from coming in contact with one another; however, some diseases are air-borne. To protect all of our clients’ pets and staff members, we require vaccines to be up-to-date. This includes a distemper/parvo combination vaccine, a rabies vaccine, and with long-term stay a bordetella (“kennel cough”) vaccine and a Canine Influenza (H3N2) vaccine. For cats, we require an upper respiratory vaccine and a rabies vaccine.
Why can’t you just prescribe medications without seeing my animal?
There are several reasons for the importance of our doctors examining your pet before deciding on a treatment plan.
- It is difficult to evaluate a medical situation from a phone call. There are numerous conditions that can have the same clinical signs. Therefore, it is vital to verify the cause of a problem before treating it. Although a problem may seem simple, for example an ear infection, unseen conditions, such as a ruptured eardrum, could change your pet’s treatment plan.
- We are required by law to have an established veterinary, client, patient relationship in order to prescribe medications.
- Some medications can have serious side effects under certain conditions, making a recent physical exam extremely important in the decision making process.
Why is blood work required to fill my medication?
Some medications require periodic blood work to ensure that the medication is not causing any undesired side effects and is at a proper dose level to treat your pet’s condition. Your pet’s well-being is our top priority and blood work helps us monitor your pet’s health when on long-term medication.
Why does my pet need a yearly heartworm test if I keep him or her on preventative?
There are numerous reasons why it is essential to your dog’s health to have a yearly heartworm test.
- No medication is 100% effective.
- Pets have been known to vomit doses or pocket them in the cheek without the owner being aware.
- Because of the serious damage this disease causes to a patient’s heart and lungs, early detection is critical to successful treatment and long-term health.
- Some heartworm preventions can cause a severe reaction if given to a heartworm positive dog.
- Most manufacturers of heartworm prevention guarantee their prevention and will even pay for treatment if a dog becomes positive under the following conditions: a) the product was purchased from your veterinarian, b) it was given monthly as prescribed without missed doses c) you have had your dog tested yearly for heartworm prevention.
- Our hospital uses a heartworm test known as a 4DX test. This test also screens your pet yearly for 3 tick borne diseases (Ehrlichia Canis, Anaplasmosis, and Lyme disease). We commonly see positive tests, as a result of the increased tick populations in our area.
Can I get my pet’s medications over-the-counter, at a pet store, or online?
We strongly recommend getting your pet’s medications from your veterinarian or a local pharmacy. We know the medications we carry come from reputable manufacturers and distributors, and are FDA approved. Drugs from pet stores or online are not always what they appear to be and are often purchased through foreign non- US approved sources. The CEO of America’s largest online pet pharmacy states in their annual report that they obtain some medication from outside channels (not FDA approved, U.S. manufactured channels, but other foreign sources). Some online pharmacies are being sued in multi-million dollar lawsuits for the following reasons: because of selling non-FDA approved products, for filling medications without a prescription.
If you do elect to get your medication from other sources, we will write a prescription for you to take to your pharmacy of choice. We do not interact directly with any internet pharmacies, rather we leave it up to owners to send in the prescription. We do not know where the drugs come from and do not want to be responsible for illegal or unethical medication being supplied to your pet. There is a small fee for prescriptions, as it takes time to calculate dosing, document information, and chart the prescription.
It is important to have a doctor monitor your pet’s condition and the medications that they are on. Therefore, regardless of where you get your medication, we recommend that we be involved in and aware of your pet’s medication protocol.
Please know that we would never use medication from an online pet pharmacy for our own pets, regardless of the situation.
My pet has diarrhea. What should I do?
Do not withhold water from a pet that has diarrhea unless they are also vomiting. If diarrhea persists for longer than 24hrs, we recommend you call us to schedule an exam. If you know your pet ate something outside their regular diet (i.e. people food, bones, a dead animal, plants, foreign objects) please contact us to help determine if it might be potentially toxic or dangerous. Most cases can be addressed with a physical exam and a stool exami nation (in a few cases lab work may be recommended).
My pet is vomiting (with or without diarrhea). What should I do?
If a pet vomits one time with no evidence of eating something outside their regular diet, there may not be a need for any action to be taken. If, however, you know your pet has eaten something unusual or potentially toxic (i.e. people food, bones, a dead animal, plants, foreign objects, toxic chemicals), contact our office for them to be seen.
If your pet vomits multiple times, we recommend calling to schedule an appointment for them as well. It is recommended you withhold food and water from a vomiting patient, provided you have them the same day for an exam. Be cautious when withholding food and water, longer than 12-24 hours as dehydration can fast become a serious concern. If you are in doubt, it is best to call our office for advice and a recommendation. Multiple vomiting episodes warrant an examination, lab work, and/or radiographs to determine the cause and secondary issues involved.