Frequently Asked Questions
When do I need to bring my new puppy/kitten in for its first visit?
Our vaccination protocol for puppies and kittens begins between 6 and 8 weeks of age. Even if the first vaccination was given by a breeder or rescue group, it is a good idea to bring your new pet in within a week or so of bringing them home to have a physical exam and discuss preventative care. The first exam is important to determine if there are any genetic conditions, such as luxating patella or heart murmurs, and to detect the presence of parasites, such as ear mites or intestinal parasites. If you have any questions about when the next vaccine will be due, please call and ask.
Why do we recommend fecal exams?
The Center for Disease Control (CDC) recommends having your dog or cat’s fecal sample checked for parasites at least every 6 months due to the potential human risk associated with certain intestinal parasites that they may carry. It is also important to have a fecal sample checked if your pet is having diarrhea or soft stools to determine if a parasite may be causing it.
Do indoor cats need routine veterinary care or vaccines?
Yes. It is important that indoor cats be examined by a veterinarian at least once a year. The annual wellness exam allows your veterinarian to pick up on changes in your cat’s health that may go unnoticed at home. Many diseases in cats can be more effectively treated when they are caught early. Vaccines are still important in indoor cats for several reasons. Indoor cats can be exposed to rabies by bats that get into the home. Indoor cats have also been known to get out from time to time and come in contact to other cats that may be harboring disease.
Why does my dog need a heartworm test every year if he/she is on year-round heartworm preventative?
We recommend annual heartworm testing even if a dog is on year round monthly preventative because even though you are giving the preventative monthly, it is still possible for your dog to vomit the medication without your knowledge and potentially contract heartworm disease. The heartworm test that we perform at our clinic is a combination blood test (called a HELA or 4DX test) that checks for heartworm disease as well as antibodies to several common tick borne diseases – Lyme disease, Anaplasmosis, and Ehrlichiosis. Even if your dog is on monthly heartworm preventative and you are less concerned that he or she could’ve contracted heartworm disease, it is still important to screen for the tick-borne diseases annually.
Why does my pet need bloodwork in order to get his medications refilled?
Many prescription medications have the potential to affect your pet’s internal organs and/or bone marrow. Periodic bloodwork monitoring is an important way that we can catch these changes before your pet begins to show symptoms or suffer permanent organ damage. Certain medications require additional blood tests to check the level of these medications in your pet's system so that we can keep them at a safe and effective dose.
How often will my pet need professional dental cleanings?
We will examine your pet’s teeth during each wellness exam and will let you know if a dental cleaning is recommended. Just like people, individual pets develop tartar and oral disease at different rates. Many large dogs can go for one to three years without a professional cleaning. However, smaller breeds and some cats may need a professional cleaning every 6-12 months. By brushing your pet’s teeth at home daily you may minimize how often your pet will need his or her teeth professionally cleaned
What is the best food to feed my pet?
There is no best diet, despite all the marketing claims. Every pet is unique and the goal is to find the best diet for your pet. Expense does not necessarily equal quality. There are some inexpensive diets that have years of rigorous scientific testing behind them and some very expensive diets lacking vital nutrients. Larger companies generally have more stringent quality control protocols, employ nutritionists and food scientists, and strive to increase nutrition knowledge through research. Smaller manufacturers may have less control over ingredient quality, perform less laboratory testing and are less likely to employ full or part time veterinary nutritionists.
Consumers should look for foods made by reputable companies with long histories of producing quality diets. Diets that have an Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO) statement on the label saying that diets have undergone animal feeding trials for the appropriate life stage are generally preferable diets that meet the nutritional requirements for that life stage. Advertisements and websites can contain unverifiable claims, perpetuate nutrition myths, or promote their products by bashing other manufacturers' products. Most importantly, the diet you select for your pet should be the one they do well on.
How much do you charge for exams or procedures and what are the payment options?
You can call us for an estimate for routine procedures such as spay and neuter procedures, or routine exams. If it is a more complicated procedure, we can try and put together an estimate for you. If the animal is sick you can come in for a routine exam and we can discuss a treatment plan and give you an estimate at that time. We do require payment in full for all services and products at the time of service. We accept cash, check, Mastercard, Visa, and Discover. We also accept Care Credit, which is another type of credit card that you can use for more costly procedures; the cost is divided over monthly payments and there is no interest charged to you.