Dental-Health | Heartworm-Disease | Lyme-Disease | Payment-Policy | Surgery | Vaccine-Reactions

Frequently Asked Questions

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Dental Health

Why is it important to brush my pet’s teeth?

Brushing your pet’s teeth can be an important part in preventing dental disease.  Pet toothpaste comes in a variety of flavors and contains enzymes that along with the brushing motion, help break down plaque and tarter.

How do I brush my pet’s teeth?

There are a few important things to remember in order to successfully introduce a brushing routine to your pet.

  • Do it everyday.
  • Do it at the same time everyday.
  • Do it in the same place everyday.
  • Build up to complete brushing gradually; don’t spend more than 30 to 60 seconds initially.

Week 1

Pet the muzzle and pull back the lips to feel the gums with your fingers. You can let your pet keep their mouth closed and still slip your finger into the mouth. Remember to do this everyday at the same time and in the same place. Finish with a treat and lots of praise. If a special treat is given only at this time, many pets will learn to look forward to these sessions.

Week 2

Pet the muzzle with the toothbrush and let your pet taste the toothpaste. This week is the same procedure as week 1 but with the toothbrush and toothpaste added. You should not try to brush the teeth this week; it should still be a gradual “getting used to it” phase. For cats, you can “pet” the muzzle and allow your cat to rub up against the brush. Most dogs will like this step too since they will able to taste the toothpaste.

Week 3

Brush the teeth. Brush the top teeth first. Begin on either the left or right side. Start by moving the brush back and forth or in a circular motion along where the teeth and gums meet. Move the brush to the bottom teeth on the same side, and again, concentrate on where the teeth and gums meet. It is ok if your pet chews the toothbrush; in fact, that allows him/her to brush their own teeth. It is also ok if your pet licks the toothpaste. Human toothpastes should never be used. They can cause an upset stomach if swallowed.Repeat this process on the opposite side. Lastly, brush the incisors; start on the top and finish on the bottom. (These are the small teeth in the front of your pet’s mouth.) Remember that your pet may keep their mouth shut during the brushing, It is only necessary to brush the outsides of the teeth.

Remember that you want to make brushing your pet’s teeth a positive and rewarding experience. Every pet is different; some may take several weeks to become comfortable with step one. Others may only require a few days to become comfortable.

What are dental treats?

We carry a number of dental treats.

  • Enzy-Chews have an antiseptic and abrasive texture that works with your dog’s chewing action to reduce plaque and loosen tartar.
  • Hill’s T/D prescription dry food has large kibbles that are designed to stimulate your pet to chew. This chewing action helps to remove plaque and tartar. T/D can be used as a daily treat or given as your pet’s regular diet. Check with your veterinarian to see which option would be right for you.
  • Greenies, much like T/D, are designed to stimulate your pet to chew. The chewing action will help to remove the tarter.

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Heartworm Disease

How did my dog get heartworm disease?

The tiny immature heartworms are transmitted through the bite of a mosquito. At first, the parasites move into your dog’s tissues and eventually enter the heart. As the worms grow and reproduce, more immature worm are released into the blood stream. When other mosquitoes bite your dog, they pick up these new immature worms and transmit them to the next dog they bite.

Is heartworm disease serious?

Yes. Heartworms interfere with the normal flow of blood into the right side of the heart and to the vessels serving the lungs. If left untreated, canine heartworm disease can result in congestive failure of the heart and other organs, considerably reduce your dog’s quality of life, and ultimately lead to death.

What are the signs of heartworm disease?

At first, an infected dog may show few if any signs of infection; but, as the worms grow and mature, they cause increasing damage. Your pet may become listless, tire easily after exercise, develop an occasional or persistent cough, and become anemic. In advanced cases, dogs may suffer congestive heart failure. Complications may develop in the liver and kidneys and the blood supply to the lungs and other organs may become blocked.

What can be done to rid my dog of heartworms?

A complete physical and medical examination is necessary to determine the health status of your pet and the severity of the disease. Laboratory tests and x-rays may be ordered as part of a complete work up to tailor treatment to your dog’s condition. Heartworms can be treated with a medication given by a series of injections. Your dog will be monitored in the hospital overnight following these injections.

Can my dog be reinfected with heartworm disease after treatment?

Yes, unless you are using a monthly heartworm prevention. Heartworms are easily transmitted by mosquitoes and having them once does not immune your dog from getting them again.

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Lyme Disease

What are the symptoms of lyme disease?

Lyme disease has primarily two presentations. One form of the disease causes arthritis or trouble walking. Sometimes, this may be accompanied by a fever which can cause your pet to appear more tired or lethargic. You might also noticed a decreased appetite. The second form of symptoms can be more vague but generally relate to kidney function and may include an increase in drinking and urination. Any of these signs may occur alone or in combination and may develop gradually over time or quickly.

Is lyme disease contagious?

Lyme disease can only be caused by being directly bitten by a tick. It cannot be transmitted from one pet to another or from your dog to you. However, if you dog has tested positive, there are ticks in your environment that may bite you. Please consult your physician for more information. Cats do not seem to be effected by the bacteria which causes lyme disease.

My dog has lyme disease. What should I do now?

From the blood test performed in the exam room, we cannot determine when the exposure has occurred or how severe the infection may be. A C6 antigen test can be sent to an outside lab to measure the level of exposure. If the infection is over the level of 30, we recommend treating. The level can then be rechecked in 6 months to ensure the infection level has been reduced. If the level is low, treatment is not necessary unless the level increases at a later date. An increase can be the result of a re-infection from a tick or emergence of the disease. In an effort to treat before sickness occurs, we recommend retesting the C6 level each year.

How can I prevent future exposure?

We advise using topical tick medications such as Frontline or Vectra monthly to reduce future exposure. Although these products do not guarantee 100% prevention, they reduce the likelihood of attached ticks and therefore reduce the probability of infection. Since ticks have to be attached to the skin in order to deliver the bacteria, frequent brushing or combing can also help. Lastly, there is a vaccine available that may help your pet to fight off future infection. Again, although it is not guaranteed to prevent infection and is only 80-85% effective, it can strengthen your pet’s immune system against the disease-causing bacteria.

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Payment Policy

What is your payment policy?

We require payment in full at the time of check out. In order to help you plan financially, we provide estimates for all scheduled surgeries two to three weeks in advance. If you would like an estimate for you pet’s yearly physical exam and vaccines or for a sick visit, please call our office.

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What do I need to know to prepare my pet, and myself, for surgery?

Pre-anesthetic bloodwork

We require that all patients undergoing an anesthetic procedure have pre-anesthetic bloodwork run. The bloodwork helps the doctor to ensure that your pet is a good candidate for anesthesia. Your veterinarian may draw the blood during an office visit if you are arranging to have a procedure done within the next few days, or you may come for a technician appointment on the day prior to surgery to have it drawn. Blood can also be drawn on the morning of surgery for those clients that are not able to come in before hand. ”Pre-anestheitc bloodwork is considered valid for three months.

NPO (no food after midnight on the night prior to surgery)

Patients that will be undergoing an anesthetic procedure need to have food withheld after midnight on the night prior to surgery. Nausea can occur in anesthetized patients and a stomach filled with food can result in vomiting. If an animal vomits food while under anesthesia, the risk of aspiration is a concern. By eliminating all food, we greatly minimize this risk.

Drop off time

Surgery patients are admitted from 7:30 – 8:30 a.m. on the day of their scheduled procedure. You will meet the surgery technician at this time and be able to ask any last minute questions you might have.

What will happen while my pet is in the hospital?

If your pet has not yet had pre-anesthetic blood work run, the technicians will draw the blood and run it before the doctor arrives. When the doctor arrives, your pet will receive a physical exam and be given a premed injection. This injection will allow him/her to relax and rest comfortably until it is time for surgery.

While the doctor is performing the procedure, the surgery technician will stay by your pet’s side. She will be monitoring his/her heart rate, respiration rate, temperature, and blood pressure.

When the procedure is complete, your pet will wake up in the treatment room. He/she will be wrapped in warm blankets and the technicians and doctor will be keep an eye out to make sure he/she remains comfortable.

How will I know when my pet’s surgery is finished?

When your pet’s procedure is complete, the surgery technician will call to let you know.

What time will I be able to pick up my pet?

Surgery patients are typically discharged in the late afternoon and early evening. When your pet is awake, the surgery technician will call to set up a discharge time.

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Vaccine Reactions

How do I know if my pet is having a vaccine reaction?

Your pet may be lethargic, sore, or have a decreased appetite for the first 24 hours after receiving vaccines. These symptoms are not uncommon and are expected to go away within 1 to 2 days after a vaccine. If you think your pet is excessively painful, we encourage you to call our office so that we may make a recommendation to help make your pet be more comfortable.

Some patients will experience more severe reactions to a vaccine. Animals that are having true vaccine reactions typically show signs within the first 30 minutes of receiving a vaccine. Signs to watch for would include repeated vomitting, diarrhea, extreme lethargy, swelling of the face, and hives. If your pet experiences any of these symptoms, they should return to the hospital immediately for treatment.