Frequently Asked Questions from our patients (and their owners!)
Why does my dog need a blood test for heartworms, if she is on the monthly heartworm preventive?
This is because we have found that even the most conscientious owners occasionally forget to give their dog its heartworm preventive at least one month out of the year.
Like so many diseases, heartworm disease carries the best prognosis if it is caught early and treated right away, so we recommend a yearly blood test.
Why does my dog need to be on a monthly heartworm preventive? He is never around other dogs.
Heartworms are carried by mosquitoes, and so your dog does not need to be exposed to other dogs in order to contract heartworm disease. Heartworm disease, though treatable, is much easier and less expensive to prevent than it is to treat.
The monthly heartworm preventives that we recommend are highly effective if given every month. In addition, they also help to prevent and control intestinal parasites.
HELP! I found fleas on my pet! What should I do?
First of all, don't panic. Fleas are a lot easier to deal with nowadays than they used to be. There are some key points that need to be followed, however:
ALL of your dogs and cats need to be treated, whether or not they are itchy from the fleas.
The correct product(s) need to be used. We stand behind the products that we carry in our clinic, which are: Frontline Plus, Advantage, Revolution (all are topical products to be applied monthly), and Comfortis (pill that is given monthly).
The products need to be used exactly as the directions show, and at the time interval that is recommended. For example, Frontline and Advantage must be applied directly to the skin in order to be effective. They will not work if they are just squirted on top of the fur.
Your pets need to be treated for several months in order to eliminate the flea infestation. Due to the flea life cycle, if you only treat your pets for a month or two, you will quickly have a reinfestation.
If you have a severe infestation, you may need to treat your house, whether you call a professional exterminator, or use a premise spray which we carry at our clinic. However, if you only treat your house, and do not treat all of your pets, you will not eliminate your flea problem.
It is a lot easier to prevent a flea infestation than to treat one! If you begin using one of our recommended flea products on your pet in the spring, and continue all the way until it gets cold and stays cold, you should not have a flea problem.
My flea product does not seem to be working, because I applied it a few weeks ago, and now I am seeing fleas on my pet again. Should I re-apply, or try a different product?
This is a typical thing that happens when you are dealing with a flea infestation. Because of the life cycle of the flea, it is not uncommon to see fleas on your pet a few weeks after you apply your product. As the eggs in the pet's environment hatch out and become adults, they will need to jump onto the pet to take a blood meal, and when they do this, they will die shortly. It is not necessary to re-apply any more frequently than every thirty days. Extensive studies have shown that there is not a significant resistance problem developing with the products that we recommend, so it is not necessary to switch products. It IS very important that you use one of our recommended products exactly as the manufacturer recommends, at the interval that is recommended, and that you treat all dogs and cats in the household. You also need to manage the areas where your pets spend time, washing bedding thoroughly in hot water, cleaning both indoor and outdoor environments thoroughly, and in some cases, using a premise spray.
Do you do billing/take payments?
No, we do not bill. We require payment in full at the time of the service. In addition to cash, checks, and credit cards, we offer a line of credit called "Care Credit" that you may apply for, to help with medical costs.
Why do I need to bring my puppy or kitten in for vaccinations every few weeks?
Young animals have antibodies from their mother circulating in their bloodstream.
Those "maternal antibodies" can interfere with a vaccine's ability to produce immunity in your puppy or kitten. The maternal antibodies effectively neutralize the vaccine and only allow it to give temporary immunity.
We need to vaccinate the puppy or kitten every few weeks, until the maternal antibodies have worn off and the vaccine can provide immunity for a long period of time.
What kinds of over the counter (OTC) medications can I give my pet?
Please do not give ANY OTC meds without checking with us first! Some are safe, and some are definitely NOT safe.
For example, acetominophen (Tylenol) and ibuprofen (Motrin) are not safe to give to pets. They are not able to metabolize these medications the same way as humans, and they can get very sick and even die from them.
Should I allow my cat to go outdoors?
That is a very personal decision. While many cats do enjoy spending time outside, and they are able to express their natural behaviors, going outside exposes your cat to many health risks.
Those include: being hit by a car, getting into fights with other cats (leading to abscesses), dog attacks, being exposed to infectious diseases, as well as numerous other injuries.
If you choose to let your cat outside, please make sure that it is spayed or neutered, up-to-date on vaccinations and flea control, and just be aware of the risks.
Why should I get my pet spayed (female) or neutered (male)?
In addition to the obvious reason of preventing overpopulation of dogs and cats, there are quite a few health benefits as well.
For example, if you have your female dog spayed (removing both ovaries and the uterus) before her first heat cycle, you will drastically reduce her risks of breast cancer by up to 90%. If you have her spayed at any point in her life, you will eliminate her risk of developing pyometra, which is a deadly infection of the uterus.
For males, neutering (removing the testicles), will prevent them from developing some types of cancerous tumors, as well as prostate problems and certain types of hernias.
What should I do if my pet gets sick after hours?
There are at least two Emergency Pet Clinics that are available during the night, as well as on weekends and holidays, to take care of emergencies. You will find their information in the "links" section of our web site, or if you call our office after hours, there is a recording that will give you their contact information.
If you are experiencing an emergency with your pet, you will receive the best possible care at night by taking it to the emergency clinic, where they are fully staffed all night long and able to do immediate diagnostics and monitoring, if necessary.
My dog had an ear infection a couple of years ago. She seems like she has it again. Can I just come and pick up the same medicine that was used the last time?
Not all ear infections are created equal! The ear problem that your dog has now, may not be the same type that she had last time. It is important that we do a physical exam, look in the ear, and probably look at some of the ear discharge under the microscope, in order to determine what is going on and treat your pet appropriately.