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Pet Care FAQ's

Q. When is the best time to spay/neuter my puppy?
Since neutering eliminates the instinctual need for urine marking in males and pregnancy in females, it is often advisable to spay (female) or neuter (male) a puppy before they reach sexual maturity at six months of age.  Female dogs & cats will experience their first heat cycle after 6 months of age, and the risks of developing malignant breast cancer (at an older age) and a life-threatening uterine infection (called pyometra) increase after the first heat cycle.

Q. What is the process for having my pet spayed or neutered?
Spaying or neutering can be performed at approximately six months of age. Your pet is given an exam prior to undergoing surgery to help determine if they are healthy enough for the surgical procedure. Current vaccinations are required. Also a pre-anesthetic blood screen is often recommended prior to undergoing anesthesia and surgery. Post-surgery, we work with you and your pet on pain management and then perform a post-op final exam.

Q. How often does my pet need to have their teeth cleaned? Is there anything I should be doing at home?
Dental care is recommended as an integral part of your pet’s routine wellness and preventative care protocol. Just like humans, pets develop tartar and oral disease. While some larger dogs can go longer between cleanings, smaller breeds generally need a professional cleaning once or twice annually. By diligently brushing your pet’s teeth at home, you may be able to minimize how often your pet will need professionally cleaned teeth. At the dental visit, please ask us to demonstrate and provide you with information for at-home dental maintenance and care.

Q. How often do you recommend performing blood work on my pets?
In addition to having an annual physical exam, we also recommend performing a yearly blood work test on your pet. This exam checks your pet's kidneys, liver, blood sugar and blood protein levels. It is very easy to administer these blood tests at the same time we are performing the heartworm test. For our senior-aged pets we may recommend some additional blood tests.

Q. Why does my dog get ear infections, and what can I do about it?
Canine ear infections are typically due to bacterial or yeast infections.  Ear mites, growing hair, trapped water, and a tumor or foreign body in the ear canal can lead to an overgrowth of yeast or bacteria.  Infections can also develop as a result of allergies, hypothyroidism, or an excessive amount of ear wax.  A dog with an ear infection will typically scratch their ear and shake their head, and an owner can observe redness and bad odor.  Ear infections can be treated by professional deep cleaning of the ear canal and the application of a topical or oral medication.

Q. What are the most common cat diseases?
Cats are particularly prone to upper respiratory infections ("URI") that invade a cat's nose, throat and sinuses.  Feline calcivirus and feline herpes are the most contagious forms of URIs. In multi-cat homes, URIs are typically passed by shared food or water dishes, grooming, or sneezing.  Another common feline problem is cystitis (bladder inflammation) and sometimes urinary tract obstruction (especially in male cats).  There are many factors (e.g. diet, insufficient water intake, environmental stress, infection) that can contribute to lower urinary tract disease.  In older cats, kidney insufficiency or failure and hyperthyroidism can commonly develop.  Inflammatory bowel disease and pancreatitis can be seen in cats of any age and sometimes can contribute to development of intestinal cancer.

Q. What is heartworm disease and how can I prevent it?
Heartworm disease is a serious and potentially fatal disease that can affect both dogs and cats.  It is caused by parasitic worms living in the arteries of the lungs and occasionally the right side of the heart.  Dogs and cats of any age are susceptible to the disease. Heartworm disease is easily preventable but once the animal has the disease it is difficult, if not impossible to cure, and respiratory/ cardiac damage can be permanent.

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