1. Do I need an appointment?
Appointments are preferred; however we always try our best to accommodate walk-ins.
2. What forms of payment do you accept?
We accept cash, personal checks, Visa, and MasterCard. We make every efffort to maintain fair and reasonable fees, consistent with the level of service provided. An estimate of proposed services and cost will be provided to you should your pet require hospitalization.
3. Why are vaccines important?
Vaccines keep your pet healthy and prevent serious diseases. Our veterinarians will make sure your pet avoids these serious diseases through annual wellness exams, vaccinations and parasite protection. For more detailed information about vaccines, please read the UC Davis Protocol for Canine and Feline Vaccination Guideline.
4. How often does my pet need a rabies vaccination?
The first rabies shot your pet receives is good for 1 year. Subsequent rabies vaccinations last 3 years. We will discuss with you the best option for your pet.
5. When should I have my pet spayed or neutered?
We prefer to do this surgery at six months of age, however it can be done in older animals as well.
6. When does my pet need blood work?
Annual bloodwork should be performed for all pets 7 years of age or older. This helps veterinarians detect disease early. In many situations early detection is essential for more effective treatment. The type of blood work will be determined specifically for each pet depending on his or her individual needs. This is convenient to do at the time of the annual heartworm test, but can be done at any time of year.
7. How many months should my pet be on Heartworm prevention medication?
It is recommended your pet be on heartworm prevention for the entire year. It is administered one time per month either by pill. Depending on the specific product you and your veterinarian choose for your pet, heartworm prevention medication can prevent other parasite infestations including internal parasites (intestinal parasites) and external parasites (fleas and ticks). Some of these parasites can be transferred to people! A simple blood test will get your pet started.
8. Why does my dog need a blood test before purchasing heartworm prevention?
Dogs can have a serious allergic reaction (vomiting, diarrhea, and/or death) if placed on heartworm prevention when they have heartworm disease. Even if they have been on heartworm prevention year round there is always the possibility that the product may have failed for various reasons (your pet spit out the pill, did not absorb the pill appropriately, topical medicine was not applied properly, forgot to administer medication on time, etc.) and the earlier we can treat you pet for heartworm disease the better the prognosis. ALL companies will guarantee their product providing you use the heartworm prevention year round and are performing yearly heartworm test. When starting heartworm prevention, or if your pet has not been on heartworm prevention year round, it is important that you perform a heartworm test 6 months after starting the prevention to rule out the pre-patent period. The pre-patent period refers to the time in which a dog has early developmental larvae which cannot be detected on a heartworm test, even though your dog is already harboring heartworm infection. If you do not do this it is possible the manufacturer of the products may not cover your pet’s treatment should they test positive for heartworm disease in the future.
9. My pet never goes outside so does it really need heartworm prevention?
Yes. Heartworm disease is transmitted through the bite of a mosquito and all mosquitoes get into houses.
10. Doesn’t the fecal sample test for heartworms?
No. Heartworm disease is a blood-borne disease that is transmitted through mosquitoes. A simple blood test will confirm whether or not you dog has heartworm disease.
11. How can I prevent fleas?
It is important to prevent fleas. Not only are they uncomfortable for your pet, fleas are also carriers of disease. There are many medications for the treatment and prevention of fleas. Although fleas are more prevalent in summer months, they can survive year round in a home.
12. Why does my pet need a dental cleaning and how often should this be done?
Dental disease involves more than just bad breath. Approximately 80% of patients that visit us on a daily basis need a professional teeth cleaning. When bacteria irritates the gum line, the gums become inflamed in the early phases of the disease causing gingivitis. Left untreated, this leads to periodontal disease which causes loss of the bone/support structure of the tooth and subsequent tooth loss. In addition, the bacteria is consistently released into the blood stream allowing for systemic infections which can cause organs, such as kidney, liver, and heart to function improperly. How often your pet needs his/her teeth cleaned varies with many factors. Your pet's teeth and mouth should be examined on a regular basis by a veterinarian. We will keep you informed specifically for your pet how often dental examinations and dental cleanings should be performed.
13. How do I know if my pet is in pain?
It can sometimes be difficult to tell! If you are not sure, but suspect your pet may be hurting or is just not acting right, call to have an examination. Some signs of pain are more obvious, such as limping. Some signs are more subtle and can include: not eating, a change in behavior or normal habits, being more tired and having less energy. Of course, these symptoms can also be caused by many problems!
14. What is kennel cough?
Canine Infectuous Tracheobronchitis (kennel cough) is a respiratory disease that is easily transmitted through the air. It is caused by several types of virus or bacteria. Both intranasal and injectable vaccines are available.
15. What is Leptospirosis?
Leptospirosis is a bacterial disease. It is spread by wildlife (raccoons, skunks, opossums, squirrels, rats) and domestic animals. It can be passed to people. Canine Leptospirosis has risen dramatically in recent years. Infected animals shed Leptospirosis bacteria in the urine. To prevent Leptospirosis in your dog, discourage your pet from drinking standing water and vaccinate yearly.
16. Why does my pet need to be admitted several hours before a surgical procedure?
In preparation for the procedure, your pet will receive:
This all needs to be complete BEFORE your pet's scheduled procedure time.
17. What should I bring for my pet's hospital stay?
You may bring a toy or special item for your pet. We will do our best to make sure belongings stay with your pet, however these items occasionally go missing in the laundry, so we cannot guarantee their return.
18. Is anesthesia safe for my pet?
We take all anesthetic cases very seriously. We thoroughly screen all of our patients to make sure there are no hidden complications by performing exams before every anesthesia and requiring minimum baseline lab testing based on species, breed and age. We utilize multimodal pain management, which reduces post-operative pain and reduces the depth of anesthesia we use, which increases safety. We use extensive monitoring of our patients under anesthesia. One of our medical team is assigned to your pet, from initial exam, through pre-anesthetic medications, anesthesia and post operatively. For your pet’s safety, we only perform one surgical procedure at a time. We use an objective pain scoring system in order to make sure that, if your pet is in pain, they immediately get the relief they need.
19. When my pet is having surgery, when should I expect an update on my pet?
On drop-off, we will discuss with you the best time to call us for an update. If there are any abnormalities on pre-anesthetic exam or blood work, you will receive a call prior to the procedure in case we need to change plans. Remember that no news is good news, and you will be contacted immediately should the need arise.
20. After surgery, when will my pet be able to go home?
Pets undergoing outpatient procedures will be ready to go by 5pm unless noted otherwise during the post-operative phone update.
21. Answers to common questions after your pet goes home after surgery:
Decreased appetite is very common during illness, or after surgery. There are several things you can try:
If the bandage becomes soiled, damp, chewed, or chewed off, please do not re-bandage at home. Duct tape and other items can trap moisture within the cast/bandage causing inflammation of the skin and tissues. In some cases, bandages inappropriately applied at home can even cut off the circulation to the foot. Call us immediately if you have concerns about your pet's bandage. Confine your pet to a single room or similar small area until you can call us and we can advise you to whether the bandage needs to be replaced. After a cast or splint is first removed, it may take 1-2 weeks for your pet to become accustomed to using the leg without the splint.
Difficulty having bowel movements can be expected after illness, anesthesia, or surgery. It may take a few days for the gastrointestinal system to return to normal function. Fortunately, it is not vital for your pet to pass a stool on a regular daily basis. Please call if your pet has not passed a stool within 72 hours of discharge from the hospital or appears to be straining to defecate.
Although vocalizing can indicate discomfort, it is usually not a sign of pain (instinctively most pets will not vocalize because in the wild, this would attract predators!). Often, pets vocalize due to the excitement or agitation that they feel on leaving the hospital and returning to their familiar home environment. If crying or whining is mild and intermittent, you may simply monitor the situation. If vocalization persists, please call us for advice. In some cases, a sedative may be prescribed or pain medication may be adjusted.
Diarrhea may be seen after hospitalization. This can be caused by change in diet but is more commonly caused by the stress of being away from home. Certain medications prescribed to your pet may also cause diarrhea. If no blood is noted in the diarrhea, feed your pet a bland diet for 2-3 days to help the digestive tract get back to normal. If the diarrhea is bloody, lasts longer than 12-24 hrs., or if your pet becomes lethargic or vomits, please contact us immediately. You can purchase a nutritionally complete bland food from us available in cans or kibble. Alternatively, you may feed long-cooking white rice (not minute rice) mixed with up to 10% low-sodium chicken broth, boiled chicken, chicken baby food or cooked turkey. Very lean, boiled hamburger meat can be substituted as well. Feed small meals every 4-6 hours. We do NOT recommend using any over-the-counter medication to treat the diarrhea. Please call us if there are any questions or problems.
We rely on you to keep the E-collar on your pet. While they may not enjoy it initially, they will enjoy even less having to come back to our office for a recheck visit to repair an incision that has been chewed open. They will need to wear the collar on for an even longer period if this happens! Most pets become accustomed to the collar within one or two days and they can eat, sleep, and drink with it on. We are counting on you: please keep the E-collar on your pet.
Implant or hardware is visible/exposed
Immediately confine your pet to a single room or a cage, call us, and come in so the doctor can recheck the surgery site.
Injury to surgical site
If for any reason you suspect that your pet has reinjured the surgical site, confine your pet and call us immediately for advice.
If you have given your pet all the pain medication prescribed and you feel your pet still has discomfort, please call and we will be happy to discuss refilling the pain medication.
Despite the medications we have prescribed, some pets will still show signs of pain at home, such as restlessness/inability to sleep, poor appetite, lameness or tenderness at the site of surgery. Please confine your pet to limit their activity. Then call us immediately so we can dispense or prescribe additional medication or therapies as necessary to keep your pet comfortable.
This is commonly seen after surgery. It may indicate soreness but is often due to anxiety. Please call and we can help determine whether additional pain medication is advised. We will be happy to recheck your pet for your peace of mind.
Seroma (fluid pocket)
In any healing surgical area, fluid produced during the healing process may accumulate and form a seroma (fluid pocket). Fortunately, this is not painful and does not impair the healing process. Eventually, the body will reabsorb the fluid so if the seroma is small, we typically will leave it alone. If it is large, we may remove the fluid with a needle and syringe or even place a drain. If you notice a seroma developing, please call. We may wish to recheck the area to ensure there is no infection.
This is a very common response to physiologic stress after surgery, injury, or any other health abnormality. The amount of shaking or trembling may be dramatic, but it does not imply severe pain, cold, or distress. It may involve the entire body, or just the area of surgery. It is most noticeable in the first 5 to 7 days post-operatively, and typically subsides in 1-2 weeks. If there are signs of pain such as restlessness, lack of appetite, or crying out, please call.
Some pets may urinate less after surgery or may seem to be unable to control urination. This is usually temporary and may be a side effect of medication, anesthesia drugs, or difficulty assuming "the position" to urinate. Please call if your pet has not produced urine for more than 12-24 hours. Many pets initially drink less after returning home, so expect less urination at first.
An episode or two of vomiting is occasionally seen after surgery or anesthesia. If the vomiting continues, blood is noted in the vomitus, or if your pet is not holding down any food or water, call to schedule a recheck of your pet by a veterinarian.