Frequently Asked Questions
1. How do I decide which veterinarian is right for my pet?
Finding a veterinarian to care for your beloved pets is an important task to ensure their health and well-being are cared for by the appropriate team of professionals. When searching for a vet, you may want to consider:
- Reviewing the website for the services provided
- Arranging an initial appointment without your pet to get a feel for the facility
- Inquire about the number of vets on staff and consider the hours the facility is open to determine whether appointments will accommodate your personal schedule
- Browse review sites such as Yelp and Google+ to see what other clients have said about their experiences
- Ask questions!
2. What questions should I ask when selecting a veterinarian?
- How many doctors are currently at your practice?
- What are your open hours?
- What are your emergency policies?
- Do you have an on-site pharmacy or will I have to go elsewhere for prescriptions?
- What do you charge for an office visit?
- What is your payment policy?
- How often do you recommend I bring my pet in?
- What types of services do you offer?
3. How often should my pet visit the veterinarian?
Regular wellness exams are one of the most important things you can do to keep your pet healthy. The American Animal Hospital Association (AAHA) recommends annual wellness exams at a minimum and as your pet ages, they suggest an increase in frequency of visits. We believe strongly in preventive care and have developed wellness protocols for every stage of your pet's life.
One of the most important reasons to bring your pet in on a regular basis is to monitor and treat conditions before they become untreatable. Since pets can't vocalize how they are feeling, illness or disease may be present before you are aware of symptoms. The benefit of early detection allows time for steps to be taken to manage or correct a problem before irreversible damage occurs. Because our pets age so much faster than we do, regular wellness exams are one of the best ways that you can help your pet live a long, healthy life.
4. What types of things will the veterinarian discuss with me during my first visit?
During a wellness exam, your veterinarian will start out by taking your pet's vital signs. He or she may also perform diagnostic tests such as blood work, urinalysis or intestinal parasite tests and vaccines may be administered (depending on your pet's life stage). Additionally, disease screenings (heartworm, kidney, liver, blood disorders, etc.) may be recommended, depending on the state of your pet's health.
5. Why is preventive care so important for my pet?
Preventive care is the most important factor in maintaining your pet's health. In addition to regular wellness exams, regular testing and other forms of early treatment can help your pet avoid many diseases and illnesses or catch these issues earlier.
Fleas and ticks can be very damaging to the human-animal bond, particularly when flea invasion gets out of control or when ticks hitch a ride with your pet. There are many safe and effective flea and tick control products available, and a veterinary team will help you choose the correct preventive regimen based on your pet’s risk factors and health status. Once a year, it is important to discuss with your veterinarian which external pest control products are ideal for your household, based upon the everyday life of your pet.
Intestinal parasites such as hookworms and roundworms can also be a troublesome concern, especially for very young animals. A fecal analysis is crucial for all new puppies and kittens. If your pet does have a parasite problem, your veterinarian can provide you with different medications and treatments to remedy the problem and steer your pet back to good health. Preventive care and prescription heartworm medication are key because of the damages presented by intestinal parasites to both pets and people.
Vaccinations are vital to the health and protection of your pet, and serve as a preventive measure to combating viral diseases like Parvovirus, Parainfluenza virus, Distemper, Lyme, Panleukopenia, Feline Leukemia Virus and Rabies. Proper and timely administration is paramount to ensure for optimal protection. Vaccinations are particularly important to young animals that have immature immune systems. Vaccinations generally begin at 6-8 weeks of age and are given every three to four weeks until the series is completed.
An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cureBenjamin Franklin
6. What information should I share with my veterinarian during my pet’s first visit?
Typically, your veterinarian will ask for a complete history of your pet's health including eating habits, exercise, unusual behavior, etc. It is important to disclose any diseases or conditions your pet may have. You should feel comfortable speaking with your veterinarian and sharing any concerns that you may have about your pet’s health and well-being. If you have any questions, the first visit is a great time to ask the veterinarian about anything pet related and will help you learn more about their experience and the clinic.
7. Why does my doctor recommend certain testing for my pet?
Illness is often unpredictable. Fortunately, diagnostic testing offers us a way to identify and treat "hidden" health problems early - and often early enough to save a pet's life. Regular diagnostic testing allows us to establish what is considered normal for your individual pet. The best way to determine whether your pet is sick is to compare test values to your pet's own baseline score when he or she is healthy.
Several tests are used to establish the health of your pet:
- A complete blood count can help identify signs of infection or anemia.
- A biochemical profile is another essential diagnostic tool that looks at how effectively organs such as the kidneys, liver and the pancreas, are functioning.
- A urinalysis is often necessary to help interpret blood test results, and it can help identify possible health problems.
- Fecal exams help us identify whether your dog or cat is harboring parasites that could affect your pet—and even your other family members.