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Frequently Asked Questions

My pet is getting older. Should I do anything different for him/her?

Depending upon your pets breed he/she can be considered “geriatric” between ages 4 and 7 years old. Bi-annual (twice a year) visits to your veterinarian can help identify underlying health issues early and potentially extend the quality and length of your older pet’s life. Keep in mind that pets age much more rapidly than humans, so bi-annual examinations for your pet are about equal to a visit to your own physician every 3 to 4 years. Establishing a normal “baseline” for your older pet during twice annual examinations will help your veterinarian more easily assess potential problems. “An ounce of prevention... Is worth a pound of cure.”

I have been told that my pet needs his teeth cleaned – Is it really necessary?

Periodontal disease is a common and serious problem in dogs and cats. Studies have shown that 80% of dogs and cats over the age of 3 years old have some degree of periodontal disease and that by providing proper dental health care we can extend the life of your pet by two to five years!

The prophylaxis (teeth cleaning) your veterinarian performs is the most effective means of treating tartar build up and preventing any further damage caused by periodontal disease. Some common signs of periodontal disease can include:

  • Sustained bad breath
  • Bleeding or inflamed gums
  • Loose, cracked, broken or missing teeth
  • Tartar (hard brown material on teeth)

Many pets, even pets with extreme cases of periodontal disease, will continue to eat and drink normally. However, left untreated, periodontal disease can cause serious health problems including heart disease, liver disease, and kidney failure. Routine brushing at home and dental prophylaxis performed by your veterinarian are recommended to help prevent serious health problems and to extend the quality of your pets’ life.

Does my pet really need an examination every year?

No. Your pet should be examined twice a year! The American Veterinary Medical Associate (AVMA) recommends bi-annual examinations for pets of all ages. Keep in mind that pets age much more rapidly than humans – bi annual examinations for your pet are about equal to a visit to your own physician every 3 to 4 years.

Twice a year examinations are very useful to your veterinarian. During these examinations your veterinarian is evaluating your pets’ over-all health status. For instance, your veterinarian is evaluating your pets’ general body condition, weight loss or increase, changes in your pets coat and skin, lumps and bumps that may have appeared and/or gotten smaller or larger. He is listening to your pet’s heart and lungs and checking lymph nodes. He is palpating your pet’s abdomen and performing an oral examination – to rule out periodontal disease and oral masses. He is evaluating your pet’s mobility – hips, back, legs and joints.

During these examinations the veterinarian will ask about any dietary changes and behavior changes. He will discuss with your pets risk of internal and external parasites and recommend appropriate prevention. He will recommend an appropriate vaccination schedule depending upon your pet’s lifestyle and risk factors.

All of this information is recorded in your pet’s medical file, creating a “normal baseline” for your pet. As your pet ages, this information becomes vital. This information helps the veterinarian to take quick notice of even slight changes in your pet’s health status which can alert your veterinarian to potential health problems before they become serious health issues.

What are heartworms? How do I protect my pet?

Heartworms are parasites that dogs and cats can get from mosquitoes. The mosquito bites them, depositing larvae that migrate to the heart where they become adults. Despite fur, mosquitoes can still bite dogs and cats and transmit the disease. To protect your pet it is important to have yearly heartworm testing and keep them on a monthly preventative at home. Usually it is a pill for dogs but cats can have a topical put on their skin. There is no treatment for cats, therefore prevention is imperative. We offer several different types of preventatives and will help you choose the best one for your pet's lifestyle.