Veterinary FAQ

There’s No Such Thing As A Dumb Question!

Ever heard the phrase? Well it’s true! Especially when it comes to our pets! We’re all guilty of turning to “Dr. Google” for answers, but there is so much misinformation out there anymore that it’s hard to tell fact from fiction. Of course the very best thing to do if you ever have a concern is to bring your pet in for an exam with one of our wonderful doctors. If you just have a general question, feel free to call and ask! But in hopes to expedite that process for you, we’ve put our heads together and compiled a list of our most frequently asked questions along with their answers. Keep reading and see if your question(s) made the list!

Why does my dog need annual heartworm testing, even if they’re on year-round prevention?

This is a great question, and we hear it a lot. Even though heartworm preventatives are extremely effective, like most things in life, nothing is ever going to be 100% perfect. And we humans aren’t perfect either. I’ll be the first to admit that my dog has missed doses (I know, shame on me!), but sometimes life gets in the way. Hypothetically, it’s also possible that the dog could get his monthly dose, but then go outside and throw it up without us knowing. The point is, Heartworm disease is easy to prevent, but it’s much harder to treat. So we need to take that extra step every year to make sure that your dog stays as healthy and heartworm-free as possible. As an added note: The company that makes Heartgard guarantees their product. So, if your dog were to come up positive on their test, they will cover the cost of treatment, but only if there is documentation of an annual heartworm test and a 12-month supply of Heartgard.

Why does my dog need to be on Heartworm prevention if they never go outside?

Heartworm disease is transmitted by mosquitos, which we all know can get inside our house. Especially during the monsoon season. All it takes is one infected mosquito to get inside and bite the dog. These Blogs HERE and HERE will explain in more detail why Heartworm prevention is so important.

Where and how do you draw blood from my pet?

The where and how depends greatly on the cooperation of your dog or cat. In the best circumstances, one technician will hold the pet still while another technician draws the blood from a vein in the arm (cephalic vein) or in the neck (jugular vein). The procedure itself takes no more than a minute, and is no more painful than us getting blood taken. There are some not-so ideal circumstances, however, where the pet gives us a hearty “no thanks” to having their blood drawn and then we must take a different approach. Usually we can get away with it by offering cheese-on-a-stick for distraction, but if the pet is too stressed, or if we are concerned for pet/human safety we will place a muzzle to be safe. In very rare cases, we will lightly sedate them to get a blood sample.

Why is my dog scooting his rear end across the floor?

A dog will do this for a few different reasons. They may need their anal glands expressed, have intestinal parasites, or allergies which cause an itch. Probably nine times out of ten, the anal glands are the culprit. Dogs and cats have scent glands at the 4 and 8 o’clock position just inside their anus. Normally when they pass a stool the material inside the glands is pushed out on its own. However if for some reason this doesn’t happen, the anal glands will get full and uncomfortable. The animal scoots their rear across the carpet in hopes to relieve the pressure. If left untreated, the anal glands can get impacted or even rupture, ouch! So instead of getting angry with the little guy for dragging across your new white rug, bring him in for a “butt squeeze” (as we like to call it) and just be glad that humans don’t have anal glands!

My dog was diagnosed with Valley Fever. Can it be spread to my family or other pets?

In 99.9% of cases, the answer is no. Valley Fever is a fungal spore that settles in the dirt until it’s brought into the air by wind or construction and subsequently inhaled. It can’t be transmitted (spread) from patient to patient. The only exception to this is through a very rare form of the disease where it causes open wounds in the skin.

Why does my pet get taken into the back for nail trims, blood draws, or other minor procedures?

In our treatment area in back we have the best setup of lighting and accessories to complete any task. For example if a toe nail is trimmed short and we need to apply some powder to the nail it is readily available. This gives us the best opportunity to work quickly and efficiently. In addition, we feel strongly that our clients are some of the best, most dedicated and loving pet owners in the whole city. Their pets have never associated them with anything uncomfortable, painful, or scary, and we want to keep it that way! Of course we want them to love us too, but in most cases it’s best to let us be the “bad guys”. Then they can return into the exam room and get a handful of liver treats!

When is my puppy safe to go on walks or be exposed to other dogs?

A puppy should definitely avoid any highly dog-populated areas until they have completed a full set of parvo/distemper vaccines (aka puppy shots). These are repeated every 3-4 weeks starting at about 8 weeks and ending at 16-18 weeks of age. Parvovirus is the biggest threat, as it’s the most prevalent in this area and particularly contagious and devastating. If you’re concerned that the puppy will miss socialization during his formative years, consider enrolling him in a puppy class! A good class will check to make sure that each puppy is as current as they can be on shots, and has had either a deworming or a negative fecal sample (to check for parasites). It’s a great way to socialize puppy and teach them some basic obedience along the way, but also a great excuse for you to get to cuddle some more puppies!

Also, we always tell people that you can introduce your pup to your family and friends’ dogs, as long as you know they’ve been vaccinated.

Why can’t my dog or cat get their teeth cleaned while they’re awake?

Most of our patients are awesome and will let us do just about anything to them, but it’s just not possible to perform a good quality dentistry with them awake. Vis this blog HERE for information on anesthesia-free dental cleanings is a really good example of how it can go bad. A dentistry for pets is very similar to a dentistry for us; lots of water, sharp instruments, and large x-ray plates that have to be positioned in specific ways to get radiographs of the teeth. In order to do it safely, and do it well, they have to be asleep. Anyway, I know a lot of people who would love to be put under for their dental procedures!

Why can’t you use a forehead or ear thermometer to take my pet’s temperature?

I know, we get it! Taking rectal temperatures is crappy. We’d love for someone to invent an easier and just as accurate way of reading a dog’s core temperature. The forehead thermometer can only read on bare skin, so that one is out. The ear one only works if you’re able to shine the light onto the ear drum, but dogs and cats ears canals are shaped like an L. So unless the light were able to go down the canal, make a hard right turn, and then shine into the drum, all while the dog is wriggling around, then it’s out too. For the majority of our patients the small rectal quick read thermometer is a very minor issue and it gives us valuable insight into their overall health status.

At what age should my puppy or kitten be neutered/spayed?

Generally between 6 months to 1 year (1 1⁄2 years for male dogs) is the ideal time. This is quite a bit later than some places still recommend. We absolutely recommend every dog and cat be neutered or spayed to reduce the chances of mammary tumors, ovarian or testicular cancer, unwanted pregnancies, and uterine infections. Animals that have been altered statistically have longer, healthier lives. However, we also acknowledge that the reproductive organs provide the body with much more than just the ability to reproduce. They release hormones that help the body mature and lay down calcium for their bones. Right around 6-12 months is the time when dogs reach full maturity. This BLOG with explain in more detail. One exception to this rule would be in the case that a male dog starts to inappropriately urinate (mark) inside the house, or if they were showing signs of territorial aggression. In most cases neutering the dog earlier will take away these testosterone-driven behaviors.

Thanks for reading our FAQ’s! Let us know if you have any other burning questions you’d like us to answer.

What's Next

  • 1

    Call us or schedule an appointment online.

  • 2

    Meet with a doctor for an initial exam.

  • 3

    Put a plan together for your pet.