Animal Wellness Center
Quality Care Preventative Care Professional Care Empowering Care
For your convenience, here are some answers to questions that are frequently asked of us. Please feel free to browse as your question may be answered below, but do not hesitate to call us any time during office hours if you have a question or concern not addressed here. Remember, NOTHING substitutes for answers straight from your veterinary clinic!
Q: How much will my visit cost?
A: The cost of your office visit will ultimately depend upon why your pet is visiting us. Generally speaking, if your pet is sick, our recommendation for his/her care will likely cost more than if your pet is visiting for his/her annual wellness exam and vaccinations. Our basic examination includes no less than a complete history, weight, and temperature by one of our skilled veterinary assistants as well as a complete physical examination by Dr. Anderson or LVT Brittany. Depending upon the results of your pet's physical exam, Dr. Anderson may recommend further diagnostic testing and/or medications (not included in the exam fee). Regardless of our recommendations for your pet, we will not do any further testing or treatment until we have gone over a written recommended care plan with you and received your permission to continue. This allows us to recommend the very best medical care that we possibly can for your pet and allows you, as the pet owner, to customize your pet's care plan to suit your financial needs. Please call our office for further information about pricing.
Q: Do you provide any sort of payment plans?
A: We are unable to provide payment plans through our clinic; All payment is due at the time of service. However, we realize that not everyone is able to afford to pay for their pet's care out of pocket. For this reason, our clinic participates in a program called Care Credit. This program works much like a credit card, but is for health care purposes only. Applying is a quick and simple process either online or on the phone (you may use our clinic phone to call if you do not have a cell phone) and, if you qualify, you will be immediately provided with an available dollar amount and an account number. Once you complete the process, simply provide your account/card number at the front desk to pay for services rendered that day. Your monthly payments will be made to the Care Credit company rather than to our clinic. For further questions about the Care Credit program please feel free to call our office or visit Care Credit's website here to apply.
Q: I just got a new dog/cat/puppy/kitten! When does he/she need to come to the vet?
A: Congratulations on the newest member of your family! Your pet should make a visit to the veterinarian within the first week that he/she moves in with you for an initial examination/check-up. Depending upon your new pet's history, he/she may also need to be vaccinated and/or tested for parasites such as intestinal worms and heartworms. Generally speaking, we begin vaccinating puppies and kittens at 8 weeks of age and give booster vaccinations at 12 and 16 weeks (these boosters are important to ensure your pup/kitten is fully protected!). During your pet's first visit, we will always recommend that he/she be tested for common intestinal parasites (such as hookworms, roundworms, and whipworms) and be given a dewormer to treat/prevent any possible infection. We also recommend that all new kittens and cats be tested for feline leukemia and feline immunodeficiency virus (feline AIDS). If your new pet is a pup over six months of age, we will also recommend performing a heartworm test (our heartworm tests also test for three different tick diseases!); ALL dogs in our region should be on monthly heartworm preventative regardless of whether they are indoor or outdoor and we require that your pet be tested annually for heartworms in order to put/keep him/her on preventative! Simply put, what your new dog/cat will need when visiting with us will vary, but it is definitely a good idea to have any new pet examined within the first week of ownership.
Q: My friend/cousin/mom/neighbor/the internet/etc. said that I should let my pet go through at least one heat cycle and/or have a litter before I have her spayed.
A: Fact or fiction? FICTION, all the way! This is one of the most common pieces of misinformation in the veterinary field, and we are here to set the record straight! We absolutely DO NOT recommend purposefully allowing your dog or cat to go into heat or get pregnant before spaying her. In fact, we recommend quite the opposite. Studies by the American Veterinary Medical Association have shown that dogs and cats who have EVEN JUST ONE heat cycle before they are spayed are 30% LESS protected against breast and other types of genitourinary cancers than those who are spayed before having their first heat cycle. Dogs and cats that have TWO cycles lose 90% of that protection, and those who have three or more cycles or have had puppies/kittens are 100% less protected against these types of cancers. Furthermore, dogs and cats that are not spayed are also at risk for ovarian and cervical cancers, as well as a deadly infection of the uterus called pyometra that is common in older unspayed females and is only treatable via a very expensive emergency surgery. If your dog/cat accidentally becomes pregnant and is for some reason unable to carry the babies, not only her health, but her life is at risk; If she carries the litter to term and is unable to deliver them, her life depends upon delivery via C-Section which is not only riskier for her and the babies, but also much costlier than a spay surgery would have been. These are only a FEW of the risks that an unspayed or late-spayed female faces, so PLEASE take your veterinarian's advice over that of social media, friends, family, etc. and HAVE HER SPAYED AT 6 MONTHS OF AGE.
Q: My pet lives indoors. Is flea and heartworm prevention really necessary? (I never see ANY fleas!)
A: We recommend that ALL pets be treated with monthly flea and heartworm prevention EVERY 30 DAYS regardless of whether they are indoor or outdoor. Even if you never see them, fleas and heartworm-carrying mosquitoes can and will come inside your house and bite your pet. This is still true during the winter months as well; Fleas are looking for a warm body on which to live so to them, your pet (especially your indoor pet) looks like a warm resort hotel with room service. It is also important to remember that cats clean and groom themselves often, meaning you are less likely to see fleas on them unless you look extremely closely.
Q: My dog doesn't like her dog food and hasn't eaten in two days! Can I share my food with her to get her to eat?
A: Simply put...no. It is not a good idea at any point (unless otherwise directed by your veterinarian) to feed your pet from the table. Dogs and cats require a different caloric intake and nutrient content than humans, and by sharing your food with your pet, it is possible to do much more harm than good. If your pet is not eating, especially if it has happened suddenly and he/she has never had a problem before, it could be an indication of a deeper medical issue and should be discussed with your vet immediately. If your pet is a picky eater, it is important to discuss different dietary options specific to canines with your vet before you feed him/her human food. While some vegetables and fruits (in moderation) are an ok snack for your pet, other foods such as meats, breads, dairy products, etc. have the potential to cause GI upset and even a dangerous condition called pancreatitis (and even if your pet has been eating off the table for years without a problem!). In short, if your pet is not eating for any reason, DO NOT feed them human food; Instead, call your veterinary clinic and report the problem, and you could potentially save yourself and your pet (and your wallet!) a lot of misery.
Q: Why does my dog/cat have such terrible breath?
A: There are many reasons that a dog and cat might have bad breath, but the most common cause of bad breath is underlying periodontal disease. Unlike humans, dogs and cats cannot brush their teeth each day on their own (wouldn't that be great?!), therefore their mouths are breeding grounds for plaque-causing bacteria. The "gold standard" of pet dental care is to brush your pet's teeth with a toothbrush and specialized pet toothpaste (never use human toothpaste!), but we understand that not all pets are receptive to brushing. For this reason, we recommend having your pet's teeth scaled and cleaned under general anesthesia as soon as their teeth and gums begin to show early signs of dental disease. Our dental procedures not only break away calculus from the surface of the tooth, but we also ensure that the roots of teeth are cleaned and disinfected, after which we hand-scale each individual tooth, polish the teeth, and apply a waxy sealant to the surface of the teeth to help keep bacteria from sticking to them after the procedure. In addition to the procedure itself, we always take a set of skull x-rays to get a better look at the roots of the teeth and surrounding tissues, allowing us to pinpoint any gum disease or abscesses that may not be able to be seen on the surface. Extractions may be performed as necessary for an additional fee (but as always, only with your permission). For more information about our dental procedures, please feel free to contact our office and/or schedule an appointment for a dental consult with our Veterinary Technician.