FAQ's

Why is it bad to feed my pet table scraps?

This is one of the most common causes behind gastrointestinal upset in dogs and cats. When our clients come in with pets suffering from gastrointestinal complaints more often than not table scraps are to blame. To safeguard the health of your pet we seriously recommend never feeding your animals table scraps. We particularly warn clients against feeding their animals the following:

Chocolate:  Never purposely feed dogs chocolate and take steps to ensure they cannot access it accidentally. Chocolate contains theobromine, a chemical poisonous to dogs. It only takes one pound of milk chocolate to cause poisoning in a 20 pound dog. Call our hospital immediately if your dog accidentally ingests chocolate.

Real Bones: Despite popular imagery, real bones are incredibly dangerous to dogs. Even beef bones can splinter and cause perforations of the intestine, leading to impaction, surgery, and hospitalization. When you dispose of bones make sure that dogs cannot get into the garbage.

Fatty Foods: Fatty foods can lead to gastric upset and pancreatic problems. Avoid giving your dogs fatty foods like steak trimmings, chicken skins, and any foods high in fats or oils.

Spicy Foods: Spicy foods can also cause gastric upset.

Pork: Pork can cause vomiting in most dogs although some dogs can tolerate pigs ears.
 

Why should I purchase monthly parasite prevention medications such as flea/tick and/or heartworm prevention from Pine Valley Animal Hospital rather than other locations?

We only sell products that we are confident will produce the results expected if used as recommended. Furthermore, only at a veternary facility are the medications garunteed by the manufacturer. Pine Valley frequently offers special discounts on flea/tick and/or heartworm medication that you will not find online. Your veternarian has vast knowledge regarding products that will be appropriate for your pet. All products that come from our animal hospital arrive directly from the manufacturer so you do not have to be concerned about adulterated products from foreign countries.

Why should I visit Pine Valley Animal Hospital rather than getting cheap shots from a feed store or other locations?

Unlike feed stores or other locations, our hospital is governed by specific federal policies regarding the shipping, handling, and storage of vaccines. These regulations ensure the efficacy and safety of our vaccinations. Our veterinarians and technicians are highly-trained professionals; feed stores and other locations cannot provide the same level of service. Our facility has a full-service pharmacy, top of the line diagnostic equipment including x-rays and ultrasounds, as well as a complete laboratory. When our doctors are presented with unusual cases, they discuss treatment options together in order to arrive at the most accurate diagnosis and treatment. Pine Valley is a family practice that wants to develop a long-term relationships with clients and their pets- we are not merely interested in providing you with one-time shots.

Why does Pine Valley Animal Hospital suggest that basic blood work be performed on all pets prior to anesthetic and/or surgical/dental procedures?

Pets, whether young or old, can have issues with internal organs that cannot always be discovered during normal physical examinations. Purebred cats and dogs at a young age can suffer from congenital problems affecting the heart, liver and kidneys. When pets progress in age, their health and immune system declines and there can be multiple organ problems.

The anesthetics that we use are incredibly safe for your pets and pose extremely minimal risks. However, if your pet has undiscovered medical issues surgical complications can occur. Pre-anesthetic bloodwork can notify our veterinarians of any potential complications and we can respond appropriately. The information acquired from bloodwork may result in our veterinarians adjusting the anesthetic regimen, changing medications, or forgoing the procedure altogether. Bloodwork minimizes risk to your pets and provides you with peace of mind.

Why do we have to get the bordetella vaccine (also known as kennel cough) every six months? Other vaccines are given every three years or annually.

At the time of this writing (August 2012) we have been seeing an increasing number of dogs with bordetella (kennel cough). Frequenting dog parks, boarding, dropping your dogs off at day care facilities, or any sort of interaction with other dogs can easily lead to bordetella infections. The manufacturers recommend that you vaccinate your dogs every six months to stimulate the immune system and thereby prevent bordetella.

Why does my pet need to be tested annually for heartworms? Why is this necessary when I give my pet heartworm preventative medication every month?

Mosquitos can begin biting your pet as soon as they are born, so we recommend that you begin treating your pet at 6-8 weeks of age. Heartworms are one of the easiest conditions to prevent against. Frequent testing for heartworms provides you with peace of mind and ensures that your pet is not infected. The heartworm test will help us to diagnose and treat infections before they progress and cause damage to the heart and lungs. Without testing, your pet may have a heartworm infection for years without presenting visible symptoms or clinical signs. Furthermore, no preventative is completely effective as pets may vomit up the medication unknown to the owner or the owner may forget to give the medication to the pets in a timely matter. Heartworm preventative medications ONLY work as long as they are given to your pet. If you stop giving your pet the medication, skip a dose, or fail to give your pet the medication on the same day each month, your pet has a much higher risk of infestation.

Why do we have to booster vaccines?

For the exact same reason infants and children require them. When dogs and cats are growing their immune systems are growing as well and not fully functional. Each vaccine stimulates the immense system further, but the immune system can only respond to a certain extent. Depending on each circumstance, your pet may be fully immunized after one vaccination or not at all after three.

The timing of vaccinations is important because peak immune response is at 3 to 4 weeks. Therefore, we space our vaccinations 3-4 weeks apart. At this time, another vaccine builds upon the previous one, resulting in stronger immunities. If you wait longer to vaccinate your pet then recommended the immune response will not be as strong. The timing of vaccines is incredibly important for the long-term health of your pets. It is not the number of vaccines that your pet gets but the timing of them that is important. The reason for this has to do with maternal antibodies. We recommend carrying out vaccinations through 16-20 weeks of age. After your pet has undergone the booster series, the pet should get booster vaccines every 6-12 months.

My pet has been vomiting and having diarrhea for several days. Should I be concerned? Should my pet be seen today or should I wait?

Bring in your pet immediately and do not wait any longer. Contact us and schedule an appointment as soon as possible after observing vomiting and diarrhea. A one time occurrence of one symptom (one incident of diarrhea without vomiting or one incident of vomiting without diarrhea) might not indicate a serious problem. If you observe both symptoms or persistent symptoms across several days please bring in your pet as soon as possible. Avoid feeding your pet any table scraps; this may prevent any incidents of vomiting or diarrhea.

When should my puppy or kitten be vaccinated for the first time?

Pine Valley Animal Hospital recommends beginning vaccinations at 6-8 weeks of age and the continuing of booster vaccinations until the pet has reached 16-18 weeks of age. The puppy/kitten's maternal antibodies which provide immunities decrease after 6 weeks of age and by the 16th week, all of the maternal antibodies are no longer effective. Boostering vaccines every 3-4 weeks helps your pet develop a stronger immunity against diseases. Please also see the question regarding booster vaccinations for further information.

How soon can I give flea control products to my new puppy or kitten?

This depends on which medication you select. We sell the following flea control products: Comfortis, Advantage Multi, Avantix, Frontline, and Trifexis. These medications are combination products that kill internal parasites and prevent heartworm infestation. Call us or speak to your veterinarian about information on these various medications. We do not recommend other products such as generic or store-brand medications. Some of these are ineffective, toxic to kittens, and/or toxic to children.

Do you have a payment plan? If so, what forms of payment do you accept?

We do not have any payment plans available. We accept all major credit cards, debit cards, checks, cash, money orders, and traveler's checks. There is a $30 fee for returned checks.

We also offer a form of credit called Care Credit. For information on Care Credit please see the website at www.carecredit.com/

You can apply for Care Credit right now at www.carecredit.com/apply/

How frequently should blood work be performed in a seemingly healthy pet?

Even though your pet may appear to be healthy based on visible appearance and activity, many clinical signs do not develop until the disease has progressed. We therefore recommend yearly blood tests, particularly in pets 7 years or older. Animals sometimes instinctual try to hide illness so a proactive stance toward your pets' health is recommended. Pets of any age can have issues with their internal organs. Young purebread cats and dogs usually have congenital liver, kidney and heart problems. As pets age, their immune system declines and multiple organ problems can occur. For example, if bloodwork indicates organ dysfunction before overt clinical signs then usually our veterinarians can change dietary requirements or medications needed to prevent complete failure of those organs.

Neutering your Pet

The surgical procedure for surgically sterilizing a pet is known as Castration. The testicles are removed because they are the primary source of male hormones such as testosterone which cause sexual interest, aggression, and urine spraying. Neutering your pet provides significant advantages.

  • Decreases prostatis (inflammation of the prostate gland) and risk of prostate cancer. Both conditions can be fatal.
  • Decreases wandering (desire to roam the neighborhood). This decreases encounters with potentially hostile animals and humans as well as the risk of your pet being hit by an automobile.
  • Decreases aggression, mainly towards male dogs but also towards people. If your pet does not have a preexisting aggression problem, the surgery will not make your pet passive. You will not see any negative affects on the personality of your pet whatsoever.
  • Decreases urine marking and spraying. This will help safeguard your carpet, furniture, and other possessions and help your house to smell and look cleaner.
  • Prevents unwanted pregnancies and litters. Neutering contributes to a decrease in feral animal populations and prevents our animal shelters from euthanizing unwanted pets.
  • In cats, neutering prevents infection with FIV (Feline Immunodeficiency Virus). There is NO vaccine for FIV. This fatal disease is spread by biting and scratching and is most common among male outdoor cats.

Facts about neutering:

  • Neutering does not cause your pet to become fat and lazy. This is a result of overfeeding, lack of exercise, and normal aging changes.
  • Neutering does not alter the personality of your pet. Personality in pets does not fully develop until 1-2 years of age. Aggressive and/or vicious behavior are not a result of surgery but will help decrease unwanted behaviors. Neutering is one method used to treat aggression in pets.
  • Surgical risk to your pet is very minimal due to modern anesthetics, the expertise of our veterinarians, and new techniques, but there is always some small risk when an anesthetic is used. Pine Valley Animal Hospital only uses the safest anesthetics on the market today.
  • The optimal time to neuter a pet is at 5-6 months of age.
  • Surgery is performed painlessly while your pet is under general anesthesia. Post-surgical pain is minimal and most pets return home on the day of the surgery.

 

We perform our surgery in an operating room with the most modern surgical instruments, oxygen and ventilation equipment, monitors, and emergency equipment. All surgery is performed using sterile gloves and sterile surgical instruments. We never reuse instruments without sterilization in a steam autoclave.

After surgery, your pet is monitored by our staff until fully awake and stable. We will never discharge your pet from the hospital until we are certain that your pet has fully recovered from the anesthesia. Upon discharge, very little care is required at home. Most pets return on the same day of the surgery. Rechecks and suture removal 10 days after the surgery is included in the initial price of the procedure. Typically male dogs and cats do not need to have sutures removed as we use absorbable sutures. This procedure is a one-time procedure that you should take as seriously as we do. Feel free to tour our facilities and to ask any questions about this procedure.


Important Considerations Before and After Surgery:

  • Your pet should not have any intestinal parasites (worms) and all vaccinations need to be current prior to surgery.
  • Do not feed your pet past 8pm the evening before surgery and pick up water at midnight.
  • Restrict your pet from activity for a week following the surgery.
  • Do not bathe your pet for 10 days. Sutures are usually absorbable and do not need to be removed.
  • If your pet is licking at the incision too much or is pulling out the sutures, please make an appointment to come in for a restraint collar. If your pet continually irritates the surgical area, complications could arise.
  • Please do not hestiate to call us or come in for an appointment if you have any questions or concerns about the surgical area or your pet's behavior following surgery.

Notify our veterinarians if any of the following occurs:

  • Your pet continually licks at the incision and irritates it.
  • You notice any discharge, gaping, or swelling at the surgical site.
  • Your pet refuses food or seems depressed after the first day home.
  • There is a noticeable change in your pet's general health.

 

Do even indoor pets need to be on heartworm preventatives?

Mosquitos can enter your house and infect your pet. All dogs and cats, whether indoor or outdoor must be on heartworm preventatives. We also recommend that ferrets be on heartworm preventatives.

Is it true that dogs and cats need to have their teeth cleaned?

For the same reason humans need to have their teeth cleaned. Preventive dental care is one of the most neglected aspects of your pet's healthcare. Although cavities are a problem in dogs and cats the most frequent dental issue is periodontal gum disease.

Periodontal gum disease is caused by a build-up of plaque and calculus below the gum line. Plaque is a sticky, colorless, bacterial film that forms continually on the teeth. Gums recede as calculus builds up, forming bacteria filled pockets that if left untreated will lead to tooth loss.

Bacteria infect gum tissues, the roots of teeth and erode the surrounding bones that secure teeth. If left untreated the teeth will eventually fall out. Furthermore, the bacteria are carried through the body in the blood stream and can infect other organs and/or weaken your pet's immune system.

Pets may or may not present signs of dental problems. Some pets demonstrate no visible symptoms but others will appear depressed and show pain when eating. Bad breath and drooling are often frequent signs of dental disease. Your pet's teeth should normally be white and smooth and your pet's gums should be pink, smooth, and adhere tightly to the teeth. Diseased gums are thick, red, and bleed easily. If any of these signs are present, your pet will need medical attention.

Treatment for most pets includes having your veterinarian remove calculus at and beneath the gum line. Polishing smoothes tooth surfaces to decrease bacterial growth. Your pet's dental procedure will begin with a physical examination. This is important to evaluate your pet's general health. After this exam, your pet will be administered an intravenous sedative and then gas anesthesia is given for a safe and painless dental procedure. If your pet is 5 years of age or older we highly suggest pre-procedural blood work to help detect potentially hidden health problems that could complicate the surgery.

How should I pet proof my home?

Like children, pets can be naturally curious around the home and may get themselves into trouble. Our veternarians and staff have found the following advice from Schering-Plough Animal Health to be incredibly helpful to our clients.


All Around the House

  • Screen windows to guard against falls
  • Do not allow younger pets on balconies, roofs, high decks, or upper porches
  • Many house plants are deadly to animals including but not limited diffenbachia, elephant ears, and spider plants. Put them out of reach of your pets.
  • Puppies and kittens enjoy chewing on all sorts of things, including electrical cords, so unplug, remove, or cover electrical cords.
  • Keep animals away from fireplaces and space heaters
  • Plastic bags can suffocate animals
  • If your pet can fit something in his mouth, he or she will. Keep sharp objects lying around.

In the garage:

  • Cats enjoy anything warm, including car engines! So make sure that your cat isn't underneath your car.
  • Pets like the smell and taste of antifreeze and windshield washer fluid. Keep these away from reach of your pets.
  • Paint, gasoline, cleaning fluids and other chemicals can be very dangerous to your pets.

In the kitchen, laundry, and bathroom:

  • Never leave stove burners or irons unattended
  • Dangerous chemicals such as bleach and ammonia should be stored out of your pet's reach
  • Close washer and dryer lids/doors. Pets might climb in and get drowned or burned.
  • Keep toilet lids down. Small pets may drown and bleach tablets in the toilet tank can harm animals.
  • Medicines, shampoos, suntan lotions, and other products that are safe for humans can be toxic to animals.

 In the yard:

  • Some outdoor plants like ivy and oleander can be toxic to pets
  • Keep pets away from yards that have been treated with chemicals
  • Store garden tools and chemicals safely and lock your garden shed so animals cannot get into it
  • Cover swimming pools and hot tubs. Your animal might fall in and be unable to get out.

Specifically for Cats:

  • Many objects used as cat toys such as yard, string, rubber bands, aluminium foil can be harmful if swallowed
  • Cats enjoy sleeping in warm, dark and sometimes remote places. Close drawers, chests, closets to make sure your cats do not get trapped in them
  • Cats might look cute with ribbons around their necks, but not if it catches on something and they choke or get caught.

 Specifically for Dogs:

  • Eliminate hooks at shoulder height for you dog. They may get caught and choke on them.
  • A tall fence or electric fence will keep your dogs from running amok and encountering hostile animals, humans, or getting run over by automobiles.

Precautions for the Holidays:

  • Tinsel, icicles, Christmas tree lights and glass ornaments will tempt your pet's curiosity- but could be lethal if swallowed or chewed.
  • Poinsettia, holly, and mistletoe are poisionous to your pets.

What do I do if I want to travel with my pet?

First off, you need to question whether your pet will be happier at home or boarding rather than travelling with you. If you do take your pet along, you must plan accordingly. Before you embark on your trip, make sure that your pet is welcome on any form of transportation and/or in hotels. Also make sure that your friends or relatives that you are staying with are fine with you bringing along your pet.

By plane:

  • Every airline has different pet policies so research them in advance.
  • Find out each airline's rules about pet carriers or crates
  • Try to book direct flights or as few stops as possible
  • The airline might allow your pet in the passenger cabin if your pet can fit in the seat in front of you. If your pet must travel in the cargo hold, be at the airport early, place the pet in the travel crate yourself, and be prompt in picking your animal up.
  • Ensure that your pet will be in a pressurized area of the plane. Cargo holds can get very cold or very hot without environmental controls.

By car:

  • If your pet does not usually ride in the car, take a few short car rides before your trip to gauge your pet's comfort level.
  • Pets should NEVER be allowed to put their heads outside the window when riding in a car. They can inhale dirt particles, fall out of the car, or get hit by another automobile.
  • Plan times for snacks, exercise, and potty breaks for your pet. Every two hours is suggested.
  • Give the main meal at the end of the day. Dry food is more convienent and easier to clean up. If your pet requires wet food, dispose of any unused portions if they cannot be refrigerated.
  • NEVER leave your pet in a car for a prolonged period of time, especially on hot days. If you must leave your pet in a parked car, lock all of the windows and doors, open the windows slightly to provide ventilation, and if possible, leave the air conditioning on. On hot days the temperature within a car can rise rapidly and your pet could die of heat stroke.

By bus, train or boat:

  • Not all bus lines will allow your pet so conduct research in advance.
  • Amtrak does not permit pets to travel in passenger cars, but they may travel in cages as checked luggage.
  • Some cruise lines do welcome pets. Check with the cruise line or your travel agent.

Wherever you go:

  • Your pet must have a collar with complete identification and a license tag. Microchipping is suggested.
  • Pack your pet's favorite toys, food and bring plenty of water and a leash.
  • Have your pet examined and vaccinated if neccessary prior to the trip.
  • If your pet must travel in a crate or carrier, be sure it is strong, large enough for him to stand up and turn around, has a place for food and water, is well ventilated, and is leak-proof.
  • Contact the consulate or embassy of your destination abroad if you are planning to travel with your pet. Each country has different regulations about bringing pets into the country. Some may require proof of vaccination and/or mandatory quarantine.

Spaying

Ovariohysterectomy is the medical term for "spaying" a female pet. This procedure removes both ovaries and the uterus. Spaying is performed in a sterile environment and requires your pet to undergo general anesthesia.

Reasons for spaying your pet:
  1. The primary reason to spay your pet is to prevent health problems that could arise when your pet grows older. Spaying helps prevent breast cancer, completely eliminates uterine infections (pyometra) and/or cancer of the uterus.
    • Prevents unwanted pregnancies and litters. Neutering contributes to a decrease in feral animal populations and prevents our animal shelters from euthanizing unwanted pets.
    • Prevents signs of estrus (heat) such as bloody vaginal discharge and behavioral changes.
Facts about spaying:
  • Spaying does not alter the personality of your pet. Personality in pets does not fully develop until 1-2 years of age. Aggressive and/or vicious behavior are not a result of surgery but will help decrease unwanted behaviors. Neutering is one method used to treat aggression in pets.
  • Surgical risk to your pet is very minimal due to modern anesthetics, the expertise of our veterinarians, and new techniques, but there is always some small risk when an anesthetic is used. Pine Valley Animal Hospital only uses the safest anesthetics on the market today.
  • The optimal time to spay a pet is at 5 months of age before the first heat cycle. This decreases the risk of breast cancer to .5%
  • Surgery is performed painlessly while your pet is under general anesthesia. Post-surgical pain is minimal and most pets return home on the day of the surgery

We perform our surgery in an operating room with the most modern surgical instruments, oxygen and ventilation equipment, monitors, and emergency equipment. All surgery is performed using sterile gloves and sterile surgical instruments. We never reuse instruments without sterilization in a steam autoclave.

After surgery, your pet is monitored by our staff until fully awake and stable. We will never discharge your pet from the hospital until we are certain that your pet has fully recovered from the anesthesia. Upon discharge, very little care is required at home. Most pets return on the same day of the surgery. Rechecks and suture removal 10 days after the surgery is included in the initial price of the procedure. Typically male dogs and cats do not need to have sutures removed as we use absorbable sutures. This procedure is a one-time procedure that you should take as seriously as we do. Feel free to tour our facilities and to ask any questions about this procedure.

 

Important Considerations Before and After Surgery:

  • Your pet should not have any intestinal parasites (worms) and all vaccinations need to be current prior to surgery.
  • Do not feed your pet past 8pm the evening before surgery and pick up water at noon.
  • Restrict your pet from activity for a week following the surgery.
  • Do not bathe your pet for 14 days. Sutures are usually absorbable and do not need to be removed.
  • If your pet is licking at the incision too much or is pulling out the sutures, please make an appointment to come in for a restraint collar. If your pet continually irritates the surgical area, complications could arise.
  • Please do not hestiate to call us or come in for an appointment if you have any questions or concerns about the surgical area or your pet's behavior following surgery.

Notify our veterinarians if any of the following occurs:

  • Your pet continually licks at the incision and irritates it.
  • Your pet removes a suture.
  • You notice any discharge or swelling at the surgical site.
  • Your pet refuses food or seems depressed after the first day home.
  • There is a noticeable change in your pet's general health.
     

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