Routine Care: Frequently Asked Questions
Q: How old should my dog/cat be to receive its immunization shots?
A: Our veterinarians recommend starting your vaccine schedule when your dog or cat is six to eight weeks old, and only if they do not display any signs of sickness. We can advise you on an appropriate vaccine schedule based on your pet’s lifestyle and activity. We provide these shots routinely at any age.
Q: Why is my dog required by law to receive a Rabies vaccination?
Rabies is a zoonotic disease that is transmitted to humans through bites or scratches from infected wild animals, particularly skunks, raccoons, bats, and foxes. It can also be transmitted to your pet from other infected domesticated animals, like dogs and cats. Puppies and kittens will first receive this vaccination at 12 weeks of age, and then they will be revaccinated every 1-3 years as required by law.
Q: How can I tell if my pet has a parasite?
A: Intestinal parasites can be contracted through flea infestations, through contaminated soil, or from the feces of wild or domestic animals. If your pet has a parasite, sometimes you can observe worms in their stools. More often, however, you will not see this as these parasites tend to shed microscopic eggs through feces, rather than the larger, adult worms. We recommend that you bring in a stool sample so that we can perform an examination through a microscope. This test is generally performed annually but should also be done if you suspect that your pet may have picked up parasites (if they have unexplained diarrhea, or spent time at doggy daycare with a dog that has worms).
To test for heartworms, which is contracted through mosquito bites, a simple in-house blood test can be performed. The heartworm parasite can be highly detrimental to your pet's health, so we take every preventive measure possible and treat any detected parasites right away by testing for heartworm annually and giving preventative medication on a once-monthly basis.
Q: How do I know if my pet is in pain?
A: It can sometimes be difficult to tell. If you are not sure but suspect your dog or cat may be hurting, or is just not acting right, call us to have us examine your pet. Some signs of pain are more obvious, such as limping, but some signs are more subtle and can include: not eating, a change in behavior or normal habits, or having less energy. Of course, these symptoms can also be caused by many problems, so early observation and action is important.
Q: At what age should I have my pet spayed or neutered?
A: Most vets recommend having your animal spayed or neutered at six to nine months of age. Speak with your vet to decide on what is best for your pet. Ideally we like to observe that the dog or cat is healthy and mature enough for undergoing anesthesia, but also that they have not gone through any heat cycle yet or developed bad behaviors like wanderlust or lifting a leg to urinate on your furniture!
Veterinarians strongly recommend spaying or neutering your pet at a reasonably young age for multiple reasons. Of course, we must keep in mind the responsibility of controlling the pet population, but this is also an important procedure to reduce or eliminate the risk of unwanted behaviors and certain complications as your pet ages, such pyometra and several types of cancers. However, this surgery can be performed at any age.
Q: How can I get a prescription for my pet?
A: Our pharmacy is fully stocked with a wide variety of prescription medications and diets for your pet. We are here to answer your questions about selecting the best medication, choosing the proper dosage, and information on side effects or other drug interactions. If you have any concerns or your pet experiences adverse reactions, we urge you to contact us immediately so one of our trained staff can assist you. In most cases, you will need to have your pet examined by a doctor prior to obtaining a prescription, but in some special cases like management of chronic conditions or strict recommendations of previous veterinary care providers, we can issue certain prescriptions to you on a pick-up basis or through our online pharmacy, Vets First Choice. See below for a link: