Here are some of our most frequently asked questions. Be sure to contact our office at 770.889.2521 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org if you need more information:
Additionally, we have put a link to the LifeLearn database at the bottom of the page. This resource can give you immediate information on a number of pet-related topics.
For your convenience, we accept cash, check, or the following forms of payment:
Q- What do I do in case of emergency?
A- Please call us right away at 770-889-2521. If we have already left for the day, here is a list of local 24 hour emergency clinics:
An-Emerge Animal Emergency Clinic (Gainesville) 770-534-2911
AllPets Emergency and Referral Center (Alpharetta) 678-366-2125
Animal Emergency Center of North Fulton (Roswell) 770-594-2266
Q- What vaccinations does my dog or cat need?
A- Be sure to speak with your veterinarian regarding your pet’s specific vaccine schedule. Vaccinations should begin at 6 weeks of age. The schedule will be based on your pet’s age, previous vaccination history, environment, etc.
Q-What are the advantages of 3 year vaccines & why do you recommend alternating 3 year Rabies with 3 year DaPP vaccines?
A-Three year vaccines are recommended in an effort to give fewer vaccines over the course of your pet’s life. Over vaccinating may be harmful to your pet. Also, by alternating the 3 year Rabies and 3 year DaPP, your pet won’t ever have to get all of these vaccines on the same day again. Numerous vaccines being given on the same day increases the possibilility of over stimulating the immune system and can be hard on your pet, especially as he or she gets older.
Q-Why do you recommend annual fecal testing, doesn’t my heartworm prevention also prevent intestinal parasites?
A-None of the heartworm preventatives protect against all of the parasites your pet can be exposed to in their environment and from other animals. Although many of the fecal exams will result in no parasites seen, a significant number come up positive. Not only can these parasites cause serious health problems for your pet, but many of them can be spread to people as well. For example, roundworms and hookworms can be transmitted to people. So you are protecting your pet as well as your family by having the annual fecal exam done.
Q-Why do you recommend annual heartworm testing even if my pet is on a monthly preventative?
A-Although it is not common, it is possible for a dog that is on heartworm prevention to contract heartworm disease. No heartworm prevention is 100% effective. Sometimes the pet may not ingest the dose as perceived or doses maybe given late or missed entirely. Heartworms can be deadly and even if the disease is caught early enough to treat, there are risks involved. Additionally, treating heartworms is very costly. Some heartworm preventatives are not licensed for and are not safe to give a dog that may have heartworm disease. Therefore, it is recommended to give prevention EVERY month and test annually.
Q-Should my pet stay on heartworm and flea & tick prevention year round or can I stop in the winter?
A-Due to the climate in the southeast, it is recommended to keep your pet on prevention year round. There is usually a small window during our winters here that may get severe enough to kill all mosquitoes, fleas, ticks etc., but it varies annually. Many pet owners forget to start back entirely or they do not start back soon enough, and it’s not worth the chance of infection. Ticks transmit several common diseases in the southeast including: Lyme disease, Rocky Mtn. Spotted Fever, Ehrlichia etc., and it can be very difficult and expensive to get rid of a flea infestation. It’s a lot safer, easier and less expensive to prevent than it is to treat!
Q-My pet seems perfectly healthy, why should I run annual blood work?
A-For all of our pets (regardless of age) we recommend annual blood work. Our hope is that many of these blood panels will return with normal results. This set of values is what we call our “baseline”, so that if your pet returns and is sick for any reason we can compare back to these results. While a lot of the results will be normal, many times we find issues that can be easily treated and before you would ever notice symptoms at home.
For example in dogs:
- Urinary tract infections are common, can be painful and are usually easily treated with antibiotics.
- Hypothyroidism is often found in dogs. While onset of symptoms may be slow and unnoticed for a long period of time,
many people report a drastic improvement in pets after starting thyroid supplements.
- A pet with kidney disease will often not present with symptoms until 2/3 of the kidney function is lost. Many times
early stages can be managed with diet alone.
- Diabetes if found early can be more easily managed and starting treatment early can help prevent damage to other
For example in cats:
- Urinary tract infections are also common in cats and can be treated with antibiotics.
- Diabetes is prevalent in cats and is more successfully managed if diagnosed early.
- 10% of cats over 9 years of age have hyperthyroidism. If detected and treated early we can avoid the significant weight
loss and other issues associated with this disease.
- 16 out of every 1000 cats will have chronic kidney disease. Catching this disease early and starting treatment which
usually begins with diet change, is crucial to treatment success. Early management can add years to your cat’s life!
Q- At what age should I have my pet spayed or neutered?
A- We perform spaying and neutering surgeries at approximately 6 months of age. However, the procedure can be performed at any age over 6 months old, as long as the pet is healthy.
Q- How is the spay or neuter performed?
A- The pet is placed under general anesthesia for both surgeries. Spaying (ovariohysterectomy) is performed on females. It involves the surgical removal of the ovaries and uterus through an incision in the abdomen. Neutering (castration) is performed on males. During a neuter, a small opening is made in the scrotum and the testes are removed.
Q-What is pre-anesthetic blood work and does my pet need that?
A- Pre-anesthetic bloodwork is a screening done to help indicate risks and assure safety before surgery is performed. We draw blood and have it run in-house prior to surgery. This can be performed the morning of surgery. The bloodwork will test organ functions and blood counts, as well as check for dehydration or infection in the bloodstream. Pre-anesthetic bloodwork is recommended on all pets.
Q- What is the importance of dental procedures and cleanings?
A- Veterinary dental procedures and cleanings remove disease-causing plaque from teeth, help to remove oral bacteria (which can be extremely harmful to your pet), extract infected or broken teeth if needed, and help to freshen your pet’s breath. Bad breath, and other symptoms such as inflamed gum line, bleeding gums, tooth loss, or a brownish-colored crust along the gum line can signify gum disease. Approximately 80% of dogs and 70% of cats over 3 years old have some form of oral disease. Research shows that pets who receive regular dental cleanings live longer, healthier lives.
Q- How do I know if my pet is his/her ideal body weight?
A- Research shows that over 60% of our pets are overweight. You should be able to see and feel your pets last 2 ribs and there should be a slight rise in the stomach area. Obesity in pets can contribute to many health problems, so be sure to estimate your pet’s medically ideal body weight with your veterinarian. (For an example, please go to Hill’s Pet Nutrition at www.hillspet.com/ ) .
Q- What should I feed my pet?
A- You’ll want to feed a premium brand since it contains higher quality ingredients. Dry food is best in most cases. Avoid canned food, table scraps, or greasy or excessive amounts of treats. Human food is too high in fat and salt (among other things) and be harmful to your pet. Check with your veterinarian regarding the amount and type of food best suited for your pet. Also, your pet’s diet should be changed as its nutritional needs change.
Q-What do I do if my dog slides its rear end across the floor (also called scooting)?
A- Have his or her anal glands checked. Anal glands can become infected, impacted, abscessed, or can rupture.