Frequently Asked Questions for Veterinarians in Clayton
How safe is my pet’s surgical procedure?
Our veterinarians take every precaution to make sure your pet comes out of any procedure, whether major or minor, on the way to a swift recovery. To ensure your pet’s safety, we provide round-the-clock care and monitoring for all surgical patients during business hours. We perform all pet surgeries under anesthesia and advocate the use of pre-anesthetic blood work to detect any underlying disease that may affect the response to anesthesia.
With your pet’s comfort and safety at the forefront, we utilize pain management protocols before, during, and after surgery until they are completely recovered. This includes monitoring vital signs, assessing your pet for pain indicators, and keeping them well-fed, warm and comfortable in their surroundings.
How often should my pet have an exam?
Clayton Animal Hospital recommends yearly visits for most pets and older pets coming in more frequently – at least every 6 months. Yearly exams include physical examinations by our veterinarians plus annual or booster vaccinations, parasite screening & prevention, and various lab tests performed.
For puppies and kittens, we need to see them on a more frequent schedule during their first year of life. For pets over age 7, we recommend exams and blood work every 6 months to help us detect diseases and issues before they become a problem.
Why does my pet need a dental cleaning?
Many people think that it is normal for a dog to have bad breath, but that is not the case. Bad breath is caused by bacteria in the mouth that create byproducts that contain sulfur. Regular home cleanings accompanied by scheduled professional cleanings will help to prevent bad breath and the bacteria that cause it.
Besides just bad breath, dental disease:
- Releases bacteria into the bloodstream
- Increases risk for heart, liver and kidney disease
- Can cause severe pain and problems for your pet
Pets need regular dental cleanings to increase quality and length of life and:
- Allows us to chart dental disease over time
- Means less time under anesthesia
- Reduces the need for more advanced and expensive treatment in the future such as teeth extractions and oral surgery
Dental disease is the most common disease in dogs. Recent studies show that 85% of cats and 92% of dogs over age 3 have periodontal disease.
What happens during my pet’s dental cleaning?
A thorough dental cleaning can only be accomplished while the pet is under general anesthesia. The anesthesia we use is safe for all animals and your pet is constantly monitored during the dental procedure. Prior to anesthesia, blood tests are performed to help uncover any hidden illnesses.
A professional cleaning (called a dental prophylaxis) removes plaque and tartar from the teeth. Your pet's entire mouth health (teeth, tongue, gums, and lips) will be examined and assessed.
I noticed a change in my pet’s behavior. Should I see a veterinarian?
Pets cannot tell us how they feel and are able to hide their pain from us (especially cats). Changes in behavior such as appetite change, lethargy, energy level, aggressiveness, inappropriate elimination, and vocalization (barking/meowing) can be symptoms of behavior or health issues. Contact our vet hospital for an exam appointment right away.
What should I do if I notice fleas or ticks on my pet?
Isolate your pet from other animals and small children to prevent the spread of the parasite to them. Bring your pet to our vet clinic for thorough testing for parasites. They can usually be easily treated, but parasite preventative measures are best for both your pet and your wallet. Ask about our available safe and effective parasite prevention products.
At what age should I have my pet spayed or neutered?
Clayton Animal Hospital recommends waiting until your pet is at least 6 months of age before seeking a spay or neuter procedure. Contact us to discuss specific details based on species, breed, and size. Spaying / neutering has health and behavioral benefits for your pet and of course, helps prevent over-population.
What are heartworms? How can I prevent my pet from getting heartworms?
One infected mosquito is all it takes to infect your dog with the baby form (larval stage) of the heartworm parasite.
Heartworms are a serious and potentially fatal disease in pets. Twelve-inch-long worms (looks like spaghetti) live in the heart, lungs, and blood vessels of infected pets, causing lung disease, heart failure, organ damage, and can be fatal if untreated.
How does my pet get heartworms? Heartworms living in an infected dog, cat, or wildlife produce baby worms that circulate in the bloodstream. When a mosquito bites an infected animal, it picks up these worms and when it bites another animal, the worms enter through the bite wound. Heartworms can grow and live for 5 - 7 years in dogs and 3 years in cats.
What can I do to protect my pet? Heartworm disease is preventable! Dogs should be tested annually and before starting prevention. Prevention is the safest and most cost-effective option, but treatment is available for dogs (although costly and lengthy). Cats should be tested before starting prevention and re-tested as the veterinarian deems appropriate. There is NO treatment in cats, so prevention is critical and the only means of protection.
Clayton Animal Hospital has safe, effective products available that cater to your pet's lifestyle and your budget. Heartworm prevention should be provided 12 months of the year.
“Oscar is acting like he's starving! Did he get fed while he was there?”
Of course!! Your pet was either fed the food brought when he was dropped off or our high-quality dry food if none was brought with him. Occasionally, dogs and cats do not eat as much while they board, so it is “normal” for them to play catch up once they return to their homes.
At doggie daycare, (unless it is a puppy), pets are not fed lunch. Just like my 3-year old son when he gets home from school, they have usually built up a huge appetite playing all day!
Of course, it goes without saying that after a surgery or dental visit, pets are hungry because they were fasted the morning of the procedure.
"Bailey drank a whole bowl of water when she got home. Was she allowed to drink water while she was there?"
All pets have access to water during their stay. That being said, when they are here just for the day, such as for daycare or grooming, they are given water when they are walked. This is to prevent them from splashing and turning over water bowls in the cages (and getting dirty). It is also normal for pets to feel more comfortable drinking water when they return home.
"Fido was really tired and slept the entire evening after I brought him home. He seemed worn out!"
If we did our job, your pet had lots of play time and exercise while boarding or in doggie daycare and is worn out! There's so much activity in our hospital that your pet is likely over stimulated and excited. Because of this, his sleeping pattern can change in the time spent with us, and he just needs to catch up on his zzzzz’s!! I usually feel like sleeping a lot when I come home from vacation as well. Typically after a good night’s sleep, Fido feels like playing again within the next 24 hours.
“Maggie’s stool is loose. Has she been having diarrhea while there?”
First of all, if your pet was having diarrhea, the staff and doctors would have contacted you and started them on medication. That's the good thing about boarding your dog or cat at a veterinary hospital - if they develop problems, the issues are addressed immediately.
Secondly, pets often experience excitement when returning home and are often rewarded with treats. So this “excitement” leads to colitis, a common cause of loose or watery stool. Some pet owners expect it and we arrange to send them home with preventative medicine.
We take every precaution at Clayton Animal Hospital to prevent viruses and parasites from being passed to your pet. Stalls, runs and cages are sterilized. We also require dogs to be checked every 6 months for parasites (unlike annually at most vet hospitals). This is the reason: some of the parasites we see are easily spread between dogs (Coccidia and Giardia) and are not prevented by monthly heartworm preventatives. We have staff that clean/scoop fecal material as soon as it hits the ground.
To recap, loose stool or diarrhea is not uncommon but please let us know if it continues for more than 24 hours once your pet returns home.
"First visit today for babies to see Dr Barzola. I was very impressed with her kindness and knowledge. I enjoyed the sincere friendliness and concerns of every office person and tech I interacted with there and the cleanliness of the office!!! (Crystal was outstanding). It's the first animal office that did not reek of urine and feces odor!!!! Great job!!! I highly recommend this hospital/office!"