Frequently Asked Questions
Does my indoor cat need to be vaccinated and dewormed?
Even pets that are kept indoors are still exposed to viruses and parasites via other outdoor housemates or their owners. It is important to remember that not all hazards are through direct contact, but often through vectors or fomites. We recommend Revolution for the prevention of fleas, ticks, heartworm, ear mites, and intestinal parasites. Rabies vaccination is required by law in Virginia, regardless of the level of contact your cat does or does not have with both animals and individuals outside of your household.
How often do I need to clean my pet's teeth?
Just like with people, periodontal disease is different with each pet. Some need a prophylactic cleaning once a year, while others need one every 5 years. Most average 2 - 3 years between cleanings.
At what age should I spay or neuter my dog or cat?
We generally recommend spaying and neutering between 7-8 months for small breed dogs and 6-8 months for cats and large breed dogs. Most female dogs and cats go into heat around 9-10 months old. To virtually eliminate the risk of mammary cancer later in life, females should be spayed before their first heat cycle. "Naughty" habits, testicular tumors, and aggressive behavior can be avoided in males by having them neutered within the same time frame.
What is the difference between the low-cost spay neuter clinic and my regular veterinarian?
Subsidized spay neuter clinics are designed to spay and neuter as many animals as possible, as quickly and inexpensively as possible. They are not designed for individualized patient care nor are they aware of preexisting conditions. Comprehensive postoperative pain management and meeting with a doctor or technician at discharge is usually not feasible in such a high volume environment.
Are online or generic drugs really worth the savings?
As their doctor, we know your pet better than anyone. If there are problems with a prescription, we are here in person to help answer questions. When purchased through your veterinarian, there are often qualifying rebates or free doses which can significantly reduce the price. An often overlooked issue is that most drug companies only sell directly to veterinarians, which means that other retail sources sell either second hand or counterfeit drugs, both which invalidate all manufacturer warranties. When purchased through your veterinarian, manufacturers will often cover any cost of side effects or failure of efficacy.
Are human medications like Advil or Tylenol safe for my pet?
ABSOLUTELY NOT! Many drugs, especially pain relievers, can be deadly to pets. Some human medications are very similar to those given to animals while others are significantly different. Please consult your veterinarian before you administer any medication to your pet, even old prescriptions.
What type pet food is best for my dog or cat?
A healthy balanced diet is paramount to health and longevity. Reputable brands, including Hills Science Diet and Purina, are always a safe place to start. AAFCO is a government organization that suggests nutritional requirements for every animal. If their minimum requirements are met it will be clearly stated on the bag.
Are over the counter flea and tick medications safe for my pet?
Revolution, Frontline Plus, and Nexgard are the products we recommend. Over the counter medications are often too powerful (causing skin burns/tremors/seizures) or not effective at all. Products available from your veterinarian are safe, guaranteed to work, and backed my the manufacturer.
Is heartworm and flea prevention really necessary year around?
Yes. Virginia's moderate climate often gives us a warm day even in the cold seasons. Mosquitoes, fleas, and ticks are able to hibernate and can suddenly "appear" as soon as the temperature starts to rise. This means your dog or cat can be exposed to these parasites before you are able to get your preventative applied.
Does spaying or neutering my pet make it gain weight or become lazy?
No, your pet's personality is unaffected. Metabolism and growth naturally slow as animals reach 1 year of age. We often recommend changing to an adult food and decreasing the amount of food offered once they reach maturity. This will prevent weight gain as your pet ages.
Why does my dog eat other animal's stool?
No one knows exactly why this habit forms, but one thing for certain, no one likes it. Products such as Forbid and Copro-ban can be used to discourage its consumption, but often timely cleanup and disposal is the best remedy.
Should I really have my pet examined annually?
Yes. It is not really an old wives tale that pets age 7 years for each of our calendar years. Their bodies change at a much higher rate than their human counterparts. It is imperative to know what is normal for each patient so we can catch diseases as early as possible, improving the chance of a cure.
What are the standard vaccines for my dog and cat?
Standard or "Core vaccines" for a cat include "Distemper" (FVRCP) and Rabies. We recommend Feline Leukemia for outdoor and multi-cat households. For dogs we recommend "Distemper/Parvo" (DHPP), Bordetella (tracheobronchitis), Leptospirosis, and Rabies. We often recommend adding a Lyme vaccination for dogs frequently exposed to ticks (hiking, hunting, dense vegetation, etc.), as Lyme Disease is becoming more prevalent in the Forest and Lynchburg areas.