If you do not find an answer to a question below, please feel free to call us or visit one of the websites listed in “Pet Library and Helpful Links”
Q: Should I be concerned about parasites in or on my pet? (Do I really need to bring in that fecal sample for testing?)
A: There are many preventable parasitic infections that can cause severe illness in your pet. In addition, many parasite infections in pets can be transmitted to people. As a result, we have adopted the recommendations of the Companion Animal Parasite Council which calls for year round parasite prevention medications (products that control fleas, ticks, heartworms and intestinal parasites) and frequent monitoring for the presence of parasites) routine fecal exams and blood tests). For more information, visit www.petsandparasites.org.
Q: Does my pet really need all of those shots each year?
A: We develop a vaccination schedule for individual pets based on their lifestyle and risk of disease exposure. Core vaccinations, such as rabies and distemper should be given to all pets whereas non-core vaccinations (feline leukemia, Lyme, porphyromonas, leptospirosis and kennel cough) are reserved for pets whose lifestyle puts them at risk for these diseases. Our vaccination program is based on the recommendations of the American Animal Hospital Association (www.healthypet.com) and the American Association of Feline Practitioners (www.catvets.com). Please visit these websites for more information.
Q: Are regular dental exams necessary for my pet?
A: Dogs and cats may express dental pain and disease in many ways. Dental disease is not just suffering from bad breath. Infections of the teeth, gums and mouth can spread via the blood stream to just about any organ system (heart, liver kidneys etc.) causing additional health problems. Diseased teeth and gum scan also cause mouth pain, poor appetite and tooth loss. Signs of dental disease include: drooling with foul smelling saliva, dental plaque or tartar, reluctance to eat or poor appetite, tooth loss (other than normal baby tooth los in young animals), lethargy, discolored teeth, broken teeth, swelling and /or draining wound below the eye. Regular dental examinations and routine brushing of your pet’s teeth will help to maintain optimum dental health.
Q: Can I use over the counter medicines for my pet?
A: There are many over the counter medications as well as prescription human medicines that are used routinely in pets. However some commonly use OTC medications can be toxic to pets (example being Tylenol in cats). Before using any OTC medication in your pet, please ask one of our veterinarians to make sure that the medication is safe and that the dosage used is correct.
Q: What is a spay, what is a neuter and when is it done?
A: Spay (ovariohysterectomy) is a term for removing the ovaries and uterus in a female pet. Neuter (castration) is a term for removal of the testicles in male pets. We advise performing these procedures between 4 and 6 months of age…however the procedure can be performed as early as 8-12 weeks of age. We may recommend performing spay or neuter in an older pet for certain medical reasons.
Q: My pet is scheduled to have anesthesia and I am concerned. What do I need to do to minimize the risk?
A: At Bellport Animal Hospital, we use state of the art anesthetic protocols and use high tech anesthetic monitors similar to what is used in human hospitals. However, anesthesia always carries some in inherent risk to even the healthiest appearing patient. As a result, we advise that every pet that is about to undergo an anesthetic procedure have the following:
Q: What is the best way to identify my pet?
A: Collars with identification tags should be kept on your pet at all times. Breakaway type collars should be use in cats. Micro chipping is a new way of providing pet identification. A small chip is implanted via needle and syringe under the skin at the base of the neck. This can be done during a routine office visit. Veterinaries, shelters, many rescue groups and adoption agencies have scanners that can detect chips in pets. A collar based identification tag is provided with every microchip so an animal can be identified even if a chip scanner is not available. Once a microchip number is found on a pet, the pet’s owner can be quickly identified and contacted.
Q: What preventive health care options are available for my older pet?
A: For each year a pet ages, it is equivalent to us aging 5-7 years. As a result it is important to perform a complete physical on pets over 6 years of age every 6 months. Part of the physical exam may include routine blood, urine and fecal testing, x-rays and cardiac assessment. With more frequent exams, we can detect problems earlier that can result in much better treatment options.
Q: What preventive health care options are available for my young pet (< 6 years of age)?
A: The annual physical exam in younger pet involves a lot more than just giving vaccinations. We perform a complete physical examination to look for problems that may be developing in any body system. In addition, we recommend routine laboratory testing (blood work, fecal testing, and urinalysis) in younger pets to screen for congenital problems as well as for internal diseases that may be developing yet not clinically obvious on the outside. In many cases, problems detected early on in a pet’s life can be managed such that signs of illness can be minimized, delayed or even avoided later on.
Q: I heard that stem cells are being used to treat diseases in pets…is this true?
A: Regenerative Veterinary Medicine is an exciting new field where a pet’s adult stem cells are harvested and used to treat disease in that same pet. Most people are aware of the ethical concerns and resulting controversy surrounding the use of embryo derived (embryonic) stem cells in research to find possible cures for diseases in people. Embryonic stem cells (those that come from a 16 day old embryo) are not used in Regenerative Veterinary Stem Cell Therapy thus eliminating any ethical concerns with this treatment option. Regenerative Veterinary Stem Cell Therapy uses adult stem cells to treat disease. Adult stem cells are found in almost every tissue in the body (fat is a rich source of adult stem cells). When adult stem cells are concentrated and injected into an injury site, they product many factors that can dramatically improve the healing process. Currently the main use of stem cell therapy in veterinary medicine is for the treatment of severe arthritis and tendon/ligament injuries. However, current studies are underway to evaluate the use of stem cells in the treatment of many other diseases. At this time, adult stem cell therapy is not an option for the treatment of cancer. For more information, or to see if your pet could benefit from adult stem cell therapy, please contact our office of visit www.vetstem.com.
Q: I find it nearly impossible to give medicines to my pet. Do I have any other options?
A: There are many new forms of medicines that make administration simple. Please contact our office for more information
Q: Why do I need to come in for a recheck exam(s)? My pet is on a medication(s) and got better or my pet got better with that medicines last time so I just to get another refill.
A: It is obvious that we would want to recheck a pet with an illness that was not responding to a prescribed course of treatment, but why recheck pet’s that are feeling better?