Should I get my pet spayed and/or neutered?
Yes! A spay involves removal of the uterus and ovaries in females, and neutering involves removal of the testicles in males. A dog spayed at 4-6 months of age before coming into heat will have a 50 % reduction in breast cancer incidence, no spotting associated with heat cycles, and cannot develop an infected uterus at an older age, which is known as a pyometra. A neutered male dog will exhibit less aggression, less urine marking, decreased wandering to seek females in heat, and decreased prostate issues in older age. Another benefit is there will be no unwanted litters of puppies or kittens to add to the burgeoning pet population.
Should I declaw my kitten/cat?
This is an individual decision and each owner must decide what works best for their situation. In general, a young kitten (6 months old or less) will heal very quickly from the declaw procedure, and modern methods of pain control are very effective during the post operative recovery period. Other options besides declawing include periodic trimming of the nails, training your cat to use a scratching post, or the use of glue on nail caps, such as Soft Paws. One must consider the costs associated with surgery versus the costs associated with damage to household items.
How safe is it to have my pet anesthetized for surgery?
Modern drugs have greatly reduced the risk of anesthetic complications during surgery. Respiratory, oxygen level and cardiac monitors allow for better patient management. Blood work can be performed to ensure that anesthetic medication can be safely given to your pet. No surgical or medical procedure is without some risk, and the age of your pet, the medical or surgical need and lab results are all factors that must be weighed in making the decision to proceed with surgery.
Can I bring food, toys or bedding for my pet when he or she boards with you?
Yes! You can bring all of the above. We ask that bedding be labeled with your or the pet’s name, and please do not bring in more then 3-4 toys. We feed Hill’s Science Diet in our kennels, but you may bring your pet’s own food for use while they stay with us.
My son or daughter is interested in becoming a veterinarian. Where can I find out more information?
The American Veterinary Medical Association has a website that provides basic information and veterinary medical schools have information available about their program and prerequisites. In general, students will need a strong math and science background on a college level, followed by 4 years of veterinary medical school. Veterinary schools in the Midwest include Iowa State, Kansas State, Missouri and Colorado.
My dog or cat is urinating around the house and prior to this, they were housebroken. Why are they doing this?
There are several issues that can cause this problem. Your pet may have a urinary infection, which can cause even the best pet to throw out their “potty training.” Diabetes (usually in an older pet) can also cause these symptoms. If the areas are carpeted, urine odor can attract your pet back to the same spot.
A product that enzymatically breaks down urine is usually required for carpet, such as Nature’s Miracle. Cats in particular can develop psychological/behavioral issues that result in failure to use the litter box.
A urinalysis is the starting point for all of these situations.
My pets keeps scratching at their ears and shaking their head. Why?
An ear infection is the most likely culprit, which can arise from bacteria and/or yeast (more common in dogs) or earmites (more common in cats). Foreign bodies, such as cockleburs or pine tree needles, can become embedded in the ear canal and cause irritation. Lastly, allergies can cause inflammation of the ear without an infection, and your pet will show the same symptoms as above. An exam of the ear and of any debris in the ear canal allows for diagnosis and treatment.
My pet has very bad breath. I brush their teeth but it doesn’t seem to help. Why?
Just like us, dogs and cats require periodic teeth cleanings. Purebreed cats and dogs, such as Persians, Siamese, Yorkshire Terriers, Chihuahuas or Pomeranians have a higher incidence of dental disease. The build up of debris on the teeth begins as plaque, which is a sticky film of bacteria and food debris that adheres to the enamel of the tooth. Plaque can be removed by brushing. If the plaque is not removed, it calcifies into tartar, which is extremely adherant to tooth enamel. The build up of tartar results in bacteria and food debris around the gum line, which causes inflammation and gum disease. The irritated gum tissue and the tartar itself can both have a very unpleasant odor or halitosis. Most dogs and cats will need teeth cleaning every 2-3 years, depending on their diet, amount of chewing, owner toothbrushing, etc.