So you have decided to add a new pet to your family?? If this is your first pet, do you know all that goes into a first time pet? Today I will go over a few things to keep in mind when you are adding a new pet into your household. Although it may not cover every exact detail it will be a general overview of the most important topics! We are also big believers in adoption as there are so many pets that are in terrible need of good homes. So always adopt first!!
First and foremost: Know your breeds!!! This is more for canines but it can also apply to felines as well. When we say “Know your breeds” we want you to keep in mind where you are living. If you buy a more active pet but live in a small apartment with no backyard….this will not work. Make sure to match breeds to your lifestyle. If you do live in a smaller apartment with no backyard then you will want a more sedentary, smaller pet. For example: French bulldogs, Poodles, Chihuahuas, etc. Whereas if you live in a bigger home with some land then you may want to consider a more high energy breed. For example: Labs, Retrievers, Great Danes, etc. The second thing that we mean when we say “Know your breed” is the medical conditions that go with particular breeds. You do need funds to be able to care for pets but there are some that may be a bit more expensive, if you are unavailable to take care of such breeds then please do NOT get them. Although it may be your “dream breed” it is better for the pet if you are unable to take on all of their needs. Felines tend to be a lot easier, most are just considered domestic felines. The biggest thing to remember is any felines with a flat face tend to have breathing issues if anything. If this again is not something that you would feel comfortable taking on then don’t! Every pet deserves to have a wonderful home, but they also need to have the best possible care out there so make sure to do your homework. Even when adopting, most of the time you will be able to tell certain breeds that make up the pet. In most cases mixed breeds can tend to be on the healthier side, but again, this is a situation where size matters!! Smaller pets for smaller homes and larger pets in larger homes!
Health Expenses: We kind of touched on the expenses when it comes to the breeds of certain pets but lets talk about just the initial cost itself for general healthcare. Lets start off with puppies and kittens. In most cases if you are buying or even adopting, most people go for the younger pets. When doing this you also have to keep in mind that most puppies and kittens have either only had their first round of vaccinations or it is possible that they haven’t had any at all. You have to make sure that you have the funds for their three rounds of vaccinations, as well as their spay or neuter, Microchipping, hidden medical issues (such as crytorchid in male puppies or kittens, meaning that a testicle has not yet dropped). You also have to make sure that they have their monthly flea and heartworm. These costs do add up quickly and it is very important to keep your pets as healthy as possible. If you get an older pet you still need to make sure that they are getting their yearly checkups or 6 month checkups if they are seniors. Older pets will need their flea and heartworm preventatives as well.
Extra Expenses: Canines—Leash, Collar/Harness, Food and Water Bowls, Bed, Crate, Food (appropriate for their are or any special diet), Treats, Toys, etc. Felines—Litter box w/scoop, Litter, Food and Water Bowls, Bed, Cage/Carrier, Food (appropriate for their age or any special diet), Treats, Toys, etc.
Make sure to find a Veterinarian that you feel comfortable taking your pet too. The best way to find a vet that works for you is by word of mouth! If you trust your friends opinions then why not check out their vet and see how you like it. Also make sure to call the vet ahead of bringing a pet home to go over the prices that they offer for vaccinations, surgery, and overall general costs.
At this point you can see a common theme here. Pets are expensive! But……..they are so worth every penny in comparison to the love and affection that you get from them!! Keep in mind that you also have to remember that pets get older. If that is not something that that you can handle when the time comes then you may want to reconsider bringing one into your home. It is very unfortunate but a lot of the pets that are in shelters are there because their owners couldn’t handle one of more of the above listed. With that being said….try your best to “Adopt, Don’t Shop!!”
We are now in the midst of Hurricane Season and this next week we will have the first of what could be many storms to have hit our area. Tropical Storm Erika is on her way and we want to make sure that you and your pets are ready should you need to take action. This blog will shadow a lot of what we talked about in the Fire Safety Blog but it is more of a replication because they are both collectively filed under Disaster Preparedness. So lets get into it!
Make sure to have a location away from your area/home that you can evacuate with your pets. Make sure to look up hotels and/or check with a family or friend that lives out of what could potentially be harms way. Not all Red Cross evacuation centers take pets so make sure to do your research!!
You must have each pet assigned to each person in the home (We recognize that this may be a lot more difficult for a single person with multiple pets, in this case try to keep everything needed together as much as possible). You may also make another person in charge of grabbing the emergency necessities for the pets and have them all gathered together in one area (example: In a Rubbermaid type of tote). It is recommended that each pet is in an individual crate/carrier but depending on the size and pets this can change. You have to be the judge, as long as they are kept safe and comfortable!
Make sure that your pet is microchipped!!!!!!!!!!! We cannot express this enough. Any and all pets should be microchipped, they are inexpensive and have been what has brought pets and families back together in natural disasters! Check every few months or so (or if your information has changed) to make sure that all of the information on the tag is current. You may also want to add secondary information should you and your pet get separated for an emergency out of area family member or friend. If you are unsure of what microchip your pet has please give a call to your local Veterinarian.
This kind of goes along with finding a place to evacuate too. Find and know the evacuation route!
Now what to keep for your pets should there be a hurricane evacuation:
Food both canned and dry. Especially if your pet is on a special diet! (Make sure to rotate this out every so often so that it does not spoil)
Medication that your pet is on or may need (Again rotate this out every so often so that it does not expire)
Extra harness or leash for each pet
Carrier (as stated earlier, it is preferred for each pet to have its own carrier. You make the best decision for your and your pets safety and comfort)
Blankets and Toys
Litter box/Litter/Scoop for your felines
Food and Water Bowls
Bottled water for at least a week for each pet
Poop bags/Garbage bags
Pets records in a water safe container
etc……….You know your pets more than anything else. If there is something that you know that they would need or want and it doesn’t put a burden on your evacuation then make sure to bring it but have it ready with the rest of your emergency kit, do NOT go back for misc. items!
Make sure to have a visible rescue alert sticker on your windows listing each pet, whether it is feline or canine, etc. So that if you are unable to make back to your pet and the area is evacuated then the rescue crews will know that pets do in fact live in your home.
A big point to make is to also have all of your emergency paperwork and necessities right along with your pets. That way you go to one spot in a particular area (garage maybe) and all you have to do is just load it all in the car and you are on your way. Most importantly please be safe this hurricane season!!!
If you are moving to a new are or know someone who is please read!!! Finding a new vet can be very stressful. A lot of factors going into making a decision on where your beloved furbabies will go for their medical needs. My mission this blog is to give you a list of things that you should look for to help alleviate some of the stressors that come with this task.
1st- Make sure to do your homework: Now I know that the first thing most people will do is go straight for the reviews. Unfortunately from our personal experience as I am sure it is with a lot of places, the only people who review are people who are complaining. Negative people. Although all of them can be rebutted, someone on the outside reading them would not know this. So with that being said, please make sure when reading reviews to not take everything you read too seriously. For example we have had a client who gave us a bad review who said that during a physical exam the tech and Doctor at no point or as little as possible touched the pet while in the room. The story behind this was that the dog without the owner warning us had lunged at our technician on two separate occasions, when it was mentioned that the pet may have aggressive tendencies the owner became outraged and later followed up with a review. We have thousands of happy clients, so happy that they have never had the need to post a review. I am working on that 😉 Your best bet on getting real reliable information is to ask around, using your friends and families experiences. They wouldn’t steer you wrong!
2nd- Ask Questions: Do not ever be afraid to ask questions. This is your pet that we are talking about and the only way to get the right answers is to asked the questions. If your pet is on certain medication or on prescription food…make sure to ask if they carry it or are able to order it in should you need it. If your pet has only ever had certain vaccinations then ask if they carry them. Make sure that if your pet is having a certain medical issue that you check to see if the Vet at the practice knows this situation or topic very well. All Veterinarians are educated in all things pet but some see more of one case than others. The Pet Doctor for instance sees a lot of skin related issues so much so that in diagnosing and treating we have found different ways of dealing with different pets and or breeds. Dr. Stephanie for instance is a bulldog lover and always has been since she was young, she now owns two of them. So she has seen a lot with this breed personally and can help others as well!
3rd- Make sure they ask a lot of questions: When calling a vet to set up an appointment feel it out by talking to the receptionist or technician. Are they asking you a lot of questions in regards to what is going on with your pet? Follow up questions? Lets say you call because your pet isn’t eating as much. The person on the other line may then ask you if there have been any changes lately with their environment? Is the pet still drinking, urinating and pooping? Will the pet still take treats or has he/she stopped eating completely? This is a vet I would want to take my pet to!! They are trying to get as much information from you to make sure that your pet can get the best possible care. By asking these questions they can determine when you should have your pet in as well as giving the doctor a heads up so that they can already start going over testing options before you even get there.
4th- Stop in: It always helps to make sure to have physically seen the veterinary clinic that you will possibly be taking your pet to. Most times if they are not too busy or have patients in being treated they will give you a mini tour of the facility as well as answer any questions that you may have. Or call ahead and see when they would be able to make this time happen for you. Maybe on a lunch hour if they are still staffed rather than fully closing. Make sure it is clean. If they are not properly cleaning the facility you will know, believe me. Which means that your pet could be at risk of contracting diseases as well as fleas. (Although fleas are very common and can be anywhere, if cleaned properly you cut down the possibility of infestations).
These 4 topics are just a few of the different things that I have seen when it comes to finding veterinary clinics. I do remote blogging for The Pet Doctor and was just recently in the position of having to take my pet to a veterinarian that was closer to where I was living up North. These topics are things that I later complied after leaving the veterinarians. The doctor was great but their technicians were not and I was disappointed in a lot. I know that no matter what obstacle I will make the trip to SC for my pet to always be seen at The Pet Doctor!! I hope that his helps you if you should ever find yourself in the same position! If you have any other ideas on things to look for please let us know!!
August is the National Immunization Awareness Month! So in honor of this we have decided to put together a blog that will share some information with pet owners about what vaccinations our facility gives and what each one is treated for. We know that most people understand the importance of vaccinations but unfortunately not many know exactly what each one is for. Although this may be one of our more lengthy blogs we want to make sure that you leave this feeling educated on immunizations. I will make sure to categorize them as either feline or canine so that way you may be able to focus only on the immunizations that pertain to your personal pet.
Canine Immunizations– Here at The Pet Doctor we regularly give the following vaccinations; DHLPP, Rabies (Which will be discussed at the bottom for both canines and felines), Bordetella and Lyme.
*DHLPP which is short for a combination of Distemper, Hepatitis, Leptospirosis, Parainfluenza, and Parvovirus. Distemper= is a disease that first attacks the mucous membranes which can cause pneumonia and gastrointestinal issues and then proceeds to attack the pets central nervous system. Pets can contract it through infected animals secretions (ie: coughed up mucous, urine, etc.) and are commonly picked up through the pets nose or mouth and then ingested. It is an extremely hard disease to treat and depending on severity of the disease and immune system of the pet recovery is slimly possible with long term neurological effects. Hepatitis=infectious canine hepatitis can be contracted through the nose or mouth after coming into contact with feces, urine, blood, saliva, or nasal discharge of an infected animal. It replicates in the tonsils and then attacks the liver and kidneys. It can also cause respiratory issues and eye infections. It can be treated if caught early enough. Leptospirosis=Can also be contracted through bodily fluids of an infected pet. It quickly spreads through the bloodstream and causes a fever as well as joint pain in the pet. It gets into the kidneys and quickly multiplies leading to kidney failure in your pet. It can also cause liver failure as well. This particular disease can also be contracted by humans as well. Treatment is possible through several antibiotics and fluids and in more severe cases hemodialysis may be needed. Even though there are some treatments it is still a very life threatening disease. Parainfluenza= Can be contracted by a pet inhaling secretions that an infected dog has coughed up. It effects the respiratory system; pharynx, trachea, generalized lymph nodes and large bronchi. It can cause rhinitis, conjunctivitis. It is most commonly seen after a pet has been to a kennel type atmosphere. (It is much like a human having the Flu)Parvovirus= Is breed specific, so a dog cannot infect a cat and vice versa. It most commonly effects puppies as their bodies are still growing and their immune systems are easily compromised and older non-vaccinated dogs are usually a large carriers of the disease. The disease looks for rapidly dividing groups of cells so it usually goes right for the lymph nodes of the throat and then releases into the bloodstream. From there it will go to the bone marrow as well as intestinal cells. It will cause the most damage in the intestinal tract where it commonly leads to vomiting & diarrhea causing severe dehydration and putting the pet into shock which can kill them. This is a very hard disease to treat, most puppies who contract parvo will die from it. Older dogs with a lot of hospitalization with antibiotics and plenty of fluids stand a better chance but can still lose their lives to this disease.
*Bordetella vaccines are given to help protect your pet from contracting kennel cough. Most commonly pets will pick up kennel cough after being exposed to a coughing/infected dog. This can be at not only a kennel, but also the dog park or even the front lobby of a veterinary office. Kennel cough can be caused by many different organisms hence why we also vaccinate for the parainfluenza which can also cause this. Depending on which organism your pet comes into contact with can also determine the severity of the cough and duration. By making sure that your pet is fully vaccinated you are able to cover all grounds and keep your pet healthy. Kennel cough if contracted by a non vaccinated pet will be treated by your veterinarian by putting your pet on a dog approved cough suppressant as well as an antibiotic. You will also have to contain your pet until cleared by your veterinarian so as to not contaminate other pets.
*Lyme vaccines are used to help with prevention of lyme disease. It is transmitted by ticks contaminated with lyme. They inject a bacteria into the pet. Unlike in humans, dogs do not show signs of disease for 2-5 months after the intial bite. So if you have found any ticks on your pet remember to let your veterinarian know as soon as possible and watch for symptoms! These bacteria make their way to the nearest joint which causes joint pain and inflammation as well as a high fever. In more severe cases the pet may have severe kidney failure. In order to test for the disease in your pet, your veterinarian will take a blood sample and run it through the 4DX test. They will also run more invasive blood panels as well as a urine screen to make sure that your pets kidneys are still functioning properly. Although this disease can be cleared by a regimen of strong antibiotics with a course being 30 days or longer in some pets it will never clear and/or they will have chronic joint issues due to the disease once it is clear. Some pets have also been know to relapse once the medication cycle has finished.
Feline Immunizations–Here at The Pet Doctor we regularly give the following vaccinations; FVRCP, Leukemia, and Rabies (which will be discussed at the bottom for both canines and felines)
*FVRCP which is short for a combination of FVR: Feline Rhinotracheitis Virus, Calicivirus, and Panleukopenia. Feline Rhinotracheitis Virus= It is spread through pets that are already infected with the disease through secretions of the nose and eyes most commonly. It is a respiratory disease that can leave long lasting effects in your feline. Treatment options to help combat this disease are strong antibiotics but in most cases it is life long and can cause upper respiratory infections as well as eye infections in the pet. Pets who are the most susceptible are unvaccinated pets, very young or very old pets. Calicivirus= is also an upper respiratory disease and in some serious cases pneumonia, it can be contracted by a contaminated cat as well as contaminated objects. It causes loss of appetite, high temps, lethargy, sneezing, painful oral sores and discharge from the eyes. This disease is resistant to most disinfectants and is very persistent in the environment. It can be treated in a week to ten days but in some cases of younger cats, elderly cats can have a rapid death. Panleukopenia= Is the feline version of parvovirus. This disease can affect cats of any age but more severely causes harm to young kittens. It is contracted by infected pets as well as the environment where a contaminated pet has been. It causes loss of appetite, vomiting and diarrhea. A blood count is performed to test the pet for the disease and if found will be hospitalized for rigorous treatment of IV fluids as well as IV antibiotics. Unfortunately this disease has a very high and fast mortality rate.
*Leukemia= The disease is shed in infected pet and passed through their nasal and oral secretions. It can also be passed from mother cat to their newborns as well. Most commonly cats that are allowed outside, are born to infected mothers have a higher rate of susceptibility. It can cause cancers in pets, immune deficiencies, and blood disorders. Some signs are as follows but not limited to; loss of appetite, severe weight loss, enlarged lymph nodes, poor coat condition, diarrhea, seizures, or eye conditions. Although the vaccination itself has been used to help with the treatment of feline leukemia, there is no true treatment. This disease has a high mortality rate as well.
****Rabies= Which can be found in both Felines and Canines. It effects the brain and spinal cord of the animal. It is 100% fatal. It is most commonly spread through bites of infected animals but can also be spread through saliva into an open wound. Symptoms are not usually seen right away, they are commonly in the form of a change in aggression, loss of appetite, weakness, seizures, or sudden death. The disease can only be tested and confirmed after the death of the pet. There is no treatment for the disease at this time. Vaccinations are key in the prevention of this disease.
The information provided was not in complete detail as we wanted to make it a somewhat condensed version of what it could be. We hope that everyone reads this and understands the absolute importance of all pet vaccinations!!!! We understand that most people are not educated on a lot of the diseases as well as the preventions and therefore do not fully vaccinate their pets. We hope that this helps shed some light for those people. Sorry it was lengthy and you have any questions please feel free to message us any questions and we will be happy to answer any and all.
Let me preface this blog with the fact that everything I will discuss throughout, does not apply to all groomers and breeders!! It is very unfortunate that this a topic that needs to be taken more seriously than some others. Many times in our profession we will have clients come in with their pets and when we discuss certain medical things with them they will instantly come back with….”well my breeder said I am not allowed to give those vaccines” or “my groomer said that I don’t need to have the ear hairs plucked because that has nothing to do with my dogs constant ear infections”. We honestly love that you trust the breeders and groomers that you deal with but lets make this very straight forward….they are NOT veterinarians! They did not go to school for years and work their butts off to learn exactly how they can take care of your pets to be able to keep them healthy and happy.
Most breeders fall upon breeding as an income and in more cases than not are producing less than healthy dogs. Groomers may have had some schooling and they are considered licensed groomers, but they at no point had any medical training. We never tell them how to do their job unless it has to deal with the health of the pet. We won’t go and give fluffy a haircut and we won’t sell dogs out of our facility that we are breeding either. We understand that just like any profession you see enough of something and you believe that you know enough information that you can give advice to your clients.
Even as a vet tech, we know how certain things are treated and taken care of after seeing it done so many different times by our veterinarians, but far be it for us to ever give any type of medical advice. If we give the wrong advice and pretend to be more of a medical professional than we really are, we can get into a lot of trouble should anything happen to a pet! I think that the biggest problem that we encounter is that the breeders are telling clients what vaccines they are allowed to give and when and also what vaccines they are not allowed to give. First off, once you purchase your pet….they are no longer theirs! So they have no say in what you can and cannot give your pet.
Now lets say they have medical information pertaining to one of the parents that says that they are a vaccine reactor. Ok this we can deal with. Being a vaccines reactor does NOT mean that the pet cannot have the vaccines it just means that we have to pre medicate the pet to make sure to ensure its safety, and stop any possible reactions before they may happen. It is always very helpful to have the information of your pets parents to determine certain medical issues that your pet may incur, but that doesn’t mean that they instantly are limited. Vaccines are still necessary for their health and well being. I would much rather have my pet receive a dose of antihistamine before vaccines than to not vaccinate and lose my pet to a disease that could have been totally preventable.
Another thing that is hard for us to swallow is when we discuss treatment options with a client and they tell us that they have to check with their breeders first. Again, they have NO MEDICAL TRAINING. Which means that they should have no say in how your pet is treated. You want a second opinion on a medical procedure…… then we strongly encourage you to discuss it with another veterinarian! We have had the same exact issues with our groomers that I have discussed about our breeders. Another few things that we need to add on for groomers are; make sure that your groomer requires all vaccines! If your groomer does not require this then you may want to consider finding another one. Yes rabies is a big one, and most do require this, but what about the others. Lepto? Parvo? Distemper? etc.
Although your pet may be vaccinated, just like any vaccines they are never 100% effective due to many different reasons. If this groomer does not require vaccines and one of the other pets has a breeder that does not allow them to get certain vaccines…..well your pet is set up for a disaster. In most cases any of those diseases can be life threatening to your pet and some can even be harmful to you as well. Fluffy has a wonderful haircut, meanwhile fluffy is in the hospital now and your on your way to the ER too. Another big thing that we see with groomers is that if we give any advice on a medical stand point as far as their grooming goes…..well they don’t like it.
We have a lot of pets that need regular grooming and more and more we have seen that ear plucking has been something that we ask of their groomers. The hair that builds up in their ears can hold a lot of buildup as well as water which can cause some really terrible ear infections. Now yes it can also help to have a small amount to catch said debris, but believe us there is a difference. When a groomer is approached about this topic, they either deny the possibility or simply state that they won’t do it. We here are able to do ear plucking but we always try to make sure that they are giving that business to their groomers. If they see us having to do what is supposed to be the groomers job….well they may just put themselves out of business. Again we aren’t groomers any more than they are doctors so we don’t regularly try to step in on something like this…….unless for a medical reason. As I stated before, not all groomers and breeders are like this. We actually have great relationships with some of our local groomers and breeders and we have also dealt with clients who have had the same luck with ones that we have never had the pleasure of knowing, but please beware!!
Make sure to put your trust into your veterinarians, and if you don’t fully trust them, then maybe your not going to the right one. We want your pets to have the best medical care while also having the most comfort for both you and your pets!!
Pet fire safety day is July 15th and is a very large topic that should always be discussed. Whether you are living in a single family home or a multiple family home you should always be very careful and aware of the dangers of fires. We have seen it too many times where a pets life is lost in a house fire. The first thing that we always recommend is that you always pin point all of your possible exits out of the house. Make sure that someone in your family is in charge of each pet in the house, you never want one person responsible for multiple pets as it can make it very difficult for you and your pets safety. You can also make emergency kits for your pets which I will list below. Make sure to pick up a window sticker where you can list and label how many pets that you have in the home so that if the firefighters have to go into a home they know what they are looking for, this increases the possibility of their rescue. These can be picked up at your local veterinarian, fire station, or police department and can be purchased at Wal-Mart, Home Depot, Lowes, or any pet store (just to name a few). We have seen far too many times where pets lives are lost in home fires and they can very easily be prevented. Make sure to always keep your pets safe in every possible way that you can!! They are just as much our family as our children and other family members.
**Emergency kits: Can be included but are not limited to**
Carrier, blankets, Litter Box and litter (for felines), food & water bowls, food, bottled water, harness, leash, copy of vet records, a small amount of your pets medications, etc.
Make sure to also set up a place that you can take your pet should this event occur. Check with your veterinarian about their boarding policies as well as checking with some of your local kennels. This way if you are unable to take your pet with you, you know that they are being well taken care of. (Make sure to check out our upcoming blog, where we will discuss what you should be looking for in order to pick the best boarding facility for your pets)
We hope that after reading this you will be able to use our tips and keep your pets safe!!!
The idea of spaying and neutering pets can be a constant struggle between veterinary staff and pet owners. A big belief by pet owners is that we as Veterinary professionals only ask for pets to be spayed and or neutered because we just want to collect on the bill that we will inevitably run up for the surgery itself. This cannot be farther from the truth! There are so many reasons why pets need to be spayed and neutered, and I am going to go through some of those reasons right now! I will also talk about a generic spay/neuter with some highly recommended, but lower expense options compared to one where YOU as the client decide to do more for your pet, or in some cases do NOT decide to do anything at all.
1) Reason 1: Population Control
—Although this is not an actual medical reason as to why you should spay or neuter your pet, it is of just as much importance. Unfortunately there are a lot of unwanted pets in this world. We see stray cats and dogs everywhere. This is due to the fact that people will allow for their pets to mate with another (since they never believed in spaying or neutering), but they never actually wanted anymore animals in their home, so they send them out. These pets if they are not taken to a shelter and fixed will live out in the wild and continue to mate and these pets will multiply VERY quickly. Each dog or cat can have litters of multiples and those litters will go out and mate and have multiples….I am sure you can see where this is going. Wouldn’t it be so much easier to spay or neuter your first pet!
2) Reason 2: Runaways!!
—This is like the old story, why did the chicken cross the road?? Only we turn it around and say why did the dog cross the road?? He was looking for a mate. Most owned pets that escape and run away you will find, are not spayed or neutered. These pets have left their homes in hopes of finding a mate and fulfilling their animalistic needs. Unfortunately in a lot of cases we see that these pets are often found dead on the side of the road, due to being hit by a car while trying to cross. These pets have urges and although you think that you may have it “under control”……you don’t!
3) Reason 3: Medical, medical, medical!!!!
—This is our TOP reason why we ask that all pets are spayed and neutered. We have seen on far too many occasions, pets that come in who are acting abnormal and seem to not be feeling well. The Pet is presented as what we term ADR (Aren’t doing right). This is most commonly associated with, my pet isn’t eating, they are sleeping a lot more than usual, very listless, and they seem like they may be in pain, and in female pets there can be some discharge from the vulva area. In a lot of male pets we will see prostate cancer, which unless caught in time, just like in humans can be life threatening. In females we can see ovarian cancer, breast cancer, pyometra and hyrdometra. Which are just a few of the possibilities. All of which are life threatening. Now we always get the “Well I had a dog that lived to be 18 and she was never fixed”. Well that is wonderful and also extremely lucky!! But just like humans, pets are NOT all the same and can have issues that vary from pet to pet.
***Now for a moment lets talk about how “expensive” it is to get your pet spayed or neutered. I will go off of what our clinic does, not all prices are going to exact, we do everything by weight (Not all clinics are the same). Our requirements for a pet to be spayed or neutered is as follows: they must be up to date on vaccines! Simple. Now if they are puppies they must have all three rounds of vaccines and pets who are older need to at least be current on theirs. Now this is where we get into our first arguments. “I don’t want my pet vaccinated, why does she anyway? You just want more money!!!” NO!!! We want to make sure that your pet is healthy enough to undergo a surgical procedure as well as being safe in our clinic where we treat sick pets. We do not want your pet to contract any diseases while in our facility and we do not want our other patients to contract any diseases from your pets. Simple as that. We only have the health and well being of our animals in mind! Surgery day comes and your pet is current on it’s vaccines, we are set to go. While we do have options that go along with every surgical procedure, in most cases, they are just that…..OPTIONS! Would you like pain medication for your pet? Would you like to take advantage of our CO2 laser surgery as well as our Heat Therapy laser for post surgery? Would you like a cone for your pet after surgery? Would you like your pet microchipped? Would you like pre surgical blood work done on your pet to make sure that their body can handle the anesthesia? All of these are extra options, especially when it comes to a spay or neuter. Each one does hold its benefits, but we do not force anyone to take them. The two we most commonly ask about, are pain medication and a cone. Pain medication so that your pet does not have to endure any pain while in its initial healing phase and a cone to make sure that when your pet inevitably grooms him/herself they do not open the area, thus needing a surgical repair. That is it! Clear as day! We also make sure that when going over these options with our owners, they understand how each of them works and why we ask about them. Lets just go off of a small female dog example here. We have gone over all of our extra surgical options. The original value may be roughly $90. This is for a simple, scalpel and suture surgery. The owner has declined our two highly recommended options of pain medication and a cone. If they had gone with both options it would have brought our total up to lets say roughly $120. The pets surgery has gone well and its now time to go home. The first night goes over well, because the pet was still probably groggy from the surgery and the owner is totally ok with everything…….well……the next night things do not go as well. We get a phone call from a very angry owner, “my pet was in a lot of pain and crying all last night, why didn’t she get pain medication???????? It also looks like the surgical area is open, but she doesn’t touch it!!!! What happened?!?!?!?!” We ask that the owner brings the pet in immediately so that we can take a look at it. We can tell by looking at the suture site that the pet has been licking the area, this is probably due to the pain that she was trying to relieve. That surgical repair is going to cost roughly $150-$200. The owner becomes outraged with us because we are just “money hungry!!!!” We explain to the owner that if she had gone with the cone and pain medication this would have not happened, but now we not only need to basically re-do the surgery and clear away any bacteria and rotten tissue from the area, we also need to make sure that she has a strong antibiotic on board, pain medication because this is going to be even more painful for her the second time and it will also take longer to heal, she will also need a cone so that this does not happen again to her. Now yes, for some that $120 may be on the higher side of what they can afford but it was definitely a lot cheaper, and would have prevented any further complications. We do not give options, especially the higher recommended ones for nothing! Some might ask why we do not put them into the package already, we again are told that if we do, we are putting things in to just make the bill higher. We are caught in any way that we approach the topic. You cannot go to a human doctor and expect any surgery to be anything close to that inexpensive, that would barely cover the medication that you go home with. Some may argue that they are just pets…….We despise that sentence!!! They are pets, they are family and they deserve the best care possible. Pets are a luxury, not a necessity. If you do not have the means to make sure that your pet is taken care of in every aspect, then you shouldn’t own one. It is as simple as that! We love that there are so many pet lovers out there but unfortunately you are not doing them any good if you cannot take care of them in the best ways possible. Now let me talk about if you never had your pet spayed or neutered at all and I will continue with our small female dog in this scenario as well. She passed on the surgery with cone and pain medication for $120 because she doesn’t believe in having her pet spayed and that was just too expensive. A few years go by and we get a call that the pet is ADR and has some discharge leaking from her vulva area. We ask the owner to come in as soon as possible. Upon examination we realize that the pet has Pyometra, which means that her entire track has filled with pus and is contaminating her body. If it is not taken care of now, this pet will pass away. We now have to go in for an emergency surgery, because she is so listless and bad off we now have to add on blood work to make sure that her body can handle the surgery, antibiotics, a full spay surgery, flushing the area, pain medication, cone, and possible hospitalization with fluids. We are now looking at roughly $800+ for this surgery. And even after it is all said and done, this pet is not initially totally out of the woods. Unfortunately this amount IS far too much for some clients and they are having to make the hard and devastating decision to euthanize their pet.
Now I know that I have ranted for far too long, but this is something that we as Veterinary Professionals are very passionate about. We only want what is best for these animals. We know that funds are tight in this economy but again, we also know that pets are a luxury. Please Please Please make sure that you are spaying and neutering your pets!!! That $120 for that pet would have not only kept her healthy after looking at both reasons 2 & 3 but it also keeps the potential for other pets to not be brought into such a rough situation by also avoiding reason 1. Our goal is to keep your pets healthy!!!!!
We are not money hungry, we need money to pay the bills that keep our equipment running, the roof over our clinic to keep your pets healthy, the medication to make them feel better, and the staff to love each one of them as their own!
May 17th-23rd is Dog Bite Prevention Awareness week, so I would like to take the time to give this particular week the awareness that is so desperately deserves. Many dog bites are preventable but most people unfortunately do NOT know the different things that they can do to prevent such incidents. The most common dog bites occur with children. A big reason behind this is that all kids think that pets are always friendly and therefore want to pet and love on them. I mean really, who doesn’t always want to love on animals???? I know I do! But I was taught at a very young age a hard life lesson when I lifted a poodle up from its belly that it was NOT such a good idea and I was bit in the lip.
What I didn’t know was that this pet had had surgery not long ago and therefore was very painful in the abdominal area. The entire occurrence happened so quickly that no one had the time to explain this to me. Fortunately I was okay and so was the pet. After this incident I was told that from now on, in order to have any socialization with a pet, I had to ask my parent if it was okay to approach the pets owner and then at that point ask the owner if it was okay to pet their animal. A big lesson that we need to teach children is how to act and handle themselves around pets. Especially ones that they do not know. Always make to have them ask the owner if the pet is friendly and does well with children and strangers (If the child is young enough, the parent may be the one to ask these important questions). Do not feel hurt or upset should the owner explain that you cannot pet their animal, as it may be the best for your personal safety as well as the pets. This can also be an issue with adults, being to forward with pets. The next thing when approaching a pet after asking for permission from the owner is then allow for the pet to come to you. Let them sniff your hand and make the first gesture, a lot of the time a pet will bow their head to allow for you to pet them. Try to stay on top of the head and maybe the back, never go towards the tail or appendages as some pets do not like those areas touched. Ears can sometimes be a no no spot, but normally if the owner allows for their pet to be touched, they will also let you know the areas NOT to touch. Our biggest goal is to keep both the person and pet as safe as possible. I could continue to go on and on, but I think I will save that for another blog post. Hope that you all have a wonderful weekend, and remember to teach your kids as well as taking the time yourself to ask if a pet is friendly or not!