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Frequently Asked Questions
Read our FAQ section below to learn more about Elk Creek Animal Hospital and how we can help your furry friends.
Is it really necessary to bring my dog and/or cat in for a yearly vaccines?
Yes. We recommend yearly vaccines and wellness exams for all pets. Wellness exams can catch things such as heart disease, dental issues, arthritis, etc. before they become a major issue. Yearly vaccines also help boost your pet’s immunity to potentially harmful or deadly diseases.
My pet is getting older. What extra steps should I take to ensure their continued health?
In addition to a regular vaccination schedule, we recommend yearly blood work for all animals over eight years of age. This can help detect underlying health issues before they become an issue and provide us with a good baseline should your pet ever become ill.
Things like pain from arthritis, kidney disease, and diabetes are often mistaken for the pet getting older. In reality, these are painful and potentially life-threatening maladies that need to be monitored and treated. We suggest keeping a close eye on your pet’s demeanor. Gradual changes in appetite, thirst, and energy level may indicate early signs of illness. If you have concerns about your pet, give us a call, and we will get an appointment scheduled for you.
What dental care does my pet need?
We recommend regularly brushing your pet’s teeth if you are able. If not, dental chews such as Oravet chews, Greenies, and Dentastix are all excellent alternatives. Dry kibble is also recommended. The abrasive kibble helps remove plaque off of teeth while chewing.
Just like people, pets need regular teeth cleanings to help their dental and overall health. We recommend yearly cleanings for every pet over one year of age. Dental cleanings for pets require full anesthesia. This allows us to fully clean your pet’s teeth and assess their overall dental health. We then extract or bond any bad teeth, polish them, and finish by fluoriding. Your pet may go home on pain meds depending on their level of need.
Does heartworm prevention and flea prevention need to be given year round?
Yes! Mosquitos and fleas are both present year-round across the United States. Fleas can survive into cold temperatures, enter your home on your clothing, and feed on your pet. An adult flea can lay up to 50 eggs a day, and those eggs can take up to 3 months to reach maturity, so a flea problem from the warmer months might not show up until it is colder.
What vaccines are required for my pet to board or have surgery?
For boarding, dogs must have an up-to-date Rabies, Distemper, and Bordetella vaccine. For surgeries, we also require an up-to-date Heartworm test. Heartworm positive dogs are at a higher risk for complications from anesthesia, so we need to know their status to know whether we need to adjust anesthesia protocol for the patient or potentially reschedule the surgery until the patient has gone through treatment.
For cats, we require an up-to-date Rabies and FVRCP vaccine.
Why should I neuter or spay my pet?
We recommend spaying or neutering all pets of the appropriate age (5 months for cats, 6 months for small-medium size dogs, and 10-12 months for large and giant breed dogs) to prevent behavioral issues as well as serious health concerns such as testicular cancer in males and uterine infection or mammary tumors in females.
What dog and cat food brands do you recommend?
There are many great brands out there. The ones we recommend the most are based on years of results and healthy dogs and cats. It is recommended that pets are fed premium diets like Purina One, Science Diet, Royal Canine, Iams, and Eukanuba. Occasionally, prescription diets are recommended based on a pet’s specific needs. Our Veterinarians will make these recommendations when appropriate.
When do I switch from puppy/kitten food to adult food?
Switching a puppy or kitten to adult food too early can cause obesity and gastrointestinal issues. We recommend switching to an adult dog or cat food between 10-12 months.
Where do I take my pet in case of emergency?
If you have an emergency during regular business hours, simply give us a call, and we will schedule you for an appointment. If you are an established client with an emergency after hours, call our clinic number, and you will be directed to our answering service. They will assess your issue and, if necessary, direct you to the doctor-on-call. There is a $250 exam fee to be seen on emergency.
Should I declaw my cat?
The decision to declaw a cat is not one that we recommend making lightly. While we do not promote declawing of all cats, we do recognize that there are certain times and situations that declawing may be necessary for the health and safety of the cat and family. We use a CO2 surgical laser on all declaws, keep them overnight for observation, and provide comprehensive pain control. If you have a new kitten, we strongly recommend training them on a scratching post from a young age, as well as trimming their nails regularly. This may prevent the need for declawing later.
When do you need fecal samples, and why?
It is recommended that a fecal sample be provided at annual/wellness visits, new puppy/kitten exams, and when gastrointestinal symptoms are present. Only tapeworms and roundworms are visible to the naked eye. On some occasions, diarrhea, vomiting, and weight loss are symptoms of intestinal worms, but many intestinal parasites go undetected without running intestinal parasite tests. Some intestinal parasites are zoonotic, meaning they are transmittable to humans making routine intestinal parasite testing important to pets and humans’ health.
Do I need an appointment for my pet to see a veterinarian?
We see patients by appointment only. If you would like to be seen, simply give us a call, and we will find the best date and time that works for you to come in.
What payment methods do you accept?
We accept Visa, Mastercard, American Express, Discover, CareCredit, Scratchpay, Cash, and Check.