Got Questions?

About

Can we see the same veterinarian/veterinary technician each time we visit?

We make every effort to accommodate our clients’ requests, so feel free to ask for a specific veterinarian or veterinary technician when you schedule your appointment. We’ll do our best to accommodate your request. On occasion, though, there may be scheduling conflicts, emergency situations, and vacations that limit availability. Though you may have your favorites, all of our team members are highly skilled professionals who look forward to your pet’s visit.

Why is my veterinarian referring my pet to a specialist?

Our top priority is to make sure that our patients receive the highest standard of care and best possible outcome. This is why we sometimes make the decision to refer patients to veterinary specialists or specialty clinics when advanced training or equipment will be beneficial.

Our veterinarians make every effort to stay current and skilled in many aspects of animal health, providing comprehensive care for your pet. However, board-certified specialists have extensive experience and training in a particular area of veterinary medicine or surgery. And specialty clinics and university-affiliated referral centers have specialized equipment to perform procedures that are not routinely undertaken by general practitioners.

Be assured that when we refer a patient to another hospital, we continue to stay involved with his or her care, consulting with the treating specialist and often providing any needed follow-up care and rehabilitation.

Can I call and have you fax a copy of my pet’s rabies certificate and proof of vaccinations to the kennel where my pet will be staying?

We’d be happy to send proof of vaccination to your pet’s kennel. Just let us know the fax number.

What are your vaccination requirements for boarding?

We require that dogs be vaccinated against rabies, distemper, parvovirus, and Bordetella (kennel cough) and that cats be vaccinated against rabies, panleukopenia (feline distemper), and feline leukemia virus (FeLV).

Do you perform at-home euthanasia?

We consider each case individually. Feel free to ask about this as an option for you and your pet. For those pets that come to our office, we schedule the appointment at times when other clients are not likely to be in the office, to give you as much privacy as possible. We understand that this is a very difficult decision, so please let us know what questions you have, and how we might make it just a bit easier for you.

I’ve decided it’s time to let my pet go, but he/she is uncomfortable and can’t move very well, and I would really prefer to not drag him/her to the hospital. Can you come to my house?

If you would like to have a veterinarian come to your home, we can certainly accommodate your request. Please call to schedule an appointment. We also offer counseling if you want to discuss your decision or have any questions about the process.

If my pet’s problem doesn’t get better, can I get a refund for his/her veterinary care?

Unfortunately, we can’t offer refunds for veterinary care. Our fees cover the cost of examining, testing, diagnosing, and treating your pet.

Not all health problems have a straightforward solution. Some may be chronic, requiring a long-term management plan; others may be more difficult to diagnose or may involve several causes. A cure may not always be possible, and treatment may be ongoing. Your veterinary team will do everything they can to find answers and continue to help your pet.

What precautions/measures do you take so my pet doesn’t feel pain related to surgery/injury/infection/chronic disease?

Your pet’s comfort is a priority for us. Using our knowledge of pain medication and pain relief strategies, we do everything we can to prevent and manage your pet’s pain under all circumstances. We will tailor a pain management plan to your pet’s medical condition and individual needs.

We also offer acupuncture and chiropractic services, which can help control pain in some pets.

I’m worried about my pet’s upcoming surgical procedure. What do you do to help ensure your patients’ safety during surgery?

Our veterinary team takes every precaution so that your pet receives the highest-quality care. We perform a physical exam and preanesthetic testing before surgery and monitor your pet during surgery. During the procedure, a veterinary technician will continually assess your pet’s heart and respiratory rate, blood pressure, and other vital signs to help prevent any anesthetic risk. We also provide appropriate pain medication to keep your pet comfortable during recovery.

I think my pet ate something that’s making him/her sick, and he/she has lost consciousness/is having seizures/trouble breathing. What should I do?

During normal business hours, bring your pet in immediately. Call us right before you leave or while you’re on your way to help us prepare for the situation.

If your pet gets sick outside our normal hours, take your pet immediately to an emergency veterinary clinic.

I think my pet ate something that could be poisonous, but he/she seems fine. What should I do?

Don’t panic, but call us right away. If it’s outside our normal business hours, leave a message, and one of our veterinarians will return your call quickly. If your pet is not showing any adverse symptoms, you can also call the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center at 888-426-4435. You may be charged a consultation fee.

I think something’s wrong with my pet. Can I call you and have a veterinarian give me a diagnosis over the phone?

Veterinarians can’t diagnose over the phone. Besides being unethical and illegal, diagnosing by phone doesn’t allow veterinarians to physically examine a pet. A physical exam is necessary so your veterinarian can provide an accurate diagnosis and proper treatment. Treating a pet for the wrong disease or condition will cost more in the end and could be harmful or even deadly to your pet.

Why do you check my dog’s weight every time he/she comes in for a visit?

We keep track of your pet’s weight just like your doctor’s office keeps track of your height and weight each time you visit. Having an accurate and current measurement of your pet’s weight will help us ensure that we prescribe the right dose of preventives, medications, and any needed anesthetics. It can also help us notice any early clues to health concerns. In addition, a regular weigh-in can help you track and manage your pet’s weight.

I have a hard time controlling my pet in the lobby. Can I make arrangements so I can take him/her into the exam room right away when I arrive?

We are happy to make arrangements to help make your visit as smooth and convenient as possible. When you call to schedule your appointment, please let us know that you would prefer to wait in an exam room.

My pet is a handful. Can I pay my bill ahead of time or in the exam room so I don’t have to wait in the lobby after the exam is over?

We are happy to make arrangements to help make your visit as smooth and convenient as possible. When you call to schedule your appointment, please let us know that you would like to be billed in advance. We typically ask for a credit card and will send you a receipt at your request. Depending on what services or procedures we have provided your pet, we may need to add additional fees to your bill. We will contact you to let you know if this is the case.

My pet is really well trained. Does he/she need to be on a leash/in a carrier when we visit the hospital?

For the safety and protection of all clients, patients, and veterinary team members, we require all pets to be on a leash or in a carrier when they arrive at our hospital. They must continue to be restrained while they are in the reception area and while traveling to and from the exam rooms. Your veterinarian or veterinary technician will let you know when it’s OK to let your pet off leash or out of his or her carrier.

There is often a lot going on at our hospital. Combine that with the unfamiliar surroundings and new animals, and any pet—even one that is well trained—might become uneasy or overly excited. We want you and your pet to have as pleasant an experience as possible every time you visit our hospital, so we ask all our clients to respect our policy.

I brought my pet to see the veterinarian for a problem, and my pet isn’t getting any better. What can I do?

Call us. Just like doctors, veterinarians sometimes need to try more than one treatment/medication to find the correct solution to cure or manage a pet’s condition. Please let us know if something we recommended or prescribed isn’t helping. We want to work with you to find the right answers for your pet.

Is it OK to call with questions about my pet’s health?

Although we can’t provide lengthy consultations or a diagnosis over the phone, we welcome questions from our clients. Please feel free to call or stop by anytime.

My pet needs to come in for a regular exam/minor procedure, but I don’t have time to wait at the hospital the whole time. Can I drop my pet off and pick him/her back up later in the day?

For our clients’ convenience, we do offer drop-off appointments. Please call to arrange this service. We usually ask that you drop off your pet in the morning. We will call you once your pet is ready to be picked up.

Do you offer any payment plans?

Unfortunately, we do not offer any payment plans at this time. We request that you pay for services provided at the time of your pet’s visit. If you have any questions about our payment policy, please feel free to ask.

We recommend that you include the cost of veterinary care in your annual expenses. However, we understand that this sometimes isn’t possible. If you contact us ahead of time, we can help you determine ways to keep costs down and stay within your budget. For instance, some preventive veterinary care can be spread out over several visits. Your veterinarian will work with you to come up with a cost-effective plan to keep your pet current on vaccinations and other necessary services.

We do accept major credit cards, as well as veterinary insurance plans, which can help cover many routine and emergency services.

What forms of payment do you accept?

We can accept any of the following payment methods:

  • Cash
  • Personal checks
  • Visa
  • MasterCard
  • American Express
  • Discover

We also accept most pet insurance plans.

What’s the best way to schedule an appointment?

Please call our office at 585-346-3810 to book a convenient appointment time, or use our online appointment scheduler to request a date and time.

Where is our clinic located?

Please click here for our location and directions to our office: Location

What do I do in the case of an emergency and your clinic isn’t open?

Please click here to visit our Emergencies page for all recommendations and contact numbers.

What are your hours of operation?

Hours of Operation
Monday 8:00am – 7:00pm
Tuesday 8:00am – 7:00pm
Wednesday 8:00am – 7:00pm
Thursday 8:00am – 7:00pm
Friday 8:00am – 5:00pm
Saturday 8:00am – 12:00pm
Sunday Closed

Please note that our phones go to voicemail 30 minutes before closing, and turn on 30 minutes after opening on Monday, Tuesday & Thursday (to allow for surgery admissions). For your convenience, as well as that of other clients, office visits are by appointment only. On surgery days, patient admission is between 8:00 and 8:30am.

Why do you have password-protected areas on our website?

In some cases, our professional governing body requires that we have a veterinary–client relationship with pet owners before communicating certain information to them. Also, some educational and informational sections of our site are reserved for our clients so we can communicate effectively between visits. If you are a client, please contact us for your password.

General Questions

What is involved in spaying my pet?

  • Assuming the pre-op blood work reveals no underlying problems, a pre-anesthetic injection with pain medication is administered.
  • A small area of the front leg is shaved and an IV catheter is then placed for administering fluids and medications.
  • The endotracheal tube (for breathing) is placed for inhalation anesthesia.
  • As your pet’s heart and breathing are monitored by a licensed veterinary technician, another clips the surgical site.
  • As the surgeon scrubs and “gowns up,” the patient is moved to the surgery table; the incision site is scrubbed and sterilized.
  • The patient is connected to our multi-modal monitor, and anesthesia is adjusted and closely monitored.
  • A small incision is made in the abdominal belly wall, and the surgery begins. The entire surgical procedure takes approximately 30-45 minutes.
  • The Y shaped uterus and ovaries are removed. (We’ll spare you the details here!)
  • After reapposing (closing) the 3 layers with absorbable suture, the patient is transferred to recovery, where she is closely watched until her endotracheal tube can be safely removed and she is in sternal recumbancy (lying on her chest).
  • It is at this time that we usually call to assure you that all has gone well.
  • Cleaning and sterilizing the operating room and surgical instruments then begins in preparation for the next surgery.
  • When the patient is awake and able to walk, she is transferred to a hospital ward kennel, and is regularly checked.
  • Later that day, when the doctor examines the patient, she is given more pain medication that will last an additional 12 – 24 hours. At the doctor’s discretion, she may be given a small meal.
  • The following morning, she is again examined by the doctor, the incision is checked and she is given a small meal.
  • It will soon be time to go home! A discharge appointment is scheduled for later that day.

Why are I.V. fluids included?

As with human surgeries, intravenous fluid therapy is an integral part of anesthetic procedures at the Livonia Veterinary Hospital. Anesthesia can lower blood pressure during any surgery. The intravenous fluids increase blood volume, thereby maintaining your pet’s blood pressure at a safer level. In addition, should drugs be required in the rare instance of an emergency, the indwelling catheter provides us immediate IV access.

What pain medications will my dog or cat receive?

Initially, an injection of a morphine-like drug is given as part of the pre-anesthetic medication. The effect lasts approximately 12 hours. That evening when the patient is re-examined, another injection of the same pain medication is given.

Initially, an injection of a morphine-like drug is given as part of the pre-anesthetic medications. This provides pain relief for approximately 12 hours. And if at any time during their recovery period they seem painful, additional opiate and/or non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs are administered. That evening, when the patient is re-examined, another injection of the same pain medication is given. We are confident that our pain management regime provides as much relief as possible from any discomfort your pet might otherwise experience during the post-operative period.

When the above pain management protocol was initially recommended by the AVMA, it was used here on a trial basis. Drs. Jamison were so impressed by how well pets recovered, and how obviously more comfortable the patients were post operatively, that they quickly made it standard procedure.

Why is pre-operative blood work required? (My pet is young and healthy.)

Pre-op blood work provides the same benefits as with human surgery. The tests check for anemia, and tell us if your pet’s internal organs, particularly those associated with the metabolism of the anesthetic agents, are functioning properly. If congenital or age related abnormalities are identified, anesthesia protocols can be modified. If all is normal, we have established a valuable baseline for future reference.

How can all this be done for such a reasonable cost?

In an effort to reduce the number of unwanted puppies and kittens, the Livonia Veterinary Hospital has subsidized the cost of your pet’s spay or neuter. Other similar abdominal procedures would cost much more, and comparable human procedures would cost thousands more.

It is important to note, however, that even with the costs reduced, your pet has received the best veterinary care possible. We perform the procedure using the highest standards available today to minimize the risk of infection and make the procedure as pain free as possible. You can be assured that high quality veterinary care is never compromised at Livonia Veterinary Hospital.

Should I do anything special when my dog or cat comes home?

  • For a week or so after surgery, you should keep your pet’s activity restricted, though walks are fine. Do not encourage running, jumping, and other active play.
  • She may be a little quiet and sleep more than usual the first day or two. After all, she is recovering from major abdominal surgery!
  • You may feed and water your pet as you do usually. No special diet is required.
  • You will need to examine the incision daily. Absorbable sutures are used so there is no need to return for suture removal.
  • Don’t hesitate to contact us if you have any questions or concerns.

Why should I consider Pet Health Insurance?

We all want what is best for our pets, and there are incredible veterinary services to choose from today. By taking full advantage of these care options, your pet can live a longer, healthier life. Insurance can help cover your costs for care, and may enable you to choose more complete care. When you do a little research, you will soon see that pet insurance is very different from our health insurance, and does not have the same disadvantages!

Most pets will encounter one or more major medical issues in their lifetimes, so pet insurance warrants serious consideration. For detailed information, visit the website of companies you are considering, or talk with a rep from that company.

Not All Pet Insurance Companies Are the Same….

The following information outlines key points pertaining to pet health insurance, and serves as a guide for some of the questions to ask when considering a pet insurance plan. We have researched several companies, and have found many variations. What will fit the needs of one pet or owner might not work for another. To help you in your decision, we have outlined some important points to consider and research when looking into insurance.

Pet Health Insurance compared to human health insurance and HMOs:

  • They are designed very differently. Pet insurance is more like auto or dental insurance, and is often endorsed by general insurance companies.
  • The owner pays the veterinarian, and then is reimbursed by the insurance company.
  • Claim forms and the vet invoice are mailed to the insurance company; most forms are short and easy to complete.
  • Most plans allow you to choose any veterinarian.
What does it cost?

  • Annual premiums vary, depending on the plan, and sometimes on the age of the pet.
  • There are copays, and usually a deductible before the insurance reimburses you.
  • Average monthly premiums for mid-range coverage illness plans – $15 – 35 per month
  • Average monthly premiums for wellness plans – $10 – 30 per month
  • Some companies give multi pet discounts; some companies offer a 30 day free trial.
Deductibles:

  • All illness and accident plans have deductibles
  • Some companies allow you to choose the amount – from $50 – $500.
  • Generally, the higher the deductible, the lower the premium.
  • Some deductibles are per incident or illness, some are per year.
Reimbursement-There are two types, depending on the company:

  • Reimbursement based on % of actual vet invoice – usually 80-90%
  • Based on benefit schedule (pre-determined “acceptable” vet fee schedule)
Reimbursement Limits:

  • There is usually a dollar maximum that the company will reimburse.
  • Usually, the higher the premium, the higher the maximum.
  • The maximum limit could be per illness or a lifetime maximum.
Pre-Existing Conditions:

  • Not covered. (An auto insurance co. would not sell you coverage after an accident!)
  • How to avoid this exclusion? Enroll early, before your pet develops any problems.
  • Be sure that upon annual renewal, a chronic condition will still be covered. (See next section)
Chronic conditions (e.g. kidney failure, skin issues, chronic ear or bladder infections, diabetes):

  • Be sure the condition will be covered when you renew.
  • Some companies cover this the first year; then consider it “pre-existing” upon renewal!
Typical Exclusions:

  • Cosmetic procedures (ear crops; tail docks; dewclaws, though not necessarily cosmetic)
  • Pregnancy
  • OFA and health certifications
  • Pre-existing conditions
  • Anal glands
  • Parasites – prevention and treatment, internal and external
  • Sometimes inherited conditions
  • Congenital problems – present at birth
  • Prescription foods
  • At least one company excludes prescriptions (requires a separate rider)
  • Medical conditions that are common in certain breeds are often excluded – the insurance company will provide specifics if you ask.
  • ** Some companies offer add-on riders to cover some of the above conditions.
  • ** Some companies will provide limited “flat rate” coverage for the above conditions.
Wellness exams, vaccinations, etc.

  • Staying current on wellness exams and vaccines can help prevent or lessen the severity of illness.
  • Most companies offer separate “wellness” coverage for a separate premium.
  • Partial reimbursement is the general rule (40-70%) with no deductibles.
  • Disciplined owners can also save for these procedures, since, unlike illnesses, owners can plan for this expense.

Average Waiting Periods:
There is always a waiting period after signing up, which varies with the company.

  • Cruciate repair – 6 – 12 mo.
  • Illness – 14 – 30 days
  • Recurring illness (e.g. ear infection or UTI)- free of the illness for 6 – 12 mo.
  • Accident – 2 – 14 days
The bottom line: We feel pet insurance can greatly benefit your pet and his/her quality and length of life. Remember, it is primarily for unexpected expenses and can greatly reduce potential economic strain for you. For more details, we advise you to visit the websites of the companies you are considering, and then call the company with your questions.

What is involved in neutering my cat?

  • Assuming the pre-op blood work reveals no underlying problems, a pre-anesthetic injection that includes pain medication is administered.
  • A breathing mask is then placed over the cat’s face to induce and maintain full anesthesia.
  • The surgery site is clipped and aseptically prepared for surgery. At this time local anesthetic blocks are used to further prevent discomfort. All the while the heart, respiratory rate, and other vital parameters are closely monitored by a NYS licensed veterinary technician.
  • As the surgeon scrubs and “gowns up,” the patient is carefully moved to the surgery table where he is reconnected to the anesthetic monitoring equipment.
  • A small incision is made, and the surgery begins.
  • We’ll save you the details, but the appropriate organs are surgically removed.
  • After surgery completion, the patient is removed from anesthesia and transferred to the recovery area where he is closely observed until he is lying up on his chest. It is at this time that we will try to call to assure you that all has gone well, and to schedule your cat’s discharge appt.
  • When the patient is awake and able to walk, he is transferred to the hospital ward, and is frequently checked.
  • Later that day, the doctor re-examines the patient and inspects the incision.
  • As the pain medication from the morning wears off, it is determined whether an oral pain medication should be sent home with your cat.
  • It will soon be time to go home!
Why is pre-operative blood work recommended? (My cat is young and healthy.)

Pre-op blood work provides the same benefits as with human surgery. The tests check for anemia, and tell us if your cat’s organs, particularly those associated with the metabolism of the anesthetic agents, are functioning properly. If congenital or age related abnormalities are identified, anesthesia protocols can be modified. If all is normal, we have established a valuable baseline for future reference.

What pain medications will my cat receive?

Because it is not full abdominal surgery, cats recover more quickly from neutering than from spaying, and with significantly less pain. Initially, an injection of a morphine-like drug is given as part of the pre-anesthetic medication. The effect lasts approximately 12 hours. In addition, lidocaine (similar to novacaine) is injected close to the surgical site to provide a local anesthetic. That evening, when the cat is re-examined, if he seems uncomfortable he will be sent home with additional oral pain medication.

How can all this be done for such a reasonable cost?

In an effort to reduce the number of unwanted puppies and kittens, the Livonia Veterinary Hospital has subsidized the cost of your cat’s neuter. Another comparably involved surgery would certainly be more, and comparable human procedures would cost thousands more. It is important to note, however, that even with the costs reduced, your cat has received the best veterinary care possible. We perform the procedure using the highest standards available today to minimize the risk of infection and make the procedure as pain free as possible. You can be assured that high quality veterinary care is never compromised at the Livonia Veterinary Hospital.

Should I do anything special when my cat comes home?

For 2-3 days after surgery, you should keep your cat’s activity restricted, and he should not be allowed to go outdoors.

He may be a little quiet and sleep more than usual the first day or two. After all, he is recovering from surgery!

The first evening home we recommend feeding only a partial meal. Afterwards, you may feed and water your cat as usual. No special diet is required.

You should examine the incision daily. There is no need for suture removal; the small incisions heal without sutures.

We encourage you to contact us if you have any questions or concerns.

The hormonal changes that result from neutering occur over time, so typical pre-neuter behaviors, such as roaming, may still be present up to 3 months after surgery.

What is involved in neutering my dog?

  • Assuming the pre-op blood work reveals no underlying problems, a pre-anesthetic injection with pain medication is given.
  • A small area of the front leg is shaved and an IV catheter is then placed for administering fluids and medications.
  • The endotracheal (breathing) tube is placed for inhalation anesthesia.
  • As your dog’s heart and breathing are monitored by a NYS licensed veterinary technician, another clips the surgical site.
  • As the surgeon scrubs and “gowns up,” the patient is moved to the surgery table; the incision site is scrubbed and sterilized.
  • The patient is connected to a respiratory monitor, and anesthesia is adjusted and monitored.
  • A small incision is made, and the surgery begins, which takes approximately 45 minutes.
  • The testicles are surgically removed. (We’ll spare you the details here!)
  • After closing the 2 layers with absorbable suture, the patient is transferred to the observation area where he is closely watched until his endotracheal tube can be safely removed and he is in sternal recumbancy (lying up on his chest).
  • It is at this time that we usually call to assure you that all has gone well, and to schedule your dog’s discharge appt.
  • Cleaning and sterilization of the operating room and surgical instruments then begins to prepare for the next surgery.
  • When the patient is awake and able to walk, he is transferred to a hospital ward kennel, and is regularly checked.
  • Later that day, the doctor examines the patient and inspects the incision.
  • As the pain medication from the morning wears off, it is determined whether an oral pain medication should be sent home with your dog.
  • It will soon be time to go home!
What pain medications will my dog receive?

Because it is not full abdominal surgery, dogs recover more quickly from neutering with significantly less pain than a spay. Initially, an injection of a morphine-like drug is given as part of the pre-anesthetic medication. The effect lasts approximately 12 hours. That evening when the dog is re-examined, if he seems uncomfortable, he will be sent home with additional oral pain medication.

Why are I.V. fluids included?

As with human surgeries, intravenous fluid therapy is an integral part of anesthetic procedures at the Livonia Veterinary Hospital. Anesthesia can lower blood pressure during any surgery. The intravenous fluids increase blood volume, thereby maintaining your dog’s blood pressure at a safer level. In addition, should drugs ever be required in an unexpected situation, the indwelling catheter provides us immediate IV access.

Why is pre-operative blood work required? (My dog is young and healthy.)

Pre-op blood work provides the same benefits as with human surgery. The tests check for anemia, and tell us if your dog’s organs, particularly those associated with the metabolism of the anesthetic agents, are functioning properly. If congenital or age related abnormalities are identified, anesthesia protocols can be modified to ensure optimal safety during the procedure. If all is normal, we have established a valuable baseline for future reference.

How can all this be done for such a reasonable cost?

In an effort to reduce the number of unwanted puppies and kittens, Livonia Veterinary Hospital has subsidized the cost of your dog’s neuter. Another comparably involved surgery would certainly be more, and comparable human procedures would cost thousands more. It is important to note, however, that even with the costs reduced, your dog has received the best veterinary care possible. We perform the procedure using the highest standards available today to minimize the risk of infection and make the procedure as pain free as possible. Be assured that high quality veterinary care is never compromised at Livonia Veterinary Hospital.

Should I do anything special when my dog comes home?

  • For a week or so after surgery, you should keep your dog’s activity restricted, though walks are fine. Do not encourage running, jumping, and other active play.
  • He may be a little quiet and sleep more than usual the first day or two. After all, he is recovering from surgery!
  • You may feed and water your dog as you do usually. No special diet is required.
  • You will need to examine incision daily. Absorbable sutures are used so there is no need to return for suture removal.
  • As always, be sure to call us us if you have any questions or concerns.

There is much controversy regarding Internet pharmacies and whether they are a good choice for pet owners. Here’s why we are hesitant to endorse their use:

  • Manufacturers sell only to veterinarians, therefore we know the product IS genuine. Internet pharmacies buy from many sources, including overseas. Storage temperatures, expiration dates, and the true manufacturer (though the package may look the same) are often unknown.
  • Products purchased from a veterinarian are guaranteed. If your pet has an adverse reaction, the manufacturer will take responsibility for the cost of care – not true if purchased online or at a pet store.
  • We offer product education and oversee your pet’s health. Our staff can address your questions and advise on produce use. Our doctors are required by the AVMA to have examined your pet within 12 months, to minimize the risk inherent with any medication.
  • Lawsuits against Internet pharmacies have been filed for multiple reasons, including selling counterfeit product.
To encourage you to buy from us, thereby ensuring your pet’s safety, we have lowered our prices on flea and heartworm preventatives, as well as some foods and medications. However, sometimes we just cannot compete with the buying power the big Internet companies and national chain pet stores. We understand that everyone must stay within a budget, so if you find a significant price difference and still desire to buy a prescription medication online, a doctor will write the prescription, provided your pet has been examined within the last year.

When making your decision, please remember that we offer a well trained staff, the manufacturer’s guarantee, and a concern for your pet that you will not find online.

Veterinary Health Care

Why does it cost so much to provide veterinary care for my pet?

The fees you pay for veterinary services take into consideration a number of factors, including the costs to compensate your veterinarian and veterinary team for their professional services and the expenses involved in maintaining the hospital and equipment. When someone decides to adopt a pet, he or she needs to be prepared to include annual veterinary care in the overall cost of owning the pet.

Thanks to advances in veterinary medicine, pets are living longer, which means you may be spending more over the lifetime of your pet. However, in general, the annual cost of caring for a pet hasn’t increased much over the past several decades. (Consider how much the costs of many professional services, such as human healthcare, have risen over that same period!) Certain advanced procedures may come at a higher cost, but as the owner, you decide what care you want to provide your pet. Overall, veterinary care is a terrific value for pet owners.

It may seem like you’re paying more for your pet’s care than for your own, but that perception may stem from the fact that you’re paying the entire cost of a service or procedure, rather than a percentage or set fee determined by an insurance company. If you want to save money on your pet’s care, there are several pet insurance plans available. These plans may cover or help keep costs down for many routine veterinary services, prescriptions, medical conditions, and diseases. Your veterinary hospital may also offer a third-party healthcare line of credit as an option. Be sure to ask at your hospital if they accept any of these plans.

What is a veterinary technician?

A veterinary technician is trained to assist veterinarians in caring for pets. These professionals perform many of the same tasks that a nurse would for a doctor. Veterinary technicians have received extensive training, either in accredited programs or on the job. Responsibilities vary among clinics, but the basic duties remain the same. For instance, technicians collect patient samples, perform lab tests, assist during patient exams and dental cleanings, and take x-rays. Senior techs also train and mentor other staff members. Some technicians work in research facilities or for manufacturers.

I’ve seen a lot of information about supplements and nutraceuticals. How do I know what my pet needs?

Supplements, and nutraceuticals in particular, are becoming very popular with pet owners. Your veterinarian can help you weed out confusing and conflicting information and advise you on any supplements your pet might benefit from.

Which pet food should I feed my dog/cat?

The answer is different for each pet, although many commercially available foods are fine to feed healthy dogs and cats. You can look for a nutritional adequacy statement from the Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO), as well as the words “complete and balanced.” Pets’ nutritional needs do change, depending on their life stage and health. Your veterinarian can recommend a pet food, as well as give you advice on deciphering ingredient lists and determining how much to feed your pet.

I recently lost my pet, and I’m having trouble dealing with the loss. Where can I find help?

Losing a pet can be extremely upsetting and hard to move beyond. We have such a close bond with our pets, so letting go is never easy. Many veterinary hospitals offer grief counseling, as do some veterinary colleges and professional organizations. You can contact your veterinary hospital to find out who they recommend to help you through this sad transition.

My pet has the same thing wrong that he/she was just treated for. Can the veterinarian just prescribe the same medication that he/she did the last time?

Even though your pet may be showing the same symptoms as he or she did the last time, the problem may be different. Many diseases have similar symptoms, and your veterinarian needs to examine your pet to ensure that he or she correctly diagnoses the cause.

What toys/accessories are appropriate for my pet?

Many clinics offer veterinary-approved toys and accessories for pets. With all the options out there, sometimes it’s hard to figure out what’s safe. Your veterinary hospital can also recommend toys based on your pet’s age, breed, needs, and interests.

My pet won’t stop chewing/digging/barking/scratching/spraying. Where can I find help?

Certain behaviors can be extremely frustrating and difficult to overcome. Many veterinary hospitals offer behavior counseling and obedience training. Call your clinic to set up a behavior assessment.

My pet needs to have surgery. Should I be worried about the anesthesia?

Modern anesthesia is generally quite safe. Most veterinary hospitals perform a physical examination and run blood tests before all procedures requiring general anesthesia to make sure your pet doesn’t have any hidden health issues. In addition, a skilled veterinary technician should be monitoring your pet’s vital signs during the procedure, to ensure your pet’s safety or to catch and treat any potential concerns as quickly as possible. Anesthesia and patient monitoring vary greatly from clinic to clinic. Ask your hospital what they do to protect your pet before, during, and after the use of anesthesia.

My pet’s just been diagnosed with a medical condition/disease I’m not familiar with, and I want to find out more about it. Where can I find information I can trust?

You can turn to the Pet Health Section of our website, which offers current, trustworthy information on a wide variety of topics. In addition, many veterinary colleges and professional organizations offer excellent resources online. Your veterinarian will also be happy to discuss your pet’s health in more detail.

Will microchipping hurt my pet?

Not any more than a regular vaccine injection. The chip is inserted at the back of the pet’s neck, where the skin is loose. Microchipping is a safe and effective way to identify your pet in case he or she becomes lost.

After I have my pet microchipped, is there anything else I need to do?

You pet’s microchip should continue to function over your pet’s lifetime without any maintenance; however, the system won’t work unless you keep your contact information current. Whenever you move or change your phone number, make sure you update that information with your pet’s microchip manufacturer. Remember to also get your pet new ID tags at the same time.

Are natural remedies for flea/tick/heartworm prevention safe to use on my pet?

Although natural remedies may offer some protection or repellency against parasites, they are not nearly as effective as prescription products. In addition, natural remedies often need to be applied far more frequently than once a month, making them less convenient as well. Some, such as garlic, may actually be harmful to your pet.

Just because a product has “natural” on its label doesn’t mean it’s safe. Consult with your veterinarian before using any over-the-counter preventives on your pet.

Why should I buy flea/tick/heartworm preventives from a veterinary hospital when there are other, cheaper places to get it?

If you purchase preventives from sources other than a veterinary hospital or a website affiliated with a veterinary hospital, you don’t have any guarantee that the product is authentic or that it has been stored and shipped properly. When you order from your veterinarian, you’ll have the added benefit of being able to rely on his or her expertise and knowledge of your pet’s medical history.

I’ve never seen a flea or tick on my pet. Why should I bother putting my pet on preventives? Isn’t this an extra expense that’s just not worth paying for?

Fleas and ticks are not just minor nuisances; they can transmit serious and sometimes life-threatening diseases, some of which can be passed to people. Even indoor-only pets are at risk because fleas and ticks can hitch a ride inside on your clothing, shoes, or other pets. Keeping your pet on a monthly preventive is your best bet for protecting your pet—and your family—against these parasites.

I’ve heard that some clinics offer anesthesia-free dentistry. Is this safe for my pet?

Anesthesia-free dentistry, or non-professional dental scaling, can be extremely dangerous for pets, for a number of reasons.

Most pets won’t lie still during a dental cleaning, so there is a strong risk of injuring the pet’s gums and other soft tissue in the mouth. A frightened pet could also bite the clinician.

Even if your pet could be trained to remain completely still for all the scraping and noise of the procedure, his or her teeth need to be cleaned under the gums, where tartar and dental disease can hide. This process is uncomfortable, which is why pets should be anesthetized. Dental, or periodontal, disease begins in the spaces under the gums where the teeth and gums meet. Cleaning just the visible surfaces of the teeth only makes owners feel like their pets’ teeth are clean, when in reality, dental disease is still trapped under the gumline.

Your pet also needs to be ventilated during the procedure. Ventilation keeps your pet’s airway open and keeps tartar from potentially ending up in his or her lungs, where it can actually kill your pet.

The cosmetic cleaning that a pet would get from a non-professional scaling just isn’t worth your money or your pet’s health.

Why does my pet need dental care?

Dental health is just as important for dogs and cats as it is for people. Bacteria and food debris accumulate around the teeth and, if left unchecked, will lead to deterioration of the soft tissue and bone surrounding the teeth. This decay can result in irreversible periodontal disease, tooth loss, and expensive oral surgery. Bacteria can also cause serious, potentially fatal infections in your pet’s kidneys, liver, lungs, and heart.

Unless your pet just ate something fishy, stinky breath isn’t normal. Having a veterinarian evaluate your pet’s teeth regularly and clean them as needed will help prevent dental disease and any related problems.

How can my puppy/kitten have worms? How was he/she exposed?

Almost all puppies are born with intestinal parasites, which are passed from mother to pup during pregnancy. Although kittens are not infected when they’re born, they can become infected through their mother’s milk. Puppies can also become infected while they’re nursing.

Puppies and kittens should both be dewormed every 2 weeks, starting at about 2 weeks of age for puppies and 3 weeks of age for kittens. After the biweekly series of dewormings is finished, monthly deworming should begin (at about 8 to 9 weeks of age for kittens and 12 weeks of age for puppies).

Why does heartworm treatment cost so much?

Many factors affect the cost associated with treating heartworm infection, including diagnostic testing, hospitalization, medication, and office visits. Preventing heartworm is much less expensive, which is why most veterinarians recommend that you keep your pet on heartworm prevention year-round.

I’ve been late several times when giving my pet a heartworm preventive. Should I be concerned?

Unfortunately, if you were late or missed a dose even once, your pet could have become infected if he or she was exposed during that time. Call your veterinarian, and explain the situation. Depending on how many doses have been late, they may recommend that you have your pet tested for heartworm infection, then put your pet on a regular preventive schedule. You should also have your pet retested in seven months, as recommended by the American Heartworm Society. (For heartworms to be detected, they need to be five to seven months old.)

Why does my dog/cat need to have a blood test before starting heartworm medication?

Your pet should be tested for heartworm infection before he or she is placed on a preventive to avoid any harmful or possibly fatal complications. For instance, if a heartworm-infected dog is started on a monthly preventive, immature heartworms (called microfilariae) can die suddenly, causing a serious, shock-type reaction. In addition, preventives won’t kill adult heartworms, so an infected dog needs to be started on a treatment plan.

My cat doesn’t go outside. Why should I put him/her on a heartworm/flea/tick preventive?

Just because your cat doesn’t venture outdoors doesn’t mean outdoor parasites can’t get inside. Mosquitoes transmit heartworm disease, and as you probably know, mosquitoes always seem to find a way to get inside your home. Plus, fleas and ticks can both hitch a ride on clothing, so every time you come back into the house, you could potentially be bringing these parasites in with you.

Although you can’t always protect your pet from coming in contact with these bloodsucking insects, you can help protect him or her from the diseases they can transmit. Ask your veterinary hospital to discuss the benefits of preventives with you.

Can’t I just give my dog/cat a Tylenol or Advil to help with pain, rather than paying for more costly veterinary pain medication?

Never give your pet medication intended for people unless your veterinarian has prescribed it. Most over-the-counter pain relievers, such as acetaminophen (Tylenol) and ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin), can have serious, potentially fatal consequences if a pet ingests them.

A variety of pain medications are available for dogs and cats. Your veterinarian can help you determine which one will fit your budget and help alleviate your pet’s pain.

What should I expect during my pet’s wellness exam?

During your pet’s wellness exam, your veterinarian will take your pet’s history and perform a thorough physical examination. He or she will also give your pet appropriate vaccinations and perform a diagnostic workup, which may include blood, fecal, and urine tests to check for parasites and underlying diseases. Your veterinarian will prescribe preventives and may recommend dental work or other follow-up care. The specific services provided during the exam will vary depending on your pet’s age. You can help by letting your veterinarian know if you’ve noticed any unusual behavior or physical changes in your pet.

Why should I bring my pet in for regular veterinary visits when he/she is healthy?

When you consider the cost of prevention versus the cost of treating a disease or condition, you’ll find that treatment is often far more expensive. For example, parvovirus treatment can frequently cost 10 times more than a single parvovirus vaccination. When you keep your pet up-to-date on preventive care, you’ll know that your pet won’t have to suffer from a condition that could have been prevented or treated.

What vaccinations does my dog/cat really need?

Your veterinarian will determine which vaccinations are appropriate for your dog or cat, based on individual factors, such as lifestyle and health status. Veterinarians commonly recommend that dogs be vaccinated against rabies, distemper, and parvovirus and that cats be vaccinated against rabies and panleukopenia (feline distemper). Additional vaccines, such as feline leukemia virus (FeLV), feline immunodeficiency virus (FIV), and Bordetella (kennel cough), are recommended based on your cat or dog’s risk.

Many of these diseases can be fatal to your pet. Preventing them is far easier and less expensive than treatment. If you would like more information on vaccines, ask your veterinarian.

Does my pet have to get a rabies vaccination?

Many areas have laws that require dogs and cats (and sometime ferrets) to be vaccinated against rabies. These laws help protect both pets and people from this deadly disease. Check with your veterinarian to learn local requirements and to find out what he or she recommends. Except in certain rare cases, a veterinarian needs to examine a pet before the vaccine is given.

Because of rabies laws, control and prevention programs, and pet owners’ cooperation, domesticated pets in North America rarely become infected with this disease. By keeping your pet up-to-date on his or her rabies vaccination, not only are you protecting your pet, but you’re also helping to eradicate rabies from the pet population in your community.

How hard is it to get into a veterinary program?

Getting into veterinary school is extremely competitive. Because veterinary programs have a limited number of positions to fill, not all students who apply get in. Those who hope to become a veterinarian must have high grades in their pre-veterinary studies. In addition, any real-world experience or additional years of college may be beneficial.

What education does a veterinarian need?

Most veterinary degrees require at least six years of study at the university level, including a minimum of two years of pre-veterinary education and four years in a veterinary medicine program. Veterinary students usually spend 4,000 hours or more in classroom, laboratory, and clinical study.

To stay current with veterinary medicine, techniques, and technology, practicing veterinarians read scientific journals and attend continuing education symposiums, seminars, and courses.

What is a veterinarian?

Put simply, a veterinarian is a doctor who studies animal health; prevents, diagnoses, and treats diseases and health issues in animals; and helps protect the welfare of animals and people. Veterinarians are knowledgeable and well educated on many aspects of animal care and fulfill a range of roles across the private and public sectors. You can find veterinarians working at small animal clinics, emergency and specialty hospitals, universities, research facilities, pet food and drug manufacturing companies, and government organizations.

I’ve found a clinic that’s offering prices well below what other clinics are charging for veterinary care. Is this a good option if I don’t have much money to spend on my pet?

Just like human doctors, veterinarians are expected to meet minimum standards of care (as overseen by veterinary regulatory authorities). Thus, the quality of care your pet receives should not change based on the fees charged for services. However, if prices are considerably lower at one clinic, you should ask for clarification about what the procedure or treatment includes. You may find substantial differences in the level of care provided by that clinic.

Can I get health insurance for my pet? If so, what’s covered?

Several companies offer health insurance for dogs and cats (and other pets). These plans have premiums and deductibles, just like human health insurance plans. The premiums and deductibles vary based on the level of coverage you select. Many routine services, such as office visits and diagnostic testing, are covered, as well as prescriptions, procedures, and surgeries for a wide variety of diseases and conditions. However, there are restrictions and limits, as well as certain guidelines to follow, including making sure your pet receives regular preventive care.

Your veterinary hospital should have more information about pet health insurance.

My pet is injured/sick, and he/she needs to see a veterinarian. However, I can’t afford the office visit, much less treatment. What can I do?

Many veterinarians who see a pet on a regular basis are usually willing to work with the owner to come up with a payment plan. This is one of many reasons why it’s a good idea to keep up with your pet’s routine care. Owners whose pets don’t receive regular veterinary care will have a harder time finding a veterinarian who is willing to provide services without guaranteed payment. Contact your veterinary hospital, and ask if they offer any alternative payment options.

Why is veterinary care for my pet(s) so expensive? Sometimes I believe I’m spending more on my pet’s health care than on my own!

Relatively speaking, veterinary care is a great value! The cost of veterinary care has risen very little over the last 20 to 30 years, especially when compared to the cost of human health care or almost any other services.

Veterinary fees are a reflection of the costs of maintaining suitable facilities, equipment and support personnel to provide the level of care that is expected in animal medicine today. Remember, too, the original cost of the animal has no bearing on the cost of services delivered. Annual veterinary care is a cost that should be factored in to the decision to own a pet.

I just got a new puppy/kitten. How much will veterinary care cost during the first year? And how much should I expect to spend annually after that?

Puppies and kittens generally have the same health requirements: an initial veterinary visit that includes a physical exam, vaccinations, and tests for parasites. Follow-up visits include the rest of the puppy/kitten series of vaccinations, as well as treatment and preventives for parasites. Most veterinary hospitals can give you a basic estimate for these services, and most of the fees for these services shouldn’t vary significantly from hospital to hospital.

Why do some veterinary hospitals charge such different prices for the same procedure(s)?

Each veterinary hospital sets its own fees. These fees are largely based on expenses, such as salaries, utilities, and rent, that all vary from one area to another. However, the services that are covered under the same procedure or treatment may also differ from clinic to clinic. Medications, medical techniques and products, anesthetics, and equipment can all affect the cost of services.

Why can’t a veterinarian give my pet a diagnosis over the phone? I can’t afford to come in to the clinic every time my pet has something minor wrong.

Besides being unethical and illegal to prescribe medication over the phone, veterinarians can’t accurately diagnose or treat a pet without physically examining him or her. Veterinarians appreciate observant owners and want to hear their description of the pet’s symptoms. However, many diseases have the same symptoms but require different treatment. To determine the cause of the symptoms and ensure the best outcome, veterinarians need to examine the pet in person and sometimes perform diagnostic testing. Treating a pet for the wrong disease will cost more in the end and could be harmful or even deadly to your pet.

I recently found an injured stray dog/cat. I paid for the initial veterinary care, and the animal is living at my house, but I can’t afford any additional treatment or medication. What can I do?

Legally, once you decide to adopt or “take in” an animal, you become the owner. As the owner, you are responsible for the pet’s care. When you take in a stray, he or she may be injured and require veterinary care. Because the amount you pay for his or her care isn’t related to how you’ve acquired the pet, you need to carefully consider whether adopting a stray pet is a financially advisable decision. If you can’t afford the pet’s care, you have the option to relinquish the animal to a local humane society or shelter (although some shelters cannot guarantee that the pet will not be euthanized).

Veterinarians often come across such cases, and many of them will work out an arrangement for people who want to help the animal. However, make sure you tell the veterinarian the situation before he or she examines and treats the pet.

If you find a stray, you should also ask the veterinarian to check for a microchip to determine whether the animal has an owner.

Why should I have my pet spayed or neutered? Why are these procedures so expensive?

Spaying and neutering can have major benefits for your pet, including lowering or preventing the risk of several diseases and types of cancer. Your veterinarian will be happy to discuss these benefits. In addition, spaying and neutering help control the pet population by reducing the number of unwanted pets.

Spaying and neutering are surgical procedures that require your pet to be put under anesthesia. The cost of these procedures takes into account the anesthesia, your veterinary team’s time and expertise, monitoring, drapes, suture material, and hospitalization. Spaying or neutering your pet is much less expensive than feeding and caring for litters of unwanted puppies or kittens or dealing with potential pregnancy complications.

Veterinary care seems way more expensive than it should be. Shouldn’t veterinarians go out of their way to help owners keep pet care expenses down?

As the owner, it’s up to you to decide how much money and care you’re going to put into your pet. Each pet owner has his or her own idea of what constitutes reasonable pet care. Your veterinarian recommends services, procedures, and preventive measures that he or she feels will benefit your pet. The owner makes the final decision as to what options to provide.

Veterinarians understand that the cost of taking care of a pet can sometimes seem overwhelming, and they will do what they can to help owners. For instance, your veterinarian can often provide suggestions for how to stay within your budget, such as spreading out routine services. However, when someone decides to take on the responsibility of caring for a pet, he or she needs to be prepared for the expenses associated with veterinary care and to compensate veterinarians for their time and expertise.

My veterinarian says my pet’s office visit is going to cost several hundred dollars. I can’t afford to pay that much money at one time! Isn’t there some sort of veterinary payment plan?

Just like your doctor, dentist, and most other professional offices, veterinary facilities usually require payment in full at the time of service. You can call before routine visits and ask about the hospital’s payment policy, as well as any alternative payment methods. Most veterinary facilities accept major credit cards, and some also accept veterinary insurance plans.

If you would like help in preparing for pet care expenses, contact your veterinary hospital. They can often advise you on how much you can expect to spend on routine care for your pet, as well as how to prepare for emergency care. In addition, your veterinarian can help by spreading out preventive health care services over several visits.

Got Questions?

About

Can we see the same veterinarian/veterinary technician each time we visit?

We make every effort to accommodate our clients’ requests, so feel free to ask for a specific veterinarian or veterinary technician when you schedule your appointment. We’ll do our best to accommodate your request. On occasion, though, there may be scheduling conflicts, emergency situations, and vacations that limit availability. Though you may have your favorites, all of our team members are highly skilled professionals who look forward to your pet’s visit.

Why is my veterinarian referring my pet to a specialist?

Our top priority is to make sure that our patients receive the highest standard of care and best possible outcome. This is why we sometimes make the decision to refer patients to veterinary specialists or specialty clinics when advanced training or equipment will be beneficial.

Our veterinarians make every effort to stay current and skilled in many aspects of animal health, providing comprehensive care for your pet. However, board-certified specialists have extensive experience and training in a particular area of veterinary medicine or surgery. And specialty clinics and university-affiliated referral centers have specialized equipment to perform procedures that are not routinely undertaken by general practitioners.

Be assured that when we refer a patient to another hospital, we continue to stay involved with his or her care, consulting with the treating specialist and often providing any needed follow-up care and rehabilitation.

Can I call and have you fax a copy of my pet’s rabies certificate and proof of vaccinations to the kennel where my pet will be staying?

We’d be happy to send proof of vaccination to your pet’s kennel. Just let us know the fax number.

What are your vaccination requirements for boarding?

We require that dogs be vaccinated against rabies, distemper, parvovirus, and Bordetella (kennel cough) and that cats be vaccinated against rabies, panleukopenia (feline distemper), and feline leukemia virus (FeLV).

Do you perform at-home euthanasia?

We consider each case individually. Feel free to ask about this as an option for you and your pet. For those pets that come to our office, we schedule the appointment at times when other clients are not likely to be in the office, to give you as much privacy as possible. We understand that this is a very difficult decision, so please let us know what questions you have, and how we might make it just a bit easier for you.

I’ve decided it’s time to let my pet go, but he/she is uncomfortable and can’t move very well, and I would really prefer to not drag him/her to the hospital. Can you come to my house?

If you would like to have a veterinarian come to your home, we can certainly accommodate your request. Please call to schedule an appointment. We also offer counseling if you want to discuss your decision or have any questions about the process.

If my pet’s problem doesn’t get better, can I get a refund for his/her veterinary care?

Unfortunately, we can’t offer refunds for veterinary care. Our fees cover the cost of examining, testing, diagnosing, and treating your pet.

Not all health problems have a straightforward solution. Some may be chronic, requiring a long-term management plan; others may be more difficult to diagnose or may involve several causes. A cure may not always be possible, and treatment may be ongoing. Your veterinary team will do everything they can to find answers and continue to help your pet.

What precautions/measures do you take so my pet doesn’t feel pain related to surgery/injury/infection/chronic disease?

Your pet’s comfort is a priority for us. Using our knowledge of pain medication and pain relief strategies, we do everything we can to prevent and manage your pet’s pain under all circumstances. We will tailor a pain management plan to your pet’s medical condition and individual needs.

We also offer acupuncture and chiropractic services, which can help control pain in some pets.

I’m worried about my pet’s upcoming surgical procedure. What do you do to help ensure your patients’ safety during surgery?

Our veterinary team takes every precaution so that your pet receives the highest-quality care. We perform a physical exam and preanesthetic testing before surgery and monitor your pet during surgery. During the procedure, a veterinary technician will continually assess your pet’s heart and respiratory rate, blood pressure, and other vital signs to help prevent any anesthetic risk. We also provide appropriate pain medication to keep your pet comfortable during recovery.

I think my pet ate something that’s making him/her sick, and he/she has lost consciousness/is having seizures/trouble breathing. What should I do?

During normal business hours, bring your pet in immediately. Call us right before you leave or while you’re on your way to help us prepare for the situation.

If your pet gets sick outside our normal hours, take your pet immediately to an emergency veterinary clinic.

I think my pet ate something that could be poisonous, but he/she seems fine. What should I do?

Don’t panic, but call us right away. If it’s outside our normal business hours, leave a message, and one of our veterinarians will return your call quickly. If your pet is not showing any adverse symptoms, you can also call the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center at 888-426-4435. You may be charged a consultation fee.

I think something’s wrong with my pet. Can I call you and have a veterinarian give me a diagnosis over the phone?

Veterinarians can’t diagnose over the phone. Besides being unethical and illegal, diagnosing by phone doesn’t allow veterinarians to physically examine a pet. A physical exam is necessary so your veterinarian can provide an accurate diagnosis and proper treatment. Treating a pet for the wrong disease or condition will cost more in the end and could be harmful or even deadly to your pet.

Why do you check my dog’s weight every time he/she comes in for a visit?

We keep track of your pet’s weight just like your doctor’s office keeps track of your height and weight each time you visit. Having an accurate and current measurement of your pet’s weight will help us ensure that we prescribe the right dose of preventives, medications, and any needed anesthetics. It can also help us notice any early clues to health concerns. In addition, a regular weigh-in can help you track and manage your pet’s weight.

I have a hard time controlling my pet in the lobby. Can I make arrangements so I can take him/her into the exam room right away when I arrive?

We are happy to make arrangements to help make your visit as smooth and convenient as possible. When you call to schedule your appointment, please let us know that you would prefer to wait in an exam room.

My pet is a handful. Can I pay my bill ahead of time or in the exam room so I don’t have to wait in the lobby after the exam is over?

We are happy to make arrangements to help make your visit as smooth and convenient as possible. When you call to schedule your appointment, please let us know that you would like to be billed in advance. We typically ask for a credit card and will send you a receipt at your request. Depending on what services or procedures we have provided your pet, we may need to add additional fees to your bill. We will contact you to let you know if this is the case.

My pet is really well trained. Does he/she need to be on a leash/in a carrier when we visit the hospital?

For the safety and protection of all clients, patients, and veterinary team members, we require all pets to be on a leash or in a carrier when they arrive at our hospital. They must continue to be restrained while they are in the reception area and while traveling to and from the exam rooms. Your veterinarian or veterinary technician will let you know when it’s OK to let your pet off leash or out of his or her carrier.

There is often a lot going on at our hospital. Combine that with the unfamiliar surroundings and new animals, and any pet—even one that is well trained—might become uneasy or overly excited. We want you and your pet to have as pleasant an experience as possible every time you visit our hospital, so we ask all our clients to respect our policy.

I brought my pet to see the veterinarian for a problem, and my pet isn’t getting any better. What can I do?

Call us. Just like doctors, veterinarians sometimes need to try more than one treatment/medication to find the correct solution to cure or manage a pet’s condition. Please let us know if something we recommended or prescribed isn’t helping. We want to work with you to find the right answers for your pet.

Is it OK to call with questions about my pet’s health?

Although we can’t provide lengthy consultations or a diagnosis over the phone, we welcome questions from our clients. Please feel free to call or stop by anytime.

My pet needs to come in for a regular exam/minor procedure, but I don’t have time to wait at the hospital the whole time. Can I drop my pet off and pick him/her back up later in the day?

For our clients’ convenience, we do offer drop-off appointments. Please call to arrange this service. We usually ask that you drop off your pet in the morning. We will call you once your pet is ready to be picked up.

Do you offer any payment plans?

Unfortunately, we do not offer any payment plans at this time. We request that you pay for services provided at the time of your pet’s visit. If you have any questions about our payment policy, please feel free to ask.

We recommend that you include the cost of veterinary care in your annual expenses. However, we understand that this sometimes isn’t possible. If you contact us ahead of time, we can help you determine ways to keep costs down and stay within your budget. For instance, some preventive veterinary care can be spread out over several visits. Your veterinarian will work with you to come up with a cost-effective plan to keep your pet current on vaccinations and other necessary services.

We do accept major credit cards, as well as veterinary insurance plans, which can help cover many routine and emergency services.

What forms of payment do you accept?

We can accept any of the following payment methods:

  • Cash
  • Personal checks
  • Visa
  • MasterCard
  • American Express
  • Discover

We also accept most pet insurance plans.

What’s the best way to schedule an appointment?

Please call our office at 585-346-3810 to book a convenient appointment time, or use our online appointment scheduler to request a date and time.

Where is our clinic located?

Please click here for our location and directions to our office: Location

What do I do in the case of an emergency and your clinic isn’t open?

Please click here to visit our Emergencies page for all recommendations and contact numbers.

What are your hours of operation?

Hours of Operation
Monday 8:00am – 7:00pm
Tuesday 8:00am – 7:00pm
Wednesday 8:00am – 7:00pm
Thursday 8:00am – 7:00pm
Friday 8:00am – 5:00pm
Saturday 8:00am – 12:00pm
Sunday Closed

Please note that our phones go to voicemail 30 minutes before closing, and turn on 30 minutes after opening on Monday, Tuesday & Thursday (to allow for surgery admissions). For your convenience, as well as that of other clients, office visits are by appointment only. On surgery days, patient admission is between 8:00 and 8:30am.

Why do you have password-protected areas on our website?

In some cases, our professional governing body requires that we have a veterinary–client relationship with pet owners before communicating certain information to them. Also, some educational and informational sections of our site are reserved for our clients so we can communicate effectively between visits. If you are a client, please contact us for your password.

General Questions

What is involved in spaying my pet?

  • Assuming the pre-op blood work reveals no underlying problems, a pre-anesthetic injection with pain medication is administered.
  • A small area of the front leg is shaved and an IV catheter is then placed for administering fluids and medications.
  • The endotracheal tube (for breathing) is placed for inhalation anesthesia.
  • As your pet’s heart and breathing are monitored by a licensed veterinary technician, another clips the surgical site.
  • As the surgeon scrubs and “gowns up,” the patient is moved to the surgery table; the incision site is scrubbed and sterilized.
  • The patient is connected to our multi-modal monitor, and anesthesia is adjusted and closely monitored.
  • A small incision is made in the abdominal belly wall, and the surgery begins. The entire surgical procedure takes approximately 30-45 minutes.
  • The Y shaped uterus and ovaries are removed. (We’ll spare you the details here!)
  • After reapposing (closing) the 3 layers with absorbable suture, the patient is transferred to recovery, where she is closely watched until her endotracheal tube can be safely removed and she is in sternal recumbancy (lying on her chest).
  • It is at this time that we usually call to assure you that all has gone well.
  • Cleaning and sterilizing the operating room and surgical instruments then begins in preparation for the next surgery.
  • When the patient is awake and able to walk, she is transferred to a hospital ward kennel, and is regularly checked.
  • Later that day, when the doctor examines the patient, she is given more pain medication that will last an additional 12 – 24 hours. At the doctor’s discretion, she may be given a small meal.
  • The following morning, she is again examined by the doctor, the incision is checked and she is given a small meal.
  • It will soon be time to go home! A discharge appointment is scheduled for later that day.

Why are I.V. fluids included?

As with human surgeries, intravenous fluid therapy is an integral part of anesthetic procedures at the Livonia Veterinary Hospital. Anesthesia can lower blood pressure during any surgery. The intravenous fluids increase blood volume, thereby maintaining your pet’s blood pressure at a safer level. In addition, should drugs be required in the rare instance of an emergency, the indwelling catheter provides us immediate IV access.

What pain medications will my dog or cat receive?

Initially, an injection of a morphine-like drug is given as part of the pre-anesthetic medication. The effect lasts approximately 12 hours. That evening when the patient is re-examined, another injection of the same pain medication is given.

Initially, an injection of a morphine-like drug is given as part of the pre-anesthetic medications. This provides pain relief for approximately 12 hours. And if at any time during their recovery period they seem painful, additional opiate and/or non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs are administered. That evening, when the patient is re-examined, another injection of the same pain medication is given. We are confident that our pain management regime provides as much relief as possible from any discomfort your pet might otherwise experience during the post-operative period.

When the above pain management protocol was initially recommended by the AVMA, it was used here on a trial basis. Drs. Jamison were so impressed by how well pets recovered, and how obviously more comfortable the patients were post operatively, that they quickly made it standard procedure.

Why is pre-operative blood work required? (My pet is young and healthy.)

Pre-op blood work provides the same benefits as with human surgery. The tests check for anemia, and tell us if your pet’s internal organs, particularly those associated with the metabolism of the anesthetic agents, are functioning properly. If congenital or age related abnormalities are identified, anesthesia protocols can be modified. If all is normal, we have established a valuable baseline for future reference.

How can all this be done for such a reasonable cost?

In an effort to reduce the number of unwanted puppies and kittens, the Livonia Veterinary Hospital has subsidized the cost of your pet’s spay or neuter. Other similar abdominal procedures would cost much more, and comparable human procedures would cost thousands more.

It is important to note, however, that even with the costs reduced, your pet has received the best veterinary care possible. We perform the procedure using the highest standards available today to minimize the risk of infection and make the procedure as pain free as possible. You can be assured that high quality veterinary care is never compromised at Livonia Veterinary Hospital.

Should I do anything special when my dog or cat comes home?

  • For a week or so after surgery, you should keep your pet’s activity restricted, though walks are fine. Do not encourage running, jumping, and other active play.
  • She may be a little quiet and sleep more than usual the first day or two. After all, she is recovering from major abdominal surgery!
  • You may feed and water your pet as you do usually. No special diet is required.
  • You will need to examine the incision daily. Absorbable sutures are used so there is no need to return for suture removal.
  • Don’t hesitate to contact us if you have any questions or concerns.

Why should I consider Pet Health Insurance?

We all want what is best for our pets, and there are incredible veterinary services to choose from today. By taking full advantage of these care options, your pet can live a longer, healthier life. Insurance can help cover your costs for care, and may enable you to choose more complete care. When you do a little research, you will soon see that pet insurance is very different from our health insurance, and does not have the same disadvantages!

Most pets will encounter one or more major medical issues in their lifetimes, so pet insurance warrants serious consideration. For detailed information, visit the website of companies you are considering, or talk with a rep from that company.

Not All Pet Insurance Companies Are the Same….

The following information outlines key points pertaining to pet health insurance, and serves as a guide for some of the questions to ask when considering a pet insurance plan. We have researched several companies, and have found many variations. What will fit the needs of one pet or owner might not work for another. To help you in your decision, we have outlined some important points to consider and research when looking into insurance.

Pet Health Insurance compared to human health insurance and HMOs:

  • They are designed very differently. Pet insurance is more like auto or dental insurance, and is often endorsed by general insurance companies.
  • The owner pays the veterinarian, and then is reimbursed by the insurance company.
  • Claim forms and the vet invoice are mailed to the insurance company; most forms are short and easy to complete.
  • Most plans allow you to choose any veterinarian.
What does it cost?

  • Annual premiums vary, depending on the plan, and sometimes on the age of the pet.
  • There are copays, and usually a deductible before the insurance reimburses you.
  • Average monthly premiums for mid-range coverage illness plans – $15 – 35 per month
  • Average monthly premiums for wellness plans – $10 – 30 per month
  • Some companies give multi pet discounts; some companies offer a 30 day free trial.
Deductibles:

  • All illness and accident plans have deductibles
  • Some companies allow you to choose the amount – from $50 – $500.
  • Generally, the higher the deductible, the lower the premium.
  • Some deductibles are per incident or illness, some are per year.
Reimbursement-There are two types, depending on the company:

  • Reimbursement based on % of actual vet invoice – usually 80-90%
  • Based on benefit schedule (pre-determined “acceptable” vet fee schedule)
Reimbursement Limits:

  • There is usually a dollar maximum that the company will reimburse.
  • Usually, the higher the premium, the higher the maximum.
  • The maximum limit could be per illness or a lifetime maximum.
Pre-Existing Conditions:

  • Not covered. (An auto insurance co. would not sell you coverage after an accident!)
  • How to avoid this exclusion? Enroll early, before your pet develops any problems.
  • Be sure that upon annual renewal, a chronic condition will still be covered. (See next section)
Chronic conditions (e.g. kidney failure, skin issues, chronic ear or bladder infections, diabetes):

  • Be sure the condition will be covered when you renew.
  • Some companies cover this the first year; then consider it “pre-existing” upon renewal!
Typical Exclusions:

  • Cosmetic procedures (ear crops; tail docks; dewclaws, though not necessarily cosmetic)
  • Pregnancy
  • OFA and health certifications
  • Pre-existing conditions
  • Anal glands
  • Parasites – prevention and treatment, internal and external
  • Sometimes inherited conditions
  • Congenital problems – present at birth
  • Prescription foods
  • At least one company excludes prescriptions (requires a separate rider)
  • Medical conditions that are common in certain breeds are often excluded – the insurance company will provide specifics if you ask.
  • ** Some companies offer add-on riders to cover some of the above conditions.
  • ** Some companies will provide limited “flat rate” coverage for the above conditions.
Wellness exams, vaccinations, etc.

  • Staying current on wellness exams and vaccines can help prevent or lessen the severity of illness.
  • Most companies offer separate “wellness” coverage for a separate premium.
  • Partial reimbursement is the general rule (40-70%) with no deductibles.
  • Disciplined owners can also save for these procedures, since, unlike illnesses, owners can plan for this expense.

Average Waiting Periods:
There is always a waiting period after signing up, which varies with the company.

  • Cruciate repair – 6 – 12 mo.
  • Illness – 14 – 30 days
  • Recurring illness (e.g. ear infection or UTI)- free of the illness for 6 – 12 mo.
  • Accident – 2 – 14 days
The bottom line: We feel pet insurance can greatly benefit your pet and his/her quality and length of life. Remember, it is primarily for unexpected expenses and can greatly reduce potential economic strain for you. For more details, we advise you to visit the websites of the companies you are considering, and then call the company with your questions.

What is involved in neutering my cat?

  • Assuming the pre-op blood work reveals no underlying problems, a pre-anesthetic injection that includes pain medication is administered.
  • A breathing mask is then placed over the cat’s face to induce and maintain full anesthesia.
  • The surgery site is clipped and aseptically prepared for surgery. At this time local anesthetic blocks are used to further prevent discomfort. All the while the heart, respiratory rate, and other vital parameters are closely monitored by a NYS licensed veterinary technician.
  • As the surgeon scrubs and “gowns up,” the patient is carefully moved to the surgery table where he is reconnected to the anesthetic monitoring equipment.
  • A small incision is made, and the surgery begins.
  • We’ll save you the details, but the appropriate organs are surgically removed.
  • After surgery completion, the patient is removed from anesthesia and transferred to the recovery area where he is closely observed until he is lying up on his chest. It is at this time that we will try to call to assure you that all has gone well, and to schedule your cat’s discharge appt.
  • When the patient is awake and able to walk, he is transferred to the hospital ward, and is frequently checked.
  • Later that day, the doctor re-examines the patient and inspects the incision.
  • As the pain medication from the morning wears off, it is determined whether an oral pain medication should be sent home with your cat.
  • It will soon be time to go home!
Why is pre-operative blood work recommended? (My cat is young and healthy.)

Pre-op blood work provides the same benefits as with human surgery. The tests check for anemia, and tell us if your cat’s organs, particularly those associated with the metabolism of the anesthetic agents, are functioning properly. If congenital or age related abnormalities are identified, anesthesia protocols can be modified. If all is normal, we have established a valuable baseline for future reference.

What pain medications will my cat receive?

Because it is not full abdominal surgery, cats recover more quickly from neutering than from spaying, and with significantly less pain. Initially, an injection of a morphine-like drug is given as part of the pre-anesthetic medication. The effect lasts approximately 12 hours. In addition, lidocaine (similar to novacaine) is injected close to the surgical site to provide a local anesthetic. That evening, when the cat is re-examined, if he seems uncomfortable he will be sent home with additional oral pain medication.

How can all this be done for such a reasonable cost?

In an effort to reduce the number of unwanted puppies and kittens, the Livonia Veterinary Hospital has subsidized the cost of your cat’s neuter. Another comparably involved surgery would certainly be more, and comparable human procedures would cost thousands more. It is important to note, however, that even with the costs reduced, your cat has received the best veterinary care possible. We perform the procedure using the highest standards available today to minimize the risk of infection and make the procedure as pain free as possible. You can be assured that high quality veterinary care is never compromised at the Livonia Veterinary Hospital.

Should I do anything special when my cat comes home?

For 2-3 days after surgery, you should keep your cat’s activity restricted, and he should not be allowed to go outdoors.

He may be a little quiet and sleep more than usual the first day or two. After all, he is recovering from surgery!

The first evening home we recommend feeding only a partial meal. Afterwards, you may feed and water your cat as usual. No special diet is required.

You should examine the incision daily. There is no need for suture removal; the small incisions heal without sutures.

We encourage you to contact us if you have any questions or concerns.

The hormonal changes that result from neutering occur over time, so typical pre-neuter behaviors, such as roaming, may still be present up to 3 months after surgery.

What is involved in neutering my dog?

  • Assuming the pre-op blood work reveals no underlying problems, a pre-anesthetic injection with pain medication is given.
  • A small area of the front leg is shaved and an IV catheter is then placed for administering fluids and medications.
  • The endotracheal (breathing) tube is placed for inhalation anesthesia.
  • As your dog’s heart and breathing are monitored by a NYS licensed veterinary technician, another clips the surgical site.
  • As the surgeon scrubs and “gowns up,” the patient is moved to the surgery table; the incision site is scrubbed and sterilized.
  • The patient is connected to a respiratory monitor, and anesthesia is adjusted and monitored.
  • A small incision is made, and the surgery begins, which takes approximately 45 minutes.
  • The testicles are surgically removed. (We’ll spare you the details here!)
  • After closing the 2 layers with absorbable suture, the patient is transferred to the observation area where he is closely watched until his endotracheal tube can be safely removed and he is in sternal recumbancy (lying up on his chest).
  • It is at this time that we usually call to assure you that all has gone well, and to schedule your dog’s discharge appt.
  • Cleaning and sterilization of the operating room and surgical instruments then begins to prepare for the next surgery.
  • When the patient is awake and able to walk, he is transferred to a hospital ward kennel, and is regularly checked.
  • Later that day, the doctor examines the patient and inspects the incision.
  • As the pain medication from the morning wears off, it is determined whether an oral pain medication should be sent home with your dog.
  • It will soon be time to go home!
What pain medications will my dog receive?

Because it is not full abdominal surgery, dogs recover more quickly from neutering with significantly less pain than a spay. Initially, an injection of a morphine-like drug is given as part of the pre-anesthetic medication. The effect lasts approximately 12 hours. That evening when the dog is re-examined, if he seems uncomfortable, he will be sent home with additional oral pain medication.

Why are I.V. fluids included?

As with human surgeries, intravenous fluid therapy is an integral part of anesthetic procedures at the Livonia Veterinary Hospital. Anesthesia can lower blood pressure during any surgery. The intravenous fluids increase blood volume, thereby maintaining your dog’s blood pressure at a safer level. In addition, should drugs ever be required in an unexpected situation, the indwelling catheter provides us immediate IV access.

Why is pre-operative blood work required? (My dog is young and healthy.)

Pre-op blood work provides the same benefits as with human surgery. The tests check for anemia, and tell us if your dog’s organs, particularly those associated with the metabolism of the anesthetic agents, are functioning properly. If congenital or age related abnormalities are identified, anesthesia protocols can be modified to ensure optimal safety during the procedure. If all is normal, we have established a valuable baseline for future reference.

How can all this be done for such a reasonable cost?

In an effort to reduce the number of unwanted puppies and kittens, Livonia Veterinary Hospital has subsidized the cost of your dog’s neuter. Another comparably involved surgery would certainly be more, and comparable human procedures would cost thousands more. It is important to note, however, that even with the costs reduced, your dog has received the best veterinary care possible. We perform the procedure using the highest standards available today to minimize the risk of infection and make the procedure as pain free as possible. Be assured that high quality veterinary care is never compromised at Livonia Veterinary Hospital.

Should I do anything special when my dog comes home?

  • For a week or so after surgery, you should keep your dog’s activity restricted, though walks are fine. Do not encourage running, jumping, and other active play.
  • He may be a little quiet and sleep more than usual the first day or two. After all, he is recovering from surgery!
  • You may feed and water your dog as you do usually. No special diet is required.
  • You will need to examine incision daily. Absorbable sutures are used so there is no need to return for suture removal.
  • As always, be sure to call us us if you have any questions or concerns.

There is much controversy regarding Internet pharmacies and whether they are a good choice for pet owners. Here’s why we are hesitant to endorse their use:

  • Manufacturers sell only to veterinarians, therefore we know the product IS genuine. Internet pharmacies buy from many sources, including overseas. Storage temperatures, expiration dates, and the true manufacturer (though the package may look the same) are often unknown.
  • Products purchased from a veterinarian are guaranteed. If your pet has an adverse reaction, the manufacturer will take responsibility for the cost of care – not true if purchased online or at a pet store.
  • We offer product education and oversee your pet’s health. Our staff can address your questions and advise on produce use. Our doctors are required by the AVMA to have examined your pet within 12 months, to minimize the risk inherent with any medication.
  • Lawsuits against Internet pharmacies have been filed for multiple reasons, including selling counterfeit product.
To encourage you to buy from us, thereby ensuring your pet’s safety, we have lowered our prices on flea and heartworm preventatives, as well as some foods and medications. However, sometimes we just cannot compete with the buying power the big Internet companies and national chain pet stores. We understand that everyone must stay within a budget, so if you find a significant price difference and still desire to buy a prescription medication online, a doctor will write the prescription, provided your pet has been examined within the last year.

When making your decision, please remember that we offer a well trained staff, the manufacturer’s guarantee, and a concern for your pet that you will not find online.

Veterinary Health Care

Why does it cost so much to provide veterinary care for my pet?

The fees you pay for veterinary services take into consideration a number of factors, including the costs to compensate your veterinarian and veterinary team for their professional services and the expenses involved in maintaining the hospital and equipment. When someone decides to adopt a pet, he or she needs to be prepared to include annual veterinary care in the overall cost of owning the pet.

Thanks to advances in veterinary medicine, pets are living longer, which means you may be spending more over the lifetime of your pet. However, in general, the annual cost of caring for a pet hasn’t increased much over the past several decades. (Consider how much the costs of many professional services, such as human healthcare, have risen over that same period!) Certain advanced procedures may come at a higher cost, but as the owner, you decide what care you want to provide your pet. Overall, veterinary care is a terrific value for pet owners.

It may seem like you’re paying more for your pet’s care than for your own, but that perception may stem from the fact that you’re paying the entire cost of a service or procedure, rather than a percentage or set fee determined by an insurance company. If you want to save money on your pet’s care, there are several pet insurance plans available. These plans may cover or help keep costs down for many routine veterinary services, prescriptions, medical conditions, and diseases. Your veterinary hospital may also offer a third-party healthcare line of credit as an option. Be sure to ask at your hospital if they accept any of these plans.

What is a veterinary technician?

A veterinary technician is trained to assist veterinarians in caring for pets. These professionals perform many of the same tasks that a nurse would for a doctor. Veterinary technicians have received extensive training, either in accredited programs or on the job. Responsibilities vary among clinics, but the basic duties remain the same. For instance, technicians collect patient samples, perform lab tests, assist during patient exams and dental cleanings, and take x-rays. Senior techs also train and mentor other staff members. Some technicians work in research facilities or for manufacturers.

I’ve seen a lot of information about supplements and nutraceuticals. How do I know what my pet needs?

Supplements, and nutraceuticals in particular, are becoming very popular with pet owners. Your veterinarian can help you weed out confusing and conflicting information and advise you on any supplements your pet might benefit from.

Which pet food should I feed my dog/cat?

The answer is different for each pet, although many commercially available foods are fine to feed healthy dogs and cats. You can look for a nutritional adequacy statement from the Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO), as well as the words “complete and balanced.” Pets’ nutritional needs do change, depending on their life stage and health. Your veterinarian can recommend a pet food, as well as give you advice on deciphering ingredient lists and determining how much to feed your pet.

I recently lost my pet, and I’m having trouble dealing with the loss. Where can I find help?

Losing a pet can be extremely upsetting and hard to move beyond. We have such a close bond with our pets, so letting go is never easy. Many veterinary hospitals offer grief counseling, as do some veterinary colleges and professional organizations. You can contact your veterinary hospital to find out who they recommend to help you through this sad transition.

My pet has the same thing wrong that he/she was just treated for. Can the veterinarian just prescribe the same medication that he/she did the last time?

Even though your pet may be showing the same symptoms as he or she did the last time, the problem may be different. Many diseases have similar symptoms, and your veterinarian needs to examine your pet to ensure that he or she correctly diagnoses the cause.

What toys/accessories are appropriate for my pet?

Many clinics offer veterinary-approved toys and accessories for pets. With all the options out there, sometimes it’s hard to figure out what’s safe. Your veterinary hospital can also recommend toys based on your pet’s age, breed, needs, and interests.

My pet won’t stop chewing/digging/barking/scratching/spraying. Where can I find help?

Certain behaviors can be extremely frustrating and difficult to overcome. Many veterinary hospitals offer behavior counseling and obedience training. Call your clinic to set up a behavior assessment.

My pet needs to have surgery. Should I be worried about the anesthesia?

Modern anesthesia is generally quite safe. Most veterinary hospitals perform a physical examination and run blood tests before all procedures requiring general anesthesia to make sure your pet doesn’t have any hidden health issues. In addition, a skilled veterinary technician should be monitoring your pet’s vital signs during the procedure, to ensure your pet’s safety or to catch and treat any potential concerns as quickly as possible. Anesthesia and patient monitoring vary greatly from clinic to clinic. Ask your hospital what they do to protect your pet before, during, and after the use of anesthesia.

My pet’s just been diagnosed with a medical condition/disease I’m not familiar with, and I want to find out more about it. Where can I find information I can trust?

You can turn to the Pet Health Section of our website, which offers current, trustworthy information on a wide variety of topics. In addition, many veterinary colleges and professional organizations offer excellent resources online. Your veterinarian will also be happy to discuss your pet’s health in more detail.

Will microchipping hurt my pet?

Not any more than a regular vaccine injection. The chip is inserted at the back of the pet’s neck, where the skin is loose. Microchipping is a safe and effective way to identify your pet in case he or she becomes lost.

After I have my pet microchipped, is there anything else I need to do?

You pet’s microchip should continue to function over your pet’s lifetime without any maintenance; however, the system won’t work unless you keep your contact information current. Whenever you move or change your phone number, make sure you update that information with your pet’s microchip manufacturer. Remember to also get your pet new ID tags at the same time.

Are natural remedies for flea/tick/heartworm prevention safe to use on my pet?

Although natural remedies may offer some protection or repellency against parasites, they are not nearly as effective as prescription products. In addition, natural remedies often need to be applied far more frequently than once a month, making them less convenient as well. Some, such as garlic, may actually be harmful to your pet.

Just because a product has “natural” on its label doesn’t mean it’s safe. Consult with your veterinarian before using any over-the-counter preventives on your pet.

Why should I buy flea/tick/heartworm preventives from a veterinary hospital when there are other, cheaper places to get it?

If you purchase preventives from sources other than a veterinary hospital or a website affiliated with a veterinary hospital, you don’t have any guarantee that the product is authentic or that it has been stored and shipped properly. When you order from your veterinarian, you’ll have the added benefit of being able to rely on his or her expertise and knowledge of your pet’s medical history.

I’ve never seen a flea or tick on my pet. Why should I bother putting my pet on preventives? Isn’t this an extra expense that’s just not worth paying for?

Fleas and ticks are not just minor nuisances; they can transmit serious and sometimes life-threatening diseases, some of which can be passed to people. Even indoor-only pets are at risk because fleas and ticks can hitch a ride inside on your clothing, shoes, or other pets. Keeping your pet on a monthly preventive is your best bet for protecting your pet—and your family—against these parasites.

I’ve heard that some clinics offer anesthesia-free dentistry. Is this safe for my pet?

Anesthesia-free dentistry, or non-professional dental scaling, can be extremely dangerous for pets, for a number of reasons.

Most pets won’t lie still during a dental cleaning, so there is a strong risk of injuring the pet’s gums and other soft tissue in the mouth. A frightened pet could also bite the clinician.

Even if your pet could be trained to remain completely still for all the scraping and noise of the procedure, his or her teeth need to be cleaned under the gums, where tartar and dental disease can hide. This process is uncomfortable, which is why pets should be anesthetized. Dental, or periodontal, disease begins in the spaces under the gums where the teeth and gums meet. Cleaning just the visible surfaces of the teeth only makes owners feel like their pets’ teeth are clean, when in reality, dental disease is still trapped under the gumline.

Your pet also needs to be ventilated during the procedure. Ventilation keeps your pet’s airway open and keeps tartar from potentially ending up in his or her lungs, where it can actually kill your pet.

The cosmetic cleaning that a pet would get from a non-professional scaling just isn’t worth your money or your pet’s health.

Why does my pet need dental care?

Dental health is just as important for dogs and cats as it is for people. Bacteria and food debris accumulate around the teeth and, if left unchecked, will lead to deterioration of the soft tissue and bone surrounding the teeth. This decay can result in irreversible periodontal disease, tooth loss, and expensive oral surgery. Bacteria can also cause serious, potentially fatal infections in your pet’s kidneys, liver, lungs, and heart.

Unless your pet just ate something fishy, stinky breath isn’t normal. Having a veterinarian evaluate your pet’s teeth regularly and clean them as needed will help prevent dental disease and any related problems.

How can my puppy/kitten have worms? How was he/she exposed?

Almost all puppies are born with intestinal parasites, which are passed from mother to pup during pregnancy. Although kittens are not infected when they’re born, they can become infected through their mother’s milk. Puppies can also become infected while they’re nursing.

Puppies and kittens should both be dewormed every 2 weeks, starting at about 2 weeks of age for puppies and 3 weeks of age for kittens. After the biweekly series of dewormings is finished, monthly deworming should begin (at about 8 to 9 weeks of age for kittens and 12 weeks of age for puppies).

Why does heartworm treatment cost so much?

Many factors affect the cost associated with treating heartworm infection, including diagnostic testing, hospitalization, medication, and office visits. Preventing heartworm is much less expensive, which is why most veterinarians recommend that you keep your pet on heartworm prevention year-round.

I’ve been late several times when giving my pet a heartworm preventive. Should I be concerned?

Unfortunately, if you were late or missed a dose even once, your pet could have become infected if he or she was exposed during that time. Call your veterinarian, and explain the situation. Depending on how many doses have been late, they may recommend that you have your pet tested for heartworm infection, then put your pet on a regular preventive schedule. You should also have your pet retested in seven months, as recommended by the American Heartworm Society. (For heartworms to be detected, they need to be five to seven months old.)

Why does my dog/cat need to have a blood test before starting heartworm medication?

Your pet should be tested for heartworm infection before he or she is placed on a preventive to avoid any harmful or possibly fatal complications. For instance, if a heartworm-infected dog is started on a monthly preventive, immature heartworms (called microfilariae) can die suddenly, causing a serious, shock-type reaction. In addition, preventives won’t kill adult heartworms, so an infected dog needs to be started on a treatment plan.

My cat doesn’t go outside. Why should I put him/her on a heartworm/flea/tick preventive?

Just because your cat doesn’t venture outdoors doesn’t mean outdoor parasites can’t get inside. Mosquitoes transmit heartworm disease, and as you probably know, mosquitoes always seem to find a way to get inside your home. Plus, fleas and ticks can both hitch a ride on clothing, so every time you come back into the house, you could potentially be bringing these parasites in with you.

Although you can’t always protect your pet from coming in contact with these bloodsucking insects, you can help protect him or her from the diseases they can transmit. Ask your veterinary hospital to discuss the benefits of preventives with you.

Can’t I just give my dog/cat a Tylenol or Advil to help with pain, rather than paying for more costly veterinary pain medication?

Never give your pet medication intended for people unless your veterinarian has prescribed it. Most over-the-counter pain relievers, such as acetaminophen (Tylenol) and ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin), can have serious, potentially fatal consequences if a pet ingests them.

A variety of pain medications are available for dogs and cats. Your veterinarian can help you determine which one will fit your budget and help alleviate your pet’s pain.

What should I expect during my pet’s wellness exam?

During your pet’s wellness exam, your veterinarian will take your pet’s history and perform a thorough physical examination. He or she will also give your pet appropriate vaccinations and perform a diagnostic workup, which may include blood, fecal, and urine tests to check for parasites and underlying diseases. Your veterinarian will prescribe preventives and may recommend dental work or other follow-up care. The specific services provided during the exam will vary depending on your pet’s age. You can help by letting your veterinarian know if you’ve noticed any unusual behavior or physical changes in your pet.

Why should I bring my pet in for regular veterinary visits when he/she is healthy?

When you consider the cost of prevention versus the cost of treating a disease or condition, you’ll find that treatment is often far more expensive. For example, parvovirus treatment can frequently cost 10 times more than a single parvovirus vaccination. When you keep your pet up-to-date on preventive care, you’ll know that your pet won’t have to suffer from a condition that could have been prevented or treated.

What vaccinations does my dog/cat really need?

Your veterinarian will determine which vaccinations are appropriate for your dog or cat, based on individual factors, such as lifestyle and health status. Veterinarians commonly recommend that dogs be vaccinated against rabies, distemper, and parvovirus and that cats be vaccinated against rabies and panleukopenia (feline distemper). Additional vaccines, such as feline leukemia virus (FeLV), feline immunodeficiency virus (FIV), and Bordetella (kennel cough), are recommended based on your cat or dog’s risk.

Many of these diseases can be fatal to your pet. Preventing them is far easier and less expensive than treatment. If you would like more information on vaccines, ask your veterinarian.

Does my pet have to get a rabies vaccination?

Many areas have laws that require dogs and cats (and sometime ferrets) to be vaccinated against rabies. These laws help protect both pets and people from this deadly disease. Check with your veterinarian to learn local requirements and to find out what he or she recommends. Except in certain rare cases, a veterinarian needs to examine a pet before the vaccine is given.

Because of rabies laws, control and prevention programs, and pet owners’ cooperation, domesticated pets in North America rarely become infected with this disease. By keeping your pet up-to-date on his or her rabies vaccination, not only are you protecting your pet, but you’re also helping to eradicate rabies from the pet population in your community.

How hard is it to get into a veterinary program?

Getting into veterinary school is extremely competitive. Because veterinary programs have a limited number of positions to fill, not all students who apply get in. Those who hope to become a veterinarian must have high grades in their pre-veterinary studies. In addition, any real-world experience or additional years of college may be beneficial.

What education does a veterinarian need?

Most veterinary degrees require at least six years of study at the university level, including a minimum of two years of pre-veterinary education and four years in a veterinary medicine program. Veterinary students usually spend 4,000 hours or more in classroom, laboratory, and clinical study.

To stay current with veterinary medicine, techniques, and technology, practicing veterinarians read scientific journals and attend continuing education symposiums, seminars, and courses.

What is a veterinarian?

Put simply, a veterinarian is a doctor who studies animal health; prevents, diagnoses, and treats diseases and health issues in animals; and helps protect the welfare of animals and people. Veterinarians are knowledgeable and well educated on many aspects of animal care and fulfill a range of roles across the private and public sectors. You can find veterinarians working at small animal clinics, emergency and specialty hospitals, universities, research facilities, pet food and drug manufacturing companies, and government organizations.

I’ve found a clinic that’s offering prices well below what other clinics are charging for veterinary care. Is this a good option if I don’t have much money to spend on my pet?

Just like human doctors, veterinarians are expected to meet minimum standards of care (as overseen by veterinary regulatory authorities). Thus, the quality of care your pet receives should not change based on the fees charged for services. However, if prices are considerably lower at one clinic, you should ask for clarification about what the procedure or treatment includes. You may find substantial differences in the level of care provided by that clinic.

Can I get health insurance for my pet? If so, what’s covered?

Several companies offer health insurance for dogs and cats (and other pets). These plans have premiums and deductibles, just like human health insurance plans. The premiums and deductibles vary based on the level of coverage you select. Many routine services, such as office visits and diagnostic testing, are covered, as well as prescriptions, procedures, and surgeries for a wide variety of diseases and conditions. However, there are restrictions and limits, as well as certain guidelines to follow, including making sure your pet receives regular preventive care.

Your veterinary hospital should have more information about pet health insurance.

My pet is injured/sick, and he/she needs to see a veterinarian. However, I can’t afford the office visit, much less treatment. What can I do?

Many veterinarians who see a pet on a regular basis are usually willing to work with the owner to come up with a payment plan. This is one of many reasons why it’s a good idea to keep up with your pet’s routine care. Owners whose pets don’t receive regular veterinary care will have a harder time finding a veterinarian who is willing to provide services without guaranteed payment. Contact your veterinary hospital, and ask if they offer any alternative payment options.

Why is veterinary care for my pet(s) so expensive? Sometimes I believe I’m spending more on my pet’s health care than on my own!

Relatively speaking, veterinary care is a great value! The cost of veterinary care has risen very little over the last 20 to 30 years, especially when compared to the cost of human health care or almost any other services.

Veterinary fees are a reflection of the costs of maintaining suitable facilities, equipment and support personnel to provide the level of care that is expected in animal medicine today. Remember, too, the original cost of the animal has no bearing on the cost of services delivered. Annual veterinary care is a cost that should be factored in to the decision to own a pet.

I just got a new puppy/kitten. How much will veterinary care cost during the first year? And how much should I expect to spend annually after that?

Puppies and kittens generally have the same health requirements: an initial veterinary visit that includes a physical exam, vaccinations, and tests for parasites. Follow-up visits include the rest of the puppy/kitten series of vaccinations, as well as treatment and preventives for parasites. Most veterinary hospitals can give you a basic estimate for these services, and most of the fees for these services shouldn’t vary significantly from hospital to hospital.

Why do some veterinary hospitals charge such different prices for the same procedure(s)?

Each veterinary hospital sets its own fees. These fees are largely based on expenses, such as salaries, utilities, and rent, that all vary from one area to another. However, the services that are covered under the same procedure or treatment may also differ from clinic to clinic. Medications, medical techniques and products, anesthetics, and equipment can all affect the cost of services.

Why can’t a veterinarian give my pet a diagnosis over the phone? I can’t afford to come in to the clinic every time my pet has something minor wrong.

Besides being unethical and illegal to prescribe medication over the phone, veterinarians can’t accurately diagnose or treat a pet without physically examining him or her. Veterinarians appreciate observant owners and want to hear their description of the pet’s symptoms. However, many diseases have the same symptoms but require different treatment. To determine the cause of the symptoms and ensure the best outcome, veterinarians need to examine the pet in person and sometimes perform diagnostic testing. Treating a pet for the wrong disease will cost more in the end and could be harmful or even deadly to your pet.

I recently found an injured stray dog/cat. I paid for the initial veterinary care, and the animal is living at my house, but I can’t afford any additional treatment or medication. What can I do?

Legally, once you decide to adopt or “take in” an animal, you become the owner. As the owner, you are responsible for the pet’s care. When you take in a stray, he or she may be injured and require veterinary care. Because the amount you pay for his or her care isn’t related to how you’ve acquired the pet, you need to carefully consider whether adopting a stray pet is a financially advisable decision. If you can’t afford the pet’s care, you have the option to relinquish the animal to a local humane society or shelter (although some shelters cannot guarantee that the pet will not be euthanized).

Veterinarians often come across such cases, and many of them will work out an arrangement for people who want to help the animal. However, make sure you tell the veterinarian the situation before he or she examines and treats the pet.

If you find a stray, you should also ask the veterinarian to check for a microchip to determine whether the animal has an owner.

Why should I have my pet spayed or neutered? Why are these procedures so expensive?

Spaying and neutering can have major benefits for your pet, including lowering or preventing the risk of several diseases and types of cancer. Your veterinarian will be happy to discuss these benefits. In addition, spaying and neutering help control the pet population by reducing the number of unwanted pets.

Spaying and neutering are surgical procedures that require your pet to be put under anesthesia. The cost of these procedures takes into account the anesthesia, your veterinary team’s time and expertise, monitoring, drapes, suture material, and hospitalization. Spaying or neutering your pet is much less expensive than feeding and caring for litters of unwanted puppies or kittens or dealing with potential pregnancy complications.

Veterinary care seems way more expensive than it should be. Shouldn’t veterinarians go out of their way to help owners keep pet care expenses down?

As the owner, it’s up to you to decide how much money and care you’re going to put into your pet. Each pet owner has his or her own idea of what constitutes reasonable pet care. Your veterinarian recommends services, procedures, and preventive measures that he or she feels will benefit your pet. The owner makes the final decision as to what options to provide.

Veterinarians understand that the cost of taking care of a pet can sometimes seem overwhelming, and they will do what they can to help owners. For instance, your veterinarian can often provide suggestions for how to stay within your budget, such as spreading out routine services. However, when someone decides to take on the responsibility of caring for a pet, he or she needs to be prepared for the expenses associated with veterinary care and to compensate veterinarians for their time and expertise.

My veterinarian says my pet’s office visit is going to cost several hundred dollars. I can’t afford to pay that much money at one time! Isn’t there some sort of veterinary payment plan?

Just like your doctor, dentist, and most other professional offices, veterinary facilities usually require payment in full at the time of service. You can call before routine visits and ask about the hospital’s payment policy, as well as any alternative payment methods. Most veterinary facilities accept major credit cards, and some also accept veterinary insurance plans.

If you would like help in preparing for pet care expenses, contact your veterinary hospital. They can often advise you on how much you can expect to spend on routine care for your pet, as well as how to prepare for emergency care. In addition, your veterinarian can help by spreading out preventive health care services over several visits.