A: Spaying or neutering can be done at approximately 6 months of age. Your pet is given an exam prior to surgery to help determine whether your pet is healthy enough to undergo the surgical procedure. Current vaccinations are required at the time of surgery. Also, a pre-anesthetic blood screen is required prior to undergoing anesthesia and surgery.
A: Yes, patients are seen by appointment. Should you have an emergency during regular office hours, please call so that we may assist you as quickly as possible.
A: Procedures involving skin sutures usually require them to be removed in 10-14 days following the surgery, unless directed otherwise.
A: For dogs, a chemical in chocolate called theobromine is the source of the problem. Theobromine is similar to caffeine. Theobromine is toxic to a dog when it ingests between 100 and 150 milligrams per kilogram of body weight.
Different types of chocolate contain different amounts of theobromine: It would take 20 ounces of milk chocolate to kill a 20-pound dog, but only 2 ounces of baker’s chocolate or 6 ounces of semisweet chocolate. It is not that hard for a dog to get into something like an Easter basket full of chocolate eggs and bunnies and gobble up a pound or two of chocolate. If the dog is small, that could be deadly.
It turns out that chocolate poisoning is actually not as unusual as it sounds. For a human being, caffeine is toxic at levels of 150 milligrams per kilogram of body weight. That’s the same as for dogs! Humans generally weigh a lot more than dogs, but small children can get into trouble with caffeine or chocolate if they consume too much of it.
A: No, there is no advantage to letting your pet have one litter. However, there are plenty of advantages to having your pet spayed or neutered. These advantages include decreasing the chances of breast tumors later in life, decreasing the chance of cystic ovaries and uterine infections later in life, decreasing the desire to roam the neighborhood, helping prevent spraying and marking, and also decreases the surplus of unwanted puppies and kittens.
A: Today’s modern anesthetic monitors have made surgery much safer than in the past. We do a thorough physical exam on your pet before administering anesthetics, to ensure that a fever or other illness won’t be a problem. We also adjust the amount and type of anesthetic used depending on the health of your pet. Pre-anesthetic blood testing is important in reducing the risk of anesthesia. Every pet should have blood testing before surgery to ensure that the liver and kidneys can handle the anesthetic. Even apparently healthy animals can have serious organ system problems that cannot be detected without blood testing. If there is a problem, it is much better to find it before it causes anesthetic or surgical complications. Animals that have minor dysfunction will handle the anesthetic better if they receive IV fluids during surgery. If serious problems are detected, surgery can be postponed until the problem is corrected.
We offer two levels of in-house blood testing before surgery, which we will go over with you when you bring your pet in. Our doctors prefer the more comprehensive screen because it gives them the most information to ensure the safety of your pet. For geriatric or ill pets, additional blood tests, electrocardiograms, or x-rays may be required before surgery as well.
It is important that surgery be done on an empty stomach to reduce the risk of vomiting during and after anesthesia. You will need to withhold food for at least 8 to 10 hours before surgery. Water can be left down for the pet until the morning of surgery.
A: Recently we fielded an emergency phone call from a dog owner. She was worried because when she arrived home from work, she found that her dog had consumed half a jar of Nutella. The 13-ounce jar was tipped on its side on the floor bearing all the signs of a canine lick-fest.
Knowing how panicked the owner must be, I wanted to figure out quickly if her dog had eaten a toxic dose. With chocolate, it can be tough. Dark chocolate has more cocoa per ounce than milk, and chocolate spread? Nutella has how much cocoa in it?
Googling Nutella did absolutely nothing to tell me how much cocoa was in the product. The ingredient that causes the bad side effects is a methylxanthine. I hopped on my Veterinary Information network and found a posting by an ER vet who knew that European Nutella has 8.5 % cocoa or 8.5 grams per 100 grams of product, and the US Nutella has 7 grams. Going with the worst-case scenario, I began the calculations. After triple-checking my math, I determined that the pup had eaten 450 mg of cocoa or half the potentially lethal dose.
A dose in this range could cause a racing heart and nervous tremors. A lethal dose could cause seizures and cardiac arrest. Her pup was showing no symptoms, but to be cautious we advised that he be examined. Since he had eaten the chocolate sometime during the day, the toxin had already been absorbed, and inducing vomiting was not on the table. He did well treated with fluids and activated charcoal.
If you ever have a poisoning emergency there is a hotline you can call: the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center, 888-426-4435. Their website is Here.
A: Our Hours of Operation are
Monday 8:00 AM – 7:00 PM
Tuesday 8:00 AM – 7:00 PM
Wednesday 8:00 AM – 7:00 PM
Thursday 8:00 AM – 7:00 PM
Friday 8:00 AM – 7:00 PM
Saturday 8:00 AM – 4:00 PM
Sunday 8:00 AM – 12:00 PM
A. For your convenience, we accept Visa, MasterCard, American Express, Cash, Personal Checks, ScratchPay, and Care Credit.
A: This is a blood test that is run here in the hospital prior to surgery. It tests the organ functions, blood counts and clotting function of your pet. The pre-anesthetic blood screening is done to assure safety during surgery and the ability to heal following surgery.
A: While your pet is under anesthesia, it is the ideal time to perform other minor procedures, such as dentistry, ear cleaning, or implanting an identification microchip. If you would like an estimate for these extra services, please call ahead of time. This is especially important if the person dropping the pet off for surgery is not the primary decision maker for the pet’s care. When you bring your pet in for surgery, we will need to 5 to 10 minutes of time to fill out paperwork and make decisions on the blood testing and other options available. When you pick up your pet after surgery you can also plan to spend about 10 minutes to go over your pet’s home care needs. In the meantime, please don’t hesitate to call us with any questions about your pet’s health or surgery.
A: Anything that causes pain in people can be expected to cause pain in animals. Pets may not show the same symptoms of pain as people do; they usually don’t whine or cry, but you can be sure they feel it. Pain medications needed will depend on the surgery performed. Major procedures require more pain relief than things like minor lacerations. For dogs, we may recommend an oral anti-inflammatory the day after surgery and several days after to lessen the risk of discomfort and swelling. We use newer medications, which are less likely to cause stomach upset and can be given even the morning of surgery.
Because cats do not tolerate standard pain medications such as aspirin, ibuprofen, or Tylenol, we are limited in what we can give them. Recent advances in pain medications have allowed for better pain control in cats than ever before. We administer a pain injection 10 minutes prior to surgery. After surgery, pain medication is given on a case by case basis. Any animal that appears painful will receive additional pain medication.
We use narcotic patches for some surgeries in dogs as well. The cost will depend on the size of the dog. Injectable pain medications may also be used after surgery on both dogs and cats. Providing whatever pain relief is appropriate is a humane and caring thing to do for your pet.
A: For many surgeries, we use absorbable sutures underneath the skin. These will dissolve on their own, and do not need to be removed later. Some surgeries, especially tumor removals, do require skin stitches. With either type of suture, you will need to keep an eye on the incision for swelling or discharge. Most dogs and cats do not lick excessively or chew at the incision, but this is an occasional problem you will also need to watch for. If there are skin sutures, these will usually be removed 10 to 14 days after surgery. You will also need to limit your pet’s activity level for a time and no baths are allowed for the first 10 days after surgery.