1. After-Hours or Weekend Emergencies Until 10:00 p.m., you can call (954) 349-5800 and speak to one of our veterinarians, or our hospital administrator (954) 529-7285 who are usually on call. If your pet needs veterinary care after that time, please call one of the emergency centers listed on our emergency page.
2. Appointments In order to allow sufficient time for our patients, we prefer to see patients by appointments, but will see any animal in need without an appointment. Please call us at (954)349-5800 to set up an appointment that is convenient with your schedule.
3. Prescription Refills So that we may accurately refill your pet's medications we request as much notice as possible when refills are needed.
4. Fees The fees charged are related to services provided. They are based upon expenses needed to maintain the high quality of care we are proud to provide. Payment is required at the time service is rendered. For your convenience, we accept cash, check, Visa, MasterCard, American Express and our payment plan, Care Credit. For more information about care credit, please click here.
5. How do I know if my pet is in pain? It can sometimes be difficult to tell. If you are not sure but suspect your dog or cat may be hurting, or is just not acting right, call us for an appointment to examine your pet. Some signs of pain are more obvious, such as limping, but other signs are more subtle and include: not eating, a change in behavior or normal habits, being more tired and having less energy.
6. When is the best time to spay or neuter my pet? The best time to spay or neuter your dog or cat is 4-6 months of age. Spaying female dogs helps to prevent breast cancer later in life if performed before the dog is two years old. Neutering males helps to prevent prostate disease and cancer.
7. Vaccinations Vaccines are an important part of your dog or cat's health care. Vaccines keep your pet healthy and prevent serious diseases. Our veterinarians will make sure your pet avoids these serious diseases through annual wellness exams, vaccinations and parasite protection.
Description of Dog Vaccines
Description of Cat Vaccines:
8. When does my pet need blood work? Periodic blood work should be performed to detect infections and diseases, helping us to detect disease early. In many situations early detection is essential for more effective treatment. The type of blood work will be tailored for each pet depending on his or her individual needs. This annual blood test is convenient to do at the time of your pet's annual heartworm test but can be done at any time of year.
9. How many months should my pet be on heartworm prevention medication? It is recommended that your dog and cat is on heartworm prevention for the entire year. It is administered once a month either by pill or by topical application or by injection which lasts six months. Depending on the specific product you and your veterinarian choose for your pet, heartworm prevention medication can prevent other parasite infestations including internal parasites (intestinal parasites) and external parasites (fleas and ticks). A simple blood test will get your pet started.
10. Why does my dog need a blood test before purchasing heartworm prevention? Dogs could get sick (vomiting, diarrhea, and/or death) if placed on heartworm prevention when they have heartworm disease. Even if they have been on heartworm prevention year round there is always the possibility that the product may have failed for various reasons (your pet spit out the pill, did not absorb the pill appropriately, topical medicine was not applied properly, forgot to administer medication on time, etc.) and the earlier we can treat you pet for heartworm disease the better the prognosis. The prodcuts companies we recommend will guarantee their product providing you use the heartworm prevention year round and are performing yearly heartworm test. When starting heartworm prevention, or if your pet has not been on heartworm prevention year round, it is important that we perform a heartworm test 6 months after starting the prevention to make sure heartworms were not growing when the medication was started.
11. My pet never goes outside so does it really need heartworm prevention? Yes. Heartworm disease is transmitted through the bite of a mosquito and all mosquitoes get into houses.
12. Doesn't the fecal sample test for heartworms? No. Heartworm disease is a blood-borne disease that is transmitted through mosquitoes. A simple blood test will confirm whether or not your dog has heartworm disease.
13. How can I prevent fleas and ticks? It is important to prevent fleas and ticks. Not only are they uncomfortable for your pet, fleas and ticks are also carriers of disease. There are many medications for the treatment and prevention of fleas and ticks. Many medications are in a combined form with the monthly heartworm medication. Not only is this convenient, but it reduces the cost of two medications! Although fleas and ticks are more prevalent in summer months, fleas can be seen year round in Florida.
14. Why does my pet need a dental cleaning and how often should this be done? We believe a professional Oral Assessment, Treatment, and Prevention ( Oral ATP) visit is needed as soon as tartar accumulates on the teeth touching the gums. Depending on how often the pet parent controls plaque, for some dogs and cats this is a yearly procedures for others more frequent. As your pet ages or his or her health needs change, advanced dental care may be required. Your pet's teeth and mouth should be professionally examined at least twice a year.
15. Do I need to brush my pet's teeth at home? Yes. Proper dental care at home is highly recommended to help maintain the oral health of your dog and cat. Home dental care for companion animals should start early, even before the adult teeth erupt. It is best if owners brush their dogs and cats teeth twice daily. Dental sealants can easily be placed while your pet is being spayed or neutered. Although tooth brushing is the best method of preventing plaque, calculus, and bacterial build-up, there are many options for dental home care. Other oral home care options such as dental formulated foods, water additives, and dental treats should be considered. We recommend plaque and tartar retardant products that have been accepted by the Veterinary Oral Health Council ( www.vohc.org)
16. What is kennel cough? Canine Bordetella is a respiratory disease called Infectious Tracheobronchitis (kennel cough). It is easily transmitted through the air. It is a viral infection complicated by bacteria. Both intranasal and injectable vaccines are available.
17. What is Lepto? Leptospirosis is a bacterial disease. It is spread by wildlife (raccoons, skunks, opossums, squirrels, rats) and domestic animals. It can be passed to people. Canine Lepto has risen dramatically in recent years. Infected animals shed Lepto bacteria in the urine. To prevent Lepto in your dog, discourage your pet from drinking standing water and vaccinate yearly.
18. Why does my pet need to be admitted several hours before a surgical procedure?
In preparation for the procedure, your pet will receive:
This all needs to be complete before your pet's scheduled procedure time.
19. What should I bring for my pet's hospital stay? You may bring a toy or special item for your pet. We will do our best to make sure belongings stay with your pet; however these items occasionally go missing in the laundry, so we cannot guarantee their return.
20. Is anesthesia safe for my pet? At Hometown Animal Hospital, we take all anesthetia seriously. We utilize the safest, multi-modal approach that is individually tailored for each dog or cat. It includes injectables for sedation and pain management as well as gas anesthesia. The combination of pre-anesthetic assessment of your pet (including blood work), use of modern anesthetic agents plus the latest anesthetic monitoring equipment means that anesthesia is a low risk for your pet.
Once your dog or cat is sedated, a breathing tube is gently inserted into the trachea (windpipe) to administer oxygen mixed with the anesthetic gas. This tube protects your pet's lungs from plaque bacteria and other matter removed from the teeth during the ultrasonic cleaning process. As with people an intravenous catheter is placed into your pet's arm or leg to infuse with fluids during the procedure. Once the procedure is completed and the anesthetic is turned off, oxygen is continued to be delivered until your pet wakes up and the tube is removed.
We closely monitor your pet during the procedure and the recovery process using advanced monitoring equipment. Parameters often monitored include oxygen concentration in the blood stream (pulse oximetry), electrocardiogram (EKG), core body temperature, respiratory rate, blood pressure and carbon dioxide level. The monitoring findings allow us to perform safe anesthesia.
21. What is a multi-modal approach to anesthesia? A multi-modal approach refers to the layered administration of small amounts of different medications to achieve the desired levels of anesthesia and pain management. We administer lower doses of each individual anesthetic which generally equates to, fewer side effects, complete pain relief and faster post-operative recovery.
22. How will you manage my pet's pain during surgery? We believe in performing surgery with advanced pain management techniques because we want to maximize the comfort of your pet during and after his/her procedure. Comfort control improves your dog or cat's recovery and speeds the healing process. We administer pain medication before beginning the procedure, during and after.
23. My pet is older, is anesthesia safe? Anesthesia in otherwise healthy, older pets is considered safe. It is important to have recommended pre-operative testing performed prior to anesthesia to check major organ function and allow us to tailor the anesthesia to any pre-existing medical conditions.
24. My pet has kidney and heart disease, is anesthesia safe? Before anesthesia, patients with kidney disease should be fully evaluated with blood tests, urinalysis, and possible ultrasound. Dogs and cats with heart problems will also be evaluated before hand.
25. When my pet is having surgery, when should I expect an update on my pet? You will receive a call when your pet is in recovery from the procedure. If there are any abnormalities on pre-anesthetic exam or blood work, you will receive a call prior to the procedure in case we need to change plans.
26. After surgery, when will my pet be able to go home? Pets undergoing outpatient procedures will be ready to go by close of business the same day unless noted otherwise during the post-operative phone update.
27. Answers to common questions after your pet goes home after surgery:
Appetite Decreased appetite is very common during illness, or after surgery. There are several things you can try:
Bandage, cast or splint is wet, soiled or off If the bandage becomes soiled, damp, chewed, or chewed off, please do not re-bandage at home. Duct tape and other items can trap moisture within the cast/bandage causing inflammation of the skin and tissues. In some cases, bandages inappropriately applied at home can even cut off the circulation to the foot. Call us immediately if you have concerns about your pet's bandage. Confine your pet to a single room or similar small area until you can call us and we can advise you to whether the bandage needs to be replaced. After a cast or splint is first removed, it may take 1-2 weeks for your pet to become accustomed to using the leg without the splint.
Constipation, bowel movements Difficulty having bowel movements can be expected after illness, anesthesia, or surgery. It may take a few days for the gastrointestinal system to return to normal function. Fortunately, it is not vital for your pet to pass a stool on a regular daily basis. Please call if your pet has not passed a stool within 72 hours of discharge from the hospital or appears to be straining to defecate.
Crying/whining Although vocalizing can indicate discomfort, it is usually not a sign of pain (instinctively most pets will not vocalize because in the wild, this would attract predators!). Often, pets vocalize due to the excitement or agitation that they feel on leaving the hospital and returning to their familiar home environment. If crying or whining is mild and intermittent, you may simply monitor the situation. If vocalization persists, please call us for advice. In some cases, a sedative may be prescribed or pain medication may be adjusted.
Diarrhea Diarrhea may be seen after hospitalization. This can be caused by change in diet but is more commonly caused by the stress of being away from home. Certain medications prescribed to your pet may also cause diarrhea. If no blood is noted in the diarrhea, feed your pet a bland diet f(cooked/steamed rice mixed with an equal volume of either low-sodium chicken broth, boiled chicken, chicken baby food or cooked turkey. Very lean, boiled hamburger meat can be substituted as well. Feed small meals every 4-6 hours). for 2-3 days to help the digestive tract get back to normal. If the diarrhea is bloody, lasts longer than 12-24 hours or if your pet becomes lethargic or vomits, please contact us immediately. We do NOT recommend using any over-the-counter medication to treat the diarrhea. Please call us if there are any questions or problems.
Boo Booloon We rely on you to keep the E-collar on your pet. While they may not enjoy it initially, they will enjoy even less having to come back to our office for a recheck visit to repair an incision that has been chewed open. They will need to wear the collar on for an even longer period if this happens! Most pets become accustomed to the collar within one or two days and they can eat, sleep, and drink with it on. We are counting on you: please keep the Boo Booloon on your pet.
Injury to surgical site If for any reason you suspect that your pet has reinjured the surgical site, confine your pet and call us immediately for advice.
Pain Our goal is to keep your dog or cat comfortable. During and after surgery your pet was given pain control medication and in many cases send home additional medication. Feel free to call us if you feel your pet is in pain. If you have given your pet all the pain medication prescribed and you feel your pet still has discomfort, please call and we will be happy to discuss refilling the pain medication.
Panting This is commonly seen after surgery. It may indicate soreness but is often due to anxiety. Please call and we can help determine whether additional pain medication is advised. We will be happy to recheck your pet for your peace of mind.
Seroma(fluid pocket) Fluid produced during the healing process may accumulate and form a seroma (fluid pocket). Fortunately, this is not painful and does not impair healing. Eventually, the body will reabsorb the fluid if the seroma is small. If it is large, we may remove the fluid with a needle and syringe or even place a drain. If you notice a seroma developing, please call. We may wish to recheck the area to ensure there is no infection.
Shaking/trembling This is a very common response after surgery, injury, or any other health abnormality. It is most noticeable in the first hours after surgery. Feel free to call and check with one of the doctors if you have concerns.
Urination Some pets may urinate less after surgery or may seem to be unable to control urination. This is usually temporary and may be a side effect of medication, anesthesia drugs, or difficulty assuming "the position" to urinate. Please call if your pet has not produced urine for more than 12-24 hours. Many pets initially drink less after returning home, so expect less urination at first.
Vomiting An episode or two of vomiting is occasionally seen after surgery or anesthesia. If the vomiting continues, blood is noted in the vomitus, or if your pet is not holding down any food or water, please call us immediately.
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