Frequently Asked Questions

Welcome to our Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) page! We understand that you may have questions about our veterinary clinic, our services, and how we can best care for your beloved pets. To provide you with quick and helpful answers, we have compiled a list of commonly asked questions. Our goal is to address your concerns and provide you with the information you need to make informed decisions about your pet’s health and well-being. If you don’t find the answer you’re looking for, please don’t hesitate to reach out to our friendly team. We’re here to assist you and ensure that you have the best possible experience with us. Explore the FAQs below and let us guide you on your journey to providing optimal care for your furry family members.
Appointments are preferred to ensure prompt service and to efficiently manage our schedule. However, we do our best to accommodate walk-ins and drop-offs to provide convenience for our customers.

Pine Point Animal Hospital recommends yearly visits for most pets with older pets coming in more frequently – at least every 6 months. Yearly exams include physical examinations by our veterinarians plus annual vaccinations or booster vaccinations, parasite screening & prevention, and various lab tests performed.

For puppies and kittens, we need to see them on a more frequent schedule during their first year of life. For pets over age 7, we recommend exams and blood work every 6 months to help us detect diseases and issues before they become a problem.

Dental cleanings and procedures are an important aspect of pet healthcare. Just like humans, pets can develop dental issues such as plaque buildup, tartar, gum disease, and tooth decay. Regular dental care can help prevent these problems and promote your pet’s oral health. Many people think that it is normal for a dog to have bad breath, but that is not the case.

Besides just bad breath, dental disease:

  • Releases bacteria into the bloodstream
  • Increases risk for heart, liver and kidney disease
  • Can cause severe pain and problems for your pet

Pets need regular dental cleanings to increase quality and length of life and:

  • Allows us to chart dental disease over time
  • Means less time under anesthesia
  • Reduces the need for more advanced and expensive treatment in the future such as teeth extractions and oral surgery

Dental disease is the most common disease in dogs. Recent studies show that 85% of cats and 92% of dogs over age 3 have periodontal disease.

Here’s an overview of dental cleanings and procedures for pets:

  1. Dental examinations: During a routine veterinary examination, your veterinarian will assess your pet’s oral health. They will check for signs of dental problems, such as tartar buildup, inflamed gums, broken teeth, or oral tumors. Dental examinations may also involve assessing your pet’s bite and alignment.
  2. Professional dental cleanings: If your pet has significant plaque and tartar buildup or signs of gum disease, a professional dental cleaning may be recommended. This procedure is performed under general anesthesia to ensure the safety and comfort of your pet. It involves scaling the teeth to remove plaque and tartar above and below the gumline. The teeth are then polished to create a smooth surface that helps prevent further plaque buildup.
  3. Dental X-rays: Dental X-rays (radiographs) are often taken during dental procedures to evaluate the health of the teeth and jawbone beneath the gumline. X-rays can reveal issues such as tooth root abscesses, fractures, or periodontal disease that may not be visible during a visual examination.
  4. Tooth extractions: In cases where teeth are severely decayed, infected, or fractured, tooth extractions may be necessary. Your veterinarian will determine if a tooth needs to be extracted and will perform the procedure under anesthesia. In some cases, referral to a veterinary dentist may be required for complex extractions or specialized procedures.
  5. Pain management: Dental procedures can be uncomfortable, so pain management is an important consideration. Your veterinarian will administer appropriate pain medications before, during, and after the procedure to keep your pet comfortable.
  6. Home dental care: Regular dental care at home is crucial to maintaining your pet’s oral health. Your veterinarian can provide guidance on toothbrushing techniques, dental chews, dental diets, or other dental products that can help prevent plaque and tartar buildup.

It’s important to note that dental cleanings and procedures for pets require anesthesia for the safety and effectiveness of the treatment. Anesthesia allows thorough cleaning and examination of the teeth, minimizes stress and discomfort for your pet, and ensures the veterinary team can work safely.

Regular dental examinations, cleanings, and proper home dental care can help prevent dental problems and promote your pet’s overall health. Consult with your veterinarian to determine the appropriate dental care plan for your pet based on their individual needs and oral health status.

Pets cannot tell us how they feel and are able to hide their pain from us (especially cats). Changes in behavior such as appetite change, lethargy, energy level, aggressiveness, inappropriate elimination, and vocalization (barking/meowing) can be symptoms of behavior or health issues. Contact our vet hospital for an exam appointment right away.

Recognizing signs of a pet emergency is crucial as it allows you to seek immediate veterinary care, potentially saving your pet’s life. Here are some common signs that indicate a pet emergency:

  1. Difficulty breathing: Rapid, shallow breathing, wheezing, choking, or gasping for breath can indicate a respiratory emergency.
  2. Uncontrolled bleeding: Heavy bleeding that doesn’t stop within a few minutes or bleeding from a vital area (such as the head, chest, or abdomen) requires immediate attention.
  3. Ingestion of toxic substances: If your pet ingests something toxic, such as human medications, household chemicals, plants, or certain foods (e.g., chocolate, xylitol), contact a veterinarian immediately or call a pet poison hotline.
  4. Trauma or injury: Severe wounds, fractures, dislocations, or injuries caused by accidents, falls, or being hit by a vehicle require immediate veterinary care.
  5. Prolonged seizures: If your pet experiences a seizure lasting longer than a few minutes or has multiple seizures within a short period, it’s an emergency situation.
  6. Collapse or loss of consciousness: Sudden collapse, fainting, or your pet being unresponsive warrants immediate veterinary attention.
  7. Inability to urinate or defecate: Straining to urinate or defecate, or complete inability to do so, could indicate a blockage or other serious condition.
  8. Profuse vomiting or diarrhea: Persistent vomiting or diarrhea, especially if accompanied by lethargy, blood, or dehydration, requires prompt veterinary care.
  9. Severe pain or distress: If your pet is showing signs of intense pain, vocalizing, whimpering, or exhibiting behaviors indicative of severe discomfort, it’s an emergency.
  10. Sudden and severe lethargy: If your pet becomes unusually weak, unresponsive, or unable to stand, it’s a concerning symptom that should be evaluated immediately.
  11. Uncontrolled seizures: If your pet has a seizure that lasts longer than a few minutes or has multiple seizures in a short period of time, seek emergency veterinary care.

These are just a few examples, and there may be other signs or situations that require immediate veterinary attention. If you’re unsure whether your pet’s condition is an emergency, it’s always best to err on the side of caution and contact a veterinarian or an emergency veterinary clinic for guidance. They can provide advice and help you determine the appropriate course of action for your pet’s specific situation.

Veterinary anesthesia involves the administration of medications to induce a state of controlled unconsciousness and analgesia (pain relief) during surgical or diagnostic procedures. The specific type of anesthesia used depends on various factors, including the pet’s health condition, age, breed, the nature of the procedure, and the veterinarian’s expertise. Common types of anesthesia in veterinary practice include:

  1. General anesthesia: This involves the use of injectable or inhaled medications to induce a deep state of unconsciousness. General anesthesia allows the veterinary team to perform procedures while ensuring the pet is pain-free and immobile.
  2. Local anesthesia: Local anesthetics are used to numb a specific area or region of the body, often used in conjunction with general anesthesia or for minor procedures.
  3. Regional anesthesia: This involves blocking nerve impulses in a specific region of the body, such as a limb, to provide pain relief during and after a surgical procedure. Examples include epidurals or nerve blocks.

To ensure the safety of your pet during anesthesia:

Today’s modern anesthetic monitors have made surgery much safer than in the past. Here at Pine Point Animal Hospital, 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 tailor 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 needs 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 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.

It’s important to discuss any concerns or questions you may have about anesthesia with your veterinarian. They can provide specific information based on your pet’s individual needs and the planned procedure, ensuring you have a clear understanding of the process and the precautions taken to ensure your pet’s safety.

The recovery time for pets after surgery can vary depending on several factors, including the type of surgery, the pet’s age and overall health, and the specific procedure performed. While the exact duration of recovery can vary, here are some general guidelines:

  1. Immediately after surgery: After surgery, pets typically spend some time in a recovery area under close observation. This period can range from a few hours to a day, depending on the procedure and the pet’s condition. During this time, the veterinary staff ensures that the pet wakes up from anesthesia smoothly, monitors vital signs, and manages any immediate postoperative pain or discomfort.
  2. Home recovery: Once the pet is discharged from the veterinary clinic, the recovery process continues at home. The length of home recovery can vary significantly depending on the surgery. For example:
    • Simple procedures or minor surgeries may require a few days to a week of rest and restricted activity.
    • More invasive or complex surgeries may require several weeks of recovery, with gradually increasing activity levels as recommended by the veterinarian.
  3. Postoperative care: Proper postoperative care is crucial for a successful recovery. This may involve:
    • Administering prescribed medications, such as pain medications or antibiotics, as directed by the veterinarian.
    • Monitoring the surgical site for signs of infection, such as redness, swelling, discharge, or excessive licking.
    • Following any dietary restrictions or special feeding instructions provided by the veterinarian.
    • Ensuring a calm and comfortable environment for the pet, limiting their physical activity and avoiding jumping, running, or strenuous play during the recovery period.
    • Scheduling and attending any recommended follow-up appointments with the veterinarian to assess the healing progress.
  4. Individual variations: It’s important to note that every pet is different, and individual variations in healing and recovery can occur. Factors such as age, overall health, and the presence of any preexisting conditions can influence the recovery process. Additionally, the veterinarian will provide specific instructions and guidance based on your pet’s surgery and their individual needs.

Always consult with your veterinarian for precise information regarding your pet’s recovery timeline. They can provide you with specific postoperative care instructions and monitor your pet’s progress during follow-up appointments to ensure a successful recovery.

Isolate your pet from other animals and small children to prevent the spread of the parasite to them. Bring your pet to our vet clinic for thorough testing for parasites. Parasites can most often be easily treated, but parasite preventative measures are best for your pet and your wallet. We have safe and effective parasite prevention products available.

Protecting your pet from fleas, ticks, and other parasites is essential for their overall health and well-being. Here are some preventative measures you can take:

  1. Use year-round parasite preventatives: Administering regular preventive medications is one of the most effective ways to protect your pet from parasites. There are various options available, including topical spot-on treatments, oral medications, collars, and sprays. Consult with your veterinarian to determine the most appropriate and effective preventive products for your pet.
  2. Flea and tick control: Use specific products designed to control fleas and ticks. These products kill or repel parasites, preventing infestations and reducing the risk of disease transmission. Regularly check your pet for ticks, especially after spending time outdoors in areas where ticks are prevalent.
  3. Vaccinations: Keep your pet up to date on necessary vaccinations, as some diseases can be transmitted by parasites. For example, the Lyme disease vaccine is available for dogs in areas where the disease is prevalent.
  4. Maintain a clean living environment: Regularly clean and vacuum your home, paying attention to areas where your pet spends time. Wash your pet’s bedding regularly to reduce the risk of flea infestations. If you suspect an infestation, consult with your veterinarian or a professional pest control service for guidance on proper elimination and prevention methods.
  5. Regular grooming: Brushing your pet’s fur regularly can help you detect fleas, ticks, or any abnormal skin conditions. It also helps to remove loose fur and debris that can harbor parasites.
  6. Environmental control: Keep your yard and outdoor areas well-maintained. Trim tall grass, clear debris, and create barriers to minimize exposure to ticks and fleas. Consider using pet-safe outdoor treatments or seeking professional pest control services for your yard if necessary.
  7. Check for signs of infestation: Regularly check your pet for signs of flea or tick infestations, such as excessive scratching, hair loss, redness, or visible parasites on the skin. If you notice any signs, consult with your veterinarian for appropriate treatment options.
  8. Avoid contact with wildlife: Wildlife, such as rodents or certain birds, can carry fleas, ticks, and other parasites. Minimize your pet’s contact with wildlife, as they can introduce parasites into your environment.
  9. Regular veterinary check-ups: Schedule regular wellness exams for your pet. During these visits, your veterinarian can assess your pet’s overall health and discuss parasite prevention strategies based on your pet’s specific needs and lifestyle.

Remember, it’s essential to consult with your veterinarian to develop a comprehensive parasite prevention plan tailored to your pet’s individual needs. They can provide specific recommendations based on factors such as your location, your pet’s health, and any unique considerations.

Recognizing signs of pain in pets can be challenging since they may not always exhibit obvious or consistent symptoms. 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.

Below are some common signs of pain in pets:

  1. Changes in behavior: This can include increased agitation, restlessness, aggression, or a decrease in activity level. Pets may also seek more solitude and hide.
  2. Altered eating or drinking habits: Loss of appetite, reluctance to eat, or changes in drinking patterns can indicate pain.
  3. Changes in grooming habits: Pets in pain may groom themselves excessively or neglect their grooming altogether.
  4. Posture and mobility changes: Pets may exhibit a hunched or tense posture, have difficulty getting up or lying down, or display reluctance or limping when moving.
  5. Changes in facial expression: Grimacing, wincing, a furrowed brow, or a tense expression can indicate pain.
  6. Changes in sleep patterns: Pain may disrupt your pet’s sleep, causing difficulty in settling or frequent awakenings.
  7. Restlessness or panting: Dogs, in particular, may show signs of restlessness, pacing, or increased panting when experiencing pain.
  8. Vocalization: Whimpering, crying, howling, or other unusual vocalizations may suggest pain.
  9. If you observe any of these signs or suspect that your pet may be in pain, it’s crucial to consult with your veterinarian. They can conduct a thorough examination, identify the source and severity of pain, and recommend appropriate pain management options.

When it comes to pain management, veterinarians have various strategies to ensure the comfort and well-being of pets. The specific pain management options will depend on the underlying cause and severity of the pain and the pets health status. Here are some common approaches:

  1. Oral or Injectable Medications: Depending on the type and intensity of pain, your veterinarian may prescribe pain medications such as nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), opioids, or other analgesics. These medications can help manage acute or chronic pain.
  2. Physical therapy and rehabilitation: For certain conditions or postoperative recovery, physical therapy techniques such as massage, therapeutic exercises, hydrotherapy, or acupuncture may be employed to alleviate pain and improve mobility.
  3. Nutritional supplements: In some cases, nutritional supplements like glucosamine or omega-3 fatty acids may be recommended to support joint health and manage pain associated with conditions like arthritis.
  4. Complementary and alternative therapies: Your veterinarian may suggest complementary therapies such as acupuncture, laser therapy, or chiropractic care as part of a comprehensive pain management plan.

It’s important to note that pain management should always be under the guidance and supervision of a veterinarian. Never administer human pain medications or over-the-counter drugs to your pet without veterinary guidance, as they can be toxic or have adverse effects.

Discuss your concerns about pain management with your veterinarian, who can provide specific recommendations based on your pet’s condition and needs. They will work with you to develop a tailored plan that focuses on alleviating your pet’s pain and enhancing their quality of life.

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