Why do you need to see the pet annually?
Pets age faster than people, so each year represents a longer length of time in comparison to humans. As such, it is great preventive medicine to check the weight, body condition, teeth and coat of your pet to ensure their health. At that time, any behavioural concerns can also be addressed. Many common diseases and conditions are manageable, especially if detected early. As your pet ages we can also do some bloodwork screens to gain an overall picture of their health. Yearly parasite control is important, as well as disease protection through vaccination. The veterinary regulatory body, the College of Veterinarians, requires annual exams and familiarity with the patient before any medicine or advice can be given.
Do you sell all natural food?
No. Not advertised per se. Bear in mind if you look deeper into the advertising of many diets you will find no veterinary nutritionists that are formulating the food, and nowhere that states the ingredients are certified organic. So it becomes hard to know what the significance of the term “natural” really is. Remember: pets digest foods differently than us. The most important things that go into pet food are proper research and high quality ingredients. Much of the popular information (urban myths, if you will) are not based on science, but advertised to reach you on an emotional level. Many of the more reputable companies do not do that. We do have a line of diet food that is made of whole ingredients that we’d be happy to discuss with you.
Is my pet overweight?
Many pets are indeed overweight. Once we have assessed their weight, exercise patterns, eating habits and diets, we can prescribe a management program that best suits their needs. Remember: being overweight can lead to diseases as well, such as joint disease, cardiac diseases, diabetes and others.
Why does this cost so much?
A very good question. Firstly when faced with an "expensive" treatment plan, make sure you discuss with your veterinary team what it entails, and make sure you understand and feel comfortable that you have all the information about the procedure. Make sure to discuss the potential outcomes, follow-ups and long-term management so that you feel fully prepared. It takes a lot of education, team training, time, assessment and careful consideration to formulate a working diagnosis and plan for a pet that needs care — not to mention the professional equipment, specialist consultations, referrals and cost of supplies.
No veterinarian wants you to feel pressured, overwhelmed, or under-serviced; we want what's best for your animal first and foremost — that's our job — so we will always advocate for the highest quality plan we can provide. In some cases, there are alternatives to this and we are open to discussing what will be within your abilities. We take your pet’s health very seriously, no matter how big or small the animal, or the problem.
While we'd love a world where no pet owner ever had to concern themselves with cost, that's unfortunately not realistic. But, there are some things you can do to be prepared. Before getting a pet, ask friends with pets, call clinics and check the internet to get an idea of common costs, both for routine health care and unexpected diseases and injuries. Then decide if the size, type and breed of the pet are best for you. Research the costs of feeding, trailing, litter and other factors. There are many types of pet insurance available and it is a great idea for many people. They can go a long way toward making an unexpected illness or injury affordable. Alternatively, you may want to start your own method of saving some funds for the unexpected.
Why does my pet need vaccinations?
Historically, vaccinations have been the only method for controlling disease. Over the years, many types of disease have been greatly reduced through vaccinations. Since many diseases are re-emerging, vaccination remains the standard of care. In our region, as in many others, a vaccinating your pet against rabies is required by law. Rabies has made rather a dramatic re-emergence in southern Ontario this year. Rabies is almost always fatal to pets and exposed people. The questions for other preventable diseases turn to, “How much vaccination?”, “What type of vaccination?”, “When to get booster shots?” and others.
The scientific debate surrounding vaccinations will probably continue far into the future and there is certainly an anti-vaccine movement present in the world. At our hospital, we have chosen our vaccine protocol based on what we consider to be the best protection for your pet.
Why do you need to take a sample of my pet's blood before a spay or neuter?
Some may ask, “He (or she) is only a puppy (or kitten), why do they need to be neutered (or spayed)?” When it comes to spaying and neutering, sooner is always better than later. A pre-op blood sample gives us the opportunity to get a baseline of your pet’s health so we can compare it to another sample one or two years down the road. Also, a pre-op blood sample allows us to fully evaluate your puppy or kitten from the inside, to find things we cannot see through visual observation. We recommend it to allow us to be alerted to any risks that there might be prior to surgery.
We deworm to not only keep your pet healthy, but also because of possible human health concerns. Your pet smells as it walks, sniffs other dogs, and is in the litter box. We want to ensure your pet's health for your own sake.
Is it okay to feed my pet “people” food?
As long as your pet is in good health, the occasional treat of “people” food can be a great way to bond with your pet, especially if you reserve it as reward for training or good behaviour. With some exceptions, what's healthy for us is healthy for our pets (lean meats, veggies, fruits) in moderation. Keep in mind that our pets are generally much smaller than us (unless you have a Great Dane) so keep portion sizes small to avoid weight gain or an upset stomach. Treats of any sort should not exceed more than 10% of your pet's overall intake to avoid unbalancing their diet. If your pet has any health conditions, please contact us for more specific recommendations. Please visit the ASPCA website to learn about what human foods you should never feed to your pets.