Frequently Asked Questions – Small Animals

Appointment Policy:  We prefer to see patients by appointment to allow ample time for all patients and scheduled surgical procedures. Emergency cases may take precedence over regularly scheduled appointments, so an occasional appointment delay is inevitable. Please call us or use the request appointment form on our website to schedule your pet’s appointment. We set aside at least 30 minutes in the doctor’s schedule for each pet’s appointment. For new clients, please note we need your pet’s prior medical records at least 24 hours prior to their appointment.

Appointment Cancellation Policy: If you need to change or cancel your appointment, please call us at (860) 870-8701 to reschedule. We request the courtesy of at least 48 hours’ advanced notice for cancellations.

Patient Arrival Policy:   For your pet’s protection and the protection of other pets, all dogs must be on a leash and properly controlled while in the waiting area or exam rooms. All cats must be presented in an appropriate cat carrier.

Payment Policy: We require full payment at the time that services are rendered. For your convenience, we accept cash, check, Visa, MasterCard, Debit, and Care Credit. Our credit card merchant requires an original signature by the cardholder on all credit transactions. If your pet needs to be brought in by a friend or family member, please make sure that you have established a method of payment.

Return Policy: Products that have left our facility cannot be returned. However, according to manufacturer guarantee, opened bags of dog and cat food may be returned or exchanged.

Prescription Policy

Online Pharmacy: Our online pharmacy is stocked and ready to ship you all of the medications you need.

In-Hospital Prescription Refills: Please give us at least 24 hours notice when refills are needed.
We do not recommend purchasing your pet’s medications from unknown online pharmacies. Please talk with us first before purchasing your pet’s medications from another source. You will find our in-house pharmacy prices are very competitive with online pharmacies. Please be aware that you pet is required by law to be examined at least once in the past year to continue to refill medications.

When is the best time to spay or neuter my pet? We recommend spaying or neutering every pet, and we recommend spaying or neutering your non-breeding pet around 6 months. This recommendation may vary based on each individual pet. Please schedule an appointment to discuss spaying or neutering your pet with one of our veterinarians.

Vaccines: Vaccines are an important part of your pet’s health care. Vaccines keep your pet healthy by preventing serious diseases. Vaccines protects your pet against these serious diseases. We will develop a vaccination schedule for your pet based on your pet’s lifestyle, health and individual circumstances.  For more information on small animal vaccines, please visit our vaccination page.

Rabies Vaccine:  How often does my pet need a Rabies vaccination? The first Rabies shot your pet receives is good for 1 year. Subsequent canine Rabies vaccinations immunize your pet for 1- 3 years depending upon the vaccine your pet receives. Dogs are required by State Law to be vaccinated against Rabies. For cats, we use feline-exclusive rabies vaccines which are good for 1 year.

Heartworm Prevention:  What is heartworm protection and how many months should my pet be on heartworm prevention medication? Heartworm disease is a serious disease transmitted by infected mosquitoes and, if left untreated can be fatal. Heartworm prevention is administered once a month either by pill or by topical application. Depending on the specific product you and your veterinarian choose for your pet, heartworm prevention medication can prevent other parasite infestations including internal parasites (worms) and external parasites (fleas and ticks). In accordance with the guidelines of the American Heartworm Society, we recommend all dogs and cats be given year round (12 months) heartworm prevention regardless of lifestyle.

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 can get into houses.

Heartworm Testing:  Why does my dog need a blood test before purchasing heartworm prevention? Your dog will need to be tested with a simple blood test for heartworm disease on an annual basis. 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 your pet for heartworm disease the better the prognosis. Some companies will guarantee their product providing you use the heartworm prevention year round and are performing yearly heartworm tests. When starting heartworm prevention it is important that you perform an initial heartworm test.

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.

Fleas:  How can I prevent fleas? It is important to prevent fleas. We recommend all dogs and cats be given a monthly flea preventive regardless of lifestyle from April through December. Not only are they uncomfortable for your pet, fleas are also carriers of disease, such as tapeworms. There are many medications for the treatment and prevention of fleas. Some medications are in a combined form with the monthly heartworm medication. Not only is this convenient, but it reduces the cost of two medications!

Dental Care:  Why does my pet need a dental cleaning and how often should this be done? Many of the pets that visit us on a regular basis need professional teeth cleaning. When bacteria irritate the gum line, the gums become inflamed in the early stages of dental disease causing gingivitis. Left untreated, this leads to periodontal disease which causes the loss of the bone and gingival support structure of the tooth and subsequent tooth loss. In addition, the bacteria are consistently released into the blood stream allowing for systemic infections, which can cause damage to internal organs, such as the kidneys, liver and heart. A dental exam is a part of any physical exam at Veterinary Medical Center.

At Home Dental Dare:  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 frequently. 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 can be considered and discussed with one of our veterinarians.