frequently asked questions
What are the vaccines protocols for puppies and kittens?
Ideally, puppies and kittens will receive their first vaccine at 8 weeks of age. A second set of vaccines at 12 weeks, and a final set at 16 weeks.
Vaccinating too early (less than 7 weeks) is not effective because puppies and kittens already have some immunity from their mothers during their first few weeks of life.
Many puppies and kittens can be born with some parasites already in their system, so we will always recommend a dewormer for them at each visit to give them a healthy start to life.
There is no doubting the fact that vaccinations have contributed greatly to improved health for people, pets and farm animals. The vast majority of vaccines were developed to prevent diseases which are capable of causing tremendous trauma and even death. Diseases such
as Parvovirus and Canine Distemper were capable of ravaging a local population. The viruses have not disappeared but the incidence of the disease is a tiny fraction of what it once was. Not all pets need to be vaccinated every year against every disease. We will suggest a vaccination program for your pet based on age, lifestyle, breed and general health status.
The annual physical exam is an ideal opportunity to discuss your pet’s vaccination requirements and also discuss any concerns you may have regarding such areas as dental health, ears and skin, behavioural problems and nutrition. Our goal is to help you help your pet have a long healthy and happy life.
What is involved with a spay or neuter surgery?
Spay & Neuter
There are many reasons to spay and neuter your pet. Least of all to prevent unwanted puppies or kittens. The choice to spay or neuter
your pet may be one of the most important decisions you make impacting their long-term health. Here are just a few of the benefits:
- According to this study from Banfield Pet Hospitals (on a database of 2.2 million dogs and 460,000 cats) neutering and spaying will increase the lifespan of your pet vs leaving them intact.
- Reduces the risk of certain types of cancers and eliminates the chance for female dogs to develop pyometra.
- Intact male dogs and cats are much more prone to urine marking/spraying. Neutering solves 90% of all marking issues, even in cats
who have been doing it for a while.
- Minimizes the urge to roam and fight with other males as well as many other behavioural problems such as mounting.
- Will eliminate the yowling/vocalizing and demanding behaviours in female cats in heat
It is important to understand that, while spaying or neutering your pet may be helpful in resolving certain behaviour problems, it is not a cure-all, and some behavioural challenges may require multiple solutions. Also, while having your pets spayed or neutered may help curb certain undesirable behaviours, it will not change their fundamental personalities.
When should I spay or neuter my pet? This is a common question and there a few factors to consider when choosing when is the right time but our recommendation is as follows:
- Cats: Female kittens can enter their first heat cycle as young as four months, but usually not until they are five or six months old.
We recommend 6 months of age for both male and female kittens. This recommendation prevents unwanted litters and greatly decreases mammary cancer risks in female cats as well as spraying/marking in male cats.
- Dogs: Generally, small-medium sized breeds should be neutered at six months of age or spayed prior to the first heat (six months). Large-giant breed dogs (over 45 pounds projected adult body weight) should be neutered after growth stops, which usually is between
9 and 18 months of age. This is mainly for orthopaedic reasons.
We offer both spay and neutering packages at a very reasonable price. Our packages always include a pre-anaesthetic blood panel and
IV fluids during and after surgery as well as pain management. Your pet’s safety is our #1 priority and we use multiple types of
monitoring equipment and enhanced sterilization procedures to make sure your pet is as comfortable and safe as possible during and
after their surgery.
Why should my pet have parasite prevention?
The Importance of Parasite Prevention
Parasite prevention is a very important part of your pet’s health and wellness. Here in the Okanagan, our main area of concern is ticks. Our canine and feline companion’s warm body and soft fur is a personal paradise for these insects. Once they move in and begin feeding on your pet’s blood they can cause a wide range of health problems, from skin infections to tick paralysis and Lyme disease.
Ticks are active in the early spring. Pet owners should be aware that tick control in the spring is important even though it might feel too cold for parasites to be out. “Questing” is the term used to describe when a tick is looking for a host, like a dog, cat or person, to feed on. Adult black-legged ticks begin questing when the temperature reaches 4℃ or higher, though studies exist which demonstrate activity can occur even at temperatures lower than this.
We carry a range of products that are safe and veterinary approved for cats and dogs that will protect them from not only ticks but also fleas, mites, mange, heartworm and many other parasites.
Give us a call or stop by the clinic to discuss what the best option would be for your pet and lifestyle.
What is the difference between veterinary diets and pet store brands?
Importance of Your Pet’s Diet
The food our pets eat plays a very important role in their overall health and balanced nutrition is an essential part of a healthy lifestyle.
There is simply no perfect food out there for every pet. If there was one perfect food every veterinarian who has studied nutrition during their training would recommend it without hesitation. What we have in the pet food industry is a very large number of companies that market a huge number of products. The food industry is all about marketing and most of it is excellent, Leaving some pet owners lost in a sea of information.
At Carrington Animal Hospital, we have a variety of brands including Hills, Royal Canin and Purina Veterinary diets. Each of these companies spends a tremendous amount of money on research which exclusively pertains to pet health care and disease prevention.
The biggest difference between a ‘prescription diet’ and a regular pet store diet is that the prescription diets are specifically formulated for pets with certain diseases and health issues. For example, a senior cat that has been diagnosed with kidney disease would be recommended a “renal diet” like Hills K/D because it is specifically formulated to be lower in protein, which in turn helps the kidney function much more efficiently and can add years to a pet’s life if caught early enough.
We have a wide range of veterinary diets to suit your pet’s needs from allergies, tartar control, weight control to mobility support, and many others.
If your pet is currently on a veterinary recommended prescription diet already for a specific reason (kidney disease, urinary disease etc.) and you are thinking about switching to a new diet, it is always best to check with your veterinarian first just to be sure the new diet will still give your pet the specific nutrition it needs for their particular ailment.
We also recognize that some pets are on alternative medical diets. We are pleased to assist you by ordering these products. If your pet is doing great then there is no need to change for the sake of change.
Healthy Advantage Diets: These are a full range of diets for puppies, kittens, adult dogs, and adult cats. Each diet contains 5 different components: Immunity, digestion, weight management, skin and coat, and mobility.
- Immunity: Antioxidants in these diets help build a healthy immune system.
- Weight Management: These precisely balanced diets help avoid excess body fat by maintaining lean muscle.
- Digestion: Brown rice, oats, and barley help maintain a healthy digestive tract and firm stools.
- Skin & Coat: Omega fatty acids promote healthy skin and a luxurious coat.
- Mobility-Natural glucosamine and chondroitin promote healthy joints and enhanced mobility.
Please reach out to us if you would like to find out if any of these diets would be a good fit for your pet or if you have any other questions about pet nutrition!
How important is dental care for dogs and cats?
Dental Health & Disease Prevention
By three years of age, most dogs and cats have some level of periodontal disease. Not always apparent to pet owners, periodontal disease can cause oral pain, infection, inflammation, and other health problems, decreasing the quality of life for these pets. After a proper dental procedure, many pet owners report the emergence of a “whole new pet” – one who is happier and more active.
We sincerely believe that it is impossible to be a healthy pet without having the benefit of a healthy mouth. Our pets have exactly the same nerve and blood supply as we do, but they are programmed to hide their pain and discomfort. In the wild, it never pays to show any sign of weakness. This toughness does not mean that our pets are not enduring a lot of discomfort. Our pets need dental care too. We advise all owners to have a regular look at their pet’s teeth especially those with dogs under 30 lbs. Large breed dogs can also develop dental diseases but not nearly so frequently as smaller breeds. Cats are also prone to dental disease and are too often overlooked. They tend to get cavities which cause considerable pain. Our examinations always include a dental check-up.
A proper and thorough dental prophy (cleaning) must include cleaning below the gum level. This is impossible to achieve without a general anaesthetic. The real problems occur at and below the gum level.
All of our dental procedures include pre-anaesthetic blood work (to ensure they are healthy enough to have the procedure) and intravenous fluids. All patients are constantly monitored during their general anaesthetic. Some pets will require dental extractions. These pets will also receive medications for pain and antibiotic therapy at that time and at home. We also may recommend dental x-rays, as many problems are actually only seen under the gumline at the roots of the teeth. After the dental procedure, your pet will be closely monitored and given any extra medications if they are required.
We would like all owners to brush their pet’s teeth but realize this is not practical for many pets or for their owners. Special diets such as Hills T/D (tarter diet) will help by scraping the teeth as they chew, delaying the buildup.
Dental discounts: Currently we offer our dental prophy package at a 20% discount. This special package includes pre-anaesthetic examination, pre-anaesthetic blood work, sedation, general anaesthesia, hospitalization, dental cleaning and polishing and intravenous fluids.
How does euthanasia work?
End of Life Process
Euthanasia originates from a Greek word and refers to a gentle or kind death. Our goal is to make this procedure as gentle, kind and as peaceful as possible. We will usually give an injection of pain medication and a sedative as the initial part of the process. When your pet is very relaxed and sleepy we place an IV catheter and tape it in place. You can then spend as much time as you would like with your pet until the final injection of anaesthetic. The medications we use for this procedure are also used as general anaesthetics. Essentially we are putting your pet under general anaesthesia but then deliberately overdosing and thereby ensuring a gentle and peaceful death
We always encourage owners to be there if at all possible although we know this can be very difficult. You are your pet’s most trusted friend and partner and they will feel more at ease and less stressed if they know you are there by their side.
How do you know when it’s time? This can often be a very difficult question. You need to feel that your pet’s quality of life is being seriously compromised. We all find it easier to make decisions for others. Try and pretend that your beloved pet is your friend or family member’s pet. Then ask yourself what it is you would advise. There are many factors that would indicate if it is time to put your pet to sleep. If you are at all unsure, do not hesitate to book your pet for a quality-of-life consultation. Where you and the doctor can discuss together if euthanasia is the right choice for your pet. Along with the help of your veterinarian, you can also use this guide from Ohio State University. The questions on this form can help you understand how much quality of life your pet has and when it may be the right time to say goodbye.