Frequently Asked Questions

Appointment & Payment Options / Surgical & Anesthetic Procedures

Services / Internal & External Parasites

Appointments & Payment Options

Do I need to have an appointment?
Yes. We are most effectively and efficiently able to provide timely service to you and your pets if you schedule an appointment. If you feel you that you have an emergency with your pet, please call us if it is during regular office hours so that we know to expect you. If it is after hours you should also call our number and our answering service will direct you to the nearest emergency facility.

Do I need to arrive to my appointment time early?
If you are able to, this can be very helpful and beneficial to everyone. Your appointment time is time that the doctor has set aside for you and your pet. When you arrive at the front desk there is a check in process that takes a few minutes and it is best if that occurs before the actual start of your appointment so the doctor has the maximum amount of time to spend with your pet. Of course some appointments require more than the allotted time which is unavoidable and we ask your understanding if the doctor is running a little bit late. Also, arriving late for your appointment will cause the doctor to run late for all of the rest of the appointments that day so we ask that you do the best that you can to arrive on time or call to discuss options if you are running very late. We will try to accommodate you the best that we can.

Should my pet be fasted for an ultrasound appointment?
Whether or not your pet can eat depends on the region of the body that is being evaluated with ultrasound and whether or not sedation will be used. Ultrasounds of the abdomen must be done on a patient with an empty stomach. Ultrasound involves the use of sound waves which cannot penetrate through food that is sitting in the stomach so that organs around the stomach cannot be visualized if the pet has eaten that morning. Check with your doctor before you feed your pet the morning of an ultrasound. If there is any doubt, it is best not to feed your pet, but request that we feed it after the procedure is done.

Can I be billed or schedule a payment plan?
It is our hospital policy that full payment is required at the time that services or products are provided.

What forms of payment do you accept?
We accept Cash, Checks, VISA, MasterCard, Discover, American Express and Care Credit.

What is Care Credit?
Care Credit is a GE “medical use” credit card. Through Care Credit we can offer a 6 month zero percent finance plan as well as extended plans with competitive rates. You can apply online at www.carecredit.com or inquire at our front desk.

What should I do if my pet needs emergency care?
During our business hours we are always ready to help if your pet experiences an emergency situation. If possible, we ask you to call us so we know your pet is coming down so that we may prepare the necessary supplies and equipment needed for the specific nature of the emergency. After hours, we refer our emergency patients to either Central Hospital for Veterinary Medicine at 4 Devine Street in North Haven, CT 06473, or Pieper Memorial Veterinary Center, 730 Randolph Road, Middletown, CT 06457. They function for us just like Yale emergency room does for your own doctor.

Do you board pets?
No, we do not do any boarding. Under certain circumstances, we do provide hospital care for patients with serious medical conditions requiring complex medications or close monitoring. All hospital care must be approved by our doctors prior to scheduling.

Surgical & Anesthetic Procedures

At what age can I have my pet spayed or neutered?
Spaying and neutering is usually done at approximately six months of age, but can be performed at any age after six months. Exams are performed on each patient prior to anesthesia to determine if they are healthy enough to undergo the procedure. We do require that vaccinations are current at the time of the surgery. Owner's have the option to have a pre-anesthetic blood screen done prior to the procedure. A microchip can be implanted at the time of the procedure if desired.

Why should my pet have pre-anesthetic bloodwork?
It is GVH protocol that patients over the age of seven have a blood screening done to ensure that organ function is normal. This screening is a good way to evaluate the status of current medical conditions as well as detect any new conditions which may need to be addressed. For patients under 7 years old who are getting spayed or neutered, owners have the option of choosing to have a blood screening done, which GVH does recommend.

Why should my pet not have food after 8 pm the night prior to anesthesia? What should I do if I accidentally feed my pet the morning of the procedure?
We take every measure necessary to ensure anesthetic safety of our patients. Fasting prior to anesthesia is a precautionary measure. General anesthesia can cause nausea and vomiting. If a patient were to vomit while under anesthesia, the vomit could potentially be aspirated into the lungs causing serious breathing problems or pneumonia. This is why we ask owners not to feed their pets after 8pm. Water is OK. If you or a family member accidentally feed your cat or dog the morning of surgery it is best to call the hospital and discuss it with a technician.

Does my pet have to stay in the hospital overnight after its surgery?
Routine procedures such as spays, neuters, and declaws stay in the hospital overnight. We do this so pets can recover in the safety of the hospital while our veterinary team monitors them for any post-anesthetic complications. We can also provide adequate pain control when needed. Other surgical procedures and dentals may go home the same day or may stay in the hospital overnight depending on how involved the procedures were.

How long do surgery sutures stay in? Do I need an office visit to have them removed?
Sutures typically stay in for 10-14 days. There is a discharge sheet that goes home with each patient with specific instructions including when sutures (if any) need to be removed. Our doctors like to meet with the owners and pets after surgery to see how they are recovering and check the incision area so office visits are required for suture removal. There is no additional charge for the suture removal appointment. We can help you make this appointment when you pick up your pet after surgery.

What do I do if my pet is licking at the surgery site?
Licking at an incision may seem harmless but it can easily result in complications such as an open and/or infected wound. If your dog or cat is licking at its incision the best thing you can do is bring it into the hospital so it can be fitted with an e-collar (Elizabethan or cone-shaped collar).

What should I do if my pet seems painful from its surgery?
If indicated, each patient will go home with an appropriate medication that should keep it comfortable after the procedure. Like people, pets are all different and respond to pain in different ways. If you feel that your pet does not have adequate pain control, please feel free to call the hospital and we will do everything we can to ensure your pets comfort.

Why did my dog have baby teeth pulled when she came in to be spayed?
You puppy or kitten will lose all of its baby teeth. These teeth, known as deciduous teeth, usually fall out between the ages of 4 and 6 months of age. In some cases certain ones don't fall out because the permanent tooth comes in alongside and doesn't push the baby tooth out. If these retained teeth are not removed your pet may experience problems with food and debris building up in the narrow space between the two teeth which will result in decay and potentially loss of the permanent tooth. If we notice that there are retained baby teeth at the time that your pet arrives for the spay or neuter procedure, we recommend extracting the teeth at that time to prevent these complications.

Services

Why does my indoor only pet need to be vaccinated?
Even though your indoor pet is at a lower risk of disease, there is always a chance of infection, especially if other animals have access to your house, whether it’s your neighbor’s dog or wild animals. It is common, for example, to have bats entering a home and exposing the pet. We recommend vaccinating at least the core vaccines such as rabies and distemper. Other vaccines such as canine Lyme disease and leptospirosis and feline leukemia are given depending on the lifestyle of your pet. Rabies vaccination of pet dogs and cats is required by CT State law.

My pet missed the 3-4 week time frame for its booster vaccine. Does it need to get restarted?
Since it takes time for the immunity to build up, waiting too long between boosters shots can lead to the previous ones becoming ineffective. We would recommend starting the series over.

What should I do if my pet eats something it is not supposed to?
Chocolate, rat poison, grapes or raisins and certain plants are only a few of the things your pet could eat that may be toxic. If you know your pet has ingested something other than its regular food or treats and you are unsure if it could cause harm, please call us! In most cases, we direct you to call the national animal poison control hotline. Through their guidance we can assess what kind of medical care your pet will need. If your pet has eaten a foreign object such as a ball, toy, or ribbon, please call the hospital as well, as these things can cause an intestinal blockage which can be very dangerous to your pet.

Why is it necessary to call poison control?
The Animal Poison Control Center plays a vital role in assisting our veterinarians in possible toxicity cases. The toxicologists at poison control have access to a national data base where information has been collected about the toxic side effects of thousands of substances that pets have been exposed to and how best to treat them. They can analyze your pets history, what they ate, how much and when and then give our veterinarians guidelines on how to manage the situation for your pet.

My pet's breath has a bad odor. What can help it?
Foul odor coming from the mouth is a sign that something is not healthy. Often it is a sign of dental tartar and periodontal (gum) disease. Your pet should have an office visit scheduled with a doctor for an examination which includes evaluating the oral cavity. The doctor may recommend a dental cleaning if the odor is likely due to periodontal disease. Our patients are under anesthesia during dental cleanings which allows us to do a thorough inspection of the mouth to check for other problems. Once the teeth are clean and the gums are healthier, the bad odor disappears. Regular home care, such as daily teeth brushing, is essential to maintain good oral health in your pets!

How often does my pet need its nails and/or anal glands done?
Nail trims on dogs should be done approximately every 3 weeks depending on your dog’s activity level. If your dog walks on pavement often, his nails may be worn down naturally, otherwise they may need routine trimming. Cat nails can also be trimmed about every 3 weeks. A cat’s activity and grooming habits often keep their nails short. Geriatric cats that are less active should have their nails examined regularly as overgrown nails can curl around and become embedded into the pad which is painful and can result in infection. Most pets don’t need to have their anal glands expressed. Their bodies do this naturally during defecation. However some of them are unable to. This is much more common in dogs than in cats. If you notice your pet “scooting” on the floor, it may be an indication of full anal glands. Dogs that need their anal glands expressed typically need them done about once a month.

Internal & External Parasites

Why does my pet need Frontline and/or heartworm preventative year round?
Due to the large number of internal and external parasites and the high risk of pet infection, controlling parasites year-round is the most reliable way to ensure the highest level of protection for your pet and well-being of your family. Year-round prevention is the most effective way to control cat and dog parasites and the diseases they can carry.

My pet has fleas, how do I get rid of them in my house?
In order to eliminate fleas, the insect’s lifecycle must be broken. The fleas live in the environment, not on the pet. They literally only get onto the pet to feed (fleas are blood sucking insects). Because of this, the infestation will be resolved most quickly by treating the environment as well as the pet. Be sure that all pets in the house are on flea control. We carry several household products to aid in the elimination of fleas in the house. All bedding should be washed, all carpets and rugs should be vacuumed (and bags promptly disposed of).

How did my pet get parasites?
Dogs and cats are most commonly infected when they ingest worm eggs that have been passed through the feces of an infected dog or cat. These eggs can be found in the grass or soil where another animal has previously passed stool. Tapeworms are transmitted by ingesting fleas or other hosts that carry tapeworm larvae. Some parasites can be transmitted to puppies and kittens through their mother's placenta or milk. Heartworms are transmitted by mosquitoes that feed on the blood of an infected dog and then transmit the disease when they bite another dog. Monthly preventive is the best way to protect your pet from heartworm disease. Yearly testing of blood and stool is important to early detection and successful treatment of these infections.

What should I do if I see a parasite?
If a worm is visibly present you can bring it into the hospital for identification and an appropriate medication can be dispensed. We recommend that a stool sample also be submitted to the laboratory to screen for other parasites as multiple infections are very common.

If my pet has parasites, are they harmful to me or my family?
Roundworms are one of most common parasites of dogs and cats and are the ones most likely to be transmitted to humans. The eggs can be ingested through the environment causing serious infections. This is particularly a concern in very young children who spend more time on crawling on the floors and then putting their hands in their mouths. This is one reason to test your pets stool at least once a year. Fleas and ticks are also common parasites that can cause potential health problems to people.