Animal Hospital FAQ’s
Some frequently asked questions from our clients
To make an appointment please call us a 631-629-5055 to set up a time that is convenient with your schedule. If you need to change or cancel your appointment, we request that you contact our office as soon as possible. West Hills North Veterinary Clinic also offers same day appointments for sick patients and emergencies during office hours.
Our pharmacy is fully stocked with a wide variety of prescription medications and diets for your pet. We are available 24 hours a day to answer your questions about selecting the best medication, choosing the proper dosage, and information on side effects or other drug interactions. If you have any concerns or your pet experiences adverse reactions, we urge you to contact us immediately so one of our trained staff can assist you.
At West Hills North Veterinary Clinic, we understand that there may be times in which your pet’s medications can be obtained from alternative sources other than our hospital. We are willing to write prescriptions for outside pharmacies but caution you that most manufacturers do not uphold any guarantee of their products that would occur if purchased through the veterinary hospital. Please be aware that your pet is required by law to be examined at least one yearly to continue to refill medications.
The fees we charge for services are based upon what is needed to maintain the high quality of care we are proud to provide. Payment is required at the time services are performed. For your convenience, we accept Cash and all major credit cards (Visa, MasterCard, American Express, Discover), as well as CareCredit. Should your pet need to be hospitalized or require a procedure to be performed, we require a deposit in the amount of the low end of the estimate provided. Final payment will be required upon discharge.
How do I know if my pet is in pain?
It can sometimes be difficult to tell if you pet is in pain. If you are not sure but suspect your dog or cat may be uncomfortable, or is just not acting right, call us to schedule an examination for your pet. Some signs of pain are more obvious than others, such as limping, but some signs are more subtle, and can include: Inappetence, a change in behavior or normal habits, lethargy and decreased activity. Of course, these symptoms can also be caused for many other reasons, so early observation and action is important.
When is the best time to spay or neuter my pet?
We generally recommend spaying or neutering at approximately 6 months of age. This will vary with each individual pet though, and the procedure can be performed at just about anytime thereafter. There are numerous health benefits to spaying and neutering that we would love to discuss should you have any questions.
Vaccines are an important part of your dog or cat’s health care. Vaccines keep your pet healthy and prevent serious diseases. Our veterinarians will make sure that your pet avoids these problems with annual wellness exams, vaccinations and parasite protection. It is our policy that all pets receiving a vaccination be fully examined by one of our veterinarians prior to the vaccine being given.
Rabies Vaccine: Rabies is a deadly disease transmitted by bites from wild animals, particularly skunks, raccoons, possums, bats, and foxes. This disease can be transmitted to humans through the bite or scratch of an infected animal. Puppies will first receive this vaccination after 12 weeks of age, and then they will be revaccinated every 1-3 years as required by law.
DAPP Vaccine: This is a “5-way” canine vaccine that vaccinates against canine distemper, adenovirus type 2, infectious hepatitis, parainfluenza, and parvovirus. Distemper and parvovirus are often times fatal, especially in puppies and part of the reason it is boostered multiple times. Puppies can be vaccinated as early as 6 weeks and are boostered every 3-4 weeks until 16-18 weeks of age. Adult dogs are revaccinated at 1 year of age and then every 3 years.
Leptospirosis Vaccine: Leptospirosis is a bacterial disease that can cause liver and kidney failure. It is spread through the urine of wildlife (raccoons, skunks, opossums, squirrels, rats) and domestic animals, and is transmissible to people. Canine leptospirosis has risen dramatically in recent years. To prevent Leptospirosis in your dog, discourage your pet from drinking standing water and vaccinate yearly.
Bordetella Vaccine: Bordetella is part of the “Kennel Cough” complex of viruses and bacteria that causes a respiratory infection (Infectious tracheobronchitis). Kennel Cough can lead to pneumonia if contracted and left untreated. We have intranasal and injectable vaccinations available for Bordetella.
Canine Influenza Vaccine: Canine Influenza is part of the “Kennel Cough” complex of viruses and bacteria that causes infectious tracheobronchitis. Canine Influenza can cause pulmonary hemorrhage (bleeding into the lungs) and death in dogs. We have seen multiple outbreaks on Long Island within the past few years.
Lyme Vaccine: Lyme disease is a disease transmitted by ticks. Just like in people, Lyme can cause a multitude of clinical signs ranging from no signs at all to lethargy and inappetence, limping, or even kidney failure. If you are in a heavily tick populated area it may be beneficial to have your pet vaccinated for Lyme disease even if they are on preventatives.
Rabies Vaccine: Rabies is a deadly disease transmitted by bites from wild animals, particularly skunks, raccoons, possums, bats, and foxes. This disease can be transmitted to humans through the bite or scratch of an infected animal. Kittens will first receive this vaccination after 12 weeks of age, and then they will be revaccinated every 1-3 years as required by law.
FVRCP Vaccine: This is a “4-way” feline vaccine that vaccinates against feline distemper (panleukopenia), rhinotrachetitis (herpesvirus), and calicivirus. Kittens can be vaccinated as early as 6 weeks and are boostered every 3-4 weeks until 16 weeks of age. Adult cats are revaccinated at 1 year of age and then every 3 years.
Feline Leukemia Vaccine: Feline Leukemia (FeLV) is a disease transmitted by bodily fluids from other cats (oral, urine, blood, etc). The most common route of transmission is mutual grooming. Feline Leukemia is a deadly virus that can get in the bone marrow and lead to blood disorders, immunosuppression, and certain cancers. Vaccine is recommended for kittens and cats that are of high risk, such as indoor/outdoor cats or cats in rescue situations.
What is kennel cough?
Kennel cough is a respiratory infection that is also called Infectious Tracheobronchitis. Kennel Cough is caused by viruses and/or bacteria that affect the respiratory system of dogs, and is transmissible through airborne secretions from other dogs. The most common places this is picked up are boarding facilities, groomers, and the dog park. The best way to reduce the severity of respiratory disease is with regular vaccinations.
When does my pet need blood work?
The frequency that a pet needs blood work with vary based on their health and the medications that they are on, if any. We recommend that annual blood work be performed to screen for conditions as your pet gets older, which allows us to detect any early changes that may occur prior to showing clinical signs. In many situations, early detection is essential for more effective treatment. The type of blood work will be determined specifically for each pet depending on his or her individual needs. This annual blood test is convenient to do at the time of your pet’s annual heartworm test, but it can be done at any time of year.
How many months should my pet be on heartworm prevention medication?
Heartworm disease is a serious disease transmitted by infected mosquitoes and can be fatal if left untreated. We recommend all dogs be given year round heartworm prevention, regardless of lifestyle.
A simple blood test is needed to check your dog for heartworm disease on an annual basis. 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 (intestinal parasites) and external parasites (fleas and ticks).
Why does my dog need a blood test before purchasing heartworm prevention?
Dogs can get sick (vomiting, diarrhea, and/or death) if placed on heartworm prevention when they have a severe heartworm infestation. 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 medication 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 that you use the heartworm prevention year round and are performing yearly heartworm tests.
When starting heartworm prevention, or if your dog has not been on heartworm prevention year round and you plan on restarting it, it is important an initial heartworm test is performed.
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. The fecal sample tests for intestinal parasites such as roundworms, hookworms, whipworms, coccidia and giardia.
Why does my pet need a dental cleaning and how often should this be done?
Every individual varies in the frequency of dental cleanings required. Some pets need their teeth cleaned every 6 months, while others never need a cleaning throughout their lifetime. When we evaluate your pet’s mouth on their physical examination, we may make a recommendation to perform a professional dental cleaning during which we radiograph, scale, and polish your dog’s teeth. Unfortunately we can’t just tell a pet to “open wide” so anesthesia is required for this procedure.
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 your pet should start early, even before their adult teeth come in. It is best if owners brush their dog’s and cat’s 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 should be considered.