At GCVH we love to take the time to answer your questions; however, we know you don’t always have time to call or stop by. To solve this, we have created this library of FAQ’s to provide you with answers to some of our most common questions. While this is a great resource, we encourage you to reach out to us with any further questions. If your pet is experiencing a medical emergency, please seek medical assistance immediately.
Spay and Neuter
Why should I spay or neuter my pet? Altering your pet not only helps reduce overpopulation but is linked to several health and behavior benefits. There a cancers, tumors and infections that target reproductive organs that can be prevented by spaying/neutering. Pets also receive behavioral benefits once freed from the urge to mate. Males are less likely to mark, and mount or run after a female in heat. Females will not have heat cycles which can reduce hormone related behaviors and will not be subjected to the physical stress of pregnancy. Both males and females are often calmer and more affectionate after sterilization.
At what age can I spay/neuter my pet? Because spaying/neutering at an early age is optimal, pets are typically altered at 6 months of age. Pets can be altered prior to 6 months if your veterinarian advises this. Dogs and cats past the 6-month mark, as well as ones that have bred, will still benefit from being sterilized. Cancers, tumors and infections can affect unaltered pets and they are more susceptible the older they are.
Is it painful, or can it harm my pet? During the surgery, dogs and cats are anesthetized, so they will not feel pain during the operation. Post-surgery they will experience some discomfort that should resolve within a few days. Pain medication can be provided to minimize this discomfort. Serious harm as a result of a spay or neuter surgery is rare.
Can a pregnant dog or cat be safely spayed? Often this can be done safely; however, this is a case by case scenario and must be determined by the vet preforming the surgery.
Do sterilized animals become overweight? In some cases, cats or dogs may have a slower metabolism following sterilization. If they are fed the appropriate diet, as well as exercised they are unlikely to become overweight.
Will they become less affectionate? Freed from the urge to mate many pets become calmer, and more affectionate after being spayed or neutered.
Should a female have one cycle, or one litter before being spayed? A dog or cat has the best chance of good health if spayed before her first heat cycle. Early spaying reduces the risk of mammary tumors as well as other health problems, such as life-threatening uterine infections. Carrying a delivering a litter can also cause health problems as well. Age plays a direct role with the pet’s susceptibility to some of these health concerns.
Should the incision site be red? Redness post-operation is common and should disappear in the week following the surgery. If redness persists or is accompanied by discharge, please seek medical assistance.
Incision is oozing, or has reopened what should I do? Discharge from the wound, or a wound that has reopened, needs to be inspected by a veterinarian. While it is often a simple fix, we would not want to risk your pet’s health by delaying treatment or trying home remedies.
My pet is not eating or is lethargic post-operation is this normal? Some lethargy or loss of appetite is common in the 48 hours after surgery. If your pet is still experiencing either of these symptoms after this time period, it is time to call us to stay on top of your pet’s health. If your pet is unable to stand, has bloody stools, or is experiencing other alarming symptoms please seek veterinary care immediately.
How can I tell if my adopted pet, or a stray is fixed? There are several ways to determine this. On a female you can look for a scar, or tattoo near the surgical site. Males will no longer have their testes which is visible upon inspection. If you are unsure you can ask us during an appointment.
Why can’t my dog/cat resume normal activity right away? As with any surgical experience, activity is limited to prevent complications and pain. Activity can be resumed one week after the spay/neuter as long as no complications have arisen within that time period.
What is it used for? CBD is used to treat many ailments including, seizures, inflammation, appetite, arthritis, anxiety, cancer and pain.
Is it safe? When sourced from a reputable company, and with the correct dosage CBD is safe. As with any medication there can be side effects, so consult the vet prior to use.
Does my pet get “high”? No, CBD does not contain THC which is responsible for the sensation of being "high".
What essential oils are dangerous for my pets? Many oils are safe for pets; however, there are some you should be careful using. For a complete list of essential oils that may be toxic to your pet visit www.foundanimals.org/essential-oils-toxic-pets/
Can I use tea tree oil? Many dogs can be safely treated with diluted tea tree oil topically, but you should consult your veterinarian before use.
What are common uses of essential oils for pets? Lavender, peppermint, tea tree, eucalyptus and rosemary oils are often found in pet hair products such as shampoo and detanglers. Lavender can be safely diffused as a calming agent. Skin allergies can be helped with the use of essential oils as well. To learn more uses for essential oils on your pets please speak with our veterinary who can provide a list specific for your pet.
How do I use the oils? Always dilute essential oils before use. Oils can be used topically, orally or diffused. Please speak with your vet before using oils around or on your pet.
Why should a vet administer vaccines? Vaccines prevent many hard to treat diseases, such as rabies that has no cure. Letting them or a RVT administer the vaccines ensures it is done correctly and provides you with a record of vaccination in order to board, travel or get your pet groomed.
Is the rabies vaccine required? In the state of Oklahoma the rabies vaccine is required for cats and dogs. OSDH only recognizes the rabies vaccine if ad mistered by a veterinary and with a certificate of vaccination. If your pet bites and you fail to produce this documentation your pet may be subject to testing for rabies.
How soon can my pet get the rabies vaccine? It can be administered as early as 3 month old.
What is covered in a “puppy” “kitten” vaccine packages? Core dog vaccines typically include rabies, distemper, parvo, parainfluenza and canine adenovirus. Core cat vaccines include rabies, feline distemper, herpes, calicivirus, chlamydia, and feline leukemia. A test must be performed before feline leukemia vaccine can be administered. Non core vaccines that may be required by your vet are Bordetella, lyme disease, leptospirosis, canine influenza.
Should my dog get the parvo vaccine? Parvo is highly contagious and is passed from dog to dog. While some dogs can be saved, parvo is considered fatal. Dogs should be vaccinated between six weeks and four months of age. A minimum of two doses are needed for protection, and they should be spaced four weeks apart. Booster shots are needed to maintain immunity.
How common are dental problems in pets? Over 70% of all dogs and cats over the age of five suffer from periodontal disease. The majority of pets we see over the age of 5 have one or more problem teeth.
My pet doesn’t act painful, how is there any problems? Most pets with painful dental conditions do not show obvious signs of any problems. This does not mean they are not feeling pain, but rather are not acting in a manner that we recognize as painful. Symptoms could be mistaken for “old age”, such as being a little grumpy.
How do I know if my pet needs dental care? Some signs may include redness along the gum line, unpleasant odor from their mouth, reluctance to chew, broken teeth, discolored teeth, and decreased appetite. This is not a complete list and it is best to check your pets mouth regularly as well as letting your vet inspect their mouth on a consistent basis.
Why does my pet have to be anesthetized to have its teeth cleaned? To complete the necessary dental cleaning, it takes an average of 45 minutes of holding completely still. If your pet has painful areas in its mouth it would make it even more difficult to hold still. In order to provide your pet with complete and comfortable care we anesthetize them.
Why should I bother home care? There is always some risked when anesthesia is used especially with age. Cleaning in between and home care decreases the times they must be anesthetized as well as the length of time they are under.
What is the best food to feed my pet? There is no “best” diet, because every pet is unique. Expense does not necessarily translate to quality. Finding a good pet food is based on your pets needs, and analyzing the brands ingredients and quality control.
How can I pick a good diet to feed my pet? You should look for foods made by reputable companies with long histories of producing quality diets. Food that have the AAFCO statement on the label means that the food has undergone animal feeding trials and are generally preferable to those that have not undergone the feeding trials. Choosing a diet that is appropriate for your pets life stage is important, because puppies and kittens have different needs than senior pets.
Is the ingredient list a good way to determine the quality? While this is a common way to determine quality it has some pitfalls. Ingredients are listed on labels in order of weight including water. Ingredients like fresh meat and vegetables have a high water content placing them higher than similar dry ingredients even if they don’t contribute as many nutrients. Pets require nutrients not ingredients. Some marketing campaigns include ingredients only to appeal to the humans buying the food, not the nutrients it provides the pet. Your veterinary will be able to assist you in deciding if a pet food is of quality or not.
Do raw diets solve health problems? There is currently no evidence that raw diets offer any benefits over cooked diets. There is evidence that these diets may be associated with dental fractures, bacterial and parasitic infections, and other health concerns in pets. Please consult your vet before starting a raw diet for your pet.
Are grains bad for your pet? Whole grains, rather than fillers, contain valuable nutrients including vitamins, minerals, essential fatty acids and fiber. Grains also help to keep the fat and calories lower than if animal products were used in their place. The majority of pets are very efficient at digesting grains, but some may be allergic. Grain free has gained marketing popularity in recent years, so please consult your veterinary before starting a grain free diet to ensure proper nutrients.
Is it true that by-products include hair, hooves, and floor sweepings? By-products are made mainly of organs and entrails that can provide valuable nutrients. The term by product comes from the fact that they are the leftovers from an animal carcass. AAFCO definitions of by-products specifically exclude hair, hooves, horn, hide trimmings, manure and intestinal contents, as well as anything not specifically part of the carcass like floor sweepings. The quality of by-products can vary, so please choose a reputable brand who has stringent quality control standards.
What is acupuncture? Acupuncture is the insertion of thin, sterile needles into specific points on the body to cause a therapeutic effect. Examples of use are pain relief, hormone regulation, decrease inflammation and immune system regulation
What can this treat? Veterinary acupuncture can treat a variety of diseases including lameness, neurological disorders (seizures, wobbler’s disease), dermatological disorders, behavioral disorders (anxiety, fear and aggression), reproductive disorders (infertility or impotence), gastrointestinal disorders (colic, vomiting, diarrhea), and improvement of quality of life in geriatric or cancer patients.
Is acupuncture safe/painful? There are minimal to no side effects if performed by a professional. There are rare and minor side-effects such as bruising or local infection. The insertion of the needle is virtually painless. Most animals become very relaxed or even sleepy. It can cause an energetic sensation which may be uncomfortable to some patients.
Can I use acupuncture along side traditional western medicine? Yes, acupuncture is often used in conjunction with traditional treatments.
Do Chinese herbs really work? Chinese herbs have been used for centuries to treat ailments and have been proven effective. This is on a case by case basis and it is not a guarantee just as traditional medicine is not guaranteed to work.
What is Food therapy? Food therapy is the process of creating a diet of real food that is designed to balance your pets individual physical needs. It can be used to treat allergies, manage weight, improve health or even aide in healing. Food therapy diets should be created by a trained veterinarian to include the correct nutrients and ingredients to help your pet.
What does the term holistic medicine mean? Holistic Medicine is characterized as the treatment of the whole body, considering the mental and social factors, rather than just the symptoms of a disease.
Can western medicine be combined with holistic practices? Yes! By pairing the advancements of western medicine with tradition practices we are able to provide comprehensive care to put your pets needs first.