Q: What should I know about spaying or neutering my pet?
A: Dr. LeBlanc advises that all pet dogs and cats be spayed or neutered preferably around 4-6 months of age. There are numerous and well-documented health benefits gained by having your dog spayed or neutered. The “spay” procedure is a total hysterectomy (surgical removal of the ovaries and uterus). The neuter procedure for male patients is the surgical removal of the testis (site of sperm production). We take pride in going the extra mile to enhance safety and minimize pain by including state of the art screening practices, patient monitoring, and pain control techniques for EVERY surgery patient. Please contact us for more detailed information about these very important surgical procedures for your pet.
Q: How do dogs AND cats get heartworm disease?
A: Heartworms are transmitted via mosquito bites to infect dogs AND cats. Once bitten by the mosquito, microscopic larvae are injected into your pet’s skin. It takes about 6 months for these larvae to mature and be detected with heartworm testing. The more bites; the more heartworm larvae transferred. Please contact us to discuss the best way to prevent this life-threatening infection in your pet. A simple blood test is available for both dogs and cats. For more trustworthy and accurate information on heartworm disease please follow our link to the American Heartworm Society website (www.heartwormsociety.org).
Q: When should new puppies and kittens come in for their first visit?
A: Puppies should have their initial examination around 6-8 weeks and kittens around 9 weeks of age if there are no signs of any problems or concerns. Multiple immunizations at different visits will be required to get your new pet’s immune system ready for exposure to the environment outside your home. Puppies and kittens are highly susceptible to viruses, infections, and/or parasites and proper early care and screening help to give your new baby the best start in life.
Q: What are the routine medical needs for the average dog or cat?
A: Dogs-Most healthy dogs will need a physical exam every 6 months. Because they age faster than we do, bi-annual exams help us identify age related changes and disease related problems early. At these visits, immunizations tailored to your dog’s lifestyle and risk level may be administered. Annual heartworm testing is an absolute must here in south Louisiana.
Cats-Cats do not age as quickly as dogs so when they are young, annual examinations and immunizations appropriate to their risk level are typical. Evaluation of risk level is key for feline patients as there are species specific risks to some available vaccines for cats. We actively seek and choose the safest immunization products for our feline patients to minimize the risk associated with vaccination. As cats age, semi-annual visits are the best way to keep them in their prime.
Q: What should I do if I see worms in my pet’s stool/feces?
A: There are several types of intestinal parasites found commonly in the fecal material of dogs and cats. By isolating the eggs of these “worms” with a fecal examination, we can identify which parasite is present. Different medications are used to treat different species of parasite, so identification is key to successful treatment. Some intestinal parasites can infect people, causing serious medical conditions, so always contact us if you suspect worms in your pet. The Companion Animal Parasite Council (www.petsandparasites.org) is an excellent resource for in depth information regarding parasites and human infection risk.
Q: Do I need to schedule and appointment at Rivertown Animal Hospital?
A: We understand that your time is both limited and valuable and scheduling appointments help us to serve you better. Doctor’s hours are by appointment at our hospital and of course, all surgical and anesthetic procedures require advanced scheduling. Also, many clients choose to use our convenient “day stay” service. There is no additional fee for this option which allows for morning drop off of your pet and evening pick up after your pet’s medical visit is complete. Of course, in the event of any sudden illness please contact us so we can address the problem as quickly as possible.