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Frequently Asked Questions

Here is a few of the frequently asked questions that we encounter here at Animal Clinic of Tomahawk.  If your specific question is not on here, don't hesitate to call us and we will answer all your questions as best we can!
Q: My pet is scheduled to get spayed/neutered, but I am nervous about anesthesia.  What is your protocol with surgery?

A: As in human medicine, there is always a certain amount of risk associated with surgery and anesthesia, regardless of age, health, and procedure.  Here at Animal Clinic of Tomahawk, we take all the necessary precautions to make sure the procedure is as safe as possible and the recovery is as comfortable as possible.

Patients are dropped off at the clinic in the morning and are given a physical exam prior to undergoing anesthesia.  Their temperature, heart rate, and respiratory rates are taken and they are given medications to calm them and begin pain control early.

All spay and neuter patients are started on intravenous (IV) fluids before anesthesia is induced and during the entire procedure.  This not only keeps your pet hydrated during surgery, but also keeps a site open to administer medications during surgery if needed.

Oral pain medication to go home is included in the cost of all spay and neuter surgeries.  This ensures that your pet will be as comfortable as possible following their procedure.

Even though all of these services are included, there are still more optional services available to you and your pet.  See below for more details.
Q: Is there anything else I can do the day of my pet's surgery?

A: There are multiple optional services we offer to our surgical patients:

                     1. Pre-anesthetic bloodwork
                     2. Microchip implantation
                     3. Elizabethan collar and alternatives
                     4. Additional pain control (procedure dependent)

Pre-anesthetic bloodwork is always recommended. Upon arriving, blood can be drawn and processed in our in-house analyzers.  Two blood tests, in particular, are run: a chemistry panel with electrolytes and a complete blood count.  It is important to understand that not all pets will act sick with some of the early disease processes that can be detected with these tests.

The chemistry panel checks your pets' blood glucose, kidney and liver values, and hydration, among other things.  This test is helpful in detecting early kidney and liver problems, congenital defects, diabetes, and others. 

The complete blood count (CBC) is a test that counts all of your pet's blood cells, making sure they are appropriately balanced.  A few potential problems that can be detected with a CBC included anemia, infection, parasites, and dehydration.  The CBC also counts the platelets in the bloodstream.  Platelets are highly involved in clotting the animal's blood; since he or she will be undergoing surgery where blood loss is always a concern, it's important to know that he or she has adequate platelets in their blood to aid in clotting.

Implanting a microchip is offered while a pet is under anesthesia because the implantation procedure has the potential be uncomfortable if the pet is awake.  Our microchip implantation fee includes 1 year of registration with the HomeAgain microchip company.  For more information on microchip identification and registration, visit http://public.homeagain.com.

It is extremely important that your pet does not lick or scratch at their incision.  They have the potential to damage and cause infection to the surgical incision or skin around the incision.  To keep your pet from damaging their surgical site, we offer (1) an elizabethan collar - this is the lamp shade-like cones that go around the pet's neck and head, (2) an inflatable collar - similar to a cervical collar, this prevents your pet from being able to bend their neck to lick at the site, or (3) a RecovaShirt - a shirt to put on to protect the incision.  Depending on where and how large of an incision you pet has, one option may be more appropriate than others.
Q: When should I start giving heartworm prevention to my dog?

A: We recommend giving heartworm prevention year round for a few different reasons.  Heartgard® Plus is effective in clearing out any infection your dog may have contracted the previous month.  It is also important to know that Heartgard® Plus kills only the microfilaria (or "baby" heartworms).  So if a dose is missed, or if heartworm prevention is started too late in the season and the microfilaria are given a chance to mature into the next stage in their life cycle, Heartgard® Plus may not eliminate the infection completely.

Secondly, not only does Heartgard® Plus prevent heartworm infections, it is also an intestinal dewormer!  Since we live in the Northwoods we have a lot of forests.  With forests comes wildlife, and with wildlife comes the potential for our pets to pick up intestinal parasites.  Giving Heartgard® Plus every month year round is like deworming our dogs every month year round.  This product does not cover every intestinal parasite found in the area, so it's still important to check regular fecal samples.

Third, if you buy a one year supply of Heartgard® Plus, you may be eligible for a  mail-in rebate from the manufacturer, Merial (also the makers of Frontline® Plus).  This would make it less expensive than giving it seasonally.  Ask us for more information on more promotions and free product when purchasing your heartworm, flea, and tick prevention.

Lastly, it's just easier to remember to give it year round!
Q: My cat doesn't go outside.  Does he/she really need a rabies shot?

A: Although your cat's probability of getting ill is diminished when they are kept strictly indoors, there is still a chance for them to be exposed to diseases like rabies.  Like it or not, mice, bats, and other small mammals can get into our homes, thus putting our cats at risk. 

A cat's initial rabies shot is valid for 1 year.  Their next shot is effective for 3 years.  An annual trip to the vet and a rabies shot every 3 years is a small price to pay to keep your cat from getting this fatal disease!
Q: Why is it recommended to check my pet's stool sample yearly?  I don't see any worms.

A: You won't always see worms in a pet's stool even if they have an intestinal parasite.  Some parasites are so small that you cannot see them with the naked eye, and other parasites will not be passed in the stool unless they are dead or dying.  When we examine a stool sample, it is with a microscope.  We are looking for the microscopic eggs that parasites leave behind when a pet has a bowel movement.  Pets don't always act sick when they have a parasitic infection, either.  So it's important to check samples on a regular basis.
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