Benson View Veterinary Hospital – Nanaimo, BC
The following is for our clients that may require specialized online information
- Poison Control: http://www.petpoisonhelpline.com/ or http://www.aspca.org/pet-care/animal-poison-control
- Pet Loss: http://www.petloss.com/
Below is a list of Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) that we are commonly asked about our veterinary hospital. If your question is not answered below, please contact us and we will add it in this section to benefit others.
How often and for what should my pet be vaccinated? Or is the yearly visit really necessary?
YES. Your pet cannot complain when it is feeling aches and pain and therefore an annual exam with your veterinarian is the best way to ensure that your pet remains in its optimum health. During your pet’s annual exam, you and your veterinarian can determine the optimal vaccination schedule for your pet. We advise 2 to 3 sets when your pet is young then a full set a year later then starting to rotate the vaccines that don’t have to be repeated annually.
How often should my pet be dewormed?
We recommend deworming every 14 days until 3 months old then once monthly. More frequent deworming for internal parasites of dogs and cats helps keep the human risk for zoonotic infection as low as possible. People who are immunocompromised can have problems with the common intestinal parasite roundworms as well as others. Monthly deworming not only controls intestinal worms, it also protects against heartworm and lungworm.
What can my pet carry that can endanger humans?
There is a long list including Rabies, internal parasites, some bacterial diseases like leptospirosis transmitted via feces, urine and others. You can decrease your risk by keeping your pet current on its vaccines and having it on a regular deworming program as well as through good hygiene practices at home.
How often will my cat come in heat?
Cats come into heat after they reach sexual maturity (6-8 months of age). They seem to stay in heat until they are bred but they actually cycle on a 3 week rotation from February to October. This is very annoying to the cat owner usually and we recommend spaying the cat. Their gestation length is 63 days or 9 weeks.
How often will my dog come into heat? How long do they stay in heat?
Dog’s usually cycle every 6 months or more. They stay in heat for 3 to 4 weeks and need to be closely monitored the entire time to prevent unwanted pregnancies. The gestation length for dogs is 63 days, or 9 weeks.
Should I vaccinate my dog against Leptosporosis?
We started recommending this vaccine to dog owners after some cases in the Nanaimo area. It a bacterial disease transmitted to your dog via the urine of infected animals such as mice, rats and racoons, through your pet drinking out of contaminated water outdoors. The vaccine is not perfect as it does not protect against every strain of the disease but it is the best we can do at this time. Please ask your veterinarian for further discussion and details.
Do dogs and cats get arthritis?
Yes, both cats and dogs develop arthritis however the signs in cats can be more subtle (i.e. reluctance to groom, use litter box, jump up on furniture..) because we aren’t as directly active with our cats as our dogs. In fact a recent study found that 100% of cats over age 13 had evidence of arthritis on radiographs. There are many options for treatment, including omega fatty acids and neutraceuticals like glucosamine ,chondroitin and MSM(methylsulfonylmethane ) which help the joint by protecting the cartilage. There are also veterinary diets such as Hills prescription J/D or Medi-Cal Royal Canin Mobility Support that are specifically formulated to aid in the treatment of arthritis. The most important thing you can do to delay the onset, rate of progression, and to decrease pain is to maintain a lean body weight for your pet.
Do you recommend raw food or bones?
No, we do not recommend raw food or bones. Raw meat can carry pathogens like Salmonella, and E.Coli that can be dangerous to both pets and humans. The bacteria can be shed in the feces for days after a single meal which can pose a serious risk to immunocompromised people such as young children, the elderly, and patients undergoing cancer treatment. Bones can splinter and perforate the stomach or bowels, can be painful to pass, can cause obstructions, and can fracture teeth. Home made diets or diets made from whole foods are completely acceptable, as long as they meat is cooked and the diet has been properly balance with all the needed vitamins, minerals, and amino acids. There are websites (i.e. The UC Davis Nutrtion Support Service) and books (Hilary’s Blend Cookbook) available to help with this. There are now also veterinary exclusive diets available that are made from whole foods.
Do pets need dental care?
Yes, dental disease is one of the most common, preventable problems (next to obesity) that we see in pets. Daily brushing starting with puppies and kittens is the safest, most effective and least expensive way to keep your pets teeth healthy. Dental diets are also available that scrape the teeth and stimulate the gums while they chew. Some diets also coat the teeth with a product that helps prevent plaque from calcifying into tartar. Safe dental chews like Greenies, Dentabones, Nylabones, etc, can also be helpful. Bones, antlers and hooves are not recommended as they can fracture teeth and cause a variety of gastro intestinal problems. Once tarter forms on the teeth, it must be professionally removed by scaling with dental instruments, including ultrasonic scaling. Cleaning under general anesthetic is the only way to ensure each tooth is cleaned on all sides, including under the gum line, and probed for pockets that could indicate an abscess. Polishing is always done after, to slow the rate of plaque and tartar accumulation.
Is pain medication needed after surgery?
Animals feel pain just like we do. After certain procedures, pain relief may be recommended. These include routine spays and neuters, orthopedic procedures, dental extractions and abdominal surgeries to name a few. Small lump removals and simple lacerations may not require pain medication. Many human pain relief medications can be dangerous and even fatal to animals. Follow directions carefully and use only medications provided by your veterinarian.
My pet has fleas – now that?
Fleas can be treated quickly and effectively with good quality flea products. The newer products are much less toxic than sprays, collars, and powders used in the past. Many flea products are now combined with dewormers so you can take care of both internal and external parasites at the same time. These products can be administered either topically or by mouth depending on the product. Most will kill fleas and/or prevent them from multiplying for up to thirty days, reducing the need for reapplication to a single monthly dose. Because fleas survive the winter in our mild climate, year round treatment is recommended, although the product used may change from winter to summer and is dependent on your pets lifestyle (indoor, outdoor, etc).
I’m worried about my pet – should I bring him in?
Since pets are good at hiding their symptoms, and signs of illness can be very subtle (i.e. acting quieter) in the earlier stages, your instinct will be your best guide. If you suspect there is something wrong with your pet, there probably is! Having a professional opinion early in the course of your pets illness can be reassuring if its not too serious, or life saving if it is.
Is there a reliable website I can consult if I have nutrition questions?
There are many websites available, but one that deals specifically with frequently asked nutrition questions is:
Tufts Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine – FAQ About General Pet Nutrition
What exams/vaccines are needed for puppies and kittens?
In general, puppies and kittens are examined and vaccinated at 8/12/16 weeks of age. Which vaccines are used will depend partly on your pets lifestyle (i.e. hiking/ camping dogs, indoor/ outdoor cats). As pets age, vaccines with extended duration of protection may be incorporated into your pets wellness program, reducing the re-vaccination interval for many vaccines to every three years. Your veterinarian will guide you on the vaccine protocol best suited for your pets individual needs. Vaccine titres can also be done to determine if a booster vaccine is needed, however they an be costly and their limitation is the lack of good data surrounding what constitutes a protective titre to an animal challenged in nature to a field strain of virus versus under laboratory conditions.