As one might imagine, working in a vet clinic, our staff are asked hundreds of different questions on a regular basis, both in the clinic and out in the world. We have decided to list our top 10 most frequently asked questions and answers for your convenience here!
Where should I get a puppy or kitten from?
Answer: It depends. We are in an area where not many people, if any at all, actively try to breed cats for genetic purposes. Most of our kittens that we see (and both of our clinic cats, Elwood and Oliver!) came from the local animal shelter, or had previously been someone's barn cat. There's absolutely nothing wrong with getting kittens in those places - in fact, we are all for it! Kittens in shelters need loving homes that they can go to if their owners cannot keep them anymore. Puppies can also be found at shelters fairly frequently, although there are definitely more breeders in the area. If at all possible, we do recommend getting adult or even senior pets from the animal shelter as well - many people gravitate towards younger pets and leave the older ones without another glance.
What vaccines are necessary for my pet in order to be as protected as possible?
Answer: For cats, we strongly recommend a PRC, or feline distemper vaccine, and a Rabies vaccine. If your cat or any others that it is around regularly are outdoor cats, we recommend adding in a Leukemia vaccine as well. For dogs, we recommend a DHLPPC, or canine distemper combination vaccine. Legally, a Rabies vaccine is required as well. We consider both the Rabies and DHLPPC to be our core vaccines that we give all dogs unless there are medical reasons to not do so. We also offer Bordetella, or kennel cough vaccines every 6-12 months and Lyme's disease vaccines annually as well. Both of these are considered "optional" vaccines and are not required to be seen in our clinic - however, they may be needed to see a groomer or be boarded, so make sure to check with them before setting up an appointment!
When should my pet be spayed or neutered?
Answer: We typically recommend spaying or neutering cats and dogs between 4 and 6 months of age. It is especially important to spay or neuter fairly early on to prevent female dogs and cats from going into heat, and to prevent any aggressive behavior development from starting up. Spaying or neutering your pet will drastically lower the likelihoods of different cancers for your furry friends!
What food should I feed my pet?
Answer: Most major pet food brands are safe to feed, such as Purina, Taste of the Wild, Iams, etc. We do recommend, for dogs especially, to stay away from grain free foods, since there are still quite a few studies going on regarding these. So far, there have been an alarming number of cases in dogs where grain free foods have caused heart problems to develop. Most of us here in the clinic feed different types of Hill's brand foods -some available over the counter, and some prescription, depending on the pet's needs. For cats specifically, our doctors do like them to be on primarily canned food if at all possible. Cats and dogs should be on puppy or kitten food for the first year of their lives, then switch to adult food over a 1-2 week period of time.
What preventatives do my pets need to be on and when should I give them?
Answer: We recommend that all cats and dogs be on regular heartworm and flea/tick preventatives, as well as intestinal dewormers. We also recommend continuing these year-round. We continue to see flea infestations into the winter months because outdoor animals can carry them inside, where they breed and live in carpeting and on pets. Ticks have been spotted even into the winter months on occasion as well. The heartworm preventatives that we carry in-house are often combined with an intestinal dewormer, which makes it easy to remember to give. We always recommend pets being on these unless a doctor has specified that there is a medical reason to not give them.
Does my pet need any kind of vitamins?
Answer: Pets don't typically get the daily multivitamin that we are used to taking. There are some supplements that our vets may recommend based on your pet's health. One, in particular, is omega-3 oils for dogs. These can be obtained in a liquid or capsule form, but keep in mind that if you do give the capsules from the drugstore, dogs metabolize these supplements differently and the dog will need to get one capsule for every 10 pounds of body weight. Eicosaderm, which is the liquid form, can be found on amazon.com. Some pet owners also opt to start dogs on glucosamine supplements to help with joints, which we carry in-clinic.
Should I declaw my cats?
Answer: This is very dependent on your lifestyle. Understandably, some living situations (i.e. apartment complexes or condos) require that cats have their front paws declawed to avoid any major damages to the property. In some situations, if there are small children in the house, owners will opt to declaw so that no one is harmed in play. However, there are other routes you can take to attempt to keep any behavioral scratching of objects at bay. We recommend offering your cat a scratching post to use instead of furniture or carpeting. Claw caps called Softpaws, which are rubber caps that go over the actual claws, can be purchased over the counter and applied at home. If all other attempts to keep scratching at bay fail, we certainly can book your pet in to be declawed.
Why do you ask me to bring in fecal samples for my pets?
Answer: We always ask for fecal samples for all pets! The reason we recommend checking fecal samples is because we want to be sure that your pets are being adequately dewormed. We can check for roundworms, tapeworms, whipworms and coccidia on fecal samples under our microscope. This is not only for our pets without dewormers, but even for the ones who are regularly dewormed - think of it as a quality check. If your pet is on a dewormer and we still find parasites, it can be reported to the manufacturer of the dewormer that was used, and they can use this to better their products.
What kinds of animals will you see?
Answer: We do see most small animals, including dogs, cats, rodents, birds, and reptiles/amphibians. The only animal our clinic can absolutely NOT see is rabbits, as one of our veterinarians is extremely allergic to them! We unfortunately do not offer farm calls at this time, but we do offer a trailer-in fee for horses if they are in need of vaccines or Coggins testing as well.
If you have more questions, feel free to email us through the website, or call the clinic anytime - our well-trained staff are happy to answer any questions we can for you!
About the Author
Hi everyone! My name is Mallory Payne. I'm one of the Veterinary Assistants at Chippewa Animal Clinic and I will be writing our blog posts! I've been in the veterinary field for 4 years now and I love it. I have one fur baby named Makaio, who is a 2-year-old Alaskan Malamute. We enjoy biking and going for hikes together in our spare time.
Monday 8:00AM to 6:00PM
Tuesday 8:00AM to 3:00PM
Wednesday 8:00AM to 6:00PM
Thursday 8:00AM to 6:00PM
Friday 8:00AM to 6:00PM
Saturday Closed-Emergency Only
Sunday Closed-Emergency Only
If your pet has a medical emergency and we are closed, please call us at (906) 635-5814 and we will provide you with the contact information for the on-call veterinarian. Dr. Hall will be available for weekday emergencies each evening beginning at 7:30PM.
Chippewa Animal Clinic
1554 E 3 Mile Road
Sault Ste Marie, MI 49783
Phone: (906) 635-5814
Fax: (906) 635-7338
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