Feline Vaccines: Benefits and Risks: Published by Vaccine-Associated Feline Sarcoma Task Force

WHY DOES MY PET NEED TO BE 5 YEARS OLD OR YOUNGER?

We prefer to do surgery on animals only 5 years of age and under. We have a waiver for you to sign if you would like us to neuter your older pet, however, inevitably, we encounter problems in them that we are not equipped to follow up on. Older dogs, especially females, are more likely to have other problems that may not be easily detected in advance. These range from mammary gland tumors in female dogs, to metabolic issues such as underlying kidney or liver problems. We are not prepared to do the proper follow up care for underlying issues in your pets. If you would like your pet neutered and it is over 5 years of age, we strongly recommend prior bloodwork and checkup from your family veterinarian, who can deem them healthy for this procedure. Regardless of pretesting or exam, if we feel it is safe after examining your pet, we will do the procedure as long as you sign our waiver.

WHY DO WE ASK ABOUT HEAT CYCLE IN DOGS (ONLY DOGS)

We recommend not spaying pets while in heat for the following reasons:

  • The uterus and all blood vessels are enlarged during heat/estrus, therefore bleeding complications are more likely.
  • In addition, removing ovaries while a dog is in heat can result in an uncomfortable and annoying syndrome called pseudopregnancy or false pregnancy. This is when your dog’s body acts as if it is pregnant. Your dog could develop mammary glands and nesting and protective behaviors. For this reason, we recommend waiting to spay until 60-75 days from the end of the heat cycle.
  • If the owners understand the risk or the pet is possibly pregnant, then a spay during estrus is ok.
  • Many veterinarians do not like to spay pets during estrus (heat) because there is an increased risk of tissues tearing or bleeding at that time.

WHAT IS THE BEST AGE TO STERILIZE YOUR PET?

It depends – https://www.vin.com/vetzinsight/default.aspx?pId=756&id=10237933

  • Certain breeds (pure Golden Retriever, Rottweiler, Labrador) are recommended that they are NOT spayed or neutered under 14 months of age. We will not spay a Rottweiler under the age of 14 months.
  • In general, we recommend that large breed dogs be neutered after one year of age.

VACCINATIONS:

We do not insist that your pets are vaccinated. We do, however, strongly recommend it. We offer vaccines at all times. Vaccine only appointments are available and are set on specific dates and times based on scheduling. We offer a variety of what are called CORE vaccines. That means that the vaccines are the commonly recommended and are considered to be best practice in our geographic area.

  • Distemper vaccine: after the first one year booster, immunity lasts for 3 years (re-vaccinate in 3 years)
  • Rabies vaccine: after the first one year booster, immunity lasts for 3 years (re-vaccinate in 3 years)
  • Lyme vaccine: this is an annual vaccine
  • Leptospirosis vaccine: this is an annual vaccine
    • Leptospirosis and Lyme vaccines need to be given once and then boostered in 3 weeks if they have never received it before (or if they are more than 6 months overdue for them). If they have received either of them before, records would be helpful to see the dates they were given.
  • All our vaccines are only one year unless proof of previous vaccines deem otherwise. (see Vaccine information page)
  • It is not necessary to bring proof of vaccines unless you are getting a booster or want 3 year vaccines or are confused about what your pet may need.

HEARTWORM TESTING:

Often, a visit for vaccines is your pet’s annual visit to a veterinarian. If that is the case, it is our obligation to offer annual heartworm testing and flea and tick prevention/guidance. After the heartworm test results (these results are instant) we can either dispense heartworm medication or write a prescription to order them if the test is negative.

MICROCHIPS:

  • Microchips are an excellent, inexpensive way to permanently identify your pet. These small devices are found by using a reading device and are used by shelters, veterinarians, and humane organizations to identify animals that are found. The chip is much better than a collar because they can always be updated with recent information and companies that offer them have networking solutions to help locate lost pets. These are not GPS devices, and the chip must be looked for to be found, but they are highly recommended for any pet, indoor or out.
  • We offer microchips at a very low price. If purchased from us, they are automatically registered into a system by the name and address you provide us. Please be sure to confirm the information so that the proper information ends up in the microchip registry. It is recommended to keep the tag that comes with it on your pet at all time; demonstrating that your pet has a microchip.

WE EXAMINE YOUR PET PRIOR TO SURGERY. WE OFTEN IDENTIFY COMMON PROBLEMS THAT DOGS AND CATS HAVE, SUCH AS:

If we detect any medical issue or concerns on physical exam, you will be called and we will discuss any abnormal findings with you prior to surgery.

  • Retained baby teeth (deciduous teeth)
    • These are baby teeth that were supposed to fall out but did not.
    • This can cause problems with your pet’s mouth in the future such as overcrowding; impairment of the adult tooth to come in properly, or at all; severe dental disease as the pet ages; bad breath as food gets caught in the abnormal spaces.
    • If any inappropriate baby teeth are present, they should be removed while under anesthesia for their neuter to avoid having to re-anesthetize them in the future, which can be costly and painful.
    • There is a small additional fee to remove teeth (it takes time and expertise)
  • Umbilical hernia
    • This is usually a small area in the mid-belly, over the umbilicus (or belly button) that has a lumpy appearance. Often this is a small hole in the body wall that did not close during development.
    • Depending on the size of these hernias, fat and or organs can slip out of the abdomen through that hole and cause serious health issues.
    • For female dogs, the area is very close to the incision made for a routine spay, so we recommend fixing it at that time.
    • For male dogs, it requires a second incision, but it is ideal to fix it at the time of anesthesia for the neuter, to avoid another surgery in the future.
    • There is a small additional fee to repair umbilical hernias.
  • Cryptorchidism
    • Occasionally in male dogs, both testicles may not descend normally into the scrotum. It is possible that one or both testicles remain in the abdomen. This is dangerous for your pet, as they are known to become cancerous later in life if not removed. Removing one or both abdominal testicles requires surgery similar to a feline spay, with an abdominal incision. Your pet may have 2 incisions if there is one in the scrotum and one in the belly. This is not a serious problem but must be addressed.
    • There may be a small additional fee for this procedure.
  • Fleas, ticks and worms: YUK
    • Any animal with fleas noticed will be treated at the pet owner’s cost.
    • If any intestinal worms are seen, we will recommend treatment as well. This will be at an additional cost.
    • We provide deworming and flea and tick products. And we can also apply a one month application treatment if requested for an additional fee.

DOES MY PET NEED PAIN MEDICATIONS?

All of our surgical patients receive pain medications before surgery and all dogs go home with pain medications. We send all dogs home with 4 days of a non-steroidal-anti-inflammatory medication. Cats are more difficult to medicate and seem to be very comfortable after surgery. We do not send home additional medications for cats after surgical procedures.

DISCOUNTS:

HELPING PAW IS A 501 c3 PUBLIC CHARITY. WE PROVIDE ALL SERVICES AT AN EXTREMELY LOW COST TO ALL. WE CANNOT FURTHER DISCOUNT FOR RESCUED PETS OR RESCUE GROUPS.

WE DO, ACCORDING TO OUR MISSION, DISCOUNT ALL SERVICES AN ADDITIONAL 20% FOR ANY ACTIVE MILITARY, VETERANS OR OR PERSONS ON MEDICAID/MEDICARE GOVERNMENT ASSISTANCE.

PAYMENT IS ACCEPTED IN CASH ONLY AT THIS TIME:

  • This is to keep our costs to you as low as possible.
  • We cannot accept credit or debit cards or checks at this time.

WHY SHOULD I GET AN E-COLLAR (CONE, PARTY HAT, MARTINI COSTUME…) FOR MY PET AFTER SURGERY?

  • We strongly recommend purchasing a collar, either from us or from a pet store, to make sure your pet does not lick at their surgery site after their procedure.
  • The number one complication we see is infection due to the pet licking or biting at their incision site.
  • This is completely avoidable by using a well-fitting collar.
  • Pet stores have alternative choices that are less economical but may be more comfortable. Please take your pet with you if you chose to use a different one to make sure it is well fitted.

MY PET IS ACTING STRANGELY AFTER SURGERY, BUT IS EATING AND DRINKING WELL

  • Sometimes, the collar we put on them makes them confused and out of sorts. This should not be mistaken for a pet that is not feeling well after surgery. If you think that the collar is causing disorientation or annoyance to your pet, then try taking it off (ONLY UNDER YOUR SUPERVISION) and see if their behavior improves.
  • While they are eating, as long as you are with them, take off the cone and see if they will eat for you.
  • Even though the cone can be annoying, they must have some protection from licking or irritating their incision! The number one problem we see are infections from pets reaching and licking their incision.

WHY DO YOU TATTOO MY PET?

Small tattoos are standardly put on pets so that it is obvious that they are sterilized. This is because when they are lost and then found by shelters or rescue organizations and re-homed, it is known that they are already sterilized to avoid exploratory surgery for these animals.

SHOULD I GET PET INSURANCE FOR MY PET?

  • We highly recommend either putting money aside each month in case of a veterinary emergency or purchasing pet insurance.
  • There are a number of companies to choose from, each with different features.
  • We suggest companies that have been in business for a long period of time and that have no lifetime limits on coverage.
  • This is an excellent resource to help you choose a company that is right for you. https://www.petinsurancereview.com/

WHY TEST MY CAT FOR FELINE LEUKEMIA VIRUS OR FELINE IMMUNODEFICIENCY VIRUS?

FeLV or Feline Leukemia Virus: https://veterinarypartner.vin.com/default.aspx?pid=19239&id=4951934
FIV or Feline Immunodeficiency Virus: https://veterinarypartner.vin.com/default.aspx?pid=19239&id=4951815