Silver Leaf Animal Hospital
Frequently Asked Questions - (FAQ's )

Scroll down or Click on these Question Topics:
Vaccinations Diet Estrus ("Heat" Cycle) Spaying Neutering
Flea Control Tick Control Heartworms Declawing Cats

Questions about Vaccinations and Preventative Measures -

At what age should my puppy or kitten begin its vaccination series?

Vaccinations and other routine preventative medicine procedures should begin immediately after weaning.

What about worm control?


How often is revaccination necessary?

All pets should receive booster vaccinations yearly. At that time, a health check should be performed and certain tests run (e.g. stool testing and heartworm checks).


Questions about Diet -

What are the best diets for my pet?


Questions about Estrus, Pregnancy and Neutering -

At what age do female dogs usually begin their "heat" cycles?

Depending on the breed and size, "heat" or estrus, normally begins between the ages of eight and fifteen months. Smaller breeds begin at a younger age than large breeds. Estrual cycles tend to become seasonal and regular as the animal matures. Often mature females cycle once in the spring, and once in the fall, not necessarily at exact six-month intervals.


When, during estrus, are female dogs most likely to conceive?

On average, most estrus periods are about 21 days long. Vulvar swelling and bleeding discharge are common during the first 10 days. Days 10 through 15 are usually the most fertile, and a female is most likely to accept a male and conceive during this time. During the final five to six days, the female experiences a "going out" period and is less interested in breeding but still may be discharging slightly. IT IS IMPORTANT TO REMEMBER, however, many dogs vary from this "average" schedule, and conception is possible ANYTIME a female is receptive to a male.


How long, from conception, does a typical pregnancy last?


Is it a good idea to have my pet "spayed" or "neutered"?

Arguments for having your pet surgically sterilized include:

The only reason not to have your pet spayed or neutered would be if you intend to use it as a breeder.


When is the best time to have my female spayed?

The optimum age to have a dog or cat "spayed" is at six months of age because females may derive some hormonal benefit as regards bone maturation up to that time. From a long-term health standpoint, however, having a female spayed before its first estrus is the best way to avoid aging health problems.


When should my male pet be neutered?

Undesirable male behavior usually begins soon after six months of age. Male dogs not intended for breeding should be neutered as soon after six months of age as possible. Intact male cats usually develop behavioral traits that endanger their life and longevity. Having your male cat neutered may be a "lifesaving" procedure.


Questions about Fleas and Ticks -

What is the "life cycle" of the flea?


What are the newest flea control measures?


I still find fleas or an occasional tick on my pet. Does that mean my flea or tick control measures are inadequate?

Fleas and ticks must be exposed to control products for a time before they are forced off of the host pet. Finding an occasional flea or unattached tick does not mean your flea control is inadequate.


What is the best way to keep ticks off of my pet?

There is no single best way to keep ticks from attempting to imbed in your pet's skin. Even the very best control measures still allow an occasional tick to be found.That is why daily inspection of your pet, paying careful attention to areas around the head and ears, armpits, and between toes is essential. Any parasites discovered should be carefully removed.


Questions about Heartworm Prevention and Disease -

How do dogs get heartworms

Microscopic heartworm larvae are transmitted from infected dogs to susceptible ones by mosquitoes. The mosquito ingests blood from the infected host. Any ingested heartworm larvae undergo life cycle changes within the mosquito to become "infective larvae". These are then injected into previously uninfected dogs as the mosquito bites and feeds, and develop over time into adult heartworms.


What damage do heartworms cause?

Adult heartworms cause great damage over time to the host's heart and lungs. Cardiac failure eventually occurs and leads to difficulty breathing, exercise intolerance and generalized weakness. Circulating microfilaria (baby heartworms) also can cause kidney and liver damage. If untreated, canine heartworm disease often leads to death.


How do heartworm preventatives work?

Preventive medications are available for either daily or once monthly administration. These medications act in slightly different biochemical ways, but each works to prevent adult heartworm development within the host. Common monthly heartworm preventatives include Heartgard Plus® and Intercepter® which are offered as "treat tablets.". However, some pet owners prefer to give a generic "non-treat type" tablet (Iverhart Plus ®). Also available is a "spot-on" flea controller which also serves as a heartworm preventive (Revolution®.)


Other Questions -

Is it cruel to have my cat declawed?

Definitely not, especially if you intend to keep your cat inside the house all, or part of, the time. However, unless you are absolutely sure your cat will never leave the house, we recommend removal of the front claws only, because back claws allow cats the climbing power to avoid injury. Declawed cats will still "pad" with their feet, and do not appear to be psychologically altered by not having front claws. The declawing procedure is safe and relatively pain-free, and post-surgical complications are rare.
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