San Antonio Animal Hospital

Frequently Asked Veterinary Hospital Questions

This is a list of frequently asked questions. If you have a question that is not on this list please call us and let one of our pet health care team help you find the answer.

1. Why does my puppy need to be vaccinated so many times?
• The immune system of a puppy and kitten develop slowly over time. This starts when they are 6 weeks and is usually complete at 16 weeks. During the developmental stages we need to protect your pet by vaccinating every four weeks so that they will build immunity to the common diseases that they are susceptible to. This allows their immune system a chance to develop "memory" so that if they are exposed to one of these diseases their immune system will be prepared.

2. How do dogs get heartworms?
• Heartworms are spread from infected dogs to other dogs by mosquitoes. Unfortunately our climate allows for mosquitoes to transmit these parasites year round. Heartworms are totally preventable by giving an oral tablet once a month. If a dog is over 6 months of age a heartworm test is required before we can start them on prevention. We offer several different types of heartworm prevention and we will be happy to help you select one that is best suited to your pet's needs.

3. Can my cat get heartworms?
• Yes, cats do get heartworms. Because cats are not the natural host of the heartworm, and because there is no treatment to kill the heartworm in cats, the infection is almost always fatal. In most cases the first symptom is sudden death. Many of the heartworm cases that we have seen in cats have been in totally indoor cats. As with dogs, heartworm disease is totally preventable in cats by applying topical medication once a month. If you have a cat in San Antonio, Balcones Heights and Helotes, TX it should be on prevention. Please contact our veterinary office for more information about feline heartworm disease and prevention.

4. What is causing my dog to chew its feet constantly?
• Chewing the feet and sometimes rubbing the face is usually a sign that your dog has allergies. Allergies to pollens and food proteins are extremely common. Part of the key to successful treatment is to try to find out what your pet may be allergic to and create a treatment plan tailored to your pet's individual needs.

5. What is causing my dog to scoot his rear end on the floor?
• Scooting is generally a sign of anal irritation. The most common reason for scooting is full or impacted anal glands. This can occur in all breeds but is most common in smaller dogs. We recommend having your dog examined to see if its anal glands need to be expressed.

6. My pet's breath smells bad. What is the problem?
• Dental disease is one of the most common conditions that we see in dogs and cats. If left untreated, infections of the gums and mouth can often cause kidney and heart valve problems. Keeping your pet's teeth clean is essential to good overall health. Once the teeth are cleaned there are a variety of things that can be done to keep the mouth healthy. Please schedule an appointment to have your pet's mouth evaluated for infection.

7. What is the best flea and tick control product to use on my pet?
• Unfortunately our climate is perfect for fleas and ticks to reproduce. These parasites are a common problem. When it comes to treatment there is no "one size fits all" answer. In many cases the environment needs to be treated as well as the pet. Fortunately we now have several wonderful products that are available to keep your pet free from these nasty parasites. Please give us a call to discuss parasite control.

8. Can my pet take human medicine?
• Many human medications can be used in pets however some human medications cannot be tolerated by pets. In fact, several human medications can actually kill your pet. Please consult with our office before you give any medication to your pet.

9. Why isn't my pet losing weight?
• Obesity is also a very common problem in our pets. Like dental disease, obesity can cause serious health problems. The two biggest problems we see when a pet does not lose weight are low thyroid levels and too many treats. If you are making a sincere effort to help your dog lose weight and nothing is working the thyroid levels may be low. The result is that your pet's metabolism may be too slow to burn calories. A simple blood test can determine if you dog should be on thyroid supplementation. Owners are often unaware that some treats contain more calories than some dogs need for a whole day. We can help you determine what the problem is and develop a plan to be successful.

10. Why is my older pet drinking so much water?
• Drinking excessive amounts of water (Polydypsia) and urinating excessively (Polyuria) can be symptoms of serious health problems in any animal. This is especially true for older pets. Often these symptoms can be the first signs of conditions like Diabetes mellitus and Kidney disease. If your pet is showing these signs please call us immediately so that we can diagnose the problem and start your pet on the road to recovery.

11. Why is my pet shaking its head so much?
• Shaking the head is the most common sign of ear infections in dogs and cats. Ear infections can go unnoticed for a long time and cause great discomfort to your pet. If your pet is shaking its head of scratching its ears excessively please schedule an examination so that we can treat this problem.

12. What is the benefit of using a laser for my pet's surgical procedure?
• The use of a surgical laser provides several benefits for our patients. First, the surgical laser cauterizes as it cuts so there is much less bleeding as conventional methods. Also, the surgical laser seals nerve endings. This causes less post operative pain for our patients. Finally, for most procedures there is less tissue damage and the time it takes to heal is shortened.

13. What is a Class IV therapeutic laser and what is it used for?
• At APCNW we are excited to offer Class IV MLS Laser therapy. This laser emits two different intensities of laser light into damaged or inflamed tissues. The light causes increased blood flow, decreased pain and decreased inflammation. Most treatments take less than 10 minutes and treatment packages vary depending on what we are treating. This type of treatment will benefit almost any kind of chronic painful or chronic inflammatory process and it is harmless to our patients.