Commonly Asked Questions

What vaccine does my pet need to stay healthy?

There is no one answer to this question.  A number of factors will determine what vaccines your pet should have including life style, travel, age and other health concerns. Vaccines are very important, but we do not believe that all vaccinations are right for all patients. During annual wellness visits, our staff and veterinarians go over your pet's risk factors in order to determine the best preventative healthcare plan for your pet.


My pet has been having diarrhea but is otherwise acting fine, should I be concerned?

Diarrhea can be caused by a number of things including parasites (giardia is common in our area), diet, bacteria, viral or more serious conditions such as inflammatory bowel diseases or neoplasia.  If the diarrhea has persisted for more than 1-2 days or has recurred several times we recommend a visit with a veterinarian and remember to bring a fecal sample!


Does my pet need to be on heartworm medication?

Heartworm disease is not currently endemic in our area due to our temperature fluctuations (too cool at night), however the geographical range of this disease is changing as the climate warms (see this website). It is important to consider your travel habits as well: if you take your dog to the beach, to Ashland, or to California, where heartworm is more prevalent, prevention is extremely important. Most heartworm preventatives also function as a monthly dewormer for common intestinal parasites. If you have small children at home or your pet is very social and spends a lot of time in heavily dog trafficked areas then having your dog on a monthly parasite prevention program makes sense. Given this information, many clients in Central Oregon do elect to have their pet on heartworm preventative year round. 


My pet suffers from separation anxiety. What can I do?

This is one of the most common behavioral disorders encountered with our dogs.  A great resource is Malena DeMartini, a dog trainer who offers a remote training program for the mitigation of separation anxiety in dogs. You can find her website here. Local trainers can also be of help. In order to find a good one, follow these rules: How to choose a dog trainer. If reward-based training and behavior modification haven't been of help, or if your dog is injuring himself or panicking when you leave, psychotropic medications may be indicated. Our veterinarians are happy to talk with you about options.


My pet is having surgery tomorrow. Can he or she still have water?

Yes! Please do not restrict their access to water. We do recommend that you withhold food after about 8 pm the night before a procedure. We want our surgical patients to be well hydrated!


How often should I bathe my pet?

Too frequent bathing can strip your cat or dog of their natural oils and lead to dry, flaky, itchy skin.  Bathing once monthly is typically more than adequate.  We recommend using a soap free shampoo (these will not lather like a regular shampoo!) and rinsing thoroughly with tepid water.  If your pet is struggling with dandruff, excessive oil, or is overly itchy this may be an indication of another problem (allergies, thyroid issues, infection) and a visit with a veterinarian is recommended.


My pet has been shaking his/her head a lot, should I be concerned?

When an animal has an ear infection or a something stuck in his ear like a fox tail, common in our area, the first clinical sign can be head shaking Other indications of a problem include excessive discharge from the ear (often dark brown), a bad smell, holding the ear down, or tilting of the head.  In cats, ear mites can be the culprit. Dogs rarely get ear mites, and are much more likely to have infections caused by yeast and bacteria. If the head shaking persists for more than one day, or if any of the other signs listed above are also present, your pet should be seen by a veterinarian.  Ear infections left untreated can lead to chronic changes in the ear canals, and are very uncomfortable for your pet.