How safe is my pet’s procedure?
At Handsboro Animal Hospital, we only recommend those surgical procedures that are in the best interest of your pet. Each individual procedure varies from pet to pet and condition to condition. Typically, a physical examination, review of the patient’s medical history, and blood work are recommended for each pet that may have to be subjected to sedation or anesthesia. Our veterinarians will use this information to screen your pet for potential issues before beginning any procedure to help ensure the safety of your pet. As with humans, the older the pet, the more precautions need to be taken.
Although there will always be a minimal amount of risk associated with anesthetizing your pet, we take every precaution available to ensure that those risks are minimized, including most of the same fail-safe measures that your physician would provide if you were placed under anesthesia. We also monitor vital signs throughout all stages of surgery and recovery.
How often should my pet have an exam and blood work?
At Handsboro Animal Hospital, we believe that the best way to extend the relationship you share with your pet is to identify disease processes early, and prevent the progression of chronic illness before it becomes a problem. To keep tabs on your pet’s overall health, it is important to maintain annual exams and blood work. Those pets with chronic disease or mobility issues may require examination on a more frequent basis. We also recommend annual blood work profiles to provide a continuous record for our veterinarian to identify trends and specific areas to focus on in an effort to prolong the duration and quality of life of our patients.
Does my pet really need a dental procedure?
The overwhelming answer is absolutely yes! Periodontal disease (disease of the structures around the tooth--the gums, bone, and connective tissue) is one of the most common problems that we deal with on a daily basis at Handsboro Animal Hospital. Periodontal infections, tooth fractures, and oral masses can be sources of serious discomfort for your pet. Additionally, untreated periodontal infections can cause damage to major organs of the body including the heart, liver, and kidneys. Proper veterinary dental care can help prevent your pet from developing painful dental conditions, and can extend their life expectancy as well.
How important is nutrition for my pet?
Similar to human food intake, a diet that is low in fat and high in protein is essential to the life of your pet. Handsboro Animal Hospital offers the newest and most efficient food for your pet available today.
Pets, like people, are unique and individual; they have different needs based on their size, breed, age, and health issues. But no matter what their individual needs are, it is important that pets maintain a healthy weight, eat a nutritious diet, and receive adequate exercise to promote living longer with fewer health issues.
When pets are overweight, it creates a tendency towards diabetes, heart disease, joint problems, and other chronic health conditions. Using our nutritional counseling services at Handsboro Animal Hospital will help simplify just what your pet should be eating and how much.
How long should I wait to bring my pet to the veterinarian if I notice a change in behavior?
If you notice your pet acting strangely, exhibiting a change of behavior including loss of appetite or energy or sudden weight gain or loss, you should schedule an appointment as soon as possible for an examination by one of our doctors. Pets have an instinctive tendency to hide pain and illness so that they do not show any weaknesses that might attract predators. As pet owners, by the time we notice a change in behavior, the animal may have been suffering for several days already.
What if I begin to notice visible parasites for the first time on my pet?
If you notice visible parasites on your pet, call us today and schedule an appointment so that one of our veterinarians can recommend the appropriate treatment for your pet. Flea and tick preventatives have improved greatly in recent years. These preventatives are safe and effective and come in a wide variety of forms. At Handsboro Animal Hospital, we fit the preventative product to the pet's problem and environment. Parasite control is of great importance to the elimination of disease carrying parasites.
What are heartworms, and how can I prevent my pet from getting them? Why does my indoor pet need heartworm preventatives?
Heartworms are a serious, year-round parasitic threat to your pet’s health. The heartworm cycle begins when a mosquito bites an infected animal. The mosquito ingests the blood containing the immature larvae of the heartworm. The immature larvae develop inside the mosquito, resulting in an infective stage. When the mosquito bites a non-infected pet, it deposits the now-infected larva into the animal. The infected larvae mature inside the animal. Both the adult and immature worms tax the heart’s workload, restricting blood flow to the lungs, kidneys and liver.
Visible symptoms of heartworm disease may take as long as a year or more to appear when much of the damage has already been done. Treatment, once an animal has heartworms is difficult and can be costly.
Prevention, however, is relatively easy and inexpensive. The first step to prevention is having your pet tested to find out if heartworms are already present. From there, we will take steps to make sure your pet is healthy and protected from this deadly disease.
Both dogs and cats should be on heartworm preventives throughout their lifetime. Indoor pets need heartworm preventives as much as outdoor pets because heartworms are transmitted by mosquitoes, and mosquitoes can certainly enter our homes.
When is pain management recommended for my pet?
Recent research in veterinary science indicates that pets classified as mammals experience pain the same way that we do. Our pets typically try to hide the fact that they have pain. At Handsboro Animal Hospital, we offer pain management for pets who may be experiencing pain due to trauma, post-operative pain, and chronic pain caused by a progressive disease such as arthritis.
Behavioral changes are the principal indicator of pain. If you notice increasingly diminished function and mobility in your pet such as struggling to get up and down or limping, it could indicate chronic pain resulting from a progressive disability. If you suspect your pet may be experiencing pain, visit our experienced and compassionate veterinarians for an evaluation and treatment options. We have a variety of pain management choices to help your pet live a full, pain free life.
What if my pet has an after-hours problem?
If we are closed and you have an emergency situation, we recommend contacting Animal Medical Center of Hattiesburg at 601-264-5785. There is also a local 24 hour emergency center in Woolmarket, Gulfcoast Veterinary Emergency Hospital. Their phone number is 228-392-7474.
At what age should I have my pet spayed or neutered?
There are several factors that help determine the best age for spaying and neutering including your pet’s breed (larger breeds wait longer) and individual health status. Typical spaying and neutering for most pets not used for breeding purposes is usually recommended between 4 and 6 months of age. Prior to any surgery at Handsboro Animal Hospital, all pets undergo a physical exam and a pre-anesthetic blood screening to determine overall fitness for the surgical procedure. Current vaccinations are required at the time of surgery.
Spaying and neutering help with animal population control and prevent unwanted pets. Just as importantly, spaying and neutering can improve the overall health of your pet, and help in avoiding certain reproductive diseases, and some types of cancer.
Should I get pet insurance for my pet?
We recommend getting pet insurance for your pet. Here are a couple links to recommended pet insurance companies:
Pet Plan Insurance
Nationwide Pet Insurance
Can I charge to pay for my bill?
We do not offer payment plans, however we do accept payments via cash, credit cards, check, and Care Credit.