Dental X ray:
This was an exciting and useful advanced tool when we first invested in the equipment. It has quickly become standard of care, though not every clinic has made the necessary investment to offer it. We can examine the top part of the teeth and probe along the gumline in an anesthetized patient. This catches many problems, but it is surprisingly common for an x ray to identify changes that are invisible on the surface. These sometimes causes a surprise problem in the months after an apparently routine cleaning. An x ray during the initial dental procedure can prevent a second anesthetic during these cases.
Some teeth (lower dog molars especially) have long roots that occupy most of the jaw. They can even have a hook on the end. Even with proper high speed equipment these teeth cannot be safely removed without first identifying where the root goes. Sometimes radiographs prove that a badly damaged tooth no loner has an active nerve and extraction can be avoided or a less aggressive procedure (crown amputation) can be used, saving money and making recovery easier for your pet. Damaged teeth can even be sealed and saved if we are able to show the pulp cavity is not affected yet.
This safety precaution can save vital seconds in the rare event of an anesthetic complication. Just as you cannot buy a modern car without airbags, we cannot recommend a surgical procedure without an IV lifeline. It is absolutely required for high risk patients, including all dogs with short noses and expressive faces (French and English Bulldogs, Pugs and Boston Terriers). We recommend it in other cases but leave the final decision to the family.
The equipment was a major investment. A laser requires additional training, and there are ongoing expenses associated with its maintenance and operation. We don’t want these necessary costs to interfere with the vital need to spay and neuter dogs and cats, helping curb the unwanted pet population. Therefore we are offering it as an option for these surgeries, for the owner that has already committed to having a pet spayed / neutered and has agreed to post operative pain medication. This is one more way we can make the surgery as pain free as possible.
A laser will vaporize small nerve endings and ablate blood vessels less than 0.6mm in diameter, minimizing oozing and swelling post op. It is a huge benefit for some procedures, including many cancer surgeries, cat declaws, ear hematomas and some eyelid surgeries. The laser is used for non elective surgeries on an “as indicated” basis. That means that if the surgical laser is the best tool for the job, making surgery safer, less painful or speeding the recovery, it will be used and has likely has been included with your estimate. If the surgeon feels it won’t be helpful it won’t be used or charged for, even if you check this box.
Preanesthetic bloodwork canine:
We recommend that all dogs are screened for hidden disease before anesthetic. This is in addition to the minimum database of having a negative heartworm blood test (if old enough) and the exam. Dogs are not always reliable communicators, and sometimes hide health issues instead of dwelling on them. Minor changes may be addressed by choosing alternate anesthetics. More significant changes may allow us to rethink or postpone a planned procedure before we put your pet at unnecessary risk. We check for signs of diabetes, hidden liver or kidney problems, protein levels and anemia. Normal bloodwork is especially useful, because it can provide a baseline for comparison in the event of future health problems. Some indicators are most sensitive when compared in the same patient over time.
Preanesthetic bloodwork feline:
We recommend that all cats are screened for hidden disease before anesthetic. This is because they are notorious for hiding health issues from even the most attentive families. Minor changes may be addressed by choosing alternate anesthetics. More significant changes may allow us to rethink or postpone a planned procedure before we put your pet at unnecessary risk. We check for signs of diabetes, hidden liver or kidney problems, and protein levels. This is in addition to checking for retroviruses (Feline Leukemia and FIV, which every cat should have done as they are transmissible and infection affects so many decisions. Normal bloodwork provides a baseline for comparison in the event of future health problems. Some indicators are most sensitive when compared in the same patient over time.
It is hard to accurately identify pregnancy status on exam, even impossible depending on the due date. Early pregnancy is not detectable by current blood tests or radiographs. Due to our work supporting the area shelters, we appreciate the unwanted pet problem and the difficulty finding multiple good homes. Cats are notoriously good at making kittens, coming in and out of heat every few weeks until they successfully get pregnant. If you do not want this burden, we will spay your pet even though she is pregnant. There may be additional charge for additional time and materials. If she is close to term and the pregnancy is evident before anesthetic, we will likely decline to perform the surgery, to better protect the mother’s safety.
If you chose to cancel surgery we will quit as soon as we realize she is pregnant. This may be under anesthetic, or even after the surgery has begun. There is a small chance the anesthetic may affect the pregnancy or cause a miscarriage. There will be a charge for the care received and any sterilized equipment that was used.
In addition to the normal chemistry profile we also recommend cats be screened for hidden heart problems. Dietary deficiency of taurine, birth defects and age can contribute to hidden heart disease. Because cats have a rapid heart beat compared to most species and the organ itself is small, an attentive veterinarian with a stethoscope is not always enough to identify serious disease.
We offer this, without charge, at the request of PAWS and Barely Used Pets shelters. We strongly recommend this for all cats with an outdoor lifestyle, but it can also be chosen for dogs. There is no additional charge. We are amazed and saddened by the number of pets that end up in shelters without history. Not all are abandoned. Sometimes the owner is forced to relocate, passes away, or must suddenly accept nursing care. Friends and family may be unaware of the care you are taking of your pet. Some cats simply relocate for unknown reasons. It is often impossible to tell if there is a scar after the surgery. Sometimes an apparent scar is present but the patient has not been spayed, either form an injury or another surgery. Hormone testing is expensive and takes several days. As a result, it is common for rescued animals to be anesthetized and found to be already spayed. The surgeon has to confirm the absence of a uterus, which can take longer than a normal spay and require an extra-long incision. The recovery is similar to a routine spay, with no benefit. We simply place a small tattoo at or near the incision, so any future surgeon or shelter is to stop the process soon as your pet is shaved.