Frequently Asked Questions

1. When does my cat or dog need their vaccinations?

Puppies and kittens require need a series of 3 vaccines. They need their first one at 6-8 weeks old. They need a booster 3-4 weeks later when they are 10-12 weeks old. They need their last booster 3-4 weeks later when they are 14-16 weeks old, and they also get their rabies vaccine at that time. After they had their puppy vaccines, they get their vaccines annually. Both puppies and kittens that are not 16 weeks should not receive their rabies vaccine.

2. What is the difference between Spaying and Neutering?

Spaying is removing the entire reproductive system of a female, from the ovaries to the uterus. Neutering is the removal of both testicles of the male.

3. When should I get my cat or dog spayed or neutered?

We recommend spaying and neutering at 6 months for both cats and dogs. If you wait to spay following a heat cycle you increase the risk of your pet developing cancer, pyometra or an unwanted pregnancy. For neutering, if you wait you increase your risk of cancer and then behavioural problems.

4. Do you perform Vasectomies?
No, we remove both testicles. Neutering a dog decreases many unwanted behaviours of a male dog. Examples of these behaviours are
            A – Aggression
            B – Marking Territory with strong urine.
            C – Mating – A male dog can sniff out a female dog in heat for miles away. This can cause your dog to be want to leave your yard and run at large, which could cause him to be hit by a car or stolen. Yes an intact male can jump a six foot fence.
5. When should we deworm our pets?

Our policy is to deworm in the spring and fall. We use different medications for de worming so our doctors will find the best one for your pet. However, puppies and kittens get dewormed more frequently in their first year of life.  If you travel with your pet, please let us know! They may benefit from more frequent deworming or a parasite preventative.

6. My puppy seems to have a double row of teeth. Is this normal?

Puppies have baby teeth and adult teeth, just like humans. Puppies start teething at about 3 1/2 months and they finish teething at 6 months. Sometimes when the adult teeth come in, the baby teeth don’t fall out. This is very common in small breed dogs. We do recommend removing the baby teeth, usually at the same time the dog is spayed or neutered. If you don’t remove the baby teeth, there is a chance that the dog could loose both teeth to dental disease because of food material getting wedged between the two. If you aren’t sure if your puppy has retained baby teeth, we can certainly take a look for you!

7. When does my puppy go on adult food?

Puppies should be switched over to adult food when they are a year old OR when they have been spayed or neutered. Whichever comes first!

8. When is my pet considered a senior?

Both cats and dogs are considered senior when they turn 7 years old. At this point in your pets life, their dietary needs change, and they should be fed a senior diet. Their health requirements may also change. Remember that for every year that passes for us, it’s equivalent to 5-10 years for our pets. If you were 70 years old, it probably wouldn’t be wise to wait until you were 80 years old, before you saw your family doctor again! Blood work, teeth cleanings and more frequent exams may be necessary, so it’s important to talk to you veterinarian about what you can do for your pet so they can live a long happy life!

9. How often should my pet be groomed?

The average is every 6-8 weeks.

10. Why is my dog scooting their bum on the floor?

A common misconception is that a dog has worms when they scoot their bum on the floor. What is really happening is that the dogs anal glands are full and they are irritating the dog. Anal glands are scent glands that are on the dogs bum. What happens is that when your dog poops, those glands express a little bit and leave a scent marker for other dogs. Most people say that the smell is a skunky/fishy smell. If your dog is doing this behaviour, just give us a call and book an appointment with one of our doctors, and they will be able to express those glands for your pet.

11. Why does my dog eat its poop?

A lot of people think that dogs eat their poop if they aren’t getting enough nutrition from their food. This isn’t true. It is now believed that eating poop is a bad habit, and that it isn’t related to diet. There are numerous products on the market that will make their poop taste “bad.” These products are great and work well, but only while you give it to your dog. If they decide to take another taste after you’re done treating them, it will taste “good” again and then you will have to treat them again. The easiest fix for this problem is to clean up after your dog right away.

12. Does my pet need a flea collar?

Fort McMurray doesn’t have a lot of fleas, but we are seeing more and more cases as our population increases. There are also other parasites that can be confused for fleas, like lice. Lice are not affected by flea collars. Flea collars are not very effective against fleas and they are actually very toxic to our pets. It can actually be quite dangerous to get flea medication from pet stores and grocery stores. Some medication for dogs is extremely poisonous to cats. There are much more effective medications that you can get from your veterinarian, that are designed for your pet and household. Give us a call and we can answer all your questions.

13. Does my pet need to have their teeth brushed?

Ideally, your pets should have their teeth brushed every 24 hours. Some dogs won’t tolerate having their teeth brushed, so there are some excellent dental diets you can feed your pet. What the goal is for brushing  your pets teeth is to decrease the interval between having to clean your pets teeth under anaesthesia.

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Fort McMurray Veterinarian