Prior to even stepping foot in a shelter or a breeder's facility, some things need to be discussed by you and/or with one of our doctors. To name a few; is the breed an appropriate breed to match your family's lifestyle, food cost, veterinary care, etc. Also, no matter what pet you decide upon, make sure to do proper training regardless of size to enforce a happy pet and family.
New puppies and kittens. We strongly recommend that all new puppies and kittens be examined prior to purchase. Delaying this examination may result in disappointment and emotional distress, and unexpected expense for the new owner if the pet should have any serious medical problems. Any reputable seller will agree to a pre-purchase exam with refund of your FULL payment (NOT A PET STORE CREDIT) if any serious health defects are found. (Three days is a customary period).
There are numerous fine shelters in the Denver area. These animals need a home and most will make wonderful lifetime companions; a few may have minor health issues. Usually these pets have been sterilized, may have had some or all of their annual vaccinations, and have a fair adoption fee. Arrowhead Animal Hospital will give a FREE examination to all shelter pets within the first 10 days. We are happy to discuss all obvious medical needs with you. Most of these shelters allow a return of these pets if there are health issues you deem not acceptable. Again, we recommend this examination be done promptly before emotions become too large a factor. No shelter will cover veterinary bills; a few shelters might take a pet back for short-term treatment.
Many wonderful pets come from pet stores. The truthful origin of the pets is often difficult to ascertain. Some do come from "puppy mills". There are many problems associated with puppy mills; and there is a plethora of information on the web and other sources. To name a few problems: these animals are often raised in crowded and unsanitary conditions, there is little attention given to selection of genetically desirable parents, "in-breeding" is common, genetic defects (behavioral, orthopedic and skin problems) are frequent, these pets are improperly socialized, they are seldom "show quality", they are usually over-priced, they tend to have more parasites, and "Purebred Registration" Certificates mean very little and are impossible to verify. A prompt, pre-purchase exam is strongly recommended with full refund (NOT CREDIT!) if pet is returned. Pet stores will not cover any veterinary bills.
This is the best source to obtain a specific desired breed. Local breeder associations, word-of-mouth, and careful internet searches are useful ways to get started. If possible, we suggest an on-site visit of the facility where the animals are bred and raised. Third party deliveries and truck-stop meetings are a warning sign of a "puppy mill". Ask to see both parents and inspect the facility for cleanliness. Referrals from other owners and an interview with the breeder's veterinarian are always valuable. Written health records are a good indication of a caring breeder. Some breeders may try to restrict the use of a pet for breeding—this should be thoroughly discussed. A prompt, pre-purchase veterinary examination is strongly recommended with full refund (not CREDIT!) if pet is returned. Most reputable breeders encourage a pre-purchase examination. A few breeders may agree to a long-term animal replacement guarantee if chronic problems
At the minimum, a new kitten will need a health examination, a fecal lab test for parasites, vaccinations, a good diet, and a loving family. Vaccinations are given for feline distemper and the upper respiratory diseases at about 8, 11, and 14 weeks of age. A rabies vaccination is required at 3-4 months of age.
Other medical issues to consider are surgical sterilization at 4-6 months of age, leukemia testing and vaccinations, declawing (consult with us for an in depth discussion of this procedure).
At the minimum, a new puppy will need a health examination, a fecal lab test, vaccinations, a good diet, and a loving family. Vaccinations are given for canine distemper, parvo and corona viruses, hepatitis, and leptospirosis at about 8, 11, 14 and 17 weeks of age. A rabies vaccination is required at 3-4 months of age.
Other medical issues to consider are puppy training, surgical sterilization (spay for females, neuter for males), optional vaccines for Bordetella (kennel cough), canine influenza, and Rattlesnake bite protection.
The biggest amount of information that should be gathered when adopting an adult pet would be its previous history. Why, if known, is the pet up for adoption? Does it have any medical, behavioral, or abandonment issues? Or was it just lost and needed a new home. What type of pet, dog or cat, etc. and how that pet will fit into your family activity levels. Does the pet require specific exercise needs; are they prone to temperament issues? What is the plan for your new pet? A couch potato or an arctic explorer.
For young, healthy pets, an annual wellness exam with vaccines and parasite control as needed is the minimum recommended interval. If, however, your pet is older or has any health issues, twice-yearly wellness exams, and specific monitoring as necessary, will provide the best care for your pet.
The short answer is that we do not know exactly how long vaccines or the immunity stimulated by them lasts. Each individual animal has their own immune system that responds differently to vaccines. Certain stresses such as concurrent disease, over exertion, giving birth, heat cycle (estrous) and environmental stressors can weaken the immune system and its response to vaccines. Very young individuals may have immune systems that require time to mature and are then able to respond to a vaccine. Young individuals also may have immunity left over from their mother that can interfere with their response to a vaccine. Older individuals can have immune systems that are starting to wear out. Without measuring each individual’s immunity or their response to exposure of a potentially fatal virus or bacteria it is impossible to know the status of their immune system. We assume that immunity lasts at least one year for adult animals. We should consider the individuals age, life style and
Most of these conditions require regular (every 6-12 months, or more) monitoring of liver and/or kidney enzymes. Some may require blood counts (CBC's), electrolytes, blood glucose levels, and actual circulating drug levels within the patient. We have in-house analysis equipment to perform most of these tests within an hour; others are sent out to a certified regional veterinary lab in Broomfield. A veterinary consultation and medical progress physical examination of the pet as well as an accurate history is essential to coordinate these lab results with the pet's progress and make adjustments in the medication given.
It depends on the degree of plaque & tartar accumulation. Monthly, you need to examine your pet's teeth. Look for an accumulation of yellow or brown material at the area where the tooth meets the gumline, especially over the cheek teeth and canines.
Once you notice plaque or tartar accumulation, it is time for a professional cleaning. Do not wait; waiting can lead to more severe dental disease, possibly resulting in the need for more extensive dental work.
Bacteria attach to the tartar, causing irritation of the gum tissues (aka gingivitis). When treated, the inflammation will resolve. When gingivitis is left untreated, it will progress to infection, bone loss, and eventually tooth loss; this process is known as periodontitis, which is incurable.
The intervals between teeth cleaning procedures will depend on how often you can brush your pet's teeth. Once or twice daily is optimal. If you cannot brush the teeth, your pet may need dental clean
Dental disease occurs below the gum line. By removing calculus from the tooth, you are not removing disease below the gum line. In order to thoroughly help your pet, plaque & calculus must be removed from below the gum line.
Anesthesia is necessary when performing dental cleaning. It provides three important functions: immobilization in order to clean below the gum line and perform dental procedures (radiographs, extractions, etc.) as needed, pain control, and the ability to place a tube into the windpipe so bacterial products do not enter the respiratory system.
We take every precaution to ensure safe anesthesia. We use the safest of anesthetic agents, and dogs & cats are given pre-operative tests depending on their age and condition to qualify them for anesthesia. Finally, pets are monitored while anesthetized with EKG cardiac monitors, non-invasive blood pressure units, temperature monitors, respiration monitors, and pulse oximeters. It is important to remember, however, that anesthesia has its risks in even the most healthy patient, though the risk may be minimal.
1. General exam before anesthesia, +/- pre-anesthetic blood testing
2. Intravenous catheter & fluids
3. Oral exam under anesthesia
4. Subgingival (below the gumline) scaling, root planning, curettage where indicated
5. Tooth polishing
7. Fluoride application
8. Post-cleaning exam and radiographs if needed
9. Dental charting for the medical record
10. Therapy (extractions, bonded sealant) if necessary
11. Home care instructions
12. No-fee follow-up appointment to monitor healing after extractions if necessary
A basic dental cleaning procedure at our hospital varies depending on the size of your pet. The basic procedure includes anesthesia & cleaning of the teeth. It does not include pre-anesthetic blood testing, pain medication, dental radiographs, extractions, bonded sealants, or antibiotics. Oftentimes, dental disease can be insidious and much worse than it may appear on the surface.
Therefore, it is impossible to accurately estimate what each individual pet may require until it is anesthetized and a thorough cleaning and exam has been performed. At that time, we will contact you to discuss what further treatment (if any) may be necessary, and estimate costs for you at that time.
Please make an appointment to discuss costs with one of our veterinarians if you have further questions.