How safe is my pet’s procedure?
At St. Francis Hospital for Animals, 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 St. Francis Hospital for Animals we believe that the best way to prolong 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. For this reason, our doctors advise scheduling yearly exams for your pet.
To ensure that we identify health issues early, we recommend an examination by one of our veterinarians every 12 months for healthy pets under the age of 7, and every 6 months for healthy senior patients. Those pets with chronic disease or mobility issues may require examination on a more frequent basis.
Blood work is another way to identify disease processes early and prevent the progression of chronic disease. We recommend annual blood work to provide a baseline for our veterinarians to identify trends and specific areas to focus on in an effort to prolong the duration and quality of life of our patients. Whether your pet is a youngster or a senior, regular blood work can help detect some diseases early, making it easier to catch a potential problem early and avoid complications and expensive treatments.
Why does my pet need a dental procedure?
Periodontal disease (disease of the structures around the tooth such as the gums, bone, and connective tissue) is one of the most common problems that we deal with on a daily basis at St. Francis Hospital for Animals. 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?
Pets, like people, are unique and individual; they have different needs based on their size, 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 St. Francis Hospital for Animals will help simplify just what your pet should be eating and how much.
How long should I wait to bring in my pet if I notice a change in behavior?
If you notice your pet acting strangely, including loss of appetite or energy, you should schedule an appointment as soon as possible for an examination by our doctors at St. Francis Hospital for Animals. 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.
Changes in behavior can be one of the first warning signs that your pet may be sick or in pain. Generally, the sooner we can identify a problem and start treatment, the better the outcome. If you notice a significant change, please give us a call. Further evaluation may be necessary based on your pet's symptoms.
What should I do if I notice visible parasites on my pet?
If you notice visible parasites on your pet, call us today and schedule an appointment so that 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 St. Francis Hospital for Animals, we fit the preventative product to the pet's problem and environment.
What if my pet has an after-hours problem?
Unfortunately, when accidents happen to our pets, they don’t always occur during office hours. If you find yourself in an emergency situation with your pet such as a car accident, chocolate ingestion, or poisoning after office hours, please call St. Francis Hospital for Animals at 704-527-2030.
The answering machine will direct you to the veterinarian on call.
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 St. Francis Hospital for Animals, 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.
What are heartworms, and how can I prevent my pet from getting them?
Heartworms are a serious, year-round parasitic threat to your pet’s health. After an infection occurs, treatment is not only very expensive, but also life threatening.
Heartworms are extremely common in warm and humid environments, and can infect both our canine companions and our feline friends. Heartworms are transmitted from infected mosquitoes as juvenile worms known as microfilaria. Unless your pet is taking a heartworm preventative, these immature worms can grow into adults which can cause serious damage to the animal’s blood vessels, lungs and heart, and may ultimately cause death.
Once your pet has been tested for heartworms and has been found to be heartworm free, a monthly preventative can keep your dog or cat healthy. Having your pet on a preventative treatment is much less expensive than having to treat adult heartworms. There are several options available for the prevention of this potentially life threatening disease. The experienced veterinarians at St. Francis Hospital for Animals will determine which preventative is right for your pet, based on their needs and lifestyle.
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 St. Francis Hospital for Animals, 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.
Behavioral changes are the principal indicator of pain. If you notice increasingly diminished function and mobility in your pet, 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.
What financing options do you offer, or is payment expected at the time of service?
St. Francis Hospital for Animals strives to offer compassionate, comprehensive veterinary care to Charlotte, North Carolina and the surrounding communities. In order to continue a high quality of service, payment is expected in full at the time of examination or procedure. We accept cash, check, and credit card payments.
Sometimes an unexpected emergency occurs with our pets that is not within our immediate budget. If you would like the option of financing unanticipated expenses in order to provide the best care for your pet, we are partnered with Care Credit.
For more information and to find out if you qualify, please visit https://www.carecredit.com/