ALL CREATURES Animal Hospital
Treating your pets like family!
Frequently Asked Questions
Here are some questions we are frequently asked. If you have additional questions that aren't covered here, please feel free to give us a call at All Creatures Animal Hospital.
Q: Are you open weekends?
A: We are closed on Saturday and Sunday. However, we are open at 7 am each weekday, and remain open until 8 pm on Tuesday through Thursday evening. We also offer a complimentary day-bed for owners who prefer to drop off their pets with us in the morning and pick them up on their way home in the afternoon or evening. We have found this to be very convenient for our clients, and being open only five days a week permits us to control labor costs and keep our prices competitive.
Q: Do you treat emergencies?
A: Yes, we provide emergency services during our normal business hours. Unlike routine treatment, emergencies do not require an appointment, and you should bring your animal directly to the Hospital. If you have time to call in advance or enroute, we will be prepared to begin immediate treatment upon your arrival. Should you have an emergency after our regularly scheduled hours, contact the Inland Valley Emergency Pet Clinic at (909) 981-7371.
Q: Is euthanasia painful?
A: No. It is very fast, peaceful, and essentially a form of deep and irreversible anesthesia resulting from an overdose of a sedative drug. The animal first passes smoothly and rapidly into unconsciousness, just as with anesthesia prior to a surgical procedure. The combination of drugs used contains ingredients that then halt brain and heart activity painlessly. Many owners choose to stay with their pets and are unaware when the exact moment of death has occurred---they just know that their pet has relaxed in their arms without a struggle. Far from being a frightening experience, many owners find it a very peaceful conclusion to a difficult decision. The process is quick, humane and one of the greatest acts of kindness we can give our animal friends when their lives become filled with intractable pain and suffering due to disease or illness. Our philosophy regarding the right time for euthanasia may be found on the Petcare Information page.
Q: When should I vaccinate my new puppy or kitten?
A: It is extremely important that new puppies and kittens receive their initial vaccinations at six weeks of age, or as soon as possible after a new adoption. Oft times, a new owner will be told that their puppy or kitten "has had its shots" by the person where they acquired the animal, but documentation is not provided. Unfortunately, this often means that the animal was not vaccinated properly, or was given an initial vaccine only. One of the most heart-breaking situations is to see a young animal die from infectitious disease, because the "baby shots" did not include adequate protection against the most common and deadly diseases.
New puppies should be vaccinated with the DA2PP (distemper, adenovirus, parvo virus and parainfluenza) vaccine initially at six weeks of age and then boostered every three weeks until they are 14 weeks old. Bordatella vaccinations are given at 12 weeks, with the initial rabies virus vaccination at 16 weeks.
New kittens should receive their first FVRCP (feline viral rhinotracheitis, calicivirus and panleukopenia) vaccinations at six weeks of age and then boostered every three weeks until 12 weeks of age. Outdoor cats should also receive the FeLV (feline leukemia virus) vaccine at 9 weeks and the initial rabies vaccine at 16 weeks. While these vaccines are required for outdoor cats, it is often possible for these diseases to enter a home through other pets, such as dogs, or from other access methods, so the full "outdoor" cat vaccinations are highly recommended for indoor cats as well.
Q: Why are your services more expensive than others I called?
A: Our prices are very competitive with similar facilities in the area. The problem is in comparing "similar" facilities. When we quote prices, we give you the full price including all associated services required to complete the treatment being quoted. For example, when we quote a puppy spay, our price includes the surgeon's time, anesthesia, pre-anesthetic blood testing, intravenous catheter and fluids, antibiotics, surgical nurse time, monitoring equipment, hospital bed and feed, and post-surgical pain medications. When you call many other facilities, the quote you receive is often for the basic surgical time only---the extra services will be added later as "options" or "other required services" once you're in the door. There are many standards of quality to evaluate and compare when choosing veterinary services. Look at the number of veterinarians available, the number of employees, cleanliness, (does it smell clean and fresh, or a bit too obviously like an animal facility?) the hospital's hours of operation, the appointment system, (is your time valued as much as theirs, or are you kept waiting in line for hours?) and the level of care provided. We offer top-quality care in a top-quality environment, with minimal waiting time and excellent client service.
Q: Why do you use extensive pain medication?
A: Study after scientific study has demonstrated that animals feel pain to the same extent as human beings. However, because expression of pain can lead predators to target a certain individual as the weakest animal in the pack, evolution has led to animals naturally hiding pain and acting quite stoic to all but the most intense stimuli. This reaction continues even in our domesticated species. Human medicine has developed numerous ways to alleviate pain and discomfort. The standard of care in treating people is to reduce or completely eliminate pain whenever possible. Many of the drugs and physical therapies used successfully in human patients are also available in veterinary medicine. Although an animal patient may not show their suffering the same way a human might, the result of injury is almost always a period of pain and inflammation as the trauma heals. We believe that animal family members deserve the same relief from pain following injury or surgery that we would demand for ourselves. Therefore, our policy is to always aggressively manage pain in all of our patients to the best of our abilities.
Q: Do you accept walk-in patients?
A: Generally, no. We have found that waiting times are excessive when an appointment system is not properly utilized. When you call, appointments are generally available within the following two business days, and frequently later in the same day as your call. During each appointment, our veterinarians and nurses do their very best to ensure that every patient is given the proper attention for their condition. Unfortunately, permitting walk-in patients disrupts the flow of treatment and interrupts the optimum level of care required for every patient, diminishing both the high level of personal service and the convenience our clients have come to expect.
Q: Do you accept pet health insurance?
A: Yes. We also highly recommend the insurance offered through the ASPCA. Unlike many other plans, this insurance offers several different coverage levels ranging from that limited to catastrophic care coverage for a low monthly fee, all the way through a comprehensive well-care coverage that includes vaccines. This plan may also be started on dogs as old as 13 and cats as old as 15, something unheard of in other insurance policies. Once insured, the coverage is effective for the life of the animal. Such coverage is a good method for ensuring that your animal family members will always be able to receive the best-possible health care without regard to the cost involved in providing that care.
Q: Why do we need to have a heartworm test every year?
A: The annual test ensures that heartworms are not present in your animal. Having heartworms can be fatal to a pet in a short period of time, so the sooner they are detected, the sooner they may be exterminated. So why test if the pet has been on Heartgard since the previous test? Because Heartgard guarantees that it will pay for treatment of any protected animal that develops heartworms. However, the guarantee is only in effect if the animal receives an annual heartworm test.
Q: Why does a dental cleaning cost so much?
A: Just like humans, dogs and cats have sensitive nerves in their teeth that make dental procedures very painful without a way of blocking that discomfort. Human dentists administer a local anesthetic and ask their patient to just hold still. We can likewise numb an animal's mouth, but convincing them to hold perfectly still for us is a lot more challenging! In order to provide the thorough and deep ultrasonic cleaning necessary to treat and prevent periodontal disease, we must completely anesthetize the patient, in the same manner as we do for surgery, although at a much lighter level. This requires multiple induction drugs, an anesthetic gas, an endotracheal breathing tube, vital systems monitoring, IV fluids, and a Veterinary Nurse monitoring the patient's vital signs to ensure your pet's safety while the veterinarian carries out the dental procedures. A pre-anesthetic blood test is necessary to ensure the pet is healthy enough to undergo any procedure---or to provide the veterinarian with the additional information needed to compensate for any ongoing problems, such as infection, liver or kidney disease, dehydration or anemia. These conditions combine to make veterinary dental care more expensive than our human annual visit to the dentist. However, it is much more important that your pet receive dentistry regularly by a qualified veterinarian. (Not just a local groomer who scrapes off the exposed tartar and ignores the real disease hidden under the gums!) Unless you are performing a good daily brushing, your pet likely has a significant amount of dental plaque and tartar, and inflammation and infection developing deep at the tooth roots, contributing to eventual tooth and bone loss. This periodontal disease causes painful gums, difficulty eating, and infection which often affects other organ systems, including the heart, liver and kidneys. For more information, please see Periodontal Disease on the Petcare Information page.
Q: Why can't I give my pet aspirin and other human medications?
A: These medications are designed and formulated for human use. In some cases, drugs that are effective on humans may be toxic to pets, such as acetominophen (Tylenol) in cats. Other drugs may provide fatal doses in human levels, as the organ systems of pets are so much smaller than people and sensitivities to drugs varies widely between species. Common problems associated with human drugs being administered to pets include anemia, GI tract bleeding, abdominal pain, renal failure, and liver dysfunction.
Q: Why does my pet need intravenous (IV) fluids while under anesthesia?
A: IV fluids are administered in order to maintain blood pressure and blood volume during surgery when the normal regulating mechanisms of the body are temporarily 'on hold'. Intravenous catheters also provide a route for the rapid administration of drugs to counteract any developing problems and maintain a safe level of anesthesia for your pet. IV fluids are a 'must' for any procedure requiring general anesthesia, as is an endotracheal tube for maintaining a breathing airway, oxygen, and closely controlled anesthetic gases. By utilizing these tools, we can quickly intercept and control developing problems for your pet which might otherwise prove fatal in a less controlled surgical environment. See our Blog article on anesthesia.
Q: Why can't I give my pet food from my plate?
A: It's easy to give pets a snack which seems minimal from a human's point of view, but is closer to a meal from a small animal's viewpoint! Obesity in pets, as in humans, can lead to diabetes, GI upset, major organ failure and crippling orthopedic problems. Human foods fed to pets often lead to bacterial overgrowth in the intestinal tract, diarrhea, vomiting, abdominal pain and even pancreatitis, a potentially fatal disease. Even seemingly small amounts of sweets, high-fat foods or chocolate can cause severe disease and even death. A continuous flow of snacks and treats may be our way of showing our love for our pets, but in reality we are shortening their quality of life and life expectancy. Avoid feeding people food to your pets.
Q: Do you treat birds, reptiles, barnyard or wild animals?
A: No, we do not treat birds, fish, reptiles and wild animals. We are not a mobile practice, so barnyard animals, such as pot-bellied pigs or goats, must be small enough to be brought to the Hospital for treatment.
Q: Is it a good idea to let my pet have at least one litter?
A: No, there is no advantage to letting your pet have one litter. However there are plenty of advantages to having you pet spayed or neutered. These advantages include decreasing the chances of breast tumors later in life, decreasing the chance of cystic ovaries and uterine infections later in life, decreasing the desire to roam the neighborhood, decreasing the incidence of prostate cancer later in life, helping prevent spraying and marking, and also decreases the surplus of unwanted puppies and kittens.
Q: What is the pre-anesthetic blood screening?
A: This is a blood test that is run here in the clinic prior to surgery. It tests the organ functions, blood counts and clotting function of your pet. The pre-anesthetic blood screening is done to assure safety during surgery and the ability to heal following surgery.
Q: What are your kennels like?
A: Our dog kennels are all indoors. The dogs are walked at least 2 times daily while they are in the Hospital if medically able. Cats are housed in a separate area from the dogs. Blankets, food, and water are provided as medically appropriate for their care.
Q: Why does my pet scoot on its bottom?
A: There are several reasons for this behavior, and all of them require veterinary intervention. Your pet may have parasites that it is trying to dislodge or which are causing it discomfort from their presence. There may also be a skin infection in the area. Finally, the anal sacs may be either full or infected. Anal sacs are like the glands on skunks. They may become impacted or infected and need to be expressed in order to provide relief to your pet.
Q: I have a male black lab that is 11 months old, and he has licked his scrotum raw. There is no visible sign of mites or fleas. He did this in about 2 days time. What could be wrong?
A: Although we cannot make a definitive diagnosis without seeing the dog firsthand, it is possible that there was some external irritant of some sort that started the dog licking the area and the licking itself has caused the progressive rawness and reddening. We sometimes see this with bug bites, a small scratch, allergic reactions to plants and so on.
It can sometimes be a good trick devising something to provide a physical barrier against more licking, but sometimes you can put on a pair of small boxer shorts to help protect the area as it heals. You can also apply some Maximum Strength Lanacane to the irritated area, which contains a topical anesthetic to help numb it and hopefully make him forget about wanting to lick it as much. And/or, you can also apply some hydrocortisone cream to decrease the irritation. With all of these, you have to put on the boxer shorts over it, otherwise he will just lick off the ointment within a few moments. The ointments will not be toxic to your pet, but the ointment once removed will not solve the problem.
Finally, you may give him just a little over-the-counter Benedryl, which may decrease the irritation and make him just a little sleepy, so he will not be as interested in licking. An appropriate dose would be 1 milligram per pound of body weight, twice a day for a few days. If this does not help, then you should make an appointment for us to see your pet as soon as possible. We have other ointments with similar action to hydrocortisone, but in prescription strengths. We can also do testing for allergies and review for other microscopic sources of the irritation.