Wellness Care and Preventative Medicine
Species and Breed Specific Care
We know that a Chihuahua who lives in the house and a German shorthair pointer hunting dog who is constantly in the woods and grasses have very different needs. As a result we tailor the best recommendations for your pet based on their needs, not by grouping them into large categories. For our exotic pets we make recommendations based on the most current information available and the most reliable research into what is the best way to care for these special animals. Each species has different and specific needs which, if not met, can mean significantly decreased life spans.
New Pet care
At your initial pet visit we will go over preventative and wellness care of your new family member. We will discuss feeding, socialization, behavior, and training. Typically we will recommend a series of visits to allow us to provide you the information you need, acclimate your new pet to visiting the hospital, and customize care to fit the needs of your pet.
Senior Pet Care
One year going by for us is similar to 8 years passing for our pets. Factor in a 8 year old dog turning 9 – that is like a 56 year old man aging to 63 over the span of one year. A lot can happen in 8 dog years. As a result, more frequent examination are recommended for our senior pets, as well as diet and lifestyle changes. Dogs are considered seniors at 7 years of age, and cats at 8 years of age. Please ask us for more information regarding our senior pet plans and recommendations during your pet’s visit.
At Oceanside Animal Hospital we do believe in the importance of vaccination. Vaccines have drastically reduced animal illness and suffering over the past 50 years. Instances of distemper and parvovirus have been significantly reduced due to the use of effective vaccination strategies. That being said, these deadly viruses are still present in our everyday world and will infect unprotected individuals. It is important to understand that we vaccinate for a reason and a risk-benefit analysis is done for each and every vaccination that is recommended. Just as importantly, we do not believe in unnecessarily over-vaccinating. Each vaccine protocol is tailored to the needs of your pet and your pet alone. We follow recommendations for vaccination intervals based on the guidelines of the American Association of Feline Practitioners and American Animal Hospital Association.
If you prefer a minimalist vaccination protocol we are happy to provide blood test titering to assess the need for a vaccination prior to administration.
Rabies vaccination is required by law for ALL dogs, cats (including indoor cats), and ferrets. It is required that these pets stay up to date on rabies vaccinations due to public health concerns. These vaccines are given at between 1 and 3 year intervals. Please let us know if you have questions or concerns regarding these protocols.
Some pets and pet parents are most comfortable in their home environment and some circumstances, be it annual vaccines for an indoor kitty or end of life care, merit at home care. As a result, we are pleased to be able to provide house call service to the Sandwich area. Due to staffing needs, advanced notice is necessary and additional charges will apply depending on staff time spent away from the hospital.
Behavior and Husbandry Consultations
We all know that you want to take the best care of your pet possible. But how do you know whose information to trust? What is the best diet for them? What type of exercise should they have? Do they need to have special lighting or temperatures? It is often difficult to find accurate answers to these questions.
Particularly with the exotic species (avian, reptile, small mammal), it is crucial to have a firm understanding of what these pets need on a daily basis in order to prevent many medical issues. At your pet’s initial consultation we will go over species-specific recommendations including diet, behavior, heating, UV lighting, and caging. We understand that it is sometimes difficult to know which information is the right information to help keep your pet happy and healthy and we will gladly answer any questions you may have regarding their care.
Link: Oceanside Parrot and Reptile Care Sheets
Resources for pet owners ( see also Client Resources):
Certified Organic Premium Bird Foods (http://www.harrisonsbirdfoods.com)
Premium Parrot Diets (http://www.roudybush.com)
Herbivore / Small Mammal Diets (http://www.oxbowanimalhealth.com)
Quality Ferret Food (http://www.evopet.com/products/1671)
Excellent Information Source for Care and Keeping of Reptiles (http://www.anapsid.org)
Sources for Prey via Mail (frozen rodents, etc) ((http://www.anapsid.org/resources/preysources.html)
One in three pets will become lost in their lifetime. Without microchips, 90% will not make it home. Microchips are designed to last your pet’s entire lifetime and they link to a permanent listing in a national lost pet database. This means anytime/anywhere pet recovery service—no matter how far your lost pet has traveled.
Dog and cat microchipping is a simple, inexpensive procedure. The veterinarian simply injects a microchip, about the size of a grain of rice (12mm), beneath the surface of your pets skin between the shoulder blades. The process is similar to a routine shot, takes only a few seconds, and your pet will not react any more than he would to a vaccination. No anesthetic is required.
Avian and exotic pet microchipping is very similar but due to the smaller size of our patients, a short acting anesthesia is recommended. In our avian pets we recommend removal of bands which will prevent band related injuries (leg fractures, infections, constriction of blood supply). Anytime we remove a leg band a microchip is recommended as a permanent ID.
If your pet gets lost and is taken to a vet clinic or animal shelter, your pet will be scanned for a microchip to reveal his unique ID number. That number will be called into the pet recovery service, and you will be contacted using the contact information on file with your pet’s microchip.
Link: Datamars microchipping info
You would be surprised to discover that not every hospital places the same priority on sterility and safety. At Oceanside Animal Hospital you can be assured that your pet will receive excellent care based on the most current recommendations. Dr. Blake has been practicing medicine and surgery at busy veterinary hospitals for the last ten years. She has had the pleasure of working with multiple board certified surgeons and has gained valuable experience and knowledge from these professional relationships.
When your pet is admitted for a surgical procedure they are brought to the hospital at opening first thing in the morning. After they have arrived, an examination will be performed to identify any physical problems your pet may have and assure no outward conditions exist which would cause concern for anesthesia. Pre-operative bloodwork will be performed to identify any metabolic concerns if it has not been drawn prior to the day of surgery. Next, we will administer pre-anesthetic medications, which will make your pet drowsy and help to prevent pain. Then the veterinary technician will shave and clean a small area on the patient’s front leg, and an intravenous catheter will be placed into a vein. Since blood pressure drops under anesthesia, we can support blood pressure and maintain hydration by giving intravenous fluids through this catheter. The IV catheter also allows for quick delivery of emergency drugs if needed.
After the IV catheter placement, your pet will be given an injectable anesthetic. Once your pet is asleep, an endotracheal (breathing) tube will be placed to administer an anesthetic / oxygen mix and to protect the airway. The same anesthetic gases that are used in human hospitals are used here as well.
Every pet is placed on a heating pad to help maintain core body temperature. Surgical anesthesia monitors which allow us to monitor heart rate, blood pressure, oxygen saturation, and core body temperature are connected to the patient and allow for optimized safety during anesthesia. One of our nurses will supervise your pet during the entire time anesthesia is being used and will be responsible for continuous monitoring of vital signs. These monitoring parameters help us to adjust anesthesia as needed and detect any physiological changes before serious problems occur.
Once your pet is safely under anesthesia, we will begin surgical preparation. The fur will be shaved (or feathers removed as the case may be) from the surgical area. This area will be gently scrubbed and washed to remove as much bacteria as possible and surgical prep applied.
While the technician prepares your pet for surgery, the veterinarian also prepares for the surgical procedure. The doctor scrubs the arms from fingernails to elbows before surgery and applies an antibacterial gel to complete the disinfection process.. As in human medicine, the veterinarian prepares by dressing in a sterile gown, facemask, and surgical cap. After dressing and washing, the veterinarian will put on sterile gloves and proceed to the surgical suite. While some hospitals use surgical rooms as multi-purpose treatment areas, our surgical suite is a single purpose area of the hospital. This area is used ONLY for surgical procedures, allowing us to minimize any contamination and maximize your pet’s safety.
Once your pet is fully prepared and draped for surgery, the veterinarian will perform the surgical procedure. During this time a dedicated nurse monitors your pet’s vital signs closely. Once the veterinarian has completed the procedure the anesthesia is turned off and your pet is given oxygen gas via the end tracheal tube to aid in recovery. One of our trained nurses will monitor your pet closely during recovery. Once the patient is able to swallow, the endotracheal tube is removed and the patient is moved to their recovery suite. We have designed our treatment and recovery area in such a way that allows for continuous visualization of hospitalized patients. This allows for best continual patient monitoring and safety.
Additional pain medication is given at the time of recovery and an oral version will be sent home with your pet to be administered starting the day after surgery.
Once the surgery is completed, the veterinary technician or doctor will give you a call with an update and will give you a specific time for your pet’s discharge from the hospital. At the time of discharge, the veterinary assistant will discuss discharge instructions and answer any questions you may have.
How often do you get your teeth professionally cleaned at your dentist?
How often do you brush your teeth? What does your mouth feel like if you skip brushing for even a day?
Regular dental cleanings and brushing help prevent more serious dental disease. Ever wonder why dogs have dog breath, brown tartar, and red gums?
Just like with us, an ounce of prevention goes a long way. Brushing your pet’s teeth regularly AND having regular dental cleanings will help to keep their teeth healthy and their dog breath minty fresh. We will go over brushing with you at your new pet visit and give you tools to help your older pets accept brushing as a regular part of their daily routine. There are various tools we can use to help you keep your pet’s mouth healthy and keep your fingers safe!
As a rule in human medicine dental scallings are used not only to treat periodontal disease but also to prevent it. That is why we all go to the dentist twice a year. Dogs and cats need the same care. It is a proven fact that more frequent dental cleanings help prevent periodontal disease and associated complications such as kidney disease and heart issues like endocarditis. The upside to all of this is that the more frequently you have your pets teeth cleaned, the shorter the procedure will be and the less expensive.
We work diligently to keep the cost of preventative care dentals to a minimum to encourage their use. We have also included them as an option in some of our Packaged Preventative Care Plans.
Here is how we do dental cleanings at Oceanside:
Prior to the day of the dental procedure your pet will have blood drawn for pre-anesthetic testing and will be evaluated to decide if peri-anesthetic antibiotics are indicated. If needed these medications are typically started approximately one week prior to the dental procedure to help prevent spread of bacterial infection. Your pet will be sedated, IV catheter placed, intravenous fluids administered, and endotracheal tube placed. A trained technician will perform dental radiographs to assess the extent of the dental disease and identify teeth in need of extraction or additional treatment. In this manner we can identify sources of pain and discomfort for your pet that would otherwise go unnoticed. The technician will clean your pet’s teeth and place a sealant on the teeth to help prevent tartar accumulation. The doctor will review the radiographs and perform any necessary procedures or extractions. Your pet will be monitored closely during recovery and discharged with additional pain medication if extractions were needed.
Link to how to brush your dog’s teeth
Link to how to brush your cat’s teeth
We are thankful to have digital imaging capabilities including digital x-ray, digital dental x-ray, and ultrasound. The radiology area contains a digital x-ray machine capable of point-of-reference review of your pet’s images. This allows us to immediately analyze the images for quality and minimize the number of x-ray exposures your pet will have. Ultrasound allows us to image the structures of the internal organs and get real-time images of the abdomen and chest.
We are able to offer complete abdominal ultrasound through two different venues. Dr. Blake is trained in ultrasound and will perform many abdominal scans. We are also able to call in a mobile ultrasonographer to perform additional imaging of the abdomen if necessary.
Complete In-house Laboratory
The hospital is equipped with in-house lab equipment which allows the doctors and staff to analyze blood and urine samples immediately as needed. We are equipped to perform Complete Cell Counts, Chemistry profiles, Urinalysis, Fecals, Blood Smears, Ear Cytology, Skin Cytology, and some Tissue Cytology.
As some pets need additional and specific diagnostic testing, we utilize multiple off-site reference laboratories across the country. Not every laboratory has the same standards or the same expertise in the many medical conditions we encounter in our patients. Each laboratory is hand -picked due to their expertise in specific areas including thyroid disease, allergy testing, endocrine disease, exotic animal, and pathology. This allows us to make more accurate diagnoses with the help of more specific testing and the associated clinical pathologists at the laboratories.
We are equipped to handle patients requiring IV fluid administration, treatment, and continuous daytime monitoring. We have a complete in-house pharmacy for all common oral medications and will also utilize compounding pharmacies on an as needed basis dictated by the needs of your pet. We hope to soon add additional services including cryosurgery, therapeutic laser, and acupuncture to our treatment protocols.
During Office Hours
Dr. Blake and many of our technicians have worked for years in emergency medicine at area referral hospitals. Our training and experience allow us to provide the best care possible for your pet. As the doctor may occasionally be out of the office caring for other pets, please call before heading down with your pet to ensure prompt care.
After Hours Emergencies
If you feel you have a pet emergency during a time when our office is closed please call the following emergency facilities located nearby:
Cape Animal Referral and Emergency Center
Address: 79 Theophilus Smith Road, South Dennis MA
Cape Cod Veterinary Specialists
Address: Bourne Bridge Approach, Buzzards Bay MA