FAQ’s (Frequently Asked Questions)

General Questions…We get these FAQ’s regularly — we hope they might help you!

Why should I give heartworm protection year round?

Mosquitoes are the carrier species for heartworm infection (they inject heartworm larvae into your pet when they bit for a blood meal). Florida winters are too mild to adequately dampen the mosquito population, so year round preventation is recommended. My dog spends most of the time indoors does he/she need heartworm protection? Yes! Some species of mosquitoes actually prefer to live indoors and any time you open your door mosquitoes may enter.

How do animals get tapeworms?

Ingesting the adult flea completes the tapeworm lifecycle. The larval fleas feed on the tapeworm eggs as a food source. When the infected fleas mature and are ingested by the animal, the tapeworm eggs hatch and mature into adults and the lifecycle beings all over. We emphasize the importance of not only killing the adult tapeworms, but also using a good, sound flea preventative to help control the tapeworm infections in your pet.

My pet is “scooting” his rear on the floor, does that mean he has parasites?

Not necessarily, a fecal exam will rule out intestinal parasites. Often the “scooting” behavior is due to your pet’s anal glands being full (another symptom is excessive licking of the rectal area). If the behavior occurs frequently, bring your pet in to the vet for an exam.

My pet has vomited once today, what should I do?

If your pet seems healthy otherwise (not lethargic, appetite is good, drinking normally, no history of eating foreign objects or unusual foods, trash, etc.) you may observe the dog and see if it happens again. You may try feeding your pet a diet of cooked white rice and boiled skinless, boneless chicken or lean hamburger meat for a day or two. If vomiting continues for either more than one day, or more than twice in one day, withhold food and call and make an appointment for an exam.

My dog has loose stools today, what should I do?

As long as the stools aren’t extremely watery, black like tar, containing fresh blood, or associated with vomiting or excessive straining, you can try giving 1 teaspoon per 5 pounds of Kaopectate. You may also try feeding a bland diet of cooked white rice and boiled skinless, boneless chicken or lean hamburger meat. If diarrhea worsens or doesn’t improve in 24-48 hours, call to make an appointment for an exam.

My dog is eating his own stool (or the cat’s stool), does that mean he has a vitamin deficiency?

Coprophagia (or stool eating) is a common behavioral problem. Some behaviorists suspect that the dogs develop a taste for the undigested protein material that is in the stools. Your vet can make some suggestions to try to curb this annoying behavior.

How can I stop my dog from eating its stool?

You may try sprinkling a commercial product like “Forbid” or meat tenderizer on your dog’s food. It changes the stool, making it taste worse than normal. You may try “booby-trapping” any stool in the yard with hot sauce however you must be consistent. If your dog encounters any stool that has not been booby-trapped then it will take longer for your dog to stop this habit. Also try leash walking your dog and keeping the yard picked up.

My dog is itching, I think it has fleas, how can I tell?

Fleas are small dark brown-black insects. You can usually see the insects themselves, often near the base of the tail or on the belly, they flee from light. You can also see “flea dirt” black granular, dirt-like material that is essentially digested blood that has been excreted by the flea.

What are normal body temperatures for the dogs and cats?

Average temperature for dogs and cats is 100 – 102 degrees.

How much should I feed my pet?

All reputable pet food manufacturers include a feeding guide with their foods. One must remember that these guidelines provide a starting point only and that you will know within a relatively short period of time (1 to 2 weeks) if your animal is being over or under fed, simply by observing his body. He should of course not appear gaunt but his ribs should be easily felt with your fingers. Unfortunately, far too many of the animals we see are overweight which predisposes them to a number of health problems.

Why can’t I just pick up the same medication that worked last time?

It seems like my pet has the same problem he had before. In many cases, problems that seem the same may not be caused by the same disease. For example, your pet might have an ear infection again, last time it was bacteria, but this time it may be caused by yeast, and different medications are indicated. Also, it is illegal for a veterinarian to prescribe medication without seeing the patient to formulate a working diagnosis, and the old medication might be outdated.

Why does my dog eat grass?

Grass eating by dogs and cats is considered normal by most veterinarians. Dogs in the wild do the same thing to supplement their diet with vegetation. I would only be concerned about access to grass that has been treated with herbicides, insecticides or fertilizers that might cause illness.

Household Toxins

There are many things around your house that you use everyday that might be toxic to your pet — here is a list to avoid.  Please contact us immediately if you think your pet has ingested one of these toxins.

Foods to Avoid Feeding Your Pet

  • Alcoholic beverages
  • Avocado
  • Chocolate (all forms)
  • Coffee (all forms)
  • Fatty foods
  • Spicy foods
  • Macadamia nuts
  • Moldy or spoiled foods
  • Onions, onion powder (large amounts)
  • Raisins and grapes
  • Extra salt
  • Yeast dough
  • Garlic (large amounts)
  • Sugarless candy and gum sweetened with xylitol
  • Raw meat or fish

Household Plants

  • Lillies
  • Cocoa mulch
  • Oleader
  • Poinsettia
  • Sago palms
  • Azalea
  • Mistletoe
  • Yew

 Drugs to Avoid

  • Tylenol- it is deadly to cats. Give to dogs only under doctor’s orders
  • Aspirin- it causes gastric bleeding in a high percentage of animals. Use only under doctor’s orders
  • Ibuprofen, naproxen and other pain medications- avoid them
  • Never give one pet’s prescription drugs to another pet without doctor’s approval
  • Never give human prescription drugs to a pet without doctor’s approval

Toxic Household Chemicals

  • Anything that is toxic to us is toxic to our pets
  • Antifreeze (ethylene glycol)
  • Rat poison
  • Tobacco products
  • Cleaners and disinfectants
  • Insecticides and herbicides
  • Flea products that state “For dogs only” mean NO CATS!
  • Fertilizers
  • Pennies
  • Mothballs
  • Potpourri oils
  • Fabric softener sheets
  • Automatic dishwashing detergents
  • Batteries
  • Homemade play-dough (high in salt)

Are rawhides chews safe?

Rawhide chews usually do not cause a problem. Problems may arise if your do swallows them whole causing choking, gastritis or blockage. It’s usually best to supervise your pet when it is chewing on any toy.

Cold, wet noses are good, right?

A cold, wet nose may be a sign of good health in dogs and cats, however even a healthy pet can have a warm, dry nose on occasion. On the other hand, really sick pets can also have cold, wet noses. What does all this mean? This is not a reliable indicator of your pet’s health.

Is it okay to feed my cat milk?

We generally do not recommend feeding milk to cats. A cat’s digestive system does not digest milk well. Feeding milk to your cat can cause diarrhea, which can lead to further nutritional problems (your cat won’t be able to absorb nutrients from his/her food).

Can I make payments at your clinic?

We accept cash, checks and all major credit cards (Visa, Mastercard, American Express, Discover). With credit approval, we also accept Care Credit, a payment plan that will allow you to make payments for up to 6 months without interest, or we can do monthly debits to your checking account or credit card.

May I visit my hospitalized pet?

We do allow some visitation to your hospitalized pet; however we are a very busy hospital and ask that you call before coming up so we can give you a good time to come. The ICU area is in the middle of all the dental and surgery procedures going on, so some times will be better than others.

Can my pet have its own food, bed and toys?

We try to discourage you leaving any blankets and toys that are special to your pet, only because we have so many to take care of and they are always switching cages that we would hate to misplace something that is special to you or your pet. If you insist on leaving something we just ask that you understand we will do our best, but we can’t guarantee that it will be returned.

My dog got into some roach poison. What should I do?

Call us right away. We need to know the specific name of the poison, how much was eaten, and its active ingredient. Please bring poison containers with you when you bring your pet in.

I’ve lost my dog. How can I find it?

I would first call Animal control and let them know, that way if they find it, they can call you. You could also make a flyer to display on our bulletin board and possibly other places.

What do I do if I need you after hours or on a holiday?

You can call the Animal Emergency and Critical Care Center at 321-725-5365, they are open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

What do you recommend for heartworms?

Our doctors recommend using Sentinel or Trifexis for heartworm prevention in dogs and Revolution for cats. These products also control intestinal parasites and fleas.

Can my kids get these worms from my dog?

Roundworms, whipworms and hookworms can all be transmitted through soil, so yes if your dog has any of these and his feces are in the yard where your child may be playing, it’s possible for the child to get the worms from the infected soil.