Do I need to have an appointment?
Yes, we are best able to provide timely service to you and your pets if you schedule an appointment first. If you have an emergency, please call us before coming so that we know to expect you. If it is after hours, you should also call the hospital and our answering service will direct you to the nearest emergency facility.
Do I need to arrive to my appointment time early?
If you are able to, this can be very helpful for everyone. When you arrive at the front desk, there is a check-in process that takes a few minutes. It is best if that occurs before the actual start of your appointment, so the doctor has the maximum amount of time to spend with your pet. Your appointment is time that the doctor has set aside just for you and your pet.
Sometimes appointments do end up requiring more than their allotted time, and we ask for your understanding if the doctor is running late. Also, please try to avoid arriving late for your appointment as this will cause the doctor to run late for the rest of the day. Please call to discuss options if you are running very late. We will try to accommodate you the best that we can.
What should I do if my pet needs emergency care?
We are always ready to help if your pet has an emergency during our regular business hours. If possible, we ask you to call is so we know your pet is coming down. This way we can prepare the necessary supplies and equipment needed for the nature of the emergency. After hours, we refer our emergency patients to:
Central Hospital for Veterinary Medicine
4 Devine Street, North Haven, CT 06473, (203) 865-0878
Pieper Veterinary Center – 2 locations:
730 Randolph Road, Middletown, CT 06457, (860) 347-8387
51 Boston Post Road, Madison, CT 06443, (203) 245-8511
They function for us just like Yale-New Haven emergency room does for your doctor.
Should my pet be fasted for an ultrasound appointment?
Whether or not your pet can eat depends on the region of the body that is being evaluated with ultrasound, and whether or not sedation will be used. Ultrasound examinations of the abdomen must be done on an empty stomach. Ultrasound involves the use of sound waves which cannot penetrate through food that is sitting in the stomach. Thus, organs around the stomach cannot be visualized if the pet has eaten that morning. Check with your doctor before you feed your pet the morning of an ultrasound. If there is any doubt, it is best not to feed your pet, but you may request that we feed your pet after the procedure is done.
Can my pet just come in and get their nails cut? Do I need to see a doctor?
Technician procedures, often referred to as “in backs,” are available for services that do not require a doctor’s exam. These are done as quick outpatient procedure with one of our technicians. They can include nail trims, anal gland expression, medication injections, subcutaneous fluid administration, drawing samples for blood tests as well as other services. Your pet does need to be up to date on their rabies vaccine. Appointments are not required for technician visits but we do ask that you call ahead so that we know you are coming. Hours for technician visits are Monday – Friday 10am-4pm and 4:30pm-6pm and Saturdays 10am-2pm.
Can I be billed or schedule a payment plan?
It is hospital policy that full payment is required at the time that services or products are provided.
What forms of payment do you accept?
We accept cash, checks, VISA, Mastercard, Discover, American Express and Care Credit.
What is Care Credit?
Care Credit is a GE “medical use” credit card. Through Care Credit, we can offer a 6 month 0% finance plan, as well as extended plans with competitive rates. You can apply at www.carecredit.com or inquire at our front desk.
Do you board pets?
No, we do not do any regular boarding. Under certain circumstances, we do provide hospital care for patients with serious medical conditions requiring complex medications or close monitoring. All hospital care must be approved by our doctors prior to scheduling.
At what age can I have my pet spayed or neutered?
Spaying and neutering is usually done at approximately six months of age, but can be performed at any age after six months. Exams are performed on each patient prior to anesthesia to determine if they are healthy enough to undergo the procedure. We do require that vaccinations are current at the time of surgery. We recommend that a pre-anesthetic blood screen is done prior to the procedure. A microchip can be implanted at the time of the procedure if desired.
Why should my pet have pre-anesthetic bloodwork?
It is GVH protocol that patients over the age of seven have a blood screening done to ensure that organ function is normal. This screening is a good way to evaluate the status of current medical conditions, as well as to detect any new conditions which may need to be addressed. For patients under 7 years old who are getting spayed or neutered, we recommend, but do not require, that blood screening is done prior to surgery.
Why should my pet not have food after 8 pm the night prior to anesthesia?
We take every measure necessary to ensure the anesthetic safety of our patients. Fasting prior to anesthesia is a precautionary measure. General anesthesia can cause nausea and vomiting. If a patient were to vomit while under anesthesia, the vomit could potentially be aspirated into the lungs, causing serious breathing problems or pneumonia. This is why we ask owners not to feed their pets after 8pm. Water is okay, even on the morning of the anesthetic procedure. If you or a family member accidentally feed your pet the morning of surgery, it is best to call the hospital and discuss it with a technician.
Does my pet have to stay in the hospital overnight after its surgery?
Pets that have had major surgeries, as well as routine procedures including spays and neuters, stay in the hospital overnight. We do this so pets can recover in the safety of the hospital, while our veterinary team monitors them for any post-anesthetic complications. We can also provide injectable pain control when needed. Other surgical procedures and dentals may go home the same day or may stay in the hospital overnight, depending on how involved the procedures are.
How long do surgery sutures stay in? Do I need an office visit to have them removed?
Sutures typically stay in for 10-14 days. We have an information sheet that goes home with each patient with specific post-op instructions, including when sutures (if any) need to be removed. Our doctors like to personally examine their post-op patients, so office visits are required for suture removal. There is no additional charge for the suture removal appointment. We can help you make this appointment when you pick your pet up after surgery.
What do I do if my pet is licking at the surgery site?
Licking at the incision may seem harmless, but it can easily result in complications such as an open and/or infected wound. If your dog or cat is licking at its incision, the best thing you can do is to bring your pet to GVH so it can be fitted with an e-collar (Elizabethan or cone-shaped collar).
What should I do if my pet seems painful from its surgery?
If indicated, each patient will go home with pain medication that should keep your pet comfortable after the procedure. Like people, pets are all different and will respond to pain in different ways. If you feel that your pet does not have adequate pain control, please feel free to call the hospital and we will do everything we can to ensure your pet’s comport.
Why did my dog have baby teeth pulled when she came in to be spayed?
Just like children, your puppy or kitten needs to lose all of its baby teeth. These teeth, known as deciduous teeth, usually fall out between 4 and 6 months of age. In some cases, baby teeth don’t fall out and the adult teeth come in anyway. If these retained teeth are not removed, your pet may experience problems with food and debris building up in the narrow space between the two teeth. This will result in decay and potential loss of the permanent tooth. If we notice that there are retained baby teeth present when your pet arrives for its spay/neuter surgery, we recommend extracting the baby teeth at that time to prevent these complications.
Why does my indoor-only pet need to be vaccinated?
Even though your indoor pet is at a lower risk of disease, there is always a chance of infection. This can happen if other animals have access to your house, whether it’s your neighbor’s dog or wild animals. It is actually quite common to have bats enter a home and expose the pet to the rabies virus. Rabies vaccination of pet dogs and cats is required by CT state law, since it is a fatal disease contagious to humans as well as other animals. We recommend vaccinating every pet with at least the core vaccines for rabies and distemper. Other vaccines, for diseases such as canine Lyme disease, leptospirosis, influenza and bordetella and feline leukemia, are given depending on the lifestyle of your pet.
My pet missed the 3-4 week time frame for its booster vaccine. Does it need to get restarted?
Since it takes time for immunity to build up, waiting too long between booster shots can lead to previous vaccines becoming ineffective. We recommend starting the series over.
What should I do if my pet eats something it is not supposed to?
Chocolate, rat poison, grapes or raisins, and certain plants are only a few of the things your pet could eat that may be toxic. If you know your pet has ingested something other than its regular food or treats, and you are unsure if it could cause harm, please call us! In most cases, we direct you to call the National Animal Poison Control hotline (888-426-4435). Through their guidance, we can assess what kind of medical care your pet will need. If your pet has eaten a foreign object such as a ball, toy, or ribbon, please call the hospital as well, as these things can cause a dangerous intestinal blockage.
Why is it necessary to call poison control?
The Animal Poison Control Center plays a vital role in assisting our veterinarians in possible toxicity cases. Their toxicologists have access to a national database of toxic side effects of thousands of substances and how best to treat them. They can analyze your pet’s history, what they ate, how much, and then give our veterinarians guidelines on how to treat your pet.
My pet’s breath has a bad odor. What can help?
Foul odor coming from the mouth is a sign that something is not healthy. Often it is caused by dental tartar and periodontal (gum) disease. Your pet should have an office visit scheduled with a doctor for an examination that includes evaluating the oral cavity. The doctor may recommend a dental cleaning if the odor is due to periodontal disease. Dental cleanings allow us to do a thorough inspection of the mouth to check for other problems as well. Once the teeth are clean and the gums are healthy, the bad odor disappears. Regular home care, such as teeth brushing, is essential to maintaining good oral health..
How often does my pet need its nails and/or anal glands done?
Nail trims on dogs should be done approximately every 3-4 weeks depending on your dog’s activity level. If your dog walks on pavement often, his nails may be worn down naturally, but otherwise they need routine trimming. Cat nails should also be trimmed about every 3-4 weeks. A cat’s activity and grooming habits often keep their nails short. Geriatric cats that are less active should have their nails examined regularly. Overgrown nails can curl around and become embedded into the pad. This is painful and can result in infection. Most pets don’t need to have their anal glands expressed, as their bodies do this naturally during defecation. However, sometimes this isn’t effective, particularly in dogs. If you notice your pet “scooting” on the floor, or licking their anus, it may be an indication of full anal glands. Dogs that need their anal glands expressed typically need them done once a month.
Why does my pet need flea/tick and heartworm preventative year round?
Due to the large number of internal and external parasites present in the environment, controlling parasites year round is the most reliable way to ensure protection of your pet and well-being of your family. Year-round prevention is the most effective way to control cat and dog parasites and the diseases they can carry.
My pet has fleas, how do I get rid of them in my house?
In order to eliminate fleas, the insects’ life cycle must be broken. Fleas primarily live in the environment, not on the pet. Fleas are blood sucking insects that actually only get onto the pet in order to feed. Because of this, a flea infestation will be resolved most quickly by treating the environment as well as the pet. All bedding must be washed, all carpets and rugs should be vacuumed (and bags promptly disposed of) and then the house must be treated with an insecticide. We carry several effective and safe flea/tick preventatives for dogs and cats, as well as products to eliminate fleas in the home. Be sure that all pets in the house are on flea control. The household and all pets must be treated every month for at least 3 months in a row to break the flea life cycle.
How did my pet get parasites?
- Dogs and cats are typically infected when they ingest worm eggs that have been passed through the feces of an infected dog or cat. These eggs can be found in the grass or soil where another animal has previously passed stool.
- Some parasites can be transmitted to puppies and kittens through their mother’s placenta or milk.
- Tapeworms are transmitted by ingesting fleas or other hosts that carry tapeworm larvae.
- Heartworms are transmitted by mosquitoes that feed on the blood of an infected dog and then transmit the disease when they bite another dog.
- Monthly prevention is the best way to protect your pet from heartworm disease and other intestinal parasites. Yearly testing of blood and stool is important for early detection and successful treatment of these infections.
What should I do if I see a parasite?
If a worm is visibly present, you can bring it into the hospital for identification and an appropriate medication will be dispensed. We recommend that a stool sample also be submitted to the laboratory to screen for other parasites, as multiple infections are very common.
If my pet has parasites, are they harmful to me or my family?
Roundworms are one of the most common parasites of dogs and cats and are also most likely to be transmitted to humans. The eggs can be ingested from the environment causing serious infections. This is particularly a concern in very young children who are crawling on floors and then putting their hands in their mouths. This is one reason to test your pet’s stool at least once a year. Fleas and ticks are also common parasites that can cause potential health problems in people.