Frequently Asked Questions
1. Why is veterinary care so expensive?
2. Why is there such a wide range of prices for the same procedure?
3. Why are the billed fees higher than the quoted fees?
4. Is there anyone at the clinic overnight to look after my pets?
5. Why do I have to have my pet tested for heartworms every year?
6. Why do I have to wait so long to see the doctor when other people who came after me go in before me?
7. What Do I do with Baby wild animals that I find in my yard.
8. Can I give my pet over the counter pain medications?
9. What is the normal gestation period for my pet?
10. What is a dogs/cats normal temperature?
11. Why is my dog scooting?
12. Can I call to get a prescription filled for my pet?
13. If I bring my pet in to be looked at is there a fee for that? Even if I decline treatment?
14. Do you have a payment plan?
15. Why do baby animals need a series of shots and how many to they need?
16. If a vaccine lasts a person for life, why do I have to vaccinate my pet annually?
17. Do you offer the 3 year rabies vaccine?
The cost of veterinary care has actually risen very little during the last 20-30 years. Keep in mind that your veterinarian is not only your pet's general physician, but its surgeon, radiologist, dentist, dermatologist, neurologist, ophthalmologist, ear/nose/throat doctor, and pharmacist.
Sometimes it may feel as if you are paying more for your pet's health care than your own, but chances are you have insurance and never see the total bottom-line of your own doctor bills. When human health care costs are added up including insurance, deductibles, and pharmaceutical costs there is no comparison.
Every pet owner has different ideas about what is acceptable pet care. Veterinarians can only make their clients aware of the services and products that are available and then provide guidance in their choices and decisions. The owner makes the call. Most veterinarians go the extra mile for their clients, however when subsidizing clients' bills, they are endangering their practices.
Relatively speaking, veterinary care is a great deal. Very reasonable insurance polices are available for pets and we encourage our clients to utilize these. They cover routine visits as well as emergencies and illness.
Prices are set by our veterinary practice in which different expenses are covered by the fees charged. Often the charges do not reflect the same set of services, although some of the components may be the same. The fees for a service are based on varying criteria, such as different drugs, products, anesthetics, antibiotics and pain relievers which have a bearing on the cost of the services.
Also, veterinarians use different techniques, lab tests, patient monitoring equipment and, in general, different overhead costs. As with all things, you tend to get what you pay for. We believe in doing the best we can whenever we can unless you, the client, decides otherwise. Our primary goal is to give each patient the quality care we ourselves would demand.
While we have certainly been asked why other veterinarian's prices are different than ours, be it higher or lower for a certain procedure, we are not able to tell you why their prices are different because we are not familiar with anyone else's procedures or protocols.
We can't always predict how any given surgery or treatment will go.
Unexpected events or changes in a patient's condition can occur with little warning. The original problem may turn out to be more severe than anticipated. The time spent in examination and consultation, or discussion of questions may take more time than allotted. We are happy to give you and your pet all the time you need. We realize the importance you place on having a healthy and happy pet.
But, our fees are based on time and the details needed for the resolution of your pet's problem. Therefore, on occasion, the charges to you may be more than expected. We try to control and prevent this as best we can. If any questions arise concerning the fees charged, please feel free to ask us.
We do not have 24 hour staffing. We will provide, to the best of our abilities, the best level of care to the patients. Our Kennel Attendants do have split shifts to keep an eye on our patients during Sundays & Holidays.
Even if you keep your pet on heartworm prevention year round, it is recommended by the manufacturer to test every year. While their product is guaranteed, nothing is foolproof. Dispensing medication to a heartworm positive dog could possibly cause an allergic reaction and be harmful to your pet. While this is rare, it is not a chance we are willing to take.
Accidents can happen: you accidentally skipped a month, the dog vomited it up afterwards, or if your dog swallows the pill whole without chewing, etc. We would be negligent in our level of care if we did not make sure that your pet was free of heartworms before dispensing any further medication.
We will not, under any circumstances, dispense heartworm medication for your dog without verification of a negative heartworm test within the last year.
We recommend that dogs and cats receive yearly vaccinations to stimulate the immune system so the most effective response will occur if they do come in contact with any of the vaccinated diseases. Also, vaccinations are given in consideration to the area we live in and if a disease is more or less prevalent here. We see a great deal of Parvo and Distemper in the Greater Memphis area.
You may have heard or read that yearly vaccines are not necessary or even harmful to your pet. Unfortunately, the information we have at this time is not adequately conclusive one way or the other.
A summary, posted on www.avma.org, stated that:
"Optimal revaccination intervals are not known ... Information collected thus far [by veterinary professionals] indicates that immunity inducted by some vaccines lasts longer than one year, while immunity triggered by other vaccines lasts less than one year."
The Council of Biological and Therapeutic Agents concludes that there currently exists inadequate data to scientifically determine a single best protocol for vaccination or revaccination. Advances in antigen science, adjuvant function, impacts of different vaccine carrier solutions, and the immune system's acute and chronic reactions to stimulation, are impressive, but there remain gaps in our understanding. The body of knowledge about the variability of genetics within a breed or species, and the resulting impacts on an individual patient's response to vaccine or associated adverse reactions, is increasing but remains insufficient to make general recommendations. COBTA believes that variation in our patients and their lifestyle, and between the individual vaccine products available, requires a customized approach to vaccination recommendations to best match the variation in the patients presented for immunization. 3/2003
Our veterinarians will be glad to discuss vaccination protocols with you if you have any questions or concerns about what is best for your pet.
6. Why do I have to wait so long to see the doctor when other people who came after me go in before me?
The doctor does want to give you and your pet all the time and attention you deserve.
We always strive to make your visti efficient, but sometimes circumstances arise that are beyond our control. Sometimes an emergency occurs or a patient needs additional work-up that takes additional time from the doctor.
When you see other people going in before you, keep in mind that at any given time in our clinic there are two doctors seeing patients and one to two technicians giving vaccinations. The patients going back may simply be here for vaccinations and not actually seeing a doctor, the time this takes is considerably shorter and several people may go in before you for this reason.
Nothing. Baby birds on the ground are not abandoned they are simply learning to fly and their mother knows where they are. Other animals like baby rabbits left in a nest are left alone for a reason. The mother doesn't visit the nest often during the day to avoid calling attention to it from predators. Never approach a injured adult, as they may be extremely dangerous. The best thing you can do for any wild animal is leave it where you find it.
NEVER GIVE ANY OVER THE COUNTER MEDICINE TO YOUR PET WITHOUT FIRST CONSULTING YOUR VETERINARIAN!
CALL your vet BEFORE you give any medication.
Under some circumstances, your veterinarian may advise/prescribe the use of over the counter medicine. Your veterinarian knows the proper dosage to give your animal and what to look for should complications arise from using the medication. You should never medicate your animal yourself without first calling your veterinarian for advice and a proper dose. If your veterinarian is closed or it is after hours, the emergency clinics can help you with any questions you have.
Ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin and Nuprin): NEVER give under any circumstances. Can cause ulcers in as little as one dose.
Tylenol: DO NOT give Tylenol. NEVER use in cats. It causes anemia and liver problems. It can kill your cat. In dogs it is more toxic than aspirin. It has been implicated in liver damage.
Aspirin: Do not give to cats. Only give to dogs under veterinary supervision. Can cause gastric ulcers. If your vet prescribes aspirin for your dog, use buffered only.
Ascription: Do not use in cats, can be toxic to them. In dogs, only give under veterinary supervision.
Pepto Bismol: Has aspirin in it. Do not use in cats. In dogs, it is OK to use in mild diarrhea and vomiting but you need to get the correct dosage from your vet. Be aware that if you use it, it will turn your dog's stool black.
There are pain medications that are specifically for dogs and cats. They are safer to use and preferable to any over the counter medication. If you have questions or your pet is in pain, please call for an appointment.
Dogs: 58-68 days. Average is 63 days.
Cats: 63-68 days.
Dog: 99.5 - 102.5
Cat: 100 - 102.5
Anything over 103 is considered a fever.
Possibilities include diarrhea and inflamation, tapeworms, anal sac impaction, and flea allergies.
If we have seen your pet recently for a certain condition you may call to inquire if you may get a refill for its medication. If the doctor OK'AYS it, we will be glad to refill it and you can pick it up at any time. If we have never seen your pet, or if we have not seen your pet recently (typically if it has been over a month, depending on the illness) we will NOT refill or prescribe any medication without seeing your pet.
YES. If the veterinarian examines your pet for any condition there is an exam fee, even if you did not wish to pursue any treatment at that time. Price is subject to change without notice.
PetVax is proud to accept Care Credit. Care Credit is a third party provider of credit for clients desiring to utilize a credit plan for Veterinary Care. Payment is required at the time of the visit. For animals that are left for hospitalization, a minimum 50% deposit is required up-front and the balance must be paid at the completion of the treatment. Care Credit offers easy terms and conditions, as well as promotional interest rate plans.
When a baby kitten or puppy is born, its immune system is not yet mature; the baby is wide open for infection. Fortunately, nature has a system of protection. The mother produces special milk in the first few days. This milk is called colostrums and is rich in all the antibodies that the mother has to offer. As the babies drink this milk, they will be taking in their mother's immunity. After the first couple of days, regular milk is produced and the baby's intestines undergo what is called closure, which means they are no longer able to take antibodies into their systems. These first two days are critical to determining what kind of immunity the baby will receive until its own system can take over.
How long this maternal antibody lasts in a given puppy is totally individual. It can depend on the birth order of the babies, how well they nursed, and a number of other factors. Maternal antibodies against different diseases wear off after different times. We DO know that by 16 by 20 weeks of age, maternal antibodies are gone and the baby must be able continue on its own immune system.
While maternal immunity is present in the puppy's system, any vaccines given will be inactivated. Vaccines will not be able to take until maternal antibody has sufficiently dropped. Puppies and kittens receive a series of vaccines ending at a time when we know the baby's own immune system should be able to respond. We could simply wait until the baby is old enough to definitely respond as we do with the rabies vaccination but this could leave a large window of vulnerability if the maternal antibody wanes early. To give babies the best chance of responding to vaccination, we vaccinate intermittently (usually every 2 to 4 weeks) during this period in hope of gaining some early protection.
When a vaccine against a specific disease is started for the first time, even in adult animal, it is best to give at least two vaccinations. This is because the second vaccination will produce a much greater (logarithmically greater) response if it is following a vaccine given 2 to 4 weeks prior.
In this country, vaccines are licensed based on the minimum duration they can be expected to last. It is expensive to test vaccines across an expanse of years and it is not generally done. We know our vaccines last at least one year and have not been willing to take a chance on whether they might last longer without knowing for sure.
It is also important to realize that some diseases lend themselves to prevention through vaccination while others do not. For a vaccine to generate solid long-lasting immunity, the infection must be fairly generalized to the entire body (like distemper or parvovirus) rather than localized to one organ system (like kennel cough or feline upper respiratory viruses). Vaccination for localized infections tend to require more frequent boosting whereas there is potential for vaccination for systemic disease to last for many years.
For more information on what vaccine protocol is right for your pet, consult your veterinarian.
No, we do not offer 3 year vaccine.