The small animal portion of our clinic has recently undergone some major upgrades and renovations. Please call our office for more information on how we can serve your small animal needs!
For small animal after hours emergencies, please call (403) 627-3912.
Services offered in the Country Vets office:
Spays & Neuters
Dental Cleanings & Extractions
Sick Animal Care
In House Blood Work
Frequently Asked Questions
Why vaccinate? Vaccines protect against contagious and potentially life threatening diseases such as Rabies. Vaccines are a cost effective way to help prevent diseases that can otherwise cost a considerable amount for treatment or that are not treatable. Not only do some of the vaccines, such as the Rabies vaccine, protect your pet but they also protect you and your family as Rabies is a disease that can be transmitted to humans and is nontreatable. Vaccines do not guarantee that an animal is fully protected against a given disease. However, vaccinations have proven to be the simplest, safest and most effective means of preventing a number of diseases in pets.
How do vaccines work? Vaccines contain viruses or bacteria that have been modified so that they will not cause disease. Vaccines trigger an immune response in your pet which prepares them to fight future infections by building up antibodies against the bacteria or virus. When the body is exposed to the actual disease the immune system is then able to react quickly to prevent the disease causing agent from causing disease or to make the impact of the disease less serious.
Which pets should be vaccinated? All healthy pets should be vaccinated. Vaccines are only administered to healthy animals. If your pet is already ill or is receiving certain drugs, its immune system may not be able to respond to the vaccine properly and vaccinating it may overwhelm it’s immune system. For that reason, prior to vaccinating your pet, your veterinarian will ask you about your pet’s medical history and perform a complete physical examination. Even indoor animals should be vaccinated as some of the diseases are transmitted through the air and can come in an open window. In addition there is always the chance that your pet could sneak out and come into contact with other pets or wildlife. Boarding kennels, dog parks and grooming salons are all areas where your pet is likely to be exposed to contagious diseases.
When to vaccinate? Puppies and kittens require a series of vaccinations during their first four months of life. Nursing pups and kittens receive antibodies (immunity) from their mother’s milk which helps protect them from disease during their first months of life. These same antibodies can prevent a vaccine from being totally effective. Therefore as the antibodies provided from the mother are wearing off, your pet needs a series of vaccines spread over a period of 6 to 16 weeks of age, to provide your pet with the best possible protection, as they are very suceptible to disease during this time. It is very important that you follow the vaccination schedule provided by your veterinarian. Missing a vaccine booster or being more than a few days late could put your pet at risk of contracting disease.
Puppies and kittens should not be exposed to unvaccinated dogs and cats, sick dogs and cats, or places where there are a lot of other animals (off leash dog parks etc.) until they have completed their puppy or kitten series of vaccinations. Once puppies and kittens are fully vaccinated they require annual vaccine boosters in order to have the highest level of protection against the diseases we are most concerned about. The protection provided by each vaccine gradually declines over time and booster vaccines ensure that they will have ongoing immunity. The duration of immunity for each vaccine is not currently known. Until more is known about the duration of immunity, vaccines are delivered annually to ensure the highest level of protection. Blood tests are available to check titre levels for immunity to the different diseases we vaccinate for, as each animals immune system is different. If you are interested in vaccine titres discuss this with your veterinarian at the time of your annual physical exam. In addition to having regular vaccinations, it is extremely important that your pet has an annual physical examination. By performing a yearly physical examination, your veterinarian can detect early signs of organ dysfunction and illness. Early diagnosis allows for early treatment and a longer life of improved quality for your pet.
Which vaccines should my pet receive? Core Vaccines–These vaccines are generally recommended for all pets of their species to protect against diseases that are more serious or potentially fatal. These diseases are found throughout North America and are easily transmitted. Noncore Vaccines-These vaccines are reserved for pets at specific risk for infection due to exposure or lifestyle.
What are vaccine reactions? Although uncommon, vaccine reactions can and do occur. Some of these reactions are mild and consist of only some discomfort at the injection site, lethargy, or anorexia which will only last a few days. Some reactions can be more severe and can present as an allergic reaction (swollen face, trouble breathing etc.) which can can be fatal. This can happen minutes or hours after vaccination. If you think your pet is having a severe vaccine reaction contact your veterinarian immediately. If your pet has reacted to a vaccine in the past inform your veterinarian prior to vaccination so they can be pre-treated with an antihistamine or have their vaccines split so that a reaction does not occur. In rare instances, vaccines can result in a tumor developing at the vaccination site or diseases that affect the blood, skin, joints, or nervous system.
Why spay/neuter your pet? To curb pet overpopulation and improve your pet's overall health! A spay or neuter is the ONLY permanent, 100% effective method of birth control for dogs and cats. > Reduces the urge to roam, reducing exposure to other animals (fighting, communicable diseases), getting struck by cars, etc. > Reduces the risk of certain types of cancers: - Since estrogen plays a role in the development of mammary tumors, removal of the ovaries and uterus protects the animal from development of such tumors. The incidence of mammary tumors is 0.5% in dogs spayed prior to their first heat cycle whereas the risk factor is 8% when surgery is performed after the first cycle, 26% after two cycles, and 50% after four or more cycles! - Eliminates the threat of uterine and ovarian cancer, and uterine infection. - Neutering your male dog or cat prevents testicular tumors and may prevent prostate problems. Neutering also decreases the possibility of perianal tumors and hernias, which are commonly observed in older, unaltered dogs. Because neutered cats are less likely to roam, the threat of abscesses caused by bites and diseases transmitted by fighting are greatly reduced. > Can reduce aggression, especially between males - unneutered dogs are much more assertive and prone to urine marking. Neutering cats solves 90% of all marking issues, even in cats that have been doing it for a while. It can also minimize howling, the urge to roam, and fighting with other males. > Your spayed female won't go into heat. Female felines usually go into heat four to five days every three weeks from February to October. In an effort to advertise for mates, they will yowl, prostrate, and urinate more frequently - not always in their litterbox! Female dogs usually go into heat every 6 months. > An intact male will do just about anything to find a mate; that includes digging his way under the fence and making like Houdini to escape from the house. Once he is free to roam, he risks injury in traffic and fights with other males. Males can smell a female in heat from up to a mile away.
Spaying or neutering will NOT make your pet fat! Lack of exercise and overfeeding WILL!!
When should I spay/neuter? 6 months or older, but ideally females should be spayed before their first heat cycle (roughly 9 months).
Why do you recommend bloodwork? Bloodwork tests your animal for kidney function, liver function, blood cells (red and white), electrolytes and blood sugar. Many anesthetic drugs are filtered through the liver and kidney, and thus it is imperative that they are functioning normally for anesthesia to be successful. A complete physical exam will be performed on your pet prior to the surgical procedure, but this will not identify all internal problems. Pre-anesthetic bloodwork allows us to determine whether your pet is more likely to properly process and eliminate an anesthetic agent, to confirm that your pet's organs are functioning properly, and to find possible hidden health conditions that could put your pet at risk.
Why do you recommend I.V. Fluids? Intravenous fluids are a necessity for older or debilitated patients, but even healthy pets benefit from IV fluids: > Having intravenous access allows rapid and safe administration of emergency drugs > Fluids help to maintain blood volume - better tissue perfusion and prevention of reduced blood pressure > Fluids help to maintain blood pressure, promoting a safer anesthetic > Fluids promote a faster recovery by helping to flush the anesthetic agents out of the kidneys and other internal organs, and preventing dehydration. This will speed up the time they take to wake up post-surgery.
Will my pet need to say overnight? Pets having routine, uncomplicated surgery (spays & neuters) will be discharged from the hospital the same day as their surgery, along with post-surgical care instructions, to be monitored by their families.
What other decisions do I need to make? While your pet is under anesthesia, it is the ideal time to perform other minor procedures, such as ear cleaning, implanting an identification microchip, nail trims, and a tattoo. If you would like an estimate for these extra services, one can be provided during check-in. It is important that the person dropping off the pet for surgery is the primary decision-maker and caregiver for the pet. When you bring your pet in for surgery, we will need 5-10 minutes of your time to fill out paperwork, make decisions on other options, and we will have questions about your pet that will help us assess their health prior to surgery. If the person dropping off the pet cannot answer these questions, or make these decisions, it makes the process a lot more difficult. If you cannot drop off your pet, please call before your scheduled appointment to make other arrangements. When you pick up your pet after surgery you can also plan to spend about 10 minutes to go over your pet's home care needs. We will call you the day before your scheduled surgery appointment to confirm and to answer any questions you might have.