How safe is my pet’s procedure?

At Clarke County Animal Hospital, we only recommend those surgical procedures that are in the best interest of your pet, with an end goal of supporting and prolonging the wonderful bond you share with them. Each individual procedure varies from pet to pet and condition to condition. Typically, a physical examination, review of the patient’s medical history, and blood work are recommended for each pet that may have to be subjected to sedation or anesthesia. Dr. Sellers will use this information to screen your pet for any potential issues before beginning any procedure to help ensure the safety of your pet. As with humans, the older the pet, the more precautions need to be taken.

Although there will always be a minimal amount of risk associated with anesthetizing your pet, we take every precaution available to ensure that those risks are minimized, including most of the same fail-safe measures that your physician would provide if you were placed under anesthesia. We monitor vital signs throughout all stages of surgery and recovery. We also have written protocols for all emergency drugs in place for each pet under anesthesia.

Additionally, all patients are closely monitored by our highly trained technicians during the recovery process, ensuring that your pet receives the most compassionate and proficient care possible. The behind the scenes care and technologies employed to ensure your pet’s safety are just one of the many factors that differentiate the quality in care that we provide.

How often should my pet have an exam and blood work?

We believe that the best way to prolong the relationship you share with your pet is to identify disease processes early and prevent the progression of chronic illness, before it becomes a problem.

It is very important to schedule yearly exams for your pet so that your veterinarian can monitor your pet’s overall health. Each year your pet can age as much as a human does in seven years. This means that if your pet has not been to the veterinarian in the past year, it is the equivalent of a human not having a check-up in seven years. At Clarke County Animal Hospital, to ensure that we identify health issues early, we recommend an examination by your veterinarian every 12 months for healthy pets under the age of 7 and every 6 months for healthy senior patients. Those pets with chronic disease or mobility issues may require examination on a much more frequent basis.

Bloodwork is a wonderful way to identify disease processes early and prevent the progression of chronic disease. We recommend annual bloodwork to provide a baseline for our veterinarian to identify trends and specific areas to focus on in an effort to prolong the duration and quality of life of our patients. Whether your pet is a youngster or a senior, regular blood work can help detect some diseases early. It is always easier to catch a potential problem early on to avoid complications and expensive treatments.

Why does my pet need a dental procedure?

Periodontal disease is one of the most insidious, expensive and frequently noted problems that we deal with. Although dogs are very stoic about pain in most cases, periodontal infections, tooth fractures, and oral masses are common and preventable sources of major discomfort for your pet.

In addition, periodontal infections are common causes of systemic disease, including a potential cause of elevated liver values, cardiac valvular disease, and recurrent urinary and kidney infections.

Preventative veterinary dentistry can identify, diagnose and prevent progression of periodontal disease. Annual oral exams and cleanings, together with at home preventative care, can help to prevent disease as well as save money by preventing the need for oral surgery, extractions, and other costly last resort procedures.

Proper veterinary dental care will not only keep your pets comfortable, but can extend their life expectancy as well. Tartar is loaded with bacteria that enters the bloodstream, transmitting harmful bacteria to your pet's internal organs. This can lead to issues including heart and renal disease, resulting in potential for a shorter lifespan.

Our veterinarian at Clarke County Animal Hospital will provide the dental care your pet needs, regardless of the current age or condition of the teeth. Instructions will be provided on how you can care for their teeth at home as well.

How important is nutrition for my pet?

Pets, like people, are unique and individual; they have different needs based on their size, age, and health issues. But no matter what their individual needs are, it is important that pets maintain a healthy weight, eat a nutritious diet, and receive adequate exercise to promote living longer with fewer health issues.

Dogs and cats thrive when they are fed a healthy, balanced diet. Currently, however, pet obesity is huge problem in the United States. When pets are overweight, it creates a tendency towards diabetes, heart disease, joint problems, and other chronic health conditions. Using our nutritional counseling services at Clarke County Animal Hospital will help simplify just what your pet should be eating and how much.

How long should I wait to bring my pet in if I notice a change in behavior?

It is always important to call Clarke County Animal Hospital immediately for an appointment when your pet exhibits a change in behavior or sudden weight gain or loss.

What should I do if I notice visible parasites on my pet?

If you notice visible parasites on your pet, call us today and schedule an appointment so that our veterinarian can recommend the appropriate treatment for your pet. Flea and tick preventatives have improved greatly in recent years. These preventatives are safe and effective in a wide variety of forms. At Clarke County Animal Hospital, we fit the preventative product to the pet's problem and environment. Parasite control is of great importance to eliminate disease carrying parasites.

What if my pet has an after-hours problem?

Unfortunately, when accidents happen to our pets, they don’t always occur during office hours. If you find yourself in an emergency situation with your pet such as a car accident, chocolate ingestion, or poisoning, after office hours, please contact our emergency line at 251-246-5216 for assistance.

At what age should I have my pet spayed or neutered?

There are several factors that play into this decision. Before recommending a spay or neuter surgery, our Dr. Sellers would discuss the advantages and disadvantages of having the surgery at various ages.

Spaying or neutering age depends on breed (larger breeds wait longer) and recommendations for each specific animal. Your pet will be given an exam prior to surgery to help determine whether your pet is healthy enough to undergo the surgical procedure. Current vaccinations are required at the time of surgery. Also a pre-anesthetic blood screen is recommended prior to undergoing anesthesia and surgery.

What are heartworms, and how can I prevent my pet from getting them?

Heartworms are a serious, year-round parasitic threat to your pet’s health. After an infection occurs, treatment is not only very expensive, but can also be life threatening.

Heartworms are extremely common in the warm, humid environment in Grove Hill, Alabama, and can infect both our canine companions AND our feline friends. Heartworms are transmitted from infected mosquitoes as juvenile worms known as microfilaria. Unless your pet is on a heartworm preventative, these immature worms can grow into adults which can cause serious damage to the animal’s blood vessels, lungs and heart, and may even cause death.

Once your pet has been tested for heartworms and has been found to be heartworm free, a monthly preventative can keep your dog or cat healthy. Having your pet on a preventative treatment is much less expensive than having to treat adult heartworms. There are several options available for the prevention of this potentially life threatening disease. The experienced veterinarian at Clarke County Animal Hospital will determine which preventative is right for your pet, based on their needs and lifestyle.

Additional information about heartworms is available at https://www.heartwormsociety.org/.

When is pain management recommended for my pet?

Recent research in veterinary science indicates that pets classified as mammals experience pain the same way that we do. Our pets, instead of being able to tell us that something hurts, typically try to hide the fact that they have pain. At Clarke County Animal Hospital, we offer pain management for your pets who may be experiencing pain due to trauma, post-operative pain, and chronic pain caused by a progressive disease.

Behavioral changes are currently the principal indicator of pain. If you notice increasingly diminished function and mobility in your pet, it could indicate chronic pain resulting from a progressive disability. Examples of behavioral changes include:

  • Diminished exercise tolerance and general activity
  • Difficulty standing, walking, taking stairs, jumping, or getting up
  • Decreased grooming (cats especially)
  • Changes in either urination or defecation habits

If you notice your pet showing any of the above symptoms, come see Dr. Sellers at Clarke County Animal Hospital for an assessment of your pet’s condition. He will be able to diagnose the cause and recommend treatment.

Pain control is never a "one size fits all" prescription, and there are dozens of drugs that can be used alone and with other medications to relieve all but the most extreme pain in animals.

What financing options do you offer (ex. Care Credit), or is payment expected at the time of service?

Payment is expected when services are rendered. In order to focus on our patients’ needs, customer service and minimizing costs, we do not bill. We accept debit cards, credit cards (Visa, Mastercard, Discover, American Express), checks, and cash. All cards must be signed by the owner of the card.

When unexpected illness strikes a pet, unexpected expenses strike as well. Clarke County Animal Hospital understands this therefore, we do offer special arrangements through the Care Credit program. Care Credit is a flexible payment program (interest free), specifically designed for veterinary expenses, that allows you to spread out your payments over a 6 month period. It takes about 5 minutes to complete an application; you can either apply at our hospital and we will call in your application over the phone for immediate approval, or you can apply online at: www.CareCredit.com.

Highlights of the Care Credit program:
-Low Monthly Payments (3% of the Total Balance)
-Interest Free for 6 Months
-Determine Approval in a Few Minutes
-No Annual Fee

Another popular option for your family and pet is insurance coverage. To learn more, please visit the following pet insurance websites: