Frequently Asked Questions
What if I have an after-hours or weekend emergency?
We accommodate emergency appointments during normal business hours. Please call our offices in advance of arriving, if possible. After regular business hours and on holidays, please click here to contact a local emergency veterinary practice.
Are same day appointments possible?
Exams and consultations are by appointment only. Same day appointments may be available through our Ohana Urgent Care team for sick patients and emergencies. Please call us and we will do all that is possible to accommodate your schedule.
Is payment due at time of service?
The fees we charge for services are based upon what is needed to maintain the high quality of care we are proud to provide. Payment is required at the time service is rendered.
When is the best time to spay or neuter my pet?
We recommend spaying or neutering your pet at 4-6 months of age or older, but this recommendation may vary based on each individual pet. Please schedule an appointment to discuss spaying or neutering your pet with one of our veterinarians.
What is your policy on prescriptions?
We understand that you may wish to obtain your pet’s medications from alternative sources other than our hospital. We will write prescriptions for outside pharmacies but we ask that you visit our Pharmaceutical Care page for further details and information about online pharmacies. Your pet is required by law to be examined annually to continue to refill medications.
How do I get my pet’s prescription refilled?
So that we may accurately refill your pet’s medications, we request as much notice as possible when refills are needed.
How do I know if my pet is in pain?
Some signs of pain are more obvious than others, such as limping, while other signs are more subtle and can include, not eating, a change in behavior or normal habits, being more tired and having less energy. If you suspect that your pet is in pain or is simply not acting right, call us to schedule an exam.
Are vaccinations necessary?
Vaccines keep your pet healthy and prevent serious diseases. We highly recommend annual wellness exams and a comprehensive Preventative Care Plan for all of our client’s pets. These programs include, vaccinations and parasite protection, as needed.
How often does my pet need a Rabies vaccination?
The first Rabies shot your pet receives is good for one year. Subsequent canine Rabies vaccinations immunize your pet for three years. Dogs are required by California State Law to be vaccinated for Rabies at 16 weeks of age. For cats, we use feline-exclusive Rabies vaccines which are good for three years.
How many months should my pet be on heartworm prevention medication?
Transmitted by infected mosquitoes, if left untreated, heartworm disease can be fatal. In accordance with the guidelines of the American Heartworm Society, we recommend all dogs and cats be given year round (12 month) heartworm prevention, which is administered once a month either by pill or by topical application. Depending on the specific product used, heartworm prevention medication can prevent other parasite infestations including internal parasites (worms) and external parasites (fleas and ticks).
Why does my dog need a blood test before purchasing heartworm prevention?
Dogs could get sick (vomiting, diarrhea, and/or death) if placed on heartworm prevention when they have heartworm disease. Even if they have been on heartworm prevention year round there is always the possibility that the product may have failed for various reasons (your pet spit out the pill, did not absorb the pill appropriately, topical medicine was not applied properly, forgot to administer medication on time, etc.). The earlier we can treat your pet for heartworm disease the better the prognosis. When starting heartworm prevention it is important that you perform an initial heartworm test.
My pet never goes outside so does it really need heartworm prevention?
Yes. Heartworm disease is transmitted through the bite of a mosquito and all mosquitoes can get into houses.
How can I prevent fleas?
We recommend that all dogs and cats be given a monthly flea preventive regardless of lifestyle. Not only are these year round pests uncomfortable for your pet, fleas also carry diseases, such as tapeworms. There are many medications for the treatment and prevention of fleas. Some medications are in a combined form with the monthly heartworm medication. Not only is this convenient, but it reduces the cost of two medications.
Why does my pet need a dental cleaning and how often should this be done?
Many of the pets that visit us on a regular basis need professional teeth cleaning. When bacteria irritate the gum line, the gums become inflamed in the early stages of dental disease causing gingivitis. Left untreated, this leads to periodontal disease, which causes the loss of the bone and gingival support structure of the tooth and subsequent tooth loss. In addition, the bacteria are consistently released into the blood stream allowing for systemic infections, which can cause damage to internal organs, such as the kidneys, liver and heart.
The good news is that a dental exam is included in all physical exams conducted at Ohana Pet Hospital. Through routine physical exams, our veterinarians will guide you on when and how often your individual pet is in need of a teeth cleaning.
Should I brush my pet’s teeth at home?
Yes. Home dental care for companion animals should start early, even before the adult teeth erupt. Although tooth brushing is the best method of preventing plaque and bacterial build-up, there are many options for dental home care. Other oral home care options such as dental formulated foods, water additives, and dental treats can be considered and discussed with our veterinarians.
Is anesthesia safe for my pet?
At Ohana Pet Hospital, we take all anesthetic cases very seriously. We utilize the safest, multi-modal approach that is individually created for each dog or cat. It includes injectable medications for sedation and pain management as well as gas anesthetic agents. The combination of pre-anesthetic assessment of your pet (including blood work), use of modern anesthetic agents, and the latest anesthetic monitoring equipment means that anesthesia is generally considered to be a very low risk for your pet.
During the procedure, we closely monitor your pet and the recovery process using advanced monitoring equipment. Parameters often monitored include oxygen concentration in the blood stream (pulse oximetry), electrocardiogram (EKG), core body temperature, respiratory rate, heart rate, blood pressure and carbon dioxide level. The monitoring findings allow us to perform safe anesthesia.
When we place your dog or cat safely under general anesthesia, a breathing tube is inserted into the trachea (windpipe) to administer oxygen mixed with the anesthetic gas. As with people, an intravenous catheter is placed into your pet’s leg to infuse with fluids during the procedure. Once the procedure is completed and the anesthetic is turned off, oxygen continues to be delivered to your pet until it awakens and the tube is removed.
What is a multi-modal approach to anesthesia?
A multi-modal approach refers to the layered administration of small amounts of different medications to achieve the desired levels of anesthesia and pain management. We administer lower doses of each individual anesthetic ,which generally equates to fewer side effects, complete pain relief and faster post-operative recovery.
My pet is older, is anesthesia safe?
Anesthesia in otherwise healthy, older pets is considered safe. It is important to have recommended pre-operative testing performed prior to anesthesia to check major organ function and allow us to tailor the anesthesia to any pre-existing medical conditions.
My pet has kidney and heart disease, is anesthesia safe?
Prior to anesthesia, patients with kidney disease should be fully evaluated with blood tests, urinalysis, and possible ultrasound. Cardiology patients should also be evaluated including blood tests, chest x-rays, and echocardiogram (ultrasound of the heart). Our veterinarians will determine based on each individual situation if it is safe for your pet to undergo anesthesia.
Why does my pet need to be admitted several hours before a surgical procedure?
In preparation for the procedure, your pet will receive pre-anesthetic medication to easy anxiety and to smooth the induction of an intravenous catheter that delivers medications and fluids to support blood pressure and organ function. In addition, it gives your pet a chance to acclimate to the hospital environment making the situation less stressful. This all needs to be complete BEFORE your pet’s scheduled procedure time.
Are there any special at-home care instructions for my dog or cat before undergoing surgery?
Please do not feed your pet after 10:00pm the evening before a scheduled procedure. There is no restriction on drinking water however the water bowl should be removed first thing the morning of the procedure. Plan to arrive at the office at 7:30am, and allow 15-30 minutes for check-in procedures.
What should I bring for my pet’s hospital stay?
You should bring any medications or special dietary foods with you to the hospital. You may also bring a toy or special item for your pet. We will do our best to make sure belongings stay with your pet, however these items occasionally go missing in the laundry, so we cannot guarantee their return.
How will you manage my pet’s pain during surgery?
We believe in performing surgery with advanced pain management techniques because we want to maximize the comfort of your pet during and after his or her procedure. Comfort control improves your dog or cat’s recovery and speeds the healing process. We administer pain medication before beginning the procedure, during and post-operatively as needed by your pet.
When my pet is having surgery, when should I expect an update?
You will receive a call from one of our veterinary assistants when your pet is in recovery from the procedure. You will receive a call prior to the procedure if there are any abnormalities upon the pre-anesthetic exam or blood work, which may require a change of surgical plans.
Remember, no news is good news, and you will be contacted immediately should the need arise. Your pet’s veterinarian will be available at discharge to discuss the procedure and discharge instructions with you in detail, as well as answer any questions.
After surgery, when will my pet be able to go home?
Pets undergoing outpatient procedures will be ready to go by close of business the same day unless noted otherwise during the post-operative phone update.
What can I expect with regards to my pet’s appetite after surgery?
There are several things you can try to help your pet regain their appetite after surgery – offer favorite foods, warm food slightly above room temperature to increase the odor and taste, offer low fat cooked chicken, turkey or ground beef with rice.
If your pet’s appetite has not returned to normal the day after surgery, or if your pet is not drinking water, is vomiting, or seems lethargic, please call our office for further instructions.
My pet’s bandage, cast or splint has become wet, soiled or came off. Now what?
If the bandage becomes soiled, damp, or gets chewed off, please do not re-bandage at home. Duct tape and other items can trap moisture within the cast or bandage causing inflammation of the skin and tissues. In some cases, bandages inappropriately applied at home can even cut off the circulation to a limb!
If you have concerns about your pet’s bandage, confine the animal to a single room or small area, then call us so that we can advise you further. Please also call us if you notice swelling of the exposed toes on the bandaged limb, which can be seen by spreading apart the toenails.
NOTE: After a cast or splint is first removed, it may take 1-2 weeks for your pet to become accustomed to using the leg without the splint.
My pet doesn’t seem to be urinating after surgery?
Some pets may urinate less after surgery or may seem to be unable to control urination. This is usually temporary and may be a side effect of medication, anesthesia, or difficulty assuming “the position” to urinate. Please call if your pet has not produced urine for more than 12 hours. Many pets initially drink less after returning home, so expect less urination at first.
Why is my pet having difficulty with bowel movements since surgery?
Difficulty with bowel movements can be expected after illness, anesthesia, or surgery in animals. It may take a few days for the gastrointestinal system to return to normal function. Fortunately, it is not vital for your pet to pass a stool on a daily basis. Please call if your pet has not passed a stool within 48 hours of discharge from the hospital or appears to be straining to defecate.
Why does my pet have diarrhea?
Diarrhea may be seen after hospitalization. This can be caused by a change in diet but is more commonly caused by the stress of being away from home. Certain medications prescribed to your pet may also cause diarrhea. If the diarrhea is bloody, lasts longer than 12-24 hours or if your pet becomes lethargic or vomits, please contact us immediately. You can purchase a nutritionally complete bland food from us available in cans or kibble or we can guide you in preparing a home cooked bland diet. We do NOT recommend using any over-the-counter medication to treat the diarrhea. Please call us if there are any questions or problems.
Why is my pet crying and whining after surgery?
Although vocalizing can indicate discomfort, it can also be associated with other feelings following surgery. Often, pets vocalize due to the excitement or agitation that they feel on leaving the hospital and returning to their familiar home environment. Some pets will also vocalize or whine as the last remaining sedative or anesthetic medications are removed from their systems, or in response to the prescribed pain medication. If crying or whining is mild and intermittent, you may simply monitor the situation. If vocalization persists, please call us for advice. In some cases, a sedative may be prescribed or pain medication may be adjusted.
Why do I have to use an E-collar?
While your pet may not enjoy the E-collar initially, he or she will enjoy even less having to come back to our office for a recheck visit to repair an incision that has been chewed open or to be treated for an infection at the surgical site. If this happens, your pet will need to wear the collar for an even longer period of time. Rest assured, most pets become accustomed to the collar within one or two days and they can eat, sleep, and drink with it on. We are counting on you, so please keep the E-collar on your pet.
I think my pet’s surgical site is injured?
If for any reason you suspect that your pet has re-injured the surgical site, confine your pet and call us immediately.
I think my pet needs more pain medication?
Despite the medications we have prescribed, some pets will still show signs of pain at home, such as restlessness or an inability to sleep, poor appetite, lameness or tenderness at the site of surgery. Please confine your pet to limit their activity, then call us immediately so we can dispense or prescribe additional medication or therapies as necessary to keep your pet comfortable.
Why is my pet panting after surgery?
This is commonly seen after surgery. Panting may indicate soreness but may also be due to anxiety or in reaction to the prescribed pain medication. Please call our office so that we can help determine whether additional pain medication is advised or if the dose needs to be adjusted.
There seems to be some fluid forming under the skin around my pet’s surgical area. Should I be concerned?
In any healing surgical area, fluid produced during the healing process may accumulate and form a seroma (fluid pocket). Fortunately, this is not painful and does not impair the healing process. Eventually, the body will reabsorb the flui. If the seroma is small, we typically will leave it alone. If however it is large, we may remove the fluid with a needle and syringe or even place a drain. If you notice a seroma developing, please call. We may wish to recheck the area to ensure there is no infection beginning.
I’m worried; my pet is shaking and trembling after surgery?
This is a very common response to physiological stress after surgery, injury, or any other health abnormality. The amount of shaking or trembling may be dramatic, but it does not always imply severe pain, cold, or distress. It may involve the entire body, or just the area of surgery. If there are signs of pain such as restlessness, lack of appetite, or crying out, or you are concerned about what your pet is exhibiting, please do not hesitate to call.
My pet just vomited after surgery, should I bring him back?
An episode or two of vomiting is occasionally seen after surgery or anesthesia. If the vomiting continues, blood is noted in the vomitus, or if your pet is not holding down any food or water, call to schedule a recheck of your pet by a veterinarian.