Service FAQ

Below are some of the most common questions we receive from our patients. If you have a question that you would like to ask or a question you think should be on our list, please fill out our Contact Form

What vaccinations should my pet receive throughout its lifetime?

Dogs can be immunized against distemper, hepatitis, leptospirosis, parainfluenza, parvovirus, coronavirus, bordetella, rabies and Lyme disease.

Cats can be immunized against feline panleukopenia (distemper), rabies, feline rhinotracheitis, calicivirus, chlamydia, feline leukemia and FIP.

Valley Animal Hospital strives to offer the safest products available and in accordance with the most effective schedules. We are members of the American Animal Hospital Association and the American Veterinary Medical Association, both of which have made recommendations and published general guidelines for pet immunizations. The doctors at Valley Animal Hospital are following these guidelines, but more importantly, are considering the lifestyle of each pet as well as local and regional diseases in order to make specific vaccination recommendations for each patient.

What types of animals do you see at Valley Animal Hospital?
We provide veterinary care for many different kinds of animals at Valley Animal Hospital. In addition to cats, dogs, reptiles and birds, we treat small mammals, ruminants and exotics.
Why does my cat need vaccines if it’s an indoor cat?
All cats regardless of indoor, outdoor status are required by Maine state law to be vaccinated against rabies. In addition bats are among common carriers of rabies, and they sometimes enter the house.
Why do they need rabies?
Rabies is a viral infection of the central nervous tissue that is fatal in most mammalian species. It is Maine state law that all cats and dogs be vaccinated for rabies. All other livestock and domestic pets are to be vaccinated at the veterinarian’s discretion. We vaccinate animals not only for their protection against this virus, but more importantly we vaccinate to provide a barrier for humans from indigenous animals (bats, raccoons, skunks, foxes).
How old is my pet?
If you are not sure of the age of a pet, the doctor may be able to approximate the age based on physical traits. The younger an animal is the easier it is to estimate their age, while the older the animal is it becomes more difficult to determine.
Should I spay or neuter my pet? At what age?
Yes. In addition to helping to reduce the over population of abandoned animals in our local shelter, there are multiple medical advantages to having you pet spayed or neutered. Typically we recommend doing this procedure between 5 and 6 months of age.
Why do I need to check a stool sample on a regular basis?
Stool sample will test your pet for intestinal parasites. Intestinal parasites are transmitted through contact with infected stool or by ingestion of small animals. It is possible for these parasites to be transmitted to humans so periodic screening is recommended. Another important prevention measure is to wash your hands carefully after working in the yard, also to cover sandboxes as stray animals find these excellent litter boxes.
How much should I be feeding my pet?
We generally recommend feeding a high quality commercial pet food, and following the guidelines on the back of the bag.

Why do I need a physical exam every time I come in?
A physical exam is needed to ensure the general health of the patient. Physical exams as well as blood analysis and radiographs can often detect disease conditions before the animal starts to show any symptoms. In general early detection of an illness allows for a better outcome. In addition we cannot dispense any medications without having seen the animal.
Can I give my pet over the counter medications?
As a rule of thumb, we do not recommend any human over the counter medications be given to animals, though it is always a good idea to check with your veterinarian before giving any medications to you pet. Certain common human drugs can cause sever liver damage, kidney damage or gastrointestinal ulcers.
How do animals get heartworm?
Heartworms are transmitted from one dog to another by mosquitoes. When a mosquito carrying heartworm larvae bites your dog the larvae can be transmitted. Heartworm preventative kills this stage of the heartworm, before it has the chance to develop into the adult form. Without heartworm preventative, the larvae will continue to develop in the blood until they reach the heart where they will attach in the right atrium. Heartworms can grow 7 to 11 inches in length and if the infection is great enough the heartworms can cause serious damage to the heart and lungs. In the severe cases, they can cause heart failure.
Can cats get heartworm?
Yes, cats can get heartworm. Heartworms are transmitted by mosquitoes which can get inside the house.
At what age do females begin their first “heat” cycle?
Depending on the breed and size of your pet “heat” or estrus, normally begins between the ages of 8 and 15 months. On occasion it can begin as early as 6 months.
How long does a pregnancy typically last?
Dogs typically 63 to 68 days Cats typically 62 to 65 days
I have treated my pets for fleas but they keep coming back
The important factor in treating for fleas is that you need to treat the animal and the environment at the same time. Also you need to kill every stage of the flea, or you will need to treat again. We recommend using Frontline® as it will kill all stages of the flea. You will need to use it for at least several months for best results. Below is some information from Merial, the makers of Frontline®, about the life cycle of fleas:
Why is it bad to give my pet table-scraps?
Dogs and cats have different nutritional requirements than people do. Commercial prepared foods are specifically balanced to meet your pets’ needs. Pancreatic (an inflammation of the pancreas which can be life threatening) often occurs in animals that eat table scraps.