Foothills IL Veterinarian and Animal Clinic

3151 E. Chandler Blvd • Phoenix, AZ 85048
M • W • F 7:30am - 5:30pm | T • Th 7:30am - 7:00pm
Sat 8:00am - Noon
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FAQS about Dog Cat Health from Foothills Animal Hospital

Pet Vaccinations, Heartworm Prevention

Foothills Animal Hospital Phoenix

1. After-Hours or Weekend Emergencies

We accommodate emergency appointments during normal business hours. Please call our offices in advance. After regular business hours and on holidays, please contact one of the following:

• BluePearl Specialty and Emergency Pet Hospital in Gilbert, AZ
• 1st Pet Veterinary Center in Chandler, AZ

2. Appointments

Appointments are available Monday, Wednesday and Friday 8:00 am to 5:30 pm, Tuesday and Thursday 7:30 am to 7:00 pm, and Saturdays 8:00am to 12pm.  We are closed on Sunday.  Same day appointments are available for sick patients and emergencies. Please call us at (480)-759-9721 to set up an appointment that is convenient with your schedule.  

3. Prescription Policy

    a. Prescription Refills.  So that we may accurately refill your pet’s medications we request as much notice as possible when refills are needed.
    b. At Foothills Animal Hospital, we understand that there may be times in which your pet's medications may be obtained from alternative sources other than our hospital.  We are willing to write prescriptions for outside pharmacies but caution you that most manufacturers will guarantee their products when sold directly from a veterinarian but not when sold from an online pharmacy.  Please be aware that you pet is required by law to be examined at least once yearly to continue to refill medications. 

4. Fees

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.  For your convenience, we accept cash, Visa, MasterCard, Discover, and CareCredit.

5. Do you see birds or other exotic animals?

With the increased number of veterinarians who specialize in exotic species of pets, we usually refer your birds, lizards, snakes, tortoises, etc., to someone who has the expertise and specialized equipment that these pets require to fully evaluate and treat them. We still gladly accept appointments for your small mammals such as rats, mice, guinea pigs and ferrets.

6. How do I know if my pet is in pain?

It can sometimes be difficult to tell.  If you are not sure but suspect your dog or cat may be hurting, or is just not acting right, call us to have us examine your pet.  Some signs of pain are more obvious, such as limping, but some signs are more subtle and can include:  not eating, a change in behavior or normal habits, being more tired and having less energy.  Of course, these symptoms can also be caused by many problems, so early observation and action is important.

 7. When is the best time to spay or neuter my pet?

The best time to spay or neuter your dog or cat is 5-6 months of age.  However, it can be done at most ages.

8.   Vaccinations

Vaccines are an important part of your dog or cat’s health care.  Vaccines keep your pet healthy and prevent serious diseases.  Our veterinarians will make sure your pet avoids these serious diseases through annual wellness exams, vaccinations and parasite protection.   It is our policy that all pets undergoing vaccination be fully examined by one of our veterinarians prior to the vaccination being given. 

Description of Vaccines

Dog Vaccines:
Rabies vaccine.  Rabies is transmitted through by bites from wild animals, particularly skunks, raccoons, possums, bats, and foxes.  This disease can be transmitted to humans through the bite or scratch of an infected pet/animal.  Puppies/kittens will first receive this vaccination at 12 weeks of age; then will be revaccinated every 1-3 years as required by law.

DAPP vaccine.  This is a “4-way” canine vaccine that vaccinates against canine distemper, adenovirus type 2, parainfluenza, and parvovirus.  Distemper and parvovirus are often times fatal, especially in puppies and is why it is boostered multiple times.   Puppies can be vaccinated as early as 6 weeks and are boostered every 3 weeks until 16 weeks of age.  Adult dogs are then revaccinated every 3 years.

Leptospirosis Vaccine.  Leptospirosis is a bacterial disease.  It is spread by wildlife (raccoons, skunks, opossums, squirrels, rats) and domestic animals.  It can be passed to people.  Canine leptospirosis has risen dramatically in recent years.  Infected animals shed the bacteria in the urine.  To prevent Leptospirosis in your dog, discourage your pet from drinking standing water and vaccinate yearly.

Bordetella.   Also known as “kennel cough”.  We recommend the oral vaccine when a patient will be boarding, grooming, or in any situation where they will come into contact with other pets (dog care, obedience, park, etc.).

Cat Vaccines:

Rabies Vaccine. (See Above)

FVRCP Vaccine.  This is a 4-way feline vaccine that vaccinates against feline distemper (aka panleukopenia), rhinotrachetitis, and calici. Kittens can be vaccinated as early as 6 weeks and are boostered every 3 weeks until 16 weeks of age. Adult cats are then revaccinated every 3 years.

Feline Leukemia Vaccine.  Feline Leukemia Vaccine is recommended for kittens and cats that are of high risk, such as indoor/outdoor cats/kittens.

9.  What is kennel cough?

Also called Infectious Tracheobronchitis, it is easily transmitted through the air.  It is caused by viruses and/or bacteria that affect the respiratory system of dogs.   Frequent vaccination is the best way to reduce the severity of respiratory disease.   There are several types of vaccinations available.

10.  What is valley fever?

Valley fever, or coccidiomycosis, is a systemic fungal (yeast) infection that is geographically limited to AZ and parts of neighboring states. It is caused by a yeast spore that lives in the soil of these areas. Dogs are very susceptible to infection once exposed to the yeast, but the disease is only rarely seen in cats. It is not contagious from animal to animal. The disease can cause a variety of signs from non-specific lethargy, not eating, to coughing, limping, and serious signs such as seizures depending on where it localizes once in the body. Diagnosis is usually done by running a blood test known as a titer to check for antibodies to the yeast. Treatment consists of anti-fungal medications and supportive meds to help treat specific clinical signs.

11.  When does my pet need blood work?

Yearly blood work should be performed to detect infections and diseases, helping us to detect disease early.  In many situations early detection is essential for more effective treatment.  The type of blood work will be determined specifically for each pet depending on his or her individual needs.  This annual blood test is convenient to do at the time of your pet's annual heartworm test but can be done at any time of year.

12.  How many months should my pet be on heartworm prevention medication?

Heartworm disease is a serious disease;transmitted by infected mosquitoes and if left untreated can be fatal. We recommend all dogs be given year round heartworm prevention regardless of lifestyle. Your dog will need to be tested with a simple blood test for heartworm disease on an annual basis.  Heartworm prevention is administered once a month either by pill or by topical application. Depending on the specific product you and your veterinarian choose for your pet, heartworm prevention medication can prevent other parasite infestations including internal parasites (intestinal parasites) and external parasites (fleas and ticks).

13.  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 a severe 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.) and the earlier we can treat your pet for heartworm disease the better the prognosis. Some companies will guarantee their product providing you use the heartworm prevention year round and are performing yearly heartworm test. When starting heartworm prevention, or if your dog has not been on heartworm prevention year round,it is important that you perform an initial heartworm test and another heartworm test 6-7 months after starting the prevention to rule out the prior infection fully. During the early stages of development, some larvae are not detectable by the test.  It may take a full 6-7  months before they can be detected, which is why we need to repeat the testing later after starting preventative.

14.  Doesn't the fecal sample test for heartworms?

No. Heartworm disease is a blood-borne disease that is transmitted through mosquitoes. A simple blood test will confirm whether or not your dog has heartworm disease.

15.  Why does my pet need a dental cleaning and how often should this be done?

We believe an annual professional dental exam, tooth scaling and polishing are necessary to treat and maintain your dog and cat’s healthy teeth and gums.  As your pet ages or his or her health needs change, advanced dental care may be required.  Your pet's teeth and mouth should be examined by us on a regular basis. To administer full cleanings, we require that your pet be put under anesthesia. Please read our handout "Reasons NOT to Use Anesthesia Free Pet Dental Cleanings for Your Dogs and Cats" for more information on this dental topic.

16.   Do I need to brush my pet's teeth at home?

Yes.  Proper dental care at home is highly recommended to help maintain the oral health of your dog and cat.  Home dental care for companion animals should start early, even before the adult teeth erupt.  It is best if owners brush their dogs and cats teeth frequently.  Although tooth brushing is the best method of preventing plaque, calculus, 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 should be considered.

17.  Are there any special at-home care instructions for my dog or cat before undergoing surgery?

Please do not feed your pet after 12 AM Midnight the evening before a scheduled procedure.  There is no restriction on drinking water.  Plan to arrive at the office between 7:30-8:00 AM, and allow 30 minutes for check-in procedures.

18.  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 exam
  • Pre-anesthetic bloodwork (if required)
  • Premedication to easy anxiety and to smooth induction of anesthesia
  • Placement of an intravenous catheter to deliver medications and fluids that support blood pressure and organ function during anesthesia
  • In addition to the above it gives your pet a chance to acclimate to the hospital environment to make the situation less stressful.

This all needs to be complete BEFORE your pet's scheduled procedure time.

19.  Is anesthesia safe for my pet?

At Foothills Animal 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. 

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 arm or leg to infuse with fluids during the procedure. Once the procedure is completed and the anesthetic is turned off, oxygen is continued to be delivered to your pet until your pet wakes up and the tube is removed.

We closely monitor your pet during the procedure 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, and blood pressure and carbon dioxide level.  The monitoring findings allow us to perform safe anesthesia.

20.  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.

21.  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/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.

22.  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.

23.  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 and echocardiogram (ultrasound of the heart).

24.  When my pet is having surgery, when should I expect an update on my pet?

You will receive a call when your pet is in recovery from the procedure if you request it.  If there are any abnormalities on pre-anesthetic exam or blood work, you will receive a call prior to the procedure in case we need to change plans.  Remember that no news is good news, and you will be contacted immediately should the need arise.

25. After surgery, when will my pet be able to go home?

Please allow time in your busy schedule to meet with the doctor when picking up your animal post-surgery. This will allow the doctor to go over discharge instructions tailored to your specific pet and procedure. Our doctors are more than happy to answer any questions you may have to ensure proper recovery for your pet. Your doctor will provide you with a written set of discharge instructions to follow at home.


Foothills Animal Medical Center and Veterinarian IL