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When we need to do more than a physical examination to determine what’s wrong with your pet, we routinely use x-rays to help identify the cause of the problem, rule out possible problems, or provide a list of possible causes. We may also use x-rays during a wellness exam to diagnose potential problems before they become serious.
X-rays provide valuable information about a pet’s bones, gastrointestinal tract (stomach, intestines, colon), respiratory tract (lungs), heart, and genitourinary system (bladder, prostate). We may use radiology alone or in conjunction with other diagnostic tools.
We offer digital radiology (x-rays that are captured digitally rather than on film). This state-of-the-art technology allows us to have a clearer picture to evaluate, uses less radiation that traditional x-rays, and provides you with a quicker diagnosis for your pet.
If you have any questions about our radiology service or what to expect during your pet’s procedure, please don’t hesitate to ask.
In some cases, an ultrasound will be recommended when we need to take a closer look internally. Our trained veterinarians can evaluate the abdominal area or heart with this painless, non-invasive procedure with no side-effects.
Ultrasonography (also called ultrasound or sonography) is a non-invasive, pain-free procedure that uses sound waves to examine a pet’s internal organs and other structures inside the body. It can be used to evaluate the animal’s heart, kidneys, liver, gallbladder, and bladder; to detect fluid, cysts, tumors, or abscesses; and to confirm pregnancy or monitor an ongoing pregnancy.
We may use this imaging technique in conjunction with radiography (x-rays) and other diagnostic methods to ensure a proper diagnosis. Interpretation of ultrasound images requires great skill on the part of the clinician.
The ultrasonographer applies gel to the surface of the body and then methodically moves a transducer (a small handheld tool) across the skin to record images of the area of interest. The gel helps the transducer slide more easily and create a more accurate visual image.
The transducer emits ultrasonic sound waves, which are directed into the body toward the structures to be examined. The waves create echoes of varying degrees depending on the density of the tissue and the amount of fluid present. Those waves create detailed images of the structures, which are shown on a monitor and recorded for evaluation.
Ultrasound does not involve radiation, has no known side effects, and doesn’t typically require pets to be sedated or anesthetized. The hair in the area to be examined usually needs to be shaved so the ultrasonographer can obtain the best result.
If you have any questions about our ultrasonography service or what to expect during your pet’s procedure, please don’t hesitate to ask.
Our clinics are equipped with state-of-the-art laboratory equipment that allows us to get stat results on a wide range of blood and tissue samples. In-house, we run CBCs and chemistry profiles; diagnostic tests for parvo, FIV, feline leukemia, giardia; urinalysis; fecal testing; heartworm testing; cytology tests for skin and ear infections, and more.
We utilize licensed veterinary diagnostic labs for histopathology, allergy testing, culture & sensitivity tests, monitoring drug levels, screening for tick-transmitted disease, and other specialized tests.
We recommend pre-anesthetic bloodwork for all pets undergoing an anesthetic procedure and for pets over age 7 we recommend an additional ECG.
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Spaying your pet has many benefits. The procedure, which prevents female animals from becoming pregnant and reproducing, can help your dog or cat live a longer, healthier life. Spaying will not change your pet’s personality.
By spaying your female pet, you’re protecting her against potentially deadly diseases, including bacterial infections, reproductive tract diseases, and several types of cancer. You also won’t have to worry about her going into heat. This means avoiding the mess that often accompanies the heat cycle in female dogs and the pacing and crying that happens with female cats. In addition, spaying your pet will help control the dog and cat overpopulation problem, keeping more animals out of shelters.
Spaying, which involves removing the ovaries and uterus, is a surgical procedure and does need to be performed with the pet under anesthesia. We follow strict protocols and continually monitor your pet’s vital signs to help ensure her safety. Please see the descriptions under Anesthesia and Patient Monitoring for more information on what we do to keep your pet safe.
To set up an appointment to have your pet spayed or to learn more about this procedure, call or visit our clinic. If you are struggling with the decision of whether to spay your pet, please call us so we can discuss your concerns.
Neutering your pet has many benefits. The procedure, which prevents male animals from reproducing, can help your dog or cat live a longer, healthier life. Neutering will not change your pet’s personality.
By neutering your pet, you’re reducing or eliminating his risk for prostate and testicular cancer, as well as sexually transmitted diseases. Neutering will also reduce or eliminate undesirable and embarrassing behavior, including roaming, fighting, humping, and spraying. In addition, neutering your pet will help control the dog and cat overpopulation problem, keeping more animals out of shelters.
Neutering, which involves removing the testicles, is a surgical procedure and does need to be performed with the pet under anesthesia. We follow strict protocols and continually monitor your pet’s vital signs to help ensure his safety. Please see the descriptions under Anesthesia and Patient Monitoring for more information on what we do to keep your pet safe.
To set up an appointment to have your pet neutered or to learn more about this procedure, please call or visit our clinic. If you are struggling with the decision of whether to neuter your pet, please call us or stop by so we can discuss your concerns.
Soft Tissue Surgery
We perform many types of soft tissue surgeries at our clinic. Soft tissue surgeries are those that are not associated with bone. These surgeries can provide many benefits to pets.
Probably the most common soft tissue surgery performed on pets is the removal of masses or lumps. Most of these masses, once removed and tested, are found to be benign (non-harmful); however, occasionally they are more serious. Early removal and accurate diagnosis of a lump is necessary to improve the outcome in your pet if the mass is cancerous.
Surgery can also help resolve several problems related to the eyes. Tearing in your pet’s eyes can mean an infection is present or may be a sign that the cornea (outer layer of the eye) has been damaged. Surgery may allow the cornea to heal faster with less scarring, improving your pet’s ability to see. In some pets, the eyelashes may actually damage the cornea. Surgical intervention improves comfort in these pets, reduces the chances of corneal scarring, and enhances the pet’s vision in the long term.
Acute conditions like GDV (gastric dilatation-volvulus), lacerations or injuries caused by fights or accidents may also require surgical intervention.
Most animals give birth without any complications. However, mothers occasionally need help with delivery. We usually attempt to resolve the problem using medical therapy first, but when that doesn’t solve the issue, we will perform a cesarean section.
During a c-section, the mother is given an anesthetic. An incision is then made along her abdomen and through the uterus to retrieve unborn puppies or kittens. In some situations, we may recommend that the mother be spayed during this procedure, usually to prevent future problems of this nature.
Imagine what your mouth would feel like if you never brushed your teeth or went to the dentist. For many dogs and cats, this is a painful reality. According to the American Veterinary Dental Society, more than 80% of dogs and 70% of cats have dental disease by the age of 3. Dental (or periodontal) disease is the most frequently diagnosed health problem in pets.
Common signs of dental disease include:
- Yellow or brown buildup (tartar) on the teeth
- Red, swollen, or bleeding gums
- Bad breath
- Excessive drooling
- Changes in eating or chewing habits
- Pawing at the face
- Loose teeth
Even if your dog or cat doesn’t have these symptoms, we recommend that you have a veterinarian evaluate your pet’s dental health at least once a year. Bacteria and food debris accumulate around the teeth and, if left unchecked, will lead to deterioration of the soft tissue and bone surrounding the teeth. This decay can result in irreversible periodontal disease, tooth loss, and possibly expensive oral surgery.
Dental disease can also affect other organs in the body: Bacteria in the mouth can get into the bloodstream and cause serious infections in the kidneys, liver, lungs, and heart. If these problems aren’t caught and treated quickly enough, they can result in death. A physical exam combined with appropriate laboratory work can determine if infection in the mouth has spread.
A teeth cleaning will begin with a look inside your pet’s mouth to assess the area. Your pet will be anesthetized during the entire procedure. While supervised by a Veterinarian, one Veterinary Nurse will monitor your pet’s vital signs, while another is performing the procedure which includes scaling, polishing, and fluoride treatment. X-rays and extractions may be performed when necessary. We admit our dental patients between 7:15 am -8:00 am; they can usually be dismissed anytime after 3:00 pm the same day.
Schedule your pet’s dental exam today! We can also help show you how to brush your pet’s teeth and recommend foods and treats that will help combat plaque and tartar buildup.
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Skin problems are common in dogs and cats and can be caused by hormonal disorders, allergies, infections, or parasites such as fleas and mites. These issues can be particularly difficult to treat and should be addressed promptly.
We can often diagnose a skin problem by simply examining your pet. Some dermatologic diseases or conditions do require additional diagnostic procedures to ensure a correct diagnosis. Depending on your pet’s symptoms and the results of our physical exam, we may run blood work or perform a urinalysis, skin scraping, or biopsies.
Contact us if you notice your dog or cat scratching excessively or if he or she develops any bare patches, scabs, scaling, redness, inflammation, lumps, or bumps.
Although heart problems are found more often in older pets, these conditions can affect pets at any age. Heart disease is sometimes a life-threatening condition, but early diagnosis and appropriate therapy can extend your pet’s life. If caught soon enough, some forms of heart disease can be cured.
Heart disease can lead to congestive heart failure (CHF), which occurs when the heart can no longer pump blood effectively. If an animal is suffering from CHF, fluid usually accumulates in and around the lungs and sometimes in the abdomen. Congenital heart disease (animals born with a heart problem), valvular heart disease (abnormalities of the heart valves), arrhythmias (rhythm disturbances), and heartworm disease can all lead to CHF.
Call us if your pet starts breathing rapidly or coughing, loses his or her appetite, tires easily, seems weak, or has trouble exercising. We can discover many heart problems during a physical exam. Additional tests, such as an electrocardiogram (ECG), radiographs (x-rays), and ultrasounds, are usually needed to accurately identify the cause of the heart disease or failure.
Identifying endocrine problems as early as possible is important in dogs and cats. These serious, potentially life-threatening conditions are much more manageable when caught early, allowing us to begin proper treatment.
The endocrine system is made up of a group of tissues (mostly glands) that release hormones into the bloodstream. These hormones regulate metabolism, growth, development, and reproduction and are dispersed to different areas of the body, depending on the hormone’s function. When a hormonal balance is disturbed (by a tumor or autoimmune disease, for instance), an endocrine disorder can develop. “Hyper” refers to an excess of hormones, and “hypo” refers to a deficiency in a hormone. Treatment varies depending on the disease.
There are several common endocrine disorders found in dogs and cats:
- Diabetes mellitus is caused by a deficiency in or resistance to the hormone insulin.
- Hypothyroidism, which is often diagnosed in dogs, indicates that the animal has low levels of thyroid hormone.
- Hyperthyroidism, which frequently affects cats, indicates that the animal has high levels of thyroid hormones.
- Addison’s disease (hypoadrenocorticism) and Cushing’s disease (hyperadrenocorticism) can also affect both species, although Cushing’s disease is rare in cats.
Contact us if your pet begins panting excessively, develops any skin issues (such as hair loss or dull coat), or shows any changes in behavior, energy levels, appetite, weight, water consumption, or urination.
It is crucial for your pet’s vision that we detect and treat glaucoma and other problems with intraocular pressure (pressure within the eye) as quickly as possible. We can test your dog or cat’s eyes for excess pressure easily and safely. The test, performed with a device called a tonometer, is not painful and does not require sedation.
If not treated immediately, glaucoma can cause permanent vision loss or even blindness. Pets that have suffered eye injuries should have this test performed. In addition, we recommend that breeds that are prone to developing glaucoma come in for regular measurements so we can monitor eye pressure and begin treatment before any problem becomes irreversible. Please call us to discuss whether your pet may be at higher risk for glaucoma.
Call us right away if you notice any of the following problems in either or both of your pet’s eyes: dilated (enlarged) pupils, clouding of the cornea (the normally clear outer layer of the eye), red or bloodshot eyes, one eye protruding or appearing larger than the other, squinting, or tearing. Because glaucoma is painful, your pet may react by rubbing or pawing at the eyes or rubbing his or her head against the floor or furniture more than normal.
If your pet becomes injured or critically ill (seizures, collapse, difficulty breathing, etc.) during our normal business hours, call us immediately, if possible, to let us know you’re on your way – or just show up at the door! Patients in life-threatening situations are always seen immediately, appointment or not.
We confidently refer after-hours emergencies to the Animal Emergency Clinic of Northwest Arkansas located in Springdale at the Hwy. 412 exit. They may be contacted at: 479-927-0007
Veterinary Specialist Referrals
Our experienced team of veterinarians and veterinary technicians provide many services at our clinic, ranging from routine to advanced procedures. Although we handle the majority of your pet’s medical and surgical needs in-house, we occasionally refer patients to veterinary specialists or specialty clinics when advanced training or equipment will be beneficial.
Board-certified specialists, such as oncologists, ophthalmologists, and neurologists, have extensive experience and training in a particular area of veterinary medicine or surgery. Specialty clinics and university-affiliated referral centers have specialized equipment to perform procedures that are not routinely performed by general veterinary practitioners.
We make referral decisions because we want to ensure that our patients receive the highest standard of care and best possible outcome. Be assured that when we refer a patient to another hospital, we continue to stay involved with his or her care, consulting with the treating specialist and often providing any needed follow-up care and rehabilitation.
Does your pet need a check-up?
Internal Parasites come in many forms; testing methods vary depending on what we're looking for.
We can screen for intestinal parasites like roundworms, hookworms, whipworms, tapeworms, coccidia, and giardia; blood-borne parasites like cytauxzoon felis and hemobart; and screen for diseases transmitted by parasitic mosquitoes and ticks like heartworm, Lyme, Ehrlichia, and Anaplasmosis.
Two parasites of concern due to their zoonotic (transmissible to human) nature are:
Roundworm – The intestinal parasite of greatest concern is roundworm. When roundworms infect humans, it can result in a condition known as ocular larval migrans. Since humans are not a natural host for roundworms, the larvae migrate through different areas of the body than they would in a cat or a dog. In this case, the larvae migrate to the human eye and damage the retina and/or the lens, resulting in blindness. Children are at the greatest risk for this disease since the infection occurs through ingestion of the eggs or larvae of the roundworm, often passed through feces.
Hookworm - Human infection with hookworm usually occurs as a result of the larvae penetrating the skin and causing a condition known as cutaneous larval migrans. Again, since humans are not natural hosts for hookworms, the larvae migrate through different areas of the body than they would in cats or dogs. In cutaneous larval migrans, the larvae migrate through the skin causing serpentine, linear lesions that are intensely pruritic. This disease is generally not life-threatening but it is very uncomfortable.
Children’s sandboxes should be kept covered to prevent dogs from defecating in them; young children should be monitored when playing outside to ensure that they are not ingesting dirt and their hands should be washed after playing outside. Shoes should be worn to reduce the risk of hookworm infection and gloves should be worn while gardening.
Prevention of transmission of roundworms and hookworms from dogs to humans involves a fecal exam at their first visit and deworming at the first and second visits. If there is evidence of roundworms or hookworms in the fecal exam or if the owner notices the puppy passing roundworms, a follow-up fecal exam should be done at the third visit to ensure the infection has been cleared. We recommend year-round protection with medications that treat a variety of internal parasites. We will recommend a product that suits the needs of your individual pet and lifestyle.
Flea Prevention and Control
Fleas can cause problems for pets ranging from minor to life-threatening. Not only can these parasites cause severe itching, irritation, and allergies, but they can also transmit tapeworms and diseases. Fleas can infest dogs, cats, ferrets, mice, and rats. And fleas don’t just stay on pets; they can bite people, too. For more information, contact us or see the flea article in the Pet Health Library on our site.
You don’t want these blood-sucking parasites on your pet or in your home. We can help keep them away or help you get rid of them if they’ve already found their way inside. We carry a variety of oral and topical medications to meet your needs. Call us to find out how to eliminate and control fleas or to start your pet on a preventive today.