Some tips on safely bringing your large or small animal to one of our clinics:
For their safety, all pets must be restrained by a leash or in a carrier upon arrival at the clinic. Make sure your dog’s collar or harness is snug so they cannot pull out. We ask that you keep your dog a safe distance away from other dogs as they may not all get along. Always bring your cat in a carrier or on a harness. After spending time in the hospital, cats may be particularly sensitive to strange sights and sounds and we have had them jump out of their owner’s arms when being carried out to the car. We have both collars/leashes and cardboard carriers available for purchase if needed.
If you are planning on trailering a large animal in to the hospital, please consult with the one of the Large Animal Technicians or Veterinarians ahead of time. Some procedures cannot be safely done on a trailer and, since we do not have handling facilities, we may have to make a farm call for the safety of the patient and the handlers. For haul-in appointments where we will be unloading a patient, check in at the front desk first for instructions on where to park and unload. Always bring a halter and lead rope or other method of restraint with you as well.
What to bring:
We want to make sure we answer all of your questions! Once you are in the office or we are out on the farm, it is easy to forget some of the things you were worried about so feel free to make a list of questions/concerns ahead of time and bring it with you or email it to us.
We will ask you the brand and amount of foods you are feeding your pet as part of nutritional counseling. Feel free to bring the bag or label with you if you have special questions.
If possible bring all your pets medications in the original containers or at least bring/email us a record of all medications, including over the counter products and supplements. This helps us to check the dosing and to make sure none of the medications will interfere with each other.
- Stool samples:
All species of animals have their own unique internal parasites. Testing the stool for worms is part of a basic health exam for most of the animals we see. If it is time for your pet’s annual physical or if there are any concerns about your pet having diarrhea, weight loss, poor appetite, rubbing or chewing at the anal area or difficulty with bowel movements, we will recommend a “fecal exam” to check for intestinal parasites. Any stool samples you bring should be collected within 1 hour after defecation, as ground based worms can migrate into the stool and cause a false positive reading. Collect approximately a tablespoon sized piece for small animals or about a ¼ cup for large animals. Store the sample in a plastic bag and keep refrigerated until you are on your way to the clinic.
- Urine samples:
If you have concerns about your pet having changes in water consumption (more or less than usual), changes in urination habits or pain/straining during urination we may want to perform a urinalysis. This will allow us to check the urine for changes in the ability to concentrate the urine (an indicator of kidney function), blood, glucose/sugar, infection, etc. Bringing a urine sample with you in these situations is very helpful. To collect a urine sample at home from your dog you can tape a small, clean, plastic container (a washed out butter container or Tupperware type container works well) to a yardstick or paint stirrer and slide this into the urine stream as you dog urinates. This method can be used for horses as well. Most horses will urinate when placed in a stall or pen with fresh bedding. For cats, use a clean, plastic litter box and, in place of cat litter, use plastic “craft” beads (can be found in the arts and crafts section of Walmart). Once your cat urinates in the box, it is easy to pour the urine off into a clean container for transport to the clinic. Obviously, if you have multiple cats, make sure you isolate the affected cat with the box in a small room to be sure you collect the correct sample. If your pet is urinating so frequently you cannot collect a clean sample, you can use a syringe or eye dropper to draw some out of any puddles on the floor. This kind of sample will be contaminated, but it can tell us some basic information. Keep any urine in the refrigerator until you are on your way to the clinic. It is best that it be less than 24 hours old.
If your pet will be staying in the hospital:
We want to make your pet as comfortable as possible in the hospital. As long as it is safe, we will be happy to place your bedding or toys in with your pet. Be aware that these may get soiled, as sometimes a sick animals bathroom habits are abnormal and that nervous/sick animals are more likely to chew on or damage items such as toys. We can also feed your pet’s normal food unless we are using a prescription diet as part of the treatment. We may have you keep your leash with you and use our own while your pet is with us. Be sure to bring a carrier for cats for the trip home.
For large animal or exotic patients, please bring a small amount of bedding and feed (hay, alfalfa cubes, grain, etc.) with you as we do not keep all of these materials in stock.
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Animal Medical Services, Mount Airy, NC Galax Veterinary Clinic, Galax, VA