Frequently Asked Questions for Veterinarians in Greenville
How often should my pet have an exam?
Animal Hospital of Pitt County recommends yearly visits for most pets and older pets coming in more frequently – at least every 6 months. Yearly exams include physical examinations by our veterinarians plus annual or booster vaccinations, parasite screening & prevention, and various lab tests performed.
For puppies and kittens, we need to see them on a more frequent schedule during their first year of life. For pets over age 7, we recommend exams and blood work every 6 months to help us detect diseases and issues before they become a problem.
Why does my pet need a dental cleaning?
Many people think that it is normal for a dog to have bad breath, but that is not the case. Bad breath is caused by bacteria in the mouth that create byproducts that contain sulfur. Regular home cleanings accompanied by scheduled professional cleanings will help to prevent bad breath and the bacteria that cause it.
Besides just bad breath, dental disease:
- Releases bacteria into the bloodstream
- Increases risk for heart, liver and kidney disease
- Can cause severe pain and problems for your pet
Pets need regular dental cleanings to increase quality and length of life and:
- Allows us to chart dental disease over time
- Means less time under anesthesia
- Reduces the need for more advanced and expensive treatment in the future such as teeth extractions and oral surgery
Dental disease is the most common disease in dogs. Recent studies show that 85% of cats and 92% of dogs over age 3 have periodontal disease.
What happens during my pet’s dental cleaning?
A thorough dental cleaning can only be accomplished while the pet is under general anesthesia. The anesthesia we use is safe for all animals and your pet is constantly monitored during the dental procedure. Prior to anesthesia, blood tests are performed to help uncover any hidden illnesses.
A professional cleaning (called a dental prophylaxis) removes plaque and tartar from the teeth. Your pet's entire mouth health (teeth, tongue, gums, and lips) will be examined and assessed.
I noticed a change in my pet’s behavior. Should I see a veterinarian?
Pets cannot tell us how they feel and are able to hide their pain from us (especially cats). Changes in behavior such as appetite change, lethargy, energy level, aggressiveness, inappropriate elimination, and vocalization (barking/meowing) can be symptoms of behavior or health issues. Contact our vet hospital for an exam appointment right away.
What should I do if I notice fleas or ticks on my pet?
Isolate your pet from other animals and small children to prevent the spread of the parasite to them. Bring your pet to our vet clinic for thorough testing for parasites. They can usually be easily treated, but parasite preventative measures are best for both your pet and your wallet. Ask about our available safe and effective parasite prevention products.
At what age should I have my pet spayed or neutered?
Animal Hospital of Pitt County recommends waiting until your pet is at least 6 months of age before seeking a spay or neuter procedure. Contact us to discuss specific details based on species, breed, and size. Spaying / neutering has health and behavioral benefits for your pet and of course, helps prevent over-population.
What are heartworms? How can I prevent my pet from getting heartworms?
One infected mosquito is all it takes to infect your dog with the baby form (larval stage) of the heartworm parasite.
Heartworms are a serious and potentially fatal disease in pets. Twelve-inch-long worms (looks like spaghetti) live in the heart, lungs, and blood vessels of infected pets, causing lung disease, heart failure, organ damage, and can be fatal if untreated.
How does my pet get heartworms? Heartworms living in an infected dog, cat, or wildlife produce baby worms that circulate in the bloodstream. When a mosquito bites an infected animal, it picks up these worms and when it bites another animal, the worms enter through the bite wound. Heartworms can grow and live for 5 - 7 years in dogs and 3 years in cats.
What can I do to protect my pet? Heartworm disease is preventable! Dogs should be tested annually and before starting prevention. Prevention is the safest and most cost-effective option, but treatment is available for dogs (although costly and lengthy). Cats should be tested before starting prevention and re-tested as the veterinarian deems appropriate. There is NO treatment in cats, so prevention is critical and the only means of protection.
Animal Hospital of Pitt County has safe, effective products available that cater to your pet's lifestyle and your budget. Heartworm prevention should be provided 12 months of the year.
Are you accepting new patients, and do you accept walk-ins?
Yes, we are always accepting new patients! Contact us to schedule a new client appointment, boarding reservation, and/or groom.
If you don't have an appointment, we accept walk-ins Monday - Friday between 7:30am-11:30am and 2:00pm-4:30pm. We close at 12:00pm on Saturday, so we only accept walk-ins between the hours of 7:30am-11:00am. For any after-hours emergencies please contact the Pet Emergency Clinic.
Does my pet need an updated exam and/or testing to get heartworm prevention?
Yes, your pet is required to have a physical exam, heartworm test within the last year, and proof of consistent purchase history in order to receive prescription prevention for heartworms and/or fleas/ticks. Giving a pet a prescription medication without an up-to-date exam or testing can be hazardous to your pet's health. Similar to your own doctor, our veterinarians cannot prescribe or refill a prescription without yearly exams and testing. Missing your pets monthly heartworm prevention can leave them unprotected, resulting in the need for retesting.
The following prevention is considered prescription medication: Trifexis, Heartgard Plus, Sentinel, Interceptor, Revolution, Advantage Multi, Comfortis, and NexGard.
Can I get a copy of my pet's records?
Yes, a copy of your pet's records can be picked up, mailed, or faxed. You can use your PetPortal account for easy access to your pet's records and more.