Image34Got Pet Questions? Care Animal Hospital Has Answers!
These links to resources will take you to a wide variety of pet care, pet health, and pet behavioral information. They cover such topics as traveling with your pet, dental care, common diseases, giving medications, introducing your dog or cat to a new baby, and many more helpful topics.

Click here to Ask A Doctor

Frequently Asked Questions

I have a question about the low cost Spay and Neuter Clinics. I have a small Dachshund about 5 lbs female and we are looking into getting her spayed. I want the best for her but the price difference is quite large. Do you recommend these clinics?
Thanks for your question. I do not know which particular clinic you are talking about but I have had contact over the years with several low cost spay-neuter facilities and they have all been very similar.

Let’s talk first about what you get for your dollars at our facility. Care Animal Hospital has a surgical suite that was designed to be used for surgery. It has positive pressure ventilation, which means that no air is mixed with the rest of the building for sterility. Each animal is examined prior to anesthesia and laboratory tests are run to ensure normal organ function. Pain medications are given to ensure that pain is controlled by the time the procedure is complete. We place an IV catheter to give access for drugs or fluids in case an emergency arises during or after the procedure. Each animal is intubated (an airway is placed) and is maintained on Sevoflurane gas anesthesia. Sevoflurane is the safest gas anesthesia available — even for people. The patient is placed on a device that monitors blood pressure, oxygen level, heart rate, EKG, respiration and body temperature during the procedure that is performed on a heated surgery table. During recovery the patient is closely watched by a veterinary assistant and is wrapped in blankets to keep him/her warm and comfortable. Each patient goes home with pain control medication for several days.

Obviously all of this takes time and a number of staff to accomplish…hence the higher cost. I do not look at this as a commodity that you should pick based on price, this is your pet and you should pick a practice that is committed to making the procedure as safe and comfortable as possible.

If we assume that this is a typical spay neuter clinic, then they will do 30 procedures on the day that your dog is done (one in Indianapolis does 80 to 100 per day according to the Indianapolis Star). If you just think about the amount of time that will be spent with each animal if they are doing that many you know that they cannot be doing all that needs to be done for a safe outcome. If they are doing 30 procedures, this allows 16 minutes per animal — with no breaks, over an 8 hour day. I just ask myself (and so should you) how good of job can they possibly be doing? It takes longer than 16 minutes just to properly shave and scrub for a spay!

In short, no. I do not recommend these places. They are not practicing medicine, they are running an assembly line.

Lastly, we do see patients from these facilities frequently after their surgery and have to step in to treat pain, infection and replace sutures — all problems that can occur with surgery done anywhere but we see many more from low cost practices.

Bottom line: You get what you pay for.


My dog is due to have puppies next month. What can I expect?
Gestation in dogs lasts about 9 weeks. Dogs may not show until the last 3-4 weeks. We recommend feeding your dog puppy food starting the last month of pregnancy until the puppies are weaned. You should set up a quiet place for whelping 1-2 weeks prior to the expected due date and show it to your dog each day. The area should have a box that the dog can easily step in and out of and large enough for her to stand up and reposition in easily.

Parturition, or birthing, has four stages. Stage 1 lasts 6-24 hours. During this stage, your dog begins to have contractions and her cervix is dilated. This may not be apparent just by observing your dog. Your dog may act anxious or nervous, pant, pace, or whine. She may go into the whelping box and move around the blankets. Try to leave your dog alone in a quiet place as frequent interruption can disrupt the birthing process. Check on the dog every 30-60 minutes.

Stage 2 begins when the cervix is fully dilated and the dog begins to actively strain. It ends when a puppy is born. Active straining for more than 1 hour without a puppy is abnormal and you should seek veterinary care. Stage 3 is the passing of the placenta and usually occurs within 15 minutes of the birth of each puppy. Dogs with more than one puppy will go back and forth between stages 2 and 3. Puppies may follow a few minutes of each other, or your dog may rest for a few hours between puppies. A lag of more than six hours between puppies is unusual. A dog with a large litter may take up to 24-36 hours to birth the puppies.

Your dog should lick her newborn puppy within a few minutes to remove the membranes and stimulate breathing. If this does not occur, you should pick the puppy up in a towel and rub it vigorously. You can also use a suction bulb to pull fluid out of the mouth and nose. Once the puppy is breathing and moving, place it back with the mother. She may not nurse if another puppy is coming quickly, but she should let her puppies nurse if there is a lag time between puppies.

After the birthing process, your dog should be producing milk from several mammary glands and allowing the puppies to nurse. If her glands become red, hard, or hot, a veterinarian should see her. She may continue to have some bloody discharge from the birth canal for a few days, but it should be getting less each day and resolve within 1 week.