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Frequently Asked Questions

Here are some questions/answers that we are frequently asked. Simply click on the question to see the answer! If you have additional questions that aren't covered here, please feel free to give us a call at (509) 467-7100 or contact us.

Clinic FAQ
What are the clinic hours?

Our hospital is open Monday to Friday from 7:30 am to 5:30 pm. Our doctors and staff are available for appointments Monday through Friday from 8:00 am to 12:00 pm and 2:00 pm to 4:30 pm. The clinic is closed on Saturday and Sunday.

Do I need to have an appointment?

We prefer to schedule appointments to ensure our doctors and staff have allocated an appropriate amount of time for clients and each patient. We try our best to accommodate urgent care or same day appointments. For those incidences where we are fully booked and creating room in our schedule to allow for an urgent need or sick pet, additional exam fees may apply. Walk-in appointments are discouraged.

What forms of payment do you accept?

Cash, Mastercard, Discover, American Express, Visa, Personal Check, and CareCredit. We also offer an online payment portal through our app, PetDesk. You can find the link on our website or ask for the invoice to be texted directly to your phone. 

Can I make payments?

No, payment in full is required at the time of service.

At what age can I have my pet spayed or neutered?

The traditional rule was to spay or neuter pets at approximately six months of age. Five to six months remains the recommended age for spaying or neutering cats. However, more recent studies have revealed there can be a benefit to waiting to spay or neuter dogs, up to 1-2 years of age, especially in the larger breeds. This delay allows the dog to more fully mature and growth plates to close before removing any hormonal influence which aids in development. Though there isn't a hard and fast rule, our veterinarians are always happy to consult with clients as to what their recommendation would be based on your pet's breed, disposition, size, developmental maturity, and any incidental environmental factors.

Is it a good idea to let my pet have at least one litter?

No, there is no advantage to letting your pet have one litter. However there are plenty of advantages to having you pet spayed or neutered. These advantages include decreasing the chances of breast tumors later in life, decreasing the chance of cystic ovaries and uterine infections later in life, decreasing the desire to roam the neighborhood, decreasing the incidence of prostate cancer later in life, helping prevent spraying and marking, and also decreases the surplus of unwanted puppies and kittens.

Do you only see dogs and cats?

In addition to dogs and cats, we also see exotics including pocket pets and birds.

Surgical FAQ
Is the anesthesia safe?

Today's modern anesthetic monitors have made surgery much safer than in the past. Here at Animal Clinic of Spokane, we do a thorough physical exam on your pet before administering anesthetics, to ensure that a fever or other illness won't be a problem. We also adjust the amount and type of anesthetic used depending on the health of your pet. The handout on anesthesia explains this in greater detail.

Pre-anesthetic blood testing is important in reducing the risk of anesthesia. Every pet needs blood testing before surgery to ensure that the liver and kidneys can handle the anesthetic. Even apparently healthy animals can have serious organ system problems that cannot be detected without blood testing. If there is a problem, it is much better to find it before it causes anesthetic or surgical complications. Animals that have minor dysfunction will handle the anesthetic better if they receive IV fluids during surgery. If serious problems are detected, surgery can be postponed until the problem is corrected.

For geriatric or ill pets, additional blood tests, electrocardiograms, or x-rays may be required before surgery as well.

It is important that surgery be done on an empty stomach to reduce the risk of vomiting during and after anesthesia. You will need to withhold food for at least 8 to 10 hours before surgery. Water can be left down for the pet until the morning of surgery.

Will my pet be in pain?

Anything that causes pain in people can be expected to cause pain in animals. Pets may not show the same symptoms of pain as people do; they usually don't whine or cry, but you can be sure they feel it. Pain medications needed will depend on the surgery performed. Major procedures require more pain relief than things like minor lacerations.

The medications we recommend are less likely to cause stomach upset and are safe for most pets. On the day of surgery, we administer a couple types of pain medication via injections. After surgery, pain medication is prescribed on a case by case basis. Any animal that appears painful will receive additional pain medication.

For dogs, we may recommend an oral anti-inflammatory for several days following the surgery to lessen the risk of discomfort and swelling. Because cats do not tolerate standard non-steroidal anti-inflammatories as well, we are more limited in what we can give them. Thankfully, recent advances in pain medications have allowed better pain control in cats than ever before. If we feel your cat needs additional pain medications, we will send home an oral liquid, a tablet, or even a long-lasting topical analgesic that can help ease any discomfort.

Providing whatever pain relief is appropriate is a humane and caring thing to do for your pet.

What is the pre-anesthetic blood screening?

This is a basic blood test that is run here in the clinic prior to surgery. It tests the organ functions, blood counts and clotting function of your pet. The pre-anesthetic blood screening is done to assure safety during surgery and the ability to heal following surgery. We require pre-anesthetic bloodwork for major surgeries, animals who appear of questionable health, or any animals who are 7 years of age or older. In some instances, a more in-depth blood screening may be warranted. These cases will be determined by the veterinarian after they examine your pet can consider any pertinent health concerns or history. 

Will my pet have stitches?

For many surgeries, we use absorbable sutures underneath the skin. These will dissolve on their own, and do not need to be removed later. Some surgeries, especially tumor removals, do require skin stitches. With either type of suture, you will need to keep an eye on the incision for swelling or discharge. Most dogs and cats do not lick excessively or chew at the incision, but this is an occasional problem you will also need to watch for. If there are skin sutures, these will usually be removed 10 to 14 days after surgery. You will also need to limit your pet's activity level for a time and no baths are allowed for the first 10 days after surgery.

How long do the sutures stay in after my pet's surgery?

Procedures involving external sutures typically require them to be removed 14 days after the surgery. With some procedures, it is advisable to leave the sutures in longer. Your pet's veterinarian will discuss their recommendation for your animal at the time of release.

What other decisions do I need to make?

While your pet is under anesthesia, it is the ideal time to perform other minor procedures, such as dentistry, ear cleaning, or implanting an identification microchip. If you would like an estimate for these extra services, please call ahead of time. This is especially important if the person dropping the pet off for surgery is not the primary decision maker for the pet's care.

When you bring your pet in for surgery, we will need to 10-15 minutes of time to fill out paperwork and make decisions on the blood testing and other options available. When you pick up your pet after surgery you can also plan to spend about 10-20 minutes to go over your pet's home care needs.

You will receive an appointment reminder 48 hours before your scheduled surgery to confirm the time you will be dropping your pet off. This is an automated reminder. If you have specific concerns or questions, we recommend calling and speaking to a receptionist or planning extra time to meet with a veterinarian or technician the morning of the surgery.