GENERAL: Do you see walk in appointments?
To allow ample time for all patients and scheduled surgical procedures, we operate primarily by appointment. Emergency cases shall always receive top priority which is why occasional appointment delays are inevitable. Please realize that we make a sincere attempt to see each client on time.
GENERAL: Do you see emergencies?
Yes. During normal business hours we are here for all your needs. In the event of emergency during these hours, please call ahead and proceed directly to our hospital. Outside our normal hours we feel if your pet requires emergency care a veterinarian and pet nursing team should be available throughout the night. We suggest going to the nearest emergency hospital which are listed on our patient resources page.
GENERAL: Do you see exotic pets?
Yes, Dr. George Fountas practices medicine and surgery on pets with fur, feathers or scales including birds, rabbits, pocket pets and reptiles.
GENERAL: Do you have overnight care?
We believe that pets in need of overnight emergency care should be monitored throughout the night by a veterinarian and a team of nurses. In situations where pets are stable and need overnight kenneling, for rest and recuperation, this is provided.
GENERAL: Finance options
River Road Veterinary Hospital is a privately owned hospital that receives no support from other agencies and therefore cannot extend credit or receive partial payments. In order to continue to provide high quality medicine and surgery we require that clients be prepared to pay for all services when they are rendered. For your convenience we accept cash, personal check and credit cards. If you are interested in pet insurance we can give you information as well.
GENERAL: Do you offer grooming?
We do not offer this service, however if you are a do-it-yourself type we do offer a wide range of shampoos and conditioners and some grooming supplies.
GENERAL: Do you offer boarding?
Routine boarding is not a service that we provide. Our goal is to provide a stress free environment for all pets visiting with us and we feel that the noise level customary in boarding facilities is not the best atmosphere for our pets recovering from surgery or illness or visiting for routine care.
In certain instances we allow patients that need daily medical care to spend the night in the hospital; however, we feel that pets in need of 24 hour care should be under the constant observation of a veterinarian and nursing team.
GENERAL: Can I drop my pet off for an exam?
Most of us lead hectic lifestyles and often find if difficult to schedule an appointment at a specific time. If this sounds familiar, we offer a service that involves leaving your pet with us for a few hours, or the day, and the doctor will examine your pet, call to discuss your pet's health and perform the necessary services. For your convenience, "drop-off" appointments are available. A "drop off" means you can bring your pet in at a time that works best for you and leave him/her with us for a couple of hours. Usually we will ask you to leave your pet sometime in the morning so our doctors can examine the patient in between appointments or at the time purposely reserved for admitted patients. Once the doctor is done, we will give you a call to go over the diagnosis and to give you discharge instructions.
VACCINATIONS: Why do puppies and kittens need so many vaccinations?
When kittens and puppies are born, their immune systems are not yet mature and therefore are very susceptible to infection. When our young pets first nurse their mothers they receive all the antibodies that the mother has to offer providing them with immunity until their own system can take over. Birthing order, how well they nursed and other factors influence how long the maternal antibodies will provide protection. This period of time is very individual from pet to pet. By 16 to 20 weeks of age, maternal antibodies are gone and the pet will be able continue on its own immune system.
Any vaccines given while maternal immunity is present will be inactivated. We will vaccinate your puppy or kitten with a series of vaccines ending at a time when we know their own immune system should be able to respond. Waiting until your pet is old enough to definitely respond, as we do with the rabies vaccination, could leave a large window of vulnerability if the maternal antibody wanes early.
VACCINATIONS: Vaccinations... which ones do I need?
We are frequently asked which vaccines we recommend for cats and dogs. We feel that each pet is an individual and should be vaccinated for what they are likely to come in contact with. There are many factors that come into consideration. Does your pet go to the groomers? Do you go to puppy classes? Does your cat spend a percentage of time outside? We do a risk assessment for your pet to determine what vaccines are recommended.
VACCINATIONS: Are vaccines harmless?
bThe short answer to this is no. Whenever a vaccine is administered the immune system is stimulated, resulting in an inflammatory response that may be typical or lead to an allergic reaction (see below). Unvaccinated pets may have an increased risk of developing a preventable diseases which we consider a greater risk then the vaccines themselves. Vaccines are licensed based on the minimum duration they can be expected to provide protection. Some vaccines are labeled for 3 years and some for 1 year. There are studies being done to determine if certain vaccines have a longer duration of action and as the results of these studies become available we will see changes in the frequency they are given. These studies are done across an expanse of years and are expensive.
VACCINATIONS: Will my pet have an allergic reaction?
Vaccine reactions can be seen immediately or may be delayed up to 48 hours. Muscle soreness, lethargy and mild fever persisting for a day or two are considered typical adverse reactions to stimulation of the immune system. If your pet has a more serious reaction then you should call immediately. Signs of a more serious reaction may include hives, facial swelling, nausea or vomiting, shock and possibly death (anaphylactic reactions). Vaccine reactions such as this are very rare and are a function of a pet's individual immune response. Allergic reactions characterized by facial swelling and hives are a strong sign that special care should be taken in administering vaccinations in the future. Since allergic reactions can potentially become worse with each episode, it is important to take heed of these signs. There is evidence that some breeds are more predisposed than others to having vaccine reactions. Knowing this, at River Road Veterinary Hospital we recommend giving these pets medications to lessen the likelihood of this.
SURGERY: Is the anesthetic safe?
Today's modern anesthetic monitors have made surgery much safer than in the past. Here at River Road Veterinary Hospital, 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.
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 pets 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. If serious problems are detected, surgery may 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.
SURGERY: 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 12 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 14 days after surgery.
SURGERY: Will my pet be in pain?
Anything that causes pain in people can be expected to cause pain in our pets however they 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.
For dogs, we may recommend an oral anti-inflammatory the day of surgery and may continue for several days after to lessen the risk of discomfort and swelling. We use newer medications, which are less likely to cause stomach upset and can be given even the morning of surgery.
Because cats do not tolerate anti-inflammatories well, we are limited in what we can give them. Recent advances in pain medications have allowed for better pain control in cats than ever before. We administer a pain injection 30 minutes prior to surgery. After surgery, pain medication is given again. Any pet that appears painful will receive additional pain medication. Providing whatever pain relief is appropriate is a humane and caring thing to do for your pet.
SURGERY: 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 nail trimming, 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 5 to 10 minutes of time to fill out paperwork. When you pick up your pet after surgery you can also plan to spend about 10 minutes to go over your pet's home care needs.
We will call you the night before your scheduled surgery appointment, to confirm the time you will be dropping your pet off and to answer any questions you might have. In the meantime, please don't hesitate to call us with any questions about your pet's health or surgery.