Preventive Care and Vaccinations
Our annual and semi-annual visits include a comprehensive physical exam, heartworm test, a comprehensive blood panel to screen for sufficient organ function, intestinal parasite screen, and a vaccination schedule tailored to your pet’s specific needs. During your appointment, your doctor and technician will review your pet’s lifestyle and will help you determine what his/her needs are.
Puppy and kitten visits include recommended vaccinations, deworming, intestinal parasite screens, and comprehensive physical exams throughout your puppy or kitten’s development. Your first puppy or kitten visit will include a complimentary dose of heartworm and flea prevention, helpful information to take home, and a couple fun toys and treats.
We have the capacity to board cats, dogs, and small animals while you are away. When your pet stays with us, they will enjoy as many of the comforts of home as possible. Their home away from home will include a soft surface on which to relax and continuous access to water. They will be fed once or twice daily, in accordance with what they are used to at home. We feed Hill’s Sensitive Stomach food at no cost to you, but you are welcome to bring your pet’s food from home. Each dog will be walked at least twice daily, and each cat will have a litter box in their enclosure with them. The litter boxes are cleaned out at least once daily (more if necessary). Each dog that boards with us will have a bath prior to going home. We will bathe cats on an as needed basis unless a bath is specifically requested by the owner at the time the cat is dropped off. We can administer any necessary medications for an additional charge.
Microchips play an integral role in reuniting lost pets. A microchip is a tiny chip that is implanted under the surface of the skin in between the shoulder blades. The chip is encoded with a number that is specific to that pet. If a pet gets lost and ends up at a shelter or veterinary facility, the facility can use that number to reunite the pet with its owner. The implantation itself is as easy as receiving a shot and is over within seconds. While there is a small degree of discomfort associated with the injection, it does not last. Most pets will tolerate the implantation without the need for sedation. Call today for more information or to schedule an appointment for a microchip implantation.
During the physical exam, the veterinarian will assess your pet’s body condition, including weight. If weight gain or loss is recommended, your veterinarian can help you determine the appropriate feeding guidelines to help your pet hit his/her target weight.
Surgery and Monitoring
We perform a variety of surgical procedures including routine spays and neuters; bladder stone removals, intestinal surgeries such as foreign body removals, intussusception repair, intestinal resections and anastamoses; exploratory laparotomies; biopsies; and C-sections, to name a few. We also have relationships with specialty hospitals should your pet need a referral to a specialty surgeon.
Each pet that has a surgical procedure must be placed under anesthesia. There are always inherent risks with anesthesia, and this is a fact that the doctors and staff of Washington Heights Veterinary Clinic do not take lightly. Many steps are taken to ensure that your pet is as healthy as possible before anesthesia is considered. Besides a comprehensive physical examination on the day of the procedure, each pet also has their blood analyzed prior to anesthesia in order to uncover any obvious abnormalities that may put them at increased risk for complication. Once under anesthesia, each pet is aggressively monitored by the veterinarian as well as by a veterinary technician. The team is by the pet’s side from induction through recovery. In addition, an electronic surgical monitoring system is employed. This machine constantly monitors the pet’s heart rate, oxygenation, blood pressure, and temperature. It also displays the pet’s EKG. This tells the doctor and technician how the heart is beating at any given time. While these precautions are never a guarantee, we at Washington Heights Veterinary Clinic do everything we can to ensure that your pet’s anesthetic and surgical experience is smooth and uneventful.
If your pet is scheduled for a surgical procedure, we require that they receive no food after 10 p.m. the evening before the surgery. They may have access to water. They should receive no food on the morning of the surgery, and they should arrive between 7:30 and 8:00 a.m. All pets who will be undergoing an anesthetic procedure will have bloodwork performed prior to the procedure.
Routine dental care is as important in animals as it is in humans. The pet owner plays a key role in their pet’s dental hygiene. Brushing your pet’s teeth as often as possible and/or using oral rinses and gels will significantly improve your pet’s oral health. However, just like with people, pets will eventually need a professional teeth cleaning. This may be required yearly or may need to be performed less frequently, depending on your pet’s genetic makeup and response to home care.
The dental cleaning is performed in the same way on your pet as it is on you when you visit the dentist. The only difference is that your pet must be under anesthesia during the procedure. Once asleep, the procedure is the same. The veterinary technician performs the teeth cleaning under the veterinarian’s supervision. This involves scaling all the tartar off of the teeth with an ultrasonic scaler and then polishing all of the teeth with a low-speed hand piece. Once the teeth are cleaned, dental x-rays are taken with a digital dental x-ray unit much like the ones found in your dentist’s office. The veterinarian, who has been helping to monitor the patient while the technician has been cleaning, then interprets the x-rays and examines the mouth very closely. The doctor probes around the teeth to search for any pockets or other abnormalities. If any extractions or other treatments are necessary, the veterinarian addresses them. The pet is then awakened from the anesthesia and is usually able to go home that same afternoon.
At Washington Heights Veterinary Clinic, we can handle any emergencies that come to us during our regular business hours. Our staff is well-trained in emergency procedures, and we have the equipment necessary to care for your pet. While we are not staffed overnight, those pets that are deemed stable may be allowed to remain in our hospital. If the pet is in critical condition and requires constant monitoring overnight, we will recommend that the owner transport the pet to either the emergency department at Gulf Coast Veterinary Specialists, the Animal Emergency Clinic, or VERGI.
The veterinarians at Washington Heights Veterinary Clinic begin each patient visit with the most important diagnostic tool: the comprehensive physical examination. While other diagnostics are extremely important, the first step to arriving at any diagnosis is the physical examination. All other diagnostic and therapeutic decisions are based on what is found on that initial exam.
We have complete on-site laboratory to allow for many tests to be run on-site, including complete blood counts, blood chemistries, urinalyses, some fecal analyses, and cytological analyses. This ensures the ability to make many diagnoses quickly, without the need to wait for results to come in. For the more advanced tests or in cases where a second opinion is warranted, we also have an off-site lab with which we may consult.
We use a state-of-the-art digital x-ray machine. This allows us to get a better quality x-ray each time. In addition, it limits the number of times we need to re-take x-rays, thus requiring the patient to be restrained for shorter periods than with a traditional x-ray machine. This translates into less patient anxiety and fear and ultimately, greater patient comfort.
Our in-house pharmacy has most of the medications the veterinarian will prescribe for your pet, including antibiotics, antihistamines, dewormers, ear medications, eye medications, medicated shampoos, prescription diets, etc. We also have a convenient online pharmacy that delivers medication to your door step.
For your convenience, you may order medications and prescription diets through our online pharmacy and have manufacturer-guaranteed medication sent directly to your home. Additionally, this keeps your veterinarian involved in decisions regarding your pet’s health. As your veterinarians, we have a better understanding of your pet’s medical history and drug interactions.
*Disclaimer regarding other internet pharmacies*
We have been advised not to authorize requests directly from other online pharmacies. The reason for this is that many online pharmacies do not receive their products directly from the manufacturer, so we cannot be sure of the source of their products or what measures are taken to ensure their quality. Buying medications from online pharmacies (e.g. 1800-PetMeds, Fosters & Smith, etc.) voids medication of the manufacturer’s guarantee. Ordering directly from the manufacturer not only ensures effectiveness, but also comes with a guarantee that if the medication fails, treatment may be covered by the manufacturer.
However, if you would like to purchase prescription products from an online pharmacy, we will provide you with a written prescription. An original copy of the written prescription must be mailed in to the pharmacy of your choice. Please know that our intention is not to inconvenience you but to ensure the health and safety of our patients.