FAQ

General FAQ:

What types of pets do you treat?

 We treat dogs and cats only.  

Do we accept walk-in appointments?

We run our schedule based on appointments.  Appointments help us keep the schedule running smoothly and on-time. 

We will take walk-in appointments on an as needed basis, but prefer to have you schedule for an appointment.  For walk in appointments, we cannot guarantee a time frame for your visit and we may need to have you drop your pet off to be examined and treated in between other appointments.

Where can we take our pets if your clinic is closed?

 MU VHC KC – formerly the AEC - 816-455-5430

8141 N. Oak Trafficway

Kansas City, MO 64118

 

BluePearl Northland – 816-759-5016

139 NE 91 Street

Kansas City, MO 64155

 

Mission Veterinary Emergency and Specialty – 913-722-5566

5914 Johnson Drive

Mission, KS 66202

Do you treat emergencies?

 We treat emergencies and urgent care conditions during business hours.  For emergencies and urgent care visits, we ask that you call ahead so we can prepare for your arrival. 

Yes, cats can get arthritis.  Cats suffer from arthritis in the same ways dogs do, however they are better at hiding symptoms.  Arthritis in cats can be subtle and you may not notice changes to their behavior right away.

Symptoms may include:

·      Not eating well if their food is up on a counter

·      Not going up or down the stairs to their food or litter box

·      Poop accidents outside the litterbox

·      Hiding down low instead of jumping up onto furniture

If you feel as though your cat has arthritis or pain, we can go through pain control options and lifestyle adjustments to help.

Can you write me a note for an emotional support animal (ESA)?

An emotional support animal is a pet that is providing support for you as the owner.  We cannot write prescriptions for human treatments.  The only documentation we can provide is a health certificate at the time of an examination.  We cannot write a health certificate on a patient we have not examined and our clinic policy is to only write health certificates at the time of the examination.  If you need an emotional support animal, we will direct you to contact your physician. 

What can I give my dog for pain?

There are no safe over the counter/people medications for dogs or cats. 

Buffered aspirin or baby aspirin will cause stomach ulcers.  Aspirin stays in the system for at least 14 days and prevents us from being able to give medications that work safely for dogs and cats. 

Motrin (Ibuprofen), Aleve (Naproxen), Tylenol and Excedrin are all toxic and cause either liver or kidney disease in addition to upset stomach with vomiting and diarrhea. 

If you feel like your pet is in pain, give us a call and we can find a solution that is safest for your pet.  The clinic phone number is (816) 532-0130


Annual Examination FAQ:

What does a first-time visit consist of?

For your first visit, we will have some new client/patient paperwork for you to fill out.  This makes sure we have the most up to date contact information for you and the most accurate information for your pet. 

After you check in at the front desk, you will be brought into an examination room where you can fill out the paperwork and your pet can get comfortable. 

A veterinary technician will come in to greet you and discuss your concerns for the visit.  If your pet needs a nail trim or any laboratory samples collected, they may go to the treatment area with the technician. 

A veterinarian will then come in, go over your concerns, examine your pet and discuss the examination and any treatment plan needed.  

Why do you take pets to the “back” and what happens back there?

Many dogs and cats do much better away from their owner in a larger open area.

Many dogs are protective of you and once we remove the need to protect their owner, they have less to worry about. 

We also have more room to move around and all of our major supplies are in the treatment area making it quicker to administer treatments or collect laboratory samples. 

Our clinic policy is that we do not wrestle or manhandle any patient. 

Our goal is to make each visit as low stress as possible.

If a patient is too nervous to be safely examined, we will recommend sedation or send home anxiety medications and try again a different day. 

What vaccines does my dog need?

We like to keep our canine patients protected by selecting a vaccine protocol suitable for you and your pet based on their lifestyle and needs.

All pets need a Rabies vaccine.  In cases where a pet has not had a Rabies vaccine administered by a veterinarian and there is concern for exposure to Rabies, the state veterinarian and Department of Health and Senior Services has the final say in testing or quarantine protocols. 

We consider Rabies, DHPP (distemper, canine hepatitis, parvovirus and parainfluenza virus), leptospirosis and Bordetella bronchiseptica vaccines to be core vaccines.   Core vaccines are those recommended for complete protection against the most common communicable diseases. 

If your pet hunts or frequents environments known to have ticks, we have the Lyme vaccine that is administered yearly.

If your pet goes to boarding/grooming/daycare/dog parks, the canine influenza H3N8 vaccine is available and is administered yearly.

If your pet has a history of vaccine reactions, we can split the vaccines up by doing one at a time a few weeks apart.

If your pet has a known reaction to certain vaccinations, we can discontinue that vaccination and consider other means of protection if your pet needs to be boarded or groomed.

What vaccines does my cat need?

We like to keep our feline patients protected by selecting a vaccine protocol suitable for you and your pet based on their lifestyle and needs.

All pets need a Rabies vaccine.  In cases where a pet has not had a Rabies administered by a veterinarian and there is concern for exposure to Rabies, the state veterinarian and Department of Health and Senior Services has the final say in testing or quarantine protocols. 

We consider Rabies and FVRCP (Feline viral rhinotracheitis, Calicivirus, and Panleukopenia), to be core vaccines.   Core vaccines are those recommended for complete protection against the most common communicable diseases. 

If your pet goes outside, we recommend the Feline Leukemia vaccine (FeLV).  This protects from a virus that is easily spread from cat to cat and can cause severe immune system problems.

We do not vaccinate against FIV.  We recommend testing for FIV and FeLV and keeping positive cats indoors to avoid continuing to spread these immunocompromising diseases. 

If your pet has a history of vaccine reactions, we can split the vaccines up by doing one at a time a few weeks apart.

If your pet has a known reaction to certain vaccinations, we can discontinue that vaccination and consider other means of protection if your pet needs to be boarded or groomed.


Parasite FAQ:

What is heartworm disease and how do you test for it?

A heartworm is a parasite that lives in the right side of the heart and causes heart damage and disease.  Heartworm disease is spread by mosquitos and they can come inside, so we see heartworm disease year-round.  All dogs are susceptible to heartworm disease – even indoor only pets. 

We test for heartworms with a blood sample and we use a test called a 4DX test that checks for heartworms and 3 different tick-borne diseases (Ehrlichia, Lyme and Anaplasma)

Why do we need to do a heartworm test every year?

As a member of the American Heartworm Society (AHS) – Dr. Smith follows their guidelines for prevention, testing and treatment of heartworm disease. 

The AHS recommends yearly antigen testing even while on yearly preventative.

No preventative is 100% effective.  It is possible for your pet to become infected with heartworm disease because of a missed dose of monthly preventative, your pet not thoroughly chewing the preventative, your pet vomiting the dose before it is absorbed, or delay of dosing.

If a pet acquires heartworm disease and is given a dose of heartworm preventative, they can have severe reactions and side effects possibly leading to death. 

Do I need to have my cat on flea preventative?

Even indoor only cats can get fleas.  They are more likely to get fleas if there is another pet in the house that goes outside. 

There are a million products on the market for fleas – avoid anything labeled for dogs and we recommend avoiding products containing pyrethrin/permethrin.

Do cats get heartworm disease?

Cats can get heartworm disease and studies show that cats get heartworm disease as often as dogs get heartworm disease. 

There is not a reliable test for feline heartworm disease and there is not a safe treatment for heartworm disease.

Instead, we recommend keeping cats on a preventative medication.  Many of the heartworm preventatives for cats also treat/prevent intestinal parasites, fleas and ear mites. 

Do we need to do flea prevention in the winter?

Yes.  We recommend flea and tick prevention all year. 

In the Midwest, we rarely get long enough cold temperatures to completely eliminate the flea and tick risk.  We also have a large population of Brown Dog Ticks.

The Brown Dog Tick likes to live inside and these ticks carry diseases like Ehrlichia.

What does the fecal test check?

We send all of the fecal samples to the laboratory for testing. 

Fecal tests look for parasites that live in the intestines and colon.  We check for worms and single cell parasites like Giardia and Coccidia.  

The microscopic examination looks for the single cell parasites and eggs from intestinal worms like hookworms, roundworms, whipworms and tapeworms. 

There are times where intestinal parasites are not shedding eggs so the laboratory does antigen testing looking for the presence of pieces of giardia, hookworms, roundworms and whipworms. 

We recommend doing a fecal test every year for complete health evaluation and catch parasite infections early.

 

Dental FAQ:

What happens during a dental cleaning?

Dental cleanings are performed with your pet under full anesthesia.  All pets here for anesthetic procedures have blood work performed that morning and then an IV catheter placed.  Once a doctor has reviewed the blood work, your pet will be anesthetized with an endotracheal tube placed to protect their airway.  A technician is with your pet for the entire procedure.  Using an ultrasonic scaler (similar to the one your dentist uses) we clean the tartar off of the teeth and polish the teeth with a sealant paste.  Dental radiographs are taken to evaluate all of the tooth roots and make sure there are no hidden problems.  After cleaning and radiographs, the doctor will look for any indications for extractions or other oral surgery.  A tooth may need to be extracted If there are abscesses at the tooth roots, excessive root exposure or other indications that a tooth is not healthy.  If there are extractions, the doctor will remove the tooth and then will close the gum tissue with absorbable sutures. 

Your pet will recover in a comfortable kennel with a technician continuing to monitor them until they are all the way awake.

When your pet is awake, you will get a phone call from the technician or doctor to go over the procedure and discuss a time for discharge.

Your pet will go home with all necessary pain medication and written discharge instructions for a successful recovery at home.

How do I know if my pet needs a dental cleaning?

Signs that your pet would benefit from a dental cleaning include: Bad breath, brown or discolored teeth, mouth pain and trouble eating.

If you have specific concerns about your pet’s mouth, we can schedule an examination to come up with a treatment plan.

How much does a dental cleaning cost?

Our dental cleaning price includes blood work, IV fluids, anesthesia, dental radiographs, cleaning and polishing the teeth, any extractions or oral surgery needed and medications to go home.

Call us to schedule a consultation or get an estimate. 

See our dental page for more information: https://www.smithvillevet.com/...


Grooming FAQ:

What time can I drop off my pet?

The clinic opens at 7:30 AM, and you are welcome to drop off early.  The grooming staff arrives around 9:00 AM.  If you have a scheduled appointment, you may drop off at any time before 10:00 AM.  There are no grooming services on Saturday.

When will my pet be ready?

The grooming staff will call you when your pet is ready to go home. 

For most cases, pets go home after 2:00 PM. 

The clinic is closed for lunch from 1:00-2:00 PM.

Why does my pet have to stay in the clinic all day?

The grooming schedule depends heavily on how many pets are scheduled and what their coat condition is like.  Once the grooming staff is able to see who they are working with and what each patient needs, they can groom each pet in the order that makes the most sense. 

Once your pet is groomed and ready to go home, the grooming staff will call you. 

If all of the pets arrive early, then the groomers can work more efficiently. 

What if my pet needs to go outside to potty/poop?

While in the clinic, your pet will get potty breaks outside. 

Most pets that are in the clinic for grooming spend very little time in the kennel and spend most of their time in the bathtub, getting dry or actually being groomed. 

Why do you require vaccinations?

Smithville Animal Hospital is a veterinary hospital with sick patients in the clinic daily.  Our vaccine requirements are in place to protect all patients in the hospital. 

For grooming, dogs are required to have current Distemper/Adenovirus/Parvovirus/Parainfluenza, Bordetella bronchiseptica (Kennel Cough) and Rabies. 

Our vaccine requirements can also be found listed on our website.

Why do I have to do paperwork every time?

The paperwork that we ask you to sign ensures that each patient in the clinic has up to date contact information and gives the clinic authorization to treat conditions that may be noticed by the groomers.  It also protects you as a client by making sure that you are aware of our policies. 

See our grooming page for more information https://www.smithvillevet.com/...

 

Boarding FAQ:

What should I bring for my pet for boarding?

When you bring your pet for boarding, you may elect to bring their food and some treats.  We have beds, bowls, toys and treats.  If you do not bring their own food, we feed Science Diet Sensitive Skin and Stomach formulation for both dogs and cats. 

We ask that you not bring large beds or blankets.  Any soiled bedding is washed and we do not want to risk personal items being mixed up in the laundry.

Can you board my dogs in the same run?

We board one dog per run and one cat per kennel.  Even the most well-behaved housemates can become annoyed at each other in boarding and prefer some personal space. 

What time can I pick up my pet?

We ask that boarding patients be picked up after 8:00 AM so that we can make sure all pets have had walks and breakfast and ensure all belongings are accounted for.  If you pick up before 1:00 PM, there is not a charge for pickup day. 

What time can I drop off my pet?

We ask that all boarding patients be in the clinic at least 1 hour prior to closing.   This allows us to get everyone tucked in comfortably and make sure we have any medications or belongings sorted. 

If you are closed on a Saturday, when can I pick up my pet?

We are closed every 3rd Saturday of the month, and close at noon on Saturdays.  If you were planning to pick up the Saturday we are closed, there is no charge for Sunday if your pet is picked up before 1:00 PM on Monday. 

Do you offer Sunday pickup times?

We do not offer Sunday pickup times.  We are open most Saturdays until noon and open on Monday mornings at 7:30 AM.

Please see our Boarding page for more information  https://www.smithvillevet.com/... 


Surgery Questions:

When do you perform surgeries?

We perform surgeries and scheduled sedation procedures on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays.   

When can I pick my pet up following surgery?

Most of our surgeries and procedures are outpatient procedures - your pet will go home that same day.  Most pets are discharged between 3:00 PM and 5:00 PM the same day.  Orthopedic and specialty surgeries may be kept overnight or we may recommend transfer to the nearest after hours/emergency veterinary clinic. 

What can I expect if my pet is having surgery?

All patients undergoing anesthesia will have blood work completed that morning if it was not evaluated recently.  Your pet will have a catheter placed in a vein in one of their front legs.  They will get intravenous (IV) fluids during their procedure.  The veterinarian or one of our veterinary technicians will call you after your pet is awake and in recovery to let you know how everything went and let you know what time your pet can go home.  You will go home with written discharge instructions for post-operative care.

If my pet is having surgery tomorrow, what do I need to do at home?

Your pet can have supper and normal medication routines the day before surgery.  We ask that you take away their food at 10:00 PM the night before surgery and do not feed them breakfast that morning.  Please contact us for directions on chronic medications or insulin instructions.  (816) 532-0130

Should we have our pet spayed or neutered?

There are many benefits to spaying or neutering your pet.  

Spaying your pet greatly reduces the risks of mammary cancer later in life, prevents development of severe infections like pyometra, and helps population control by preventing accidental or unwanted litters of puppies or kittens.   

Neutering your pet eliminates the risk of testicular cancer, prevents hormonally related prostate diseases and helps eliminate some unwanted behaviors like running off, marking or aggression.  It also prevents accidental litters of puppies and kittens.  

When should we spay or neuter our dog or cat?

For large breed dogs, we recommend waiting to spay until at least 6 months.  We can wait to neuter until 12 to 18 months.  We recommend waiting even longer for giant breed dogs.   There are studies showing that waiting to spay or neuter can prevent bone and joint diseases later in life.  

For all pets, we will not spay or neuter until the patient weighs 4 pounds or is at least 4 months old.  

Do you declaw cats?

Yes, however we prefer to encourage training and routine nail trims instead.  If we declaw a cat, we will only do the front paws and patients stay in the clinic overnight for at least 1 night.  Your pet will go home with pain medication and instructions to avoid clumping or clay litters - use a pelleted litter or shredded paper.  There are studies linking behavior issues, inappropriate urination and chronic pain to declawed patients.  We encourage owners to explore OSU's indoor pet initiative https://indoorpet.osu.edu/cats

Do you do orthopedic surgeries?

Dr. Smith does not perform orthopedic surgeries herself, but Dr. DeLuke - a board certified surgeon performs them here in the clinic.  With this service, we are able to offer specialty surgeries without having to refer patients to specialty clinics.  Our patients and clients are able to come here where they are most comfortable for services with familiar faces.  

See our surgery page for more information https://www.smithvillevet.com/...


Quality of Life/End of Life FAQ

Can dogs or cats experience grief?

Pets can experience grief just like we can.  If there is a loss in the family, you pet may not eat well, may exhibit behavioral changes or seem less active than normal. 

Just like in people, grief in pets looks different for each individual and each situation.  If you are concerned about your pet following a loss in the family, let us know and we can help ease your mind and make sure it is not anything else.

What Is your clinic protocol for euthanasia?

Euthanasia is never an easy decision, and our goal is to make sure everyone involved is as comfortable as possible.   You may choose to be with your pet during the procedure, or you may choose to not be in the room for the procedure.  There is no wrong answer in this situation.

If you want to be present for the euthanasia, we will have you come into an examination room where staff will walk you through the legal paperwork and aftercare options.  A technician will come into the room and will bring your pet to the treatment area for placement of a catheter in a vein.   While your pet is in the treatment area for their catheter, the front desk staff will come in and finalize the paperwork and get you checked out.  Your pet will then come back into the room with you and the technician will let you know to take your time and knock on the door when you are ready.

If you do not feel that being present is right for your family, rest assured that your pet is being cuddled and loved on by the technicians. 

All pets are given an injectable anesthesia that lasts for a few minutes.  Then once everyone is comfortable, the doctor will give the euthanasia medication.

All euthanasia procedures are done respectfully and peacefully.

Can your clinic do a home euthanasia?

For current clients with continuing care, we do offer house call euthanasia appointments.  These appointments have to be planned in advance in order for our schedule to accommodate.  Our preferred times are either the last appointment of the morning – around 11:00 AM or the last appointment of the day – around 4:00 PM.  We offer this service for Smithville residents or for drive times no more than 10 minutes. 

What happens after euthanasia?

Immediately after euthanasia, we remove the catheter that was in their vein.  We coordinate with Rolling Acres for cremation services.  We can make the arrangements and coordinate pickup with them on your behalf.  You are welcome to take your pet home for burial and we can wrap them in a sheet or towel for you.  If you elect to have an individual cremation, Rolling Acres will return the ashes to us and we will call you when they arrive.  If you elect to have the simple cremation, Rolling Acres will scatter the ashes in their memorial gardens. 

Please see our end of life/hospice page for more information https://www.smithvillevet.com/end-of-life-care