Wellness Exams: Annual or bi-annual wellness exams are very important for your pet. We recommend an exam every 12 months for younger pets, and every 6 months for senior pets over age 7. As pets age, more frequent exams help us to keep a closer eye on physical and behavioral changes that may indicate serious health concerns. During a comprehensive exam, the doctor performs a careful palpation of your pet’s entire body, listens to the heart and lungs, and evaluates everything from teeth to toenails. You would be surprised at what can be learned from a thorough physical examination! Often, there are clues to underlying diseases that help lead to early detection and prevention of many conditions. You will also be asked detailed questions about how your pet is doing at home, which will help to provide a complete picture of their overall health. Wellness exams include a behavioral consult, nutritional counseling and diet evaluation.
Yearly or bi-yearly comprehensive bloodwork is recommended for all pets, both young and old. Routine bloodwork is another method of early detection for a wide variety of health concerns; even if no abnormalities are found, normal bloodwork provides a good baseline for your pet should issues arise in the future.
We tailor vaccination protocols to individual patients. Often titers are recommended in lieu of a vaccine. During your pet’s exam, the technician and doctor will work with you to determine which vaccines and titers are indicated. We are well aware of the concerns surrounding vaccinations, and will be happy to address any questions that you may have.
Laboratory Analysis: We have the ability to run comprehensive blood tests at the hospital, in the event that your pet is not feeling well or is having an emergency. This gives us results in 15-20 minutes, allowing for a quick diagnosis and treatment. Other lab tests that can be run on-site include urinalysis and cytology (looking at cells under the microscope). We also work with an outside laboratory that allows us to run more specific tests, in addition to important diagnostics such as biopsies. Most test results are available within 24-36 hours. We recommend routine annual wellness bloodwork for all pets (see above).
Radiology: Radiographs, or x-rays, allow us to diagnose many conditions, from bladder stones and heart disease, to intestinal obstructions and fractures. We use state-of-the-art digital radiology equipment to take quality x-rays, which are then interpreted on-site by the doctor.
Dentistry: Dental disease is one of the most common and concerning disorders that plagues our pets. It is also one of the most under diagnosed conditions and has serious and far-reaching implications on your pet’s overall health. Dental evaluation is part of every physical exam, as is counseling on how to provide good oral hygiene at home. We offer full-service dental procedures at the hospital, including ultrasonic scaling and polishing (the same instruments used at your own dentist!) and extraction of unhealthy teeth. We are now able to take full mouth radiographs to evaluate the crown as well as the root of the tooth. For pain control in the case of extractions, we use local anesthetics in addition to other types of pain medication. We also place acupuncture needles to help with pain control. Dental cleanings are performed on Monday and Wednesdays.
Surgery: The hospital is well-equipped to handle most routine surgeries, including spays and neuters. Each patient has an IV catheter placed prior to surgery, and receives IV fluids during their procedure. A specialized anesthetic protocol is used for each patient, and they are monitored closely during surgery by a trained technician, including tracking blood pressure, heart rate, and other vital signs. During recovery, your pet is wrapped in a warm towel or blanket and continues to be monitored until they are fully awake. We take great pride in having our patients recover smoothly and pain-free. All surgeries are sent home with appropriate pain control, in addition to the pain medication administered prior, during, and after their procedure. We also frequently use acupuncture needles for pain control during a procedure. We do not keep pets overnight after any surgical procedure – in the event that a more extensive surgery is required, we will usually refer you to OSVS (see below). Routine surgeries are performed on Monday and Wednesdays. Please ask us for more details if your pet will be having surgery with us.
Specialists: In the event that your pet requires orthopedic surgery, advanced soft-tissue procedures, or advanced diagnostics, we have access to board-certified specialists who will travel to our hospital to meet your pet’s needs. We also routinely refer to Ocean State Veterinary Specialists and Tufts University Foster Hospital for Small Animals when the need of our patients has gone beyond what we are able to provide. These facilities have access to a wide variety of board-certified specialists, and advanced diagnostics such as ultrasound, MRI, and CT scan. They are also fully-equipped and staffed 24/7 to monitor hospitalized patients. You can visit their websites on our Resources page.
Acupuncture and Herbal Medicine: Dr. Hoffer is certified in acupuncture; Dr. Hoffer also has training in the use of Chinese and Western herbs. Acupuncture treatments are available for purchase in packages that include a discount, ask our staff for more information. Please visit our Acupuncture page to learn more!
Canine Training and Behavior Consults: Our resident dog trainer, Beth McGuire, has over 10 years of training experience. She teaches our group puppy classes at the hospital in the warmer months, and also offers individual behavior consults year-round. One-on-one consults can be scheduled either at the hospital, or at your home. Beth uses only positive re-enforcement methods for her training, employing devices such as the “clicker” and the Gentle Leader Easy-Walk Harness. Beth specializes in aggression and anxiety disorders. We can offer suggestions for obedience classes elsewhere during times that we are not holding them at the hospital – please ask us. Remember: if positive re-enforcement methods are not used, don’t take the class!
Nutritional Counseling: Counseling pet owners on proper diets and nutritional supplements is one of the most important services that we provide. A good diet and appropriate supplements provide the building blocks for a healthy body, and can help to both treat and prevent disease. There are a lot of misconceptions about what constitutes a good quality pet food, and a lot of books and websites that purport to tell the “truth” about pet diets and supplements. We urge you to use our hospital as a trusted resource to educate yourself about diet and nutrition – please do not hesitate to ask for our list of suggested diets, home-cooking and nutritional supplement handouts, and info on raw diets. We also carry only the best-quality fish oil and arthritis supplements at the hospital. Please check out our Resources page for some internet sites that can be trusted to provide helpful information.
Theraputic Laser Treatment: Theraputic laser uses painless light therapy to reduce pain and inflammation, and speed healing of affected tissues. Laser therapy is proven to help reduce pain from arthritis and other injuries, both chronic and acute. It is also helpful in treating a wide array of other conditions, from ear infections to gingivitis. Theraputic laser is widely used in humans undergoing physical therapy for many types of injuries. We use the laser on all of our surgery patients to facilitate healing of their incisions. Dr. Hoffer also integrates the laser into her acupuncture treatments (especially good for those dogs and cats who are less then thrilled with the needles!). Discount packages are offered. Please call us to find out if laser therapy would be recommended for your pet! For more information, visit www.myklaserpet.com.
Hospice and Euthanasia: We recognize that managing terminal health conditions, and making end of life decisions are among the most difficult times in a pet owner’s life. Every one of our staff and doctors has gone through the euthanasia process with our own pets, and we empathize fully with our clients during this very emotional time. We are prepared to help you navigate the road of supporting your sick or elderly pet through a chronic illness, and helping you to decide when it is time to let them go. By recognizing that this path is unique for each and every pet and their owner, we are able to make a difficult process as smooth as possible. Hospice services may include multi-modal pain management with traditional medications, herbs, and acupuncture, as well as other aspects of home care such as subcutaneous fluid administration or physical therapy. We offer euthanasia in the comfort of your home with our mobile service, or in the peace and tranquility of our bereavement room at the hospital. The bereavement room is situated away from the bustle of the rest of the hospital, and is arranged like a living room rather than a traditional exam room. This special place allows you to spend as much time as you need with your pet during the euthanasia process, entering and exiting through a private door which avoids the often busy waiting room area. A range of cremation and burial services are offered through Final Gift, a local, family-owned business. Our clients often comment on how peaceful and calm euthanasia is at our hospital. While it is definitely the most difficult part of our job as well as the hardest part of pet ownership, we are proud to be able to offer such a highly-regarded service.