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.

Just like us, good quality of life is impossible if your heart cannot pump the blood you need or your lungs can’t deliver the oxygen to your heart. It is especially important with animals to do regular examinations since they cannot talk to us and inform us that they feel tired or have a general lack of energy or shortness of breath. A healthy heart equals a healthy pet. Most pets with heart problems can receive medications/treatments to greatly extend their life IF their problems are detected early.

All pets with histories of heart murmurs, changes in existing murmurs, or history or weakness, difficulty breathing, coughing, or collapse need to be evaluated by a veterinarian on a regular basis. While in some situations, just an exam is necessary, very often pets require a minimum of chest x-rays to determine the problem. When we suspect heart problems, the next step is a cardiac or heart work up. This involves getting an ECG (electrocardiogram) to check the rate/rhythm of the heart, a blood pressure reading, and an echocardiogram (ultrasound of the heart). We are lucky at Cordova that we can perform all these services in house AND receive an evaluation/report from a cardiologist. This allows us to not only obtain a diagnosis, but to also determine the best medications for your pet and allow a good quality of life.

Breeds that are known for heart problems may need periodic ECG screens in order to detect problems earlier. Please contact the office for details.

Most pets in Florida will have some type of skin problem at one time in their life. It is very important to address not only the symptoms of skin disease but also the cause. Just treating a skin problem with steriods without finding out why the pet is itching, is not doing you or your dog/cat a favor. Skin work ups are very important and may discover a very treatable problem.

Our skin work ups always start with a good history, including all past medications used. We will do a through examination of the skin to assess for skin infection, fleas, abrasions etc. Some pets require a skin scrape (to look for mites), a skin fungal culture (ringworm screen), and cytology. Pets that we suspect may have food or other allergies may need to undergo a food trial and/or allergy testing to determine the cause of their problems. Pets with long term skin problems or suspect histories often need blood testing, including thyroid levels.

Treatment of skin problems is always multimodal and may include antibiotics, antihistamines, medicated baths or sprays, derm caps, and sometimes steriods. Allergic pets may need to take allergy shots and/or only eat a special diet.

Eye problems can range from very simple to severe problems that can result in your pet losing their vision or an eye. Our eye exams always consist of a complete examination, plus a visual exam of the eye and a fundic exam. Most pets will also require an eye stain (to look for corneal scratches or abrasions), a tear test (to check tear function of the eye) and an IOP (pressure test to screen for glaucoma, etc). These tests allow us to determine the cause of your pet’s eye problem and to screen for diseases that may cause blindness or result in enculation (removal of the eye) if not treated. Some eye conditions require evaluation from a board certified opthalmologist; our staff can arrange a referral in those situations.

We also offer opthalmic surgery such as entropion, grid keratotomy, removal of eyelid masses, repair of prolapsed nicitating membrane (cherry eye), conjunctival flap, and enucleation. We do not perform cataract surgery or shunts for glaucoma.

Fractured or broken teeth can be a serious problem. The first thing your veterinarian must determine is if the fracture is into the root canal (red, brown, or black spot in the middle of the tooth’s surface) or just superficial. Usually this can be determined with an examination, but dental x-rays may be necessary to detect subtle pulp exposure. Once the root canal has been exposed, bacteria have a gateway into the tooth and an abscess or infection can result. Treatment of fractured teeth used to involve only extractions, but many of these teeth can be saved with endodonic procedures. Endodonic procedures, such as a root canal, are preferred because they preserve the function of the tooth. Early diagnosis and treatment are essential. Extraction of the affected tooth may be necessary if an abscess has already formed. Fractured teeth with no treatment will become a focus of infection and a source of constant pain.

Feline oral resorptive lesions (FORL, cavities, or cervical neck lesions) are a very common problem in cats over 4 years of age. 50% of cats have one or more resorptive lesions. The teeth affected by resorptive lesions are characterized by erosion of the tooth. FORL can present in different stages (1-4) from just an enamel deficit to pathology in the root canal. Pathology can occur above or below the gumline, with erosion of the crown leaving only root fragments. Symptoms can include salivation, oral bleeding, difficulty eating, and hiding. A majority of cats may not show any obvious signs. Most FORL can only be identified by dental x-ray. It is important to realize that resorptive lesions are progressive and procedures such as filling the deficit like a cavity will not stop the process of the disease. Treatment of choice is extraction of the affected teeth.

Dental x-rays are essential to diagnosis and treatment of dental disease. X-rays allow us to examine the entire tooth both above and below the gumline. Teeth that may look perfectly normal to the eye can have significant problems identified only by x-ray. Abscesses or pockets of infection may be missed because the animal cannot communicate that he is painful with his mouth. Impacted teeth, retained roots, bone loss from periodontal disease or cancer are examples of problems identified only by x-ray. We have so often heard from patients how their pet who hasn’t played with a ball in years, began to play again once the abscessed teeth were extracted and they were finally free from pain. Dental pain in animals can be subtle, but very real. We can only treat the problem if we can see the problem.

A good dental prophylaxis or cleaning must be performed under general anesthesia with all proper precautions and procedures as with any surgery. This is required to access all surfaces of the teeth and protect your pet’s airway. We will first examine your pet’s teeth and evaluate each tooth for surface deficits, fractures, and missing teeth. All teeth are checked for pocketing and all information is recorded on the dental chart. The teeth are then cleaned above and below the gumline with an ultrasonic scaler. Dental x-rays are taken of the teeth and are examined to look for abscess, resorptive lesions, impacted teeth, bone loss, etc. Any problems are addressed at this time and may include treatment of periodontal pocketing, extraction of teeth or use of a bone regeneration compound. The teeth are then polished and a fluoride gel is applied. A sealant may be applied as well to deter tartar in the future. It is important that the dental procedure be performed properly in accordance with AAHA Dental Care Guidelines, addressing problems both above and below the gumline. Dental x-rays are essential to provide this level of care. For more information, please call our office.

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 5 to 10 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 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.

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.

For dogs, we may recommend an oral anti-inflamatory the day after surgery and 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 standard pain medications such as aspirin, ibuprofen, or Tylenol, 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 10 minutes prior to surgery. After surgery, oral pain medication is given to go home. Any animal that appears painful will receive additional pain medication.

We use narcotic patches for some surgeries in dogs as well. The cost will depend on the size of the dog. Injectable pain medications may also be used after surgery on both dogs and cats. Providing whatever pain relief is appropriate is a humane and caring thing to do for your pet.

We prefer that you Make An Appointment, but we will see walk ins on a limited basis. We also allow drop off appointments which can help clients with busy schedules to drop off the pet for treatment and pick up later that day.

Today’s modern anesthetic monitors have made surgery much safer than in the past. Here at Cordova Animal Medical Center, 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.

Preanesthetic 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.

We offer in-house blood testing before surgery, which we will go over with you when you bring in your pet. A more comprehensive screen is available as well and can give the doctors the most information to ensure the safety of your pet. 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 12 hours before surgery. Water can be left down for the pet until the morning of surgery.

It has been said that the treatment of heartworm infection is somewhat of an art. There are several strategies that can be used including the option of not treating at all. The important concept to realize is that very harsh arsenic based drugs are necessary to kill adult heartworms and that treating for heartworm infection is neither simple nor safe in itself. Please schedule a visit to discuss this further with the Doctor.

At Cordova Animal Medical Center, we pledge to uphold high standards in our diagnositc and treatment protocols. This means adhering to what is called the “standard of care” We consider this standard of care to mean what our university and veterinary specialists determine to be appropriate treatment for various diseases. It is important for Pensacola pet owners to realize that our there are many different local opinions regarding appropriate heartworm treatment protocols including some that are considered wholley inappropriate and deceptive. Please be informed and ask questions regarding your dogs heartworm treatment plan. Below is information from the Veterinary Information Network, reviewed by specialists in the field, and is the protocol that we follow at Cordova. We do NOT recommend an ivermectin only protocol!

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.

Procedures involving sutures require them to be removed in 14 days following the surgery.

This is a 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.

Spaying or neutering can be done as early as 4 months, but preferrably by 6 months of age. Your pet is given an exam prior to surgery to help determine whether your pet is healthy enough to undergo the surgical procedure. Current vaccinations are required at the time of surgery. Also a pre-anesthetic blood screen is recommended prior to undergoing anesthesia and surgery.

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