We see patients by appointment only; however, if you have a true emergency during our open hours, call ahead and we will often tell you to "come right in.” You may be charged a small additional emergency fee if you are seen as a "walk in" or worked in when no appointments are available.
Each veterinarian has a different schedule but you are always welcome to request a specific doctor. This is encouraged if your pet has a chronic or ongoing problem that needs follow up. Some owners want new puppies and kittens to see the same doctor, while others like to meet every veterinarian in the practice. It's your choice.
Certain services that can be done by a technician or assistant and do not require a physical exam by the doctor are not charged an exam fee. These include: nail trim, ear cleaning, anal gland expression, suture removal, heartworm test or bordetella vaccine (when no other vaccines are given). When you call, ask if it is appropriate for you to make a technician appointment.
We prefer that you’re present during your pet’s wellness exam so that we can address your questions or concerns about your pet. We typically perform injections, blood draws, ear cleanings, nail trims, and routine procedures right in the room with you. We ask, however, that you let our assistants do the holding and restraining. Sometimes we need more equipment or space so we take pets into our large treatment room. Some unruly animals behave better without the presence of family members. Our staff will typically choose what's best for your pet, but please let us know if you have a preference.
It is very helpful if you fill out a New Client Registration Form. Most importantly, bring your records from your previous veterinarian(s) or paperwork from where you adopted your pet. It is always good to bring a stool sample and sometimes a urine sample (see below).
At Mason Family Pet Hospital, we are amazed at the large number of pets that we diagnose with intestinal parasites every day. Many of these are transmissible to other pets and possibly to children and humans in the household. Bring a fecal sample to your adult pet's annual visit and to every puppy or kitten visit. Just collect a small walnut-size amount of stool, preferably right after your pet has defecated outside or in the litter box, and place it into a small plastic bag or storage container. This is especially important to bring to your visit if your pet has diarrhea.
For dogs, this means walking them on a short leash and bringing along a flat bowl, pie pan, or old soup ladle. Just put it under your dog when he/she starts to squat or hike. It helps to take along a second person to collect the sample while you walk the dog. For cats: dump out the litter in the cat box. Clean it thoroughly, rinse, and dry well. You can put styrofoam packing peanuts or craft beads in the box as litter. Confine your cat in a small, preferably carpet-less room with the box. If you pick a bathroom, remember to close the sink and tub drains. Transfer your sample to a small, airtight container. You may need a syringe or turkey baster to collect urine from a hard surface. A urine sample is useful to bring to your appointment if your pet seems to be urinating more frequently or a larger amount than usual, or if he/she is having accidents in the house, or is drinking more water than normal.
Actually, more important than vaccines is an annual physical exam. You and the veterinarian should discuss your pet's health and assess the need for vaccines. Vaccines can be very important to protect against infectious diseases.
First of all, all cats should have a carrier, leash, or other means of confinement to travel to the pet hospital. We recommend that you set your cat carrier out in a high traffic area in your house that is frequented by your cat for a few days before your appointment. Leave the door open and put a few treats or toys in it so your cat is used to it. If she/he won't go in willingly, try turning the carrier on its end with the door open to the ceiling. Lower your cat in rear feet first. Some cats actually do much better when covered in a pillow case closed with a rubber band. They can ride on the floor of the car in the pillowcase. Once you arrive at the pet hospital, let us handle your fractious cat. We have experience in this area and know many safe and effective techniques.
Remember that if you are nervous and anxious about your dog's visit, he/she will pick up on your signals and feel the same. Be upbeat about your visit, bring along favorite treats, and sometimes stop by the pet hospital with your dog just to say hello when no procedures need to be done. Once in the exam room, praise your dog only for good behavior and try not to console him/her if he/she is acting up. This only serves to reinforce bad behavior. We sometimes use a nylon muzzle or special holding techniques for difficult dogs. If everything goes wrong, we may suggest a return visit to try a different approach or prescribe calming medication.
It is rare that a pet owner gives the heartworm pill to his/her pet right on time 12 months out of the year. Sometimes your dog may vomit after you have given the pill rendering it ineffective. If you are extremely diligent about your dog's heartworm prevention and your account shows that you have purchased adequate amounts annually, ask about testing every other year.
It is true that since mosquitoes transmit heartworm disease, your pet is at less risk in the winter months; however, we prescribe preventives which also prevents intestinal parasites. In the winter, if your dog gets intestinal worms, you may not be picking up the yard waste as well as you should. Feces with worm eggs that is left out in the yard is a hazard to the kids and adults that play there, so we recommend keeping your dog parasite-free 12 months a year.
We house our own well-stocked pharmacy at the hospital and try hard to make our prices competitive with internet pharmacies. We also have a webstore (look for the tab that says "SHOP" on this website) which our clients can use without a prescription. A recent look at 1-800-PetMeds found that our prices for heartworm prevention were on average 10% lower, plus we offer rebates when you buy a larger supply. If you still prefer an internet pharmacy, we will provide a written prescription, but please ask us for an information sheet explaining the hazards of buying pharmaceuticals from websites.