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Smithtown Village Animal Hospital Smithtown Village Animal Hospital

Frequently Asked Questions

Why does my pet need to be anesthetized for dental cleaning?

Dental disease is painful! Pain is managed while your pet’s mouth is tended to. Cleaning/scaling the teeth involves using instruments that would be dangerous/harmful to use on an awake/moving animal. While your pet is asleep, we can work quickly, effectively, safely and painlessly. Oftentimes, diseased teeth are uncovered during a dental cleaning. Diseased teeth can be removed in the anesthetized pet so that health can be restored to the patient’s mouth.

What type of animals do you see?

We treat dogs and cats.

How can I tell if my pet has a fever?

The normal temperature for a cat or dog is between 100 -102.5°. It is best to take your pet’s temperature with a rectal thermometer.

Do you see sick and well patients?

Yes. We are available for wellness/ preventive care and ill patients. We do physical exams, vaccinations, “wellness” and “sick pet” blood tests, radiographs, ultrasound and surgery. We see pets for emergencies also!

Do you take insurance?

Currently we do not have our own insurance plan. We do recommend insurance, though. If you bring your insurance form with you to your pet’s exam, we will give you a copy of the receipt and a diagnosis so that you can submit your claim to your insurance company. Clients pay us directly then submit the receipt to the insurance company for reimbursement. 

What do I do if my pet eats my medicine or something toxic?

It is always best to call poison control to find out whether or not you need to seek treatment for your pet. This should be the first phone call you should make. 

ASPCA Poison Control 888-426-4435 

Poison control will let you know if you need to come in for an appointment (with us!) or if you need to go to an emergency room /24 hour care facility. The poison control team will give you a case number so we (or the Emergency Veterinarian) can contact them with questions or treatment options during the process. Please bring any remnants of what your pet ate (medicine bottle, boxes or wrapping) to the hospital with you.

Why is it important to spay or neuter my pet?

Spaying or neutering your pet at the appropriate age will decrease the chance of him/her having health issues in the future. Unspayed female dogs and cats are at an increased risk for malignant breast cancer and/or they can develop a life threatening uterine infection called “pyometra”. Male dogs are at risk for testicular cancer and prostate disease. Unneutered male cats often are territorial and urinate inappropriately. Spaying and neutering reduces the number of unwanted pet pregnancies that result in litters of puppies and kittens that end up in overcrowded shelters. Neutered male dogs and cats are less territorial and have less behavioral issues. We offer Spay/Neuter packages that include hospitalization, pain medication, antibiotics and a follow up appointment.

When do I get my puppy/kitten spayed/neutered?

We recommend spaying at 6 months of age or older.

What are anal glands/sacs and how do I know if my pet has problem with them?

Anal glands/sacs are scent glands that are located near the anus. Dogs and cats both have them. Either species can have issues with them, although it is far more common in dogs. If your pet is licking excessively underneath his/her tail or scooting across the floor, they may have a problem with their anal glands! Pets become uncomfortable when the gland doesn’t empty properly (impacted) or if they get an infection (abscess). Pets with allergies are more likely to have these problems. Regular emptying of the anal glands can reduce these complications. Dietary changes may also be implemented.

Do you have a payment plan?

We take Care Credit which is a credit card plan that spreads out your payments over a period of 6 months without interest. If you need more information about this plan, please talk to one of our client care representatives. More information can be found here at

What type of payment do you take?

We accept cash, checks, MasterCard, Visa, Discover, American Express, or Care Credit. . Payment is expected at time of service. 

Do I need to make an appointment?

Yes. We are currently not accepting walk-ins. If your pet is experiencing an emergency, please call ahead to let us know that you are on your way to the hospital. Although we try to stick to our appointment schedule as closely as possible, we do give emergencies a priority.

How often should I bathe my pet?

For pets without dermatological conditions, you can bathe them every 4 to 6 weeks. If your pet needs medical bathing, you may need to do it more frequently as directed by your veterinarian. We carry a full line of therapeutic shampoos and products.

How often do I cut my pet’s nails?

Generally speaking, healthy outdoor cats or indoor cats with a scratching post will take care of nail maintenance on their own. Geriatric cats may not be able to maintain their nails due to decreased mobility and arthritis. We recommend trimming their nails every 2-3 months. Dog nail trimming usually depends on their activity. Dogs that walk on pavement often tend to wear down their nails and need trims less frequently, about every 2-3 months. Dogs that are less mobile or only walk on grass need nail trims every 1-2 months. 

Why do I need to give heartworm, flea and tick medication year round?

Heartworms are transmitted by mosquitoes. Although it is less common during the winter months, it is possible, due to temperate weather, for transmission of this disease to occur. Heartworm prevention medication also acts as a dewormer. It is important to deworm your pet all year long to prevent infestation with intestinal parasites. Heartworm disease is a potentially fatal one that is easily prevented and difficult and costly to treat. Cats are also at risk for this disease. Prevention is the only option for this illness as there is no safe and effective way to treat cats with heartworms. We recommend and dispense Interceptor Plus (dog) for heartworm prevention, and Simparica Trio (dog) or Revolution Plus (cat) for heartworm, flea and tick prevention. 

Although fleas tend to die off in the cold winter months, ticks are more hearty. Due to the large number of host animals that carry ticks in our neighborhood, there is an abundance of ticks looking for hosts. The proper medication will prevent ticks from biting and transmitting disease. Ticks are active in the colder winter months and can transmit Lyme disease, Ehrlichia, Anaplasma and other diseases all year long. We recommend and dispense Bravecto (dog and/or cat) for fleas and ticks, and Simparica Trio (dog) or Revolution Plus (cat) for flea, tick and heartworm prevention. Make sure you ask about our rebates on these products!

What if I forget to give the Heartworm (Interceptor Plus or SimparicaTrio) medication?

If you are only a few days late, go ahead and give the medicine. If you have skipped two or more months, please call us to advise you on what to do. We may need to recheck your pet for heartworm disease.

How long do I wait to check for Lyme or other tick borne diseases after my dog was bitten by a tick?

We generally recommend waiting 5-6 weeks. In certain circumstances we may check sooner, especially if your pet is experiencing symptoms of illness. If your pet tests negative for Lyme disease, you may consider vaccinating your dog against this infection.

Do I need to fast my pet prior to surgery, radiographs, ultrasound or blood tests?

Pets that are undergoing surgery, radiographs with sedation or an ultrasound exam must be fasted the evening before their appointment from 10:00 PM on. If your pet is diabetic, please call for special instructions. Fasting is recommended for some of the blood tests that we do. Your dog does not need to fast for their annual heartworm test. Please call for clarification or ask when you schedule your appointment.

Why does my pet need an annual physical exam?

An annual physical exam is recommended for the well-being of your pet. Changes can occur over the course of a year and it is important that your veterinarian examines him /her to look for signs of declining health. Early detection of conditions such as heart disease, allergic skin disease, and osteoarthritis may be discovered at the exam. It is important to treat illness early for the best outcome. 

A doctor- patient relationship is required by law for your veterinarian to prescribe medicine. Therefore, an annual exam is required for all pets on long-term medications. We recommend biannual exams for pets that have chronic illnesses.

Can you write a prescription for my pet?

Yes! When you bring your pet in for his/her annual physical exam, let the veterinarian know what prescriptions you need so we can write them for you.

What kind of pet food should I feed?

The options available are overwhelming when it comes picking your pets’ food. We feel that it is best to feed your pet according to its age. Puppies and kittens should eat a food formula that is designed for their rapidly growing bodies. Adult dogs and cats should eat “adult” or “maintenance” food; geriatric or senior pets should be fed “mature adult” or a “senior” food formula. If your pet has specific food allergies, we can help you decide what the best food to feed in that situation. 

A good resource for what to look for in a commercial diet can be found at

Pets that have chronic diseases such as kidney disease or diabetes mellitus should be fed a special therapeutic diet. Therapeutic diets are “prescription” only diets that must be prescribed by a veterinarian. We carry a variety of Hills Science Diet Prescription Diet and Royal Canin Veterinary Diet pet foods. We can special order a particular therapeutic diet for you (if we do not stock it) or it may be purchased directly and shipped to you from our online pharmacy. We will be happy to help you find the proper food for your pet’s nutritional needs.

Why is table food bad for my pet?

“Table food” or “human food” may not meet your pets nutritional needs. For optimal health, your pet should eat a complete, balanced diet that includes proper vitamins and minerals and the proper amounts of protein, fat, fiber and carbohydrates. Pets that are fed table food often are not getting the nutrients they need in balanced proportions. Table fed pets may become finicky and take in excess calories.

Overfeeding your pet may lead to obesity, orthopedic problems, diabetes mellitus, worsening cardiac disease and/or pancreatitis. Pets with food sensitivities may develop skin disease or gastrointestinal problems if fed the wrong diet. 

If you are interested in cooking a homemade diet for your pet, it is best to consult with a veterinary nutritionist. Veterinarians with this training can develop a formula that is balanced and meets the specific needs of your pet.

Are Vaccinations necessary?

Yes! They prevent diseases that are potentially fatal. There are some vaccinations that we only recommend for “at risk” populations. Rabies vaccination is required by law in New York state; it is a disease that can be transmitted to humans and causes death. We use safe and effective vaccines to protect your pets. During your pet’s annual exam we can work together to tailor a vaccination plan to fit your pet’s lifestyle! More information about vaccines that we recommend can be found on our Wellness Care page. 

How do I know when my pet needs a professional dental cleaning?

Pets that have bad breath, drooling, and difficulty chewing are suspicious for having dental disease. Tartar buildup, red, swollen and bleeding gums, and tooth loss are also signs of dental disease. If your pet is experiencing any of the above symptoms, we recommend an exam to evaluate their mouth for dental disease. The veterinarian will then determine if a dental cleaning is needed. If your pet’s teeth are not in need of cleaning at the time of the exam, we can advise you on what to do to prevent dental disease in the future. We offer dental packages that include cleaning and scaling, polishing, sealant, pain control, anesthesia, intravenous fluids (if needed), and a preoperative blood test. This blood test is an important step to determine if anesthesia is safe in your pet.