Our hospital is open Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays from 7:30 am to 8 pm, Thursdays and Fridays from 7:30 am to 5:30 pm, and on Saturdays we are open from 8:00 am until noon. The hospital is closed on Sundays, around some major holidays and sometimes for staff meetings/trainings. We work by appointment and recommend calling in advance to help avoid any unnecessary wait times.
Yes, patients are seen by appointment. We will see patients who walk in, but only after those with previously scheduled appointments have been seen or sooner as we are able to work them in. Emergent cases will be triaged by our staff and treated/seen accordingly.
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Spaying or neutering can be done once your pet is 6 months of age or older. It is sometimes best to wait until after they have reached puberty for some breeds of dogs to be neutered or spayed. If we have not seen your pet before, we ask that you first schedule a wellness visit to meet you and your pet. This gives us a chance to review their history, assess their health, and give you the best recommendations and treatment estimate for care that will be needed prior to or during their stay. Current vaccinations, internal parasite preventive history and parasite screens are required for hospitalization and should be updated in advance of your pet’s stay. Pre-anesthetic blood screening is recommended, and sometimes required, prior to undergoing anesthesia and surgery. The samples for these tests will need to be obtained at least 2-3 days in advance of the procedure. Our experienced doctors and staff can help with determining the right surgical plan for you and your pet.
These blood, and sometimes urine or fecal, tests are performed by our reference lab (or in the office when scheduling requires) prior to surgery. They help us to ensure the organ functions, blood counts and clotting function of your pet are acceptable for the
procedure being performed. They help us to maximize the safety of the anesthetic and surgical procedure and the ability to heal following surgery.
Procedures involving sutures require them to be removed in 10-14 days following the surgery.
No, there is no advantage to letting your pet have one litter. However, there are plenty of advantages to having your pet spayed or neutered. These include decreasing the chances of breast tumors and preventing cystic ovaries and uterine infections later in life, decreasing the desire to roam the neighborhood, decreasing the incidence of prostate issues later in life, helping prevent spraying and marking and also decreases the surplus of unwanted puppies and kittens. There is evidence that waiting until after puberty to spay or neuter certain breeds of dogs is beneficial and something our doctors would be glad to discuss with you as you consider scheduling their surgical appointment.
Here at Altoona Veterinary Hospital, we do a thorough physical exam on your pet before administering anesthetics to ensure that a fever or other illness is not detected. We also will design the anesthetic protocol used based on your pet’s age, breed, species, and other health considerations. During the procedure, we utilize many types of monitors to make us aware of any complications that may be developing. Blood pressure, pulse, respiratory rate, blood oxygen levels, body temperature, and ecg tracings are monitored throughout the procedure by one of our technical staff.
Pre-anesthetic blood testing is important for reducing the risk of anesthesia. 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 and, in the case serious problems are detected, surgery can be postponed until they are addressed. We offer optional blood screening with our young/apparently healthy pet elective procedures such as spay/neuter. Older patients or patients undergoing non-elective more extensive procedures generally are required to undergo pre-surgical blood screening and, in some cases, 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 or regurgitation during and after anesthesia. You will need to withhold food for at least 8 to 10 hours before surgery. Water can be left down for the pet until the morning of surgery. Please let us know if your pet is on any supplements or medications not prescribed by our hospital team
Depending on the type of procedure and doctor preference closure of the surgical site may be accomplished with or without external sutures/staples. Suture used below the skin surface will dissolve within the next few weeks to months, but any external sutures or staples will need to be removed 10 to 14 days after surgery. You will need to keep an eye on the incision for swelling or discharge. You will need to ensure that your pet does not lick or chew at the incision(s) and we routinely provide e-collars to be used for that purpose. You will also need to limit your pet’s activity level with no baths for the first 10-14 days after 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, species, and other possible health concerns. Major procedures may require more pain relief than things like minor lacerations. We commonly use a combination of injectable pain medications prior to or immediately after the procedure with oral medications dispensed to be continued during their stay and at home. The directions for how much to give and how often will be discussed with you and recorded on the label. If you ever have questions about a pet’s medication or are considering giving a medication that was not specifically prescribed for your pet, please call and talk with our staff.
While your pet is under anesthesia, it is the ideal time to perform other minor procedures, such as ear cleaning or microchip id implantation. If you would like an estimate for these or other 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 review the procedures to be performed. We ask that the person dropping off the pet is able to provide contact information where someone can be reached at any time during the procedure should we need decisions made. 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.
Call us or schedule an appointment online.
Meet with a doctor for an initial exam.
Put a plan together for your pet.