Exams & Other Veterinary Services

Contact our animal hospital today in Clearwater, Florida, for your pets veterinary care. We take the time to make sure your companion is fit and healthy.

Wellness Exams
We recommend twice-yearly wellness exams to ensure that we do our best in catching illnesses early since pets age quicker than humans do. A whole year without an exam for a pet is equivalent to 7-10 years of a human not visiting a doctor.

A physical exam by a veterinarian catches things that even the most astute pet parent may not, such as an ear infection, a heart murmur, growths, and much more.

In-House Laboratory
Most lab results are ready within 20 to 30 minutes. When you get quicker results, you know your pet is getting the best care possible as quickly as possible.

Dentistry
Did you know many pets already have some degree of periodontal disease by the age of two or three years old? This is why routine dental care is important beginning at an early age. Routine teeth brushing and at minimum once yearly professional dental cleanings are important for your pet’s overall health and well-being.

Digital Radiology
Our state-of-the-art digital radiography allows us to provide the necessary x-rays your pet needs more quickly and efficiently. We are able to use better detail than traditional x-ray systems as well.

Ultrasound
We offer abdominal ultrasound and other associated diagnostic testing (cytology and/or biopsy if needed).  Our hospital provides sonographer assisted ultrasounds and board-certified veterinary radiologist interpretation.  The radiologist’s review of the ultrasound is usually available within 24-48 hours (or if more urgent, within a few hours).  This allows our hospital to be able to provide a board-certified veterinary radiologist interpretation without your pet having to be referred to a more expensive specialty hospital for this service.

Ultrasounds are commonly used in pets for a variety of conditions, including follow-up to abnormal bloodwork, vomiting or diarrhea, unusual weight loss or recurring infections, urinary problems, and cancer screening just to name a few.  Ultrasound can compliment radiographs in many cases (ultrasound does not replace the need for radiographs nor vice versa).

The cost of an ultrasound is typically higher than the cost of radiographs due to the fact that specialized training is required in order to interpret the images and a significant amount of time is involved in carrying out the ultrasound examination. In some cases, a sedative is needed to help relax a pet due to them having to be laying on their back for a significant period of time.  In most cases, a large area of fur on the abdomen will need to be shaved to allow for better visualization of internal organs.  The usefulness of ultrasound for evaluation of the internal organs makes it an invaluable, non-invasive diagnostic tool to help try to protect your pet’s well-being.

**PLEASE NOTE:  This service is ONLY available Monday through Friday before 3 pm.

Surgeries
Both routine, elective surgeries and emergency surgeries can be performed at our hospital. If you think that your pet may be in need of surgery, give us a call and set up a consultation.

Emergency & Urgent Care
Emergencies are accepted anytime our clinic is open. If you feel you have an emergency with your pet, call us or come to the hospital immediately. If possible, it is best to call before coming in so that a staff member can advise you on your particular emergency.

Contact us in Clearwater, Florida, to have our experts to provide you and your pet with the best veterinary services and animal exams.

Appointments & Walk-Ins
We recommend scheduling appointments whenever possible, but we also understand that sometimes there are unforeseen circumstances where this is not always possible. This is why we always welcome walk-ins during normal business hours. Additionally, emergencies are always attended to first for everyone’s safety.

Preventative Care

91517868_scaled_135x180Vaccines that are considered core vaccines in all indoor and outdoor dogs and cats include:

Dogs: rabies, distemper, hepatitis/adenovirus, and parvovirus
Other Vaccines that should be given depending on the pet’s environment and lifestyle include leptospirosis, bordetella, influenza, and lyme.
Cats: rabies, rhinotracheitis, calicivirus, and panleukopenia
All kittens should also receive leukemia vaccine due to being more susceptible with their immature immune system.

Adult cats that go outdoors should also be vaccinated for leukemia.
Heartworm prevention is a core recommendation in both indoor and outdoor dogs and cats. We carry different options for heartworm prevention in our hospital that we can discuss during your visit.

Fecal exams should be performed at least yearly in indoor pets and twice yearly in pets that ever go outdoors.

Annual dental prophylaxis should be started on most pets around the age of 2 or 3 years old.

We have packages that include many of the vaccines, fecal exams, heartworm testing, and leukemia/FIV testing that your pet may need. Just look on our page with coupons/specials for the one that may best fit the needs of your pet.

Allergy Treatment & Itch Relief

94015520_scaled_192x178There are a number of things that can cause pets to be itchy but among the most common things are allergies, mange, and ringworm. Allergies is the most common out of these three that causes pets to be itchy. Your pet’s history and physical exam will help us determine if testing for conditions such as mange and ringworm is necessary (such as a skin scraping or fungal culture).

Pets can have allergies to pollens, grasses, trees, weeds, molds, insects, and/or dust mites and it can often be difficult to pinpoint exactly what is causing the allergy. Unfortunately there is no cure for allergies but there are different options to help keep your pet comfortable and manage the condition life-long.

Many pets with allergies will develop secondary skin infections from the allergies necessitating antibiotics or antifungal medications to help their comfort level. Often the itching and infections need to be treated at the same time for optimal results. If only the infection or only the itching is controlled, the problem may return sooner than expected or not ever get better. If the offending allergen is still around, the problem may also return sooner than expected. Many times the offending allergen cannot be completely removed from the pet’s environment so other options will have to be chosen.

Control of mild allergies can sometimes be accomplished by giving oatmeal baths, antihistamines, topical sprays, and fatty acid supplements. More moderate to severe allergies will typically require further intervention that could include antibacterial/antifungal shampoo baths & sprays, antibiotic or antifungal pills or injections, and anti-itch pills or injections. In cases where the discomfort from the allergies is too frequent or too uncomfortable, allergy testing and allergy injections are recommended.

Bacterial (staph) infections (tiny purple dots pictured above) are very common secondary to allergies and various other skin conditions.

Bacterial (staph) infections (tiny purple dots pictured here) are very common secondary to allergies and various other skin conditions.

Since the ear canals are an extension of the skin, it is common for pets with allergies to also develop ear infections. There are many other primary causes of ear infection such as ear mites or hormonal imbalances, but allergies is one of the most common. If you think your pet may have an ear infection, testing to determine what type of infection is present is necessary to determine the best type of ear medication and cleanser to use in your pet.

Yeast infections (purple oval and peanut shapes above) are common secondary to allergies and various other skin conditions.

Yeast infections (purple oval and peanut shapes pictures) are common secondary to allergies and various other skin conditions.

We very often treat allergies and relieve pet’s itching at our hospital and are now proud to also offer safer medications with less side effects (as compared to steroids) for itch relief in those pets that suffer from the chronic discomfort of allergies and itchy skin and/or ears. Please call and set up an appointment so we can determine if this medication is right for your pet’s individual needs.

Pain Management & Senior Care

One of the most rewarding part of our jobs as veterinarians is being able to relieve pain and suffering in pets and help them live a longer, healthier, and happier life.

It is a great feeling when an owner calls us the next day after their pet has been prescribed a medication for arthritis and tells us that their dog is now in the backyard chasing squirrels and they had not been able to do that in years! …or that their 11 year old Labrador Retriever that could hardly walk 2 days prior is now “trotting” around after starting medication to relieve his arthritis pain.

Many owners do not recognize that their pet may be painful because most pets will still eat and “act normally” on a day to day basis. It can be hard to tell sometimes if a pet is painful if they are not limping. What pet parents may not realize is that their dog is painful if they have trouble getting up after laying down for a while or if they walk around more stiffly. Cats can be even more tough to recognize pain in because many cats are more sedentary than dogs. Cats may sometimes also walk around with a more stiff gait, have trouble getting on and off furniture, or may not make a smooth landing when they do jump off furniture.

There are many ailments that can affect our middle aged to older pets. Unfortunately, they cannot tell us where it hurts. Since pets age much quicker than humans, we recommend comprehensive physical exams every 6 months. Although it may not seem that there is anything wrong with a pet on the outside, illness such as heart conditions or early internal organ dysfunction can be caught during a routine physical exam and with bloodwork screening. Even the most astute owner will not be able to tell if their pet has a heart murmur or has the early stages of kidney disease for example. By catching some diseases in the early stages, before the pet shows symptoms, we can take steps to intervene and slow the disease progression before it becomes unmanageable.

In-House Laboratory

Our in-house laboratory allows us to be able to quickly have lab results for your pet so we can begin treatment for them in a timely fashion. There are instances when we may need to send tests out to our reference laboratory.  We have access to a very large selection of advanced laboratory testing for situations where it may be needed.

Our in-house chemistry analyzer screens for diabetes, kidney and liver problems, protein losses, electrolyte imbalances, and cholesterol levels. We can also test your pet for pancreatitis with an in-house blood test for those pets that may present with a decreased appetite, vomiting, or diarrhea.

Our in-house CBC machine checks white blood cell count, screens for anemia, and tests the platelet count (for clotting).  Fecal exams are very important at least once per year in indoor pets and twice yearly for pets that go outdoors.

Hookworms (eggs pictured above left) are common and microscopic.  Whipworms (eggs pictured above right) are less common and often not caught without detecting the eggs under the microscope.

Dentistry

Pet dental care is important because oral infections hurt!!! Pets often will continue to eat for years with mild to moderate chronic oral pain and just learn to adjust to this pain over time, leading many owners to think that “it doesn’t seem to bother the pet”.

Research clearly shows that proper dental care is one of the most important things that you can do to add years and quality to to your pet’s life.

Properly caring for your pet’s teeth beginning at an early age will save you a great deal of expense in caring for your pet in later years. Daily brushing of your pet’s teeth is ideal when you pet will allow it. Many pets need to begin having professional dental cleanings by the age of 2 or 3 year years old. Most pets have some evidence of periodontal disease by the age of 3 years.

Proper dental prophylaxis involves scaling AND polishing of the teeth. This is important to remove tartar above and below the gum line. This is performed with both hand instruments and ultrasonic cleaning equipment. In order to properly perform a dental prophylaxis, the pet must be anesthetized. It is natural to be concerned about your pet undergoing anesthesia, but the risk of chronic oral infection is far greater than the risk of an anesthetic complication. Please see our page regarding anesthesia for more information.

Dental cleaning without anesthesia is a disservice to the pet. Without anesthesia, it is not possible to be able to probe the teeth and roots and assess for abnormalities or diseased teeth. Also, scaling just the crown of the teeth (the visible part) is only cosmetic. We must scale underneath the gumline to get to the bacteria that is actually the source of dental problems to try to prevent further dental disease from progressing. The American Veterinary Dental College has great information online regarding Dental Scaling without Anesthesia.

After scaling, in to try to prevent new plaque formation we must polish to make the teeth smooth. Polishing the teeth after scaling is important to smooth down the surfaces. Without polishing, dental specialists say we are really doing the pet very little good, and in fact the plaque would return very quickly if the teeth were not polished after scaling.


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Before & after scaling and polishing – a much healthier mouth!

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A tooth covered in tartar build up hiding disease underneath the surface. Once the tooth was cleaned, a fracture was found with a hole in the tooth. Without a root canal or extraction of the tooth, this diseased tooth could have eventually led to a painful abscess.

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Dental x-rays are available too! Feline Odontoclastic Resportive Lesion (FORL)This is an unfortunately common and painful oral condition of cats that often cannot be found and treated without removing the tartar on the teeth, probing the teeth, and/or dental x-rays.

Anesthesia Safety

Contrary to popular belief, general anesthesia carries extremely low risk for pets when the proper precautions are taken. Even senior patients and some patients with chronic medical conditions can be safely anesthetized with proper pre-anesthetic assessment and attention to detail during and after anesthesia. It is always safest to check bloodwork prior to anesthesia as well.

Whenever a pet is under anesthesia, we will constantly monitor at minimum their heart rate, pulses, respiratory rate, gum color, oxygen saturation, ECG, blood pressure, temperature, and depth of anesthesia.
Our team has many years of experience monitoring pets under anesthesia.

Digital Radiology

We offer digital radiology at our hospital which allows us to get quicker and more detailed results for your pet so we can begin treating them without delay.

Fractured tibia in a puppy (circled)

7 weeks later the puppy is healed with a splint/bandage and lots of TLC!.

Digital x-ray confirmed a tumor in this cat’s abdomen

Surgery

We have years of experience performing many types of surgeries.

Some of the more common types of surgeries we can perform at our hospital include but are not limited to:
Spay and Neuters
Eye Surgeries (such as cherry eye, eyelid mass removal, etc)
Cystotomy (Bladder stone removal)
Tumor Removal
Many types of oral surgeries (teeth extraction, oral mass removal, etc)
Wound Care
Gastrointestinal surgeries
Caesarean Section
Ear Hematoma Repair
Biopsies
and much more!

We can also perform many types of orthopedic surgeries at our hospital including some cruciate repairs, fractures, and patellar luxation (dislocated kneecap) surgeries. If you think your pet needs a specialized type of surgery, please call us to discuss whether we can perform this at our hospital.

In uncommon cases, we may call in a board-certified veterinary surgeon for very complex surgeries. If we happen to refer to another facility for a board-certified veterinary surgeon we recommend the following in Pinellas and Hillsborough counties:
Blue Pearl Veterinary Specialists: (727) 572-0132
Sunset Veterinary Surgery (Dr Malnoti): (727) 447-0256
Veterinary Surgical Services (Dr Hay & Dr Thomas): (813) 901-5100

Emergency Care

Emergencies are always treated before healthy, stable pets and we take emergencies anytime during our normal business hours.

Emergencies we can treat at our hospital include:
Unconsciousness
Hit by car
Physical trauma
Foaming from mouth
Unresponsiveness
Blue, purple or pale gums
Cat exhibiting open-mouth breathing
Straining or difficulty urinating
Bleeding heavily
Profuse vomiting or diarrhea
Difficulty breathing
Difficulty giving birth (dystocia)
Seizures
Ingestion of toxins, medications or any suspect substance
Sudden-onset complications arising from diabetes, heart disease, and kidney disease

Please call 727-726-1616 for an Appointment or to advise us if you are bringing in a Pet Emergency.

For after hours emergencies, please call Blue Pearl Veterinary Specialists at (727) 572-0132