Learning to Live With Pets

Five Canine Specialties Your Animal Hospital Should Provide

When choosing an animal hospital for your dog's health care, you need to look at more than a veterinarian's qualifications. Not every animal hospital employs veterinarians that are board certified specialists or is equipped with the latest technology for various needs. Because dog owners can't be sure what medical needs may arise in the future, it's a good idea to choose a pet hospital that offers an on-site laboratory and treatment options, as well as full services. Whether your pet has specific health issues or you're in need of general services, it's a good idea to choose a practice that employs a broad scope of specialties and services like pet boarding, canine dentistry, radiology, ophthalmology and surgery.

1. On-Site Dog Boarding

A hospital with on-site boarding facilities is a convenient option. In many cases, veterinarians will be on call at all times, should an emergency arise. The facility should be clean and dogs should be housed in a separate area from other species. In addition, the boarding area should have 24-hour monitoring and be climate controlled.

2. Canine Dental Services

Your dog's dental health should be a top priority in routine care. When choosing an animal hospital, be certain this specialty is included. This should encompass all aspects of your dog's dental health, including preventative care, diagnostics and treatment of dental emergencies or conditions.

Do the veterinarians practice oral and maxillofacial surgery, as well as orthodontics? The staff should be trained in diagnosing and treating oral cancer as well. Equally important, look for a veterinary hospital that offers comprehensive routine dental care for dogs.

Routine care may include regular cleanings. The vet may use an ultrasonic device that scales the teeth and gums for removal of plaque and tartar. Without cleaning, gum disease may interfere with your dog's ability to chew, resulting in refusal to eat. The vet should also demonstrate how to care for your dog's teeth at home, with the use of canine dental toothpaste or other methods.

3. Radiology and Diagnostic Imaging

Medical emergencies can't always be predicted or prevented. This is why it's important  to choose a pet care facility that is equipped to handle such emergencies. A facility with a radiology and diagnostic imaging department is a must.

The basic diagnostic options will include the use digital X-ray equipment. This will help diagnose fractures and broken bones. Ultrasound and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) may also be used to diagnose tumors, and abnormalities of the joints, tendons and internal structures.

4. Canine Ophthalmology

Ocular disease is not uncommon in some purebred canine species. Also, as a dog ages, vision problems may arise. For these reasons, your vet clinic or hospital should be equipped with an ophthalmology department.

If a dog requires retinal testing, corrective eye surgery or cataract removal, be prepared by choosing a facility that employs a specialized staff. Some animal hospitals feature an on-site eye clinic to diagnose and treat eye disease in canines.

5. Critical Care Unit and Surgery

An animal hospital with an intensive care unit is crucial. This option offers 24-hour monitoring and life-saving techniques for seriously injured or gravely ill pets. Be sure the hospital is able to provide treatment for emergency trauma, poisoning, illness and disease.

The facility should also be equipped for performing surgeries, including emergency cesarean sections or exploratory surgery. Oxygen and fluid therapy should be an option, as well as blood transfusions, should the need arise. In addition, defibrillation equipment should be on hand for use in a cardiac emergency.

In conclusion, remember to plan ahead. Choose your veterinary hospital carefully, before a medical emergency arises. This will help reduce your stress during your pet's time of need.