General, Vaccine & Surgery FAQs

Here are some questions/answers that we are frequently asked. If you have additional questions that aren't covered here, please feel free to give us a call. New questions are added all the time. You can email suggestions for FAQs to lakesidevets@gmail.com.
What are the hospital hours?
Our hospital is open Monday to Friday from 7:00 am to 6:00 pm. Generally, the doctor sees appointments from 8:30 to 10 am and from 2 pm to 6 pm on these days. On Saturdays we are open from 8:00 am until noon. The clinic is closed on Sunday.
Do I need to have an appointment?
We strongly recommend setting up an appointment whenever possible to avoid long wait times. However, walk-ins are always welcome, and will be worked into the schedule as soon as possible.
What forms of payment do you accept?
Cash, Check, MasterCard, Visa, Discover, CareCredit, and American Express.
Can I make payments?
We offer payment plans through CareCredit. To apply, click here. Otherwise, full payment is due at the time of services.
At what age can I have my pet spayed or neutered?
Spaying (females) or neutering (males) can be done at approximately 6 months of age. Your pet is given an exam prior to surgery to help determine whether your pet is healthy enough to undergo the surgical procedure. For your pet's safety, current vaccinations are required at the time of surgery. Also a pre-anesthetic blood screen is required prior to undergoing anesthesia and surgery.
What is the pre-anesthetic blood screening?
This is a blood test that is run here in the clinic prior to surgery. It tests the organ functions, blood counts and clotting function of your pet. The pre-anesthetic blood screening is done to assure safety during surgery and the ability to heal following surgery.
How long do the sutures stay in after my pet's surgery?
Procedures involving sutures require them to be removed in 10-14 days following the surgery.
Is it a good idea to let my dog or cat have at least one litter?
No, there is no advantage to letting your pet have one litter. However there are plenty of advantages to having your female pet spayed, especially if it is done prior to the first heat cycle, and to having your male pet neutered. These advantages include decreasing the chances of breast tumors later in life (females), decreasing the chance of cystic ovaries and uterine infections later in life (females), decreasing the desire to roam the neighborhood, decreasing the incidence of prostate problems later in life (males), helping prevent spraying and marking, and also decreases the surplus of unwanted puppies and kittens.
Do you board pets?
Yes, we offer boarding as a service for our clients. We have boarding space for both dogs and cats at our boarding facilities. For safety and legal reasons, you may only pick up your pet during normal business hours. No after-hours pickups will be allowed.
What are your kennels like?
Our dog kennels are all indoor. The dogs are walked 3 times daily while they are boarding. The cat boarders are housed in a separate area away from the dogs. Blankets and food are provided for our boarders, but you are always welcome to bring your own. Make sure to note any special instructions at drop-off. Call us if you would like a tour prior to boarding your pet.
What do I do in case of an emergency?
If you have an emergency during normal business hours, call us if possible and proceed to the clinic immediately with your pet. If you have an emergency after-hours, call the emergency clinic at (713) 932-9589. If the emergency involves possible ingestion of a poison, bring the product with you if at all possible.

Vaccine FAQs

What are vaccines?
In simple terms, vaccines are injections of an inactivated part of a virus or bacteria, given to an animal so that if he or she is exposed to the actual bacteria or virus, his or her immune system will already be prepared to fight off the infection and prevent illness.
At what age do I need to bring my new puppy or kitten to the clinic to get its first set of shots?
We recommend bringing your new pup or kitten in at six weeks of age for a thorough exam to check for any congenital abnormalities or other problems that may exist. At that time we will give the first set of vaccines, perform a check of the feces for intestinal parasites, give a routine dewormer for roundworms and hookworms, and start heartworm prevention. In cats, we will also want to test for the presence of feline leukemia virus and feline AIDS virus prior to the first vaccination.
What vaccines will be recommended for my pet?
In dogs, rabies and DHPP (distemper, hepatitis, parvo, and parainfluenza) are core vaccines and recommended in every dog (rabies vaccine is required by law). Bordetella vaccine (kennel cough) and canine influenza (dog flu) are recommended in all dogs that will be in a boarding or grooming setting, or have contact with other dogs. Leptospirosis vaccine is recommended in most dogs, unless they are strictly indoors or toy breeds.

In cats, rabies and FVRCP (feline distemper, calicivirus, and panleukopenia) are core vaccines and recommended in every cat (rabies vaccine is required by law). Feline leukemia vaccine is recommended for cats at risk of contracting the virus (cats that go outdoors, roam, or live with multiple other cats).

Click here for the American Animal Hospital Assn's Canine Vaccine Guidelines
Click here for the American Assn of Feline Practitioners Feline Vaccine Guidelines
Why is an exam required before my pet can get his/her vaccines?
Vaccines should only be given to healthy animals. If vaccines are given to sick animals, the vaccine a) may not be as effective, and b) may cause the pet's immune system to weaken, making the pre-existing illness worse. An examination allows the doctor to identify any illness that may interfere with the effectiveness or safety of a vaccine. It also allows the doctor to check on your pet's overall health at least once a year and catch any problems or illnesses in their early stages.
How often do I have to bring my pup or kitten in for an exam and vaccines?
A puppy or kitten's immune system is different than an adult’s, so frequent boosters are required to provide adequate protection against these common diseases. We recommend vaccine boosters at 6 weeks, 9 weeks, 12 weeks, and 16 weeks. The pup or kitten should not be exposed to other animals (pet park, obedience classes, etc.) until all four boosters have been given.
How often are vaccines necessary in adult dogs and cats?
Each animal's potential for exposure to infectious diseases is different. Therefore, the veterinarian will decide the best plan for vaccinating your pet on a case-by-case basis. In general, adult dogs and cats do not require vaccines as often as a pup or kitten. Until recently, the standard of care was to administer all vaccines on an annual basis. However, recent studies have shown that some vaccines last much longer than one year in adult animals. Generally, all vaccines are administered at least once every three years. At Lakeside Animal Clinic, we follow the recommendations of the American Animal Hospital Association (AAHA) and the American Association of Feline Practitioners (AAFP). The City of Houston and Harris County have both recently adopted protocol to allow Rabies vaccination every three years, with certain conditions.
Explain the new Three-Year Rabies vaccine protocol.
If your adult dog is vaccinated for rabies and then given a booster within 365 days, the next booster will not be necessary until three years later. The City of Houston and Harris County are both very strict on the 365-day rule. If your dog is even one day late in getting the rabies booster, he or she will have to be given another booster within one year.
Is the rabies vaccine protocol different for cats?
Yes. At Lakeside Animal Clinic, we use a different Rabies vaccine in cats. This vaccine, called Purevax, is safer for cats because it doesn't have an adjuvant (an additive that increases the effectiveness of the vaccine, but which has been found to potentially cause tumors at the injection site in cats). The downside of this vaccine is that it is currently only labeled for once yearly administration because, without this adjuvant, it does not protect the cat as long. Thus, we currently vaccinate cats yearly for rabies.
Can vaccines cause my pet to have a reaction?
The vaccines that we administer to your pet are very safe. However, in rare instances they can cause a reaction in your pet. These reactions can vary from mild to severe and potentially fatal. Small breed dogs are more likely to have a vaccine reaction than a large breed dog. Since reactions to vaccines are very uncommon, the risk of exposure to the potentially serious illnesses the vaccine is designed to protect against far outweigh the slight risk of a serious reaction. You should monitor your pet closely in the hours and days following the vaccination, and immediately report to us any fever, facial or limb swelling, vomiting, hives, or any other symptoms your pet is exhibiting.
Surgery FAQs 
Is the anesthetic safe?
Today's modern anesthetic monitors have made surgery much safer than in the past. Here at Lakeside Animal Clinic, we do a thorough physical exam on your pet before administering anesthetics, to ensure that a fever or other illness won't be a problem. We also adjust the amount and type of anesthetic used depending on the health of your pet.  

Pre-anesthetic blood testing is important in reducing the risk of anesthesia. Every pet needs blood testing before surgery to ensure that the liver and kidneys can handle the anesthetic. 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. Animals that have minor dysfunction will handle the anesthetic better if they receive IV fluids during surgery. If serious problems are detected, surgery can be postponed until the problem is corrected. For geriatric or ill pets, additional blood tests, 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 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.
Will my pet have stitches?
For many surgeries, we use absorbable sutures underneath the skin. These will dissolve on their own, and do not need to be removed later. Some surgeries, especially tumor removals, do require skin stitches. With either type of suture, you will need to keep an eye on the incision for swelling or discharge. Most dogs and cats do not lick excessively or chew at the incision, but this is an occasional problem you will also need to watch for. If there are skin sutures, these will usually be removed 10 to 14 days after surgery. You will also need to limit your pet's activity level for a time and no baths are allowed for the first 10 days after surgery.
Will my pet be in pain?
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. Major procedures require more pain relief than things like minor lacerations.

For dogs and cats, we may recommend an oral anti-inflammatory or a narcotic pain reliever the day after surgery and several days after to lessen the risk of discomfort and swelling. We use newer medications, which are less likely to cause an upset stomach and can be given even the morning of surgery. We also administer a pain injection prior to surgery to reduce discomfort in the immediate post-operative period. After surgery, pain medication is given on a case by case basis. Any animal that appears painful will receive additional pain medication.
What other decisions do I need to make?
While your pet is under anesthesia, it is the ideal time to perform other minor procedures, such as dentistry, nail trimming, ear cleaning, or implanting an identification microchip. If you would like an estimate for these extra services, please let us know.  

When you bring your pet in for surgery, we will need 5 to 10 minutes of time to fill out paperwork and make decisions on any additional services your pet may need. 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. We will call you the night before your scheduled surgery appointment, to confirm the time you will be dropping your pet off and to answer any questions you might have. In the meantime, please don't hesitate to call us with any questions about your pet's health or surgery.
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