After-Hours or Weekend Emergencies
When veterinary care is needed after business hours, please click here to see our recommended after-hours emergency centers.
Ocean State Veterinary Specialists
1480 South County Trail
East Greenich, RI 02818
Bay State Veterinary Emergency Services
76 Baptist Street
Mass-RI Veterinary ER
477 Milford Road
Swansea, Ma. 02777
Appointments are available Monday – Saturday and same day appointments are often available for sick patients and emergencies. Please call us at 401-683-0803 to set up an appointment that is convenient with your schedule.
Payment is required at the time service is rendered. For your convenience, we accept cash, check, Visa, MasterCard and American Express. We are also pleased to accept Care Credit, which enables clients to provide care to pets in urgent situations despite financial constraints. For more information, please click here.
Vaccines are an important part of your dog or cat’s health care plan. Vaccines, along with wellness exams and parasite prevention products, help keep your pet healthy by preventing serious diseases.
Description of Vaccines
Rabies vaccine. The first rabies shot your pet receives (pet must be 12 weeks old) is good for one year. Subsequent Rabies vaccinations last either 1 or 3 years. We will discuss the rabies vaccine options with you during your pet’s annual wellness exam.
DHLPP vaccine. This is a "5-way" canine vaccine that vaccinates against canine distemper, parainfluenza, parvovirus, hepatitis and leptospirosis. Distemper and parvovirus infections can be fatal, especially in puppies. It is therefore important to begin vaccines as early as 6 weeks old and provide “booster” vaccines every 3-4 weeks until puppies reach 16-20 weeks old. Adult dogs are then vaccinated every 1-3 years.
DHPP vaccine. This vaccine protects against all of the same diseases above except leptospirosis. Leptospirosa is an organism carried by wild animals that can be dangerous for both animals and humans. We recommend vaccinating all dogs against leptospirosa unless it is their first vaccine, they are very small or have a history of an allergic reaction to vaccination.
FVRCP Vaccine. This is a "3-way" feline vaccine that vaccinates against feline distemper (aka panleukopenia), rhinotrachetitis, and calici virus. Kittens can be vaccinated as early as 8 weeks and receive "booster" vaccines every 3-4 weeks until 16 weeks of age. Adult cats are then vaccinated every 3 years.
Feline Leukemia Vaccine. Feline Leukemia Vaccine is recommended for all kittens and for adult cats that go outdoors or interact with other household cats that go outdoors. We will discuss our recommendations regarding this vaccine at your cat’s annual visit.
Bordetella. Also known as "kennel cough", we recommend a series of two vaccinations 4 weeks apart then annually thereafter for dogs, if their life style requires it.
Canine Flu. A vaccination is available for canine influenza if your pet is likely to be exposed.
Heartworm Prevention. Heartworm disease is a serious disease transmitted by mosquitoes which can be fatal if untreated. We recommend your dog and cat be on year-round heartworm prevention starting at your puppy’s or kitten’s first visit. Your dog will need to be tested with a simple blood test for heartworm disease.
Flea and Tick Control. In most instances, we recommend using flea/tick prevention all year around. We can discuss your pet’s potential exposure and options for treatment and prevention.
When is the best time to spay or neuter my pet?
We generally recommend that you have your pet spayed or neutered at 4-6 months of age. This recommendation provides the best protection for your pet. There are still benefits to having a pet spayed or neutered at advanced ages as well, just be sure to disclose the pet’s age and general health status when scheduling an appointment.
When does my pet need blood work?
We recommend annual blood work for every apparently healthy adult patient and more frequent blood work for some individual pets based on age, health status, and current medications. Regular lab testing helps detect diseases early, before clinical signs develop. In many situations, early detection is essential for effective treatment. The type of blood work will be determined specifically for each pet depending on his or her individual needs. This is convenient to do at the time of the annual heartworm test, but can be done at any time of year. We may also recommend blood work prior to some anesthetic and diagnostic procedures.
How many months should my pet be on Heartworm prevention medication?
We recommend that your pet be on heartworm prevention for the entire year. It is administered one time per month either by pill or by topical application. Depending on the specific product you choose for your pet, heartworm prevention medication can prevent other parasite infestations including internal parasites (intestinal parasites) and external parasites (fleas and ticks). Some of these parasites can be communicated to people! A simple blood test will get your pet started.
Why does my dog need a blood test before purchasing heartworm prevention?
Dogs could get sick (vomiting, diarrhea, and/or death) if placed on heartworm prevention when they have heartworm disease. Even if they have been on heartworm prevention year round, there is always the possibility that the product may have failed for various reasons (your pet spit out the pill, did not absorb the pill appropriately, topical medicine was not applied properly, forgot to administer medication on time, etc.) and the earlier we can treat your pet for heartworm disease, the better the prognosis. ALL companies will guarantee their product if you use the heartworm prevention year round and are performing an annual heartworm test.
My pet never goes outside so does it really need heartworm prevention? Yes! Heartworm disease is transmitted through mosquito bites and mosquitoes often get inside houses.
Doesn’t the fecal sample test for heartworms?
No. Heartworm disease is a blood-borne disease that is transmitted through mosquitoes. A simple blood test will confirm whether or not your dog has heartworm disease.
How can I prevent fleas?
There are many medications available for the treatment and prevention of fleas. We always recommend that you use products purchased from veterinary clinics which has the manufacturers guarantee. Some over-the-counter products can cause severe adverse reactions or even death. Medications are now available in a combined form for fleas and monthly heartworm medication. Although fleas are more prevalent in summer months, they are seen all year in the south.
What is Lyme disease?
Lyme is a disease transmitted by ticks. It is a chronic illness that can lead to kidney failure, arthritis, neurological disease and some forms of heart disease in dogs. The vaccine is recommended for all dogs and puppies that are potentially exposed to ticks. This includes nearly all dogs in southern New England. This includes dogs that spend time outdoors in wooded or grassy areas, such as dog parks, campgrounds, hunting fields/meadows/ponds, and/or dogs that visit Lyme-endemic areas of the Northeast, Mid-Atlantic or upper Midwest.
What is kennel cough?
Canine Bordetella is a respiratory disease called Infectious Tracheobronchitis (kennel cough). It is easily transmitted through the air. It is a viral infection complicated by bacteria. Both intranasal and injectable vaccines are available.
What is Lepto?
Leptospirosis is a bacterial disease. It is spread by wildlife (raccoons, skunks, foxes, coyotes, opossums, squirrels and rats) and domestic animals. It can be passed to people. Canine Lepto has risen dramatically in recent years. Infected animals shed Lepto bacteria in the urine. To prevent Lepto in your dog, discourage your pet from drinking standing water and vaccinate yearly.
Why does my pet need a dental cleaning and how often should this be done?
We believe an annual professional dental exam is necessary to treat and maintain your dog and cat’s healthy teeth and gums. As your pet ages or his or her health needs change, advanced dental care may be required. Your pet's teeth and mouth should be examined by us on a regular basis. Dental disease involves more than just bad breath. When bacteria irritate the gum line, the gums become inflamed (gingivitis or gum disease). Left untreated, this leads to periodontal disease, which causes loss of the bone/support structure of the tooth and subsequent loose teeth. In addition, the bacteria are released into the blood stream, increasing the chance of systemic infections which can cause harm to organs such as the heart, liver, or kidneys.
How often your pet needs his/her teeth professionally cleaned depends on many factors. Your pet's teeth and mouth should be examined on a regular basis to detect disease. If you notice bad breath, decreased appetite, abnormal chewing, increased drooling or signs of mouth pain, your pet should be examined by a veterinarian as soon as possible to rule out tooth root abscess or other dental disease.
Do I need to brush my pet’s teeth at home?
Yes. Proper dental care at home is highly recommended to help maintain the oral health of your dog and cat. Home dental care for companion animals should start early, even before the adult teeth erupt. It is best if owners brush their dogs and cats teeth frequently. Although tooth brushing is the best method of preventing plaque, calculus, and bacterial build-up, there are many options for dental home care. Other oral home care options such as dental formulated foods, water additives, sealants and dental treats should be considered.
How do I know if my pet is in pain?
It can sometimes be difficult to tell! If you are not sure, but suspect your pet may be hurting or is just not acting right, call to have an examination. Some signs of pain, such as limping or whimpering, are obvious. Other signs are more subtle and can include not eating, a change in behavior or normal habits, being more tired or having less energy. Of course, these symptoms can be caused by many problems! Therefore an examination by a veterinarian is important to help determine what may be wrong.
Why does my pet need to be admitted before a surgical procedure?
In preparation for the procedure, your pet will receive:
What should I bring for my pet's hospital stay?
You may bring a toy, blanket or special item for your pet.
Is anesthesia safe for my pet?
At Portsmouth Veterinary Clinic, we take all anesthetic cases very seriously. We utilize the safest, multi-modal approach that is individually created for each dog or cat. It includes injectable medications for sedation and pain management as well as gas anesthetic agents. The combination of pre-anesthetic assessment of your pet (including blood work), use of modern anesthetic agents, and the latest anesthetic monitoring equipment means that anesthesia is generally considered to be a very low risk for your pet.
When we place your dog or cat under general anesthesia, a breathing tube is inserted into the trachea (windpipe) to administer oxygen mixed with the anesthetic gas. As with people, an intravenous catheter is placed into your pet’s arm or leg to infuse warm fluids to help bolster their blood pressure and body temperature during the procedure. Once the procedure is completed and the anesthetic is turned off, oxygen is continued to be delivered to your pet until your pet wakes up and the tube is removed.
Members of our medical team are assigned to your pet, from initial exam through pre-anesthetic medications, anesthesia and post-operative recovery. We closely monitor your pet during the procedure and the recovery process using advanced monitoring equipment. Parameters often monitored include oxygen concentration in the blood stream (pulse oximetry), electrocardiogram (EKG), core body temperature, respiratory rate, and blood pressure.
When my pet is having surgery, when should I expect an update on my pet?
You will receive a call when your pet is in recovery from the procedure. If there are any abnormalities on pre-anesthetic exam or blood work, you will receive a call prior to the procedure in case we need to change plans. You may call as well if you wish to check on your pet’s progress.
After surgery, when will my pet be able to go home?
All pets undergoing outpatient surgical procedures will be discharged to the owner by the end of the business day. If your pet recovers quickly and is ready to go home sooner, we will inform you during the post-operative phone call.
Are there any special at-home care instructions for my dog or cat before undergoing surgery?
Please do not feed your pet after 12 AM Midnight the evening before a scheduled procedure. There is no restriction on drinking water except no large amounts of water in the morning of your pet’s procedure. Plan to arrive at the office between 8:00-8:30 AM, and allow up to 30 minutes for check-in procedures.
Answers to common questions after your pet goes home after surgery:
Decreased appetite is very common during illness or after surgery. If your pet does not seem eager to eat the evening of surgery but has recovered well otherwise, simply withhold food and offer a meal the next morning. If your pet’s appetite remains decreased, please contact us for further evaluation and recommendations.
Bandage, cast or splint is wet, soiled or off
If the bandage becomes soiled or damp, or gets chewed off, please place a light dressing or sock at home and call us. In some cases, bandages inappropriately applied at home can even cut off the circulation to the foot. Call us immediately if you have concerns about your pet's bandage. Confine your pet to a crate, a single room or similar small area until you can call us and we can advise you regarding whether the bandage needs to be replaced. After a cast or splint is first removed, it may take 1-2 weeks for your pet to become accustomed to using the leg without the splint.
After having a procedure requiring sedation or general anesthesia, pets will sometimes whine of cry when they return home. One reason for this vocalization might be that some pets experience dysphoria, or "hangover" from the drugs used during the procedure. Sometimes vocalizing can indicate discomfort, which might require an adjustment in any pain medications dispensed. If the crying or whining is mild and intermittent you may simply patiently monitor the situation. If the vocalization persists or is intense please call us, or the emergency facilities, for advice.
Diarrhea may occasionally be seen after hospitalization. This can be caused by change in diet but is more commonly caused by the stress of being away from home. Certain medications prescribed to your pet may also cause diarrhea. If the diarrhea is bloody, lasts longer than 12-24 hours, or if your pet becomes lethargic or vomits, please contact us immediately. You can purchase a nutritionally complete bland food from us available in cans or kibble. Alternatively, you may feed cooked/steamed rice mixed with an equal volume of either boiled chicken, chicken baby food, nonfat cottage cheese or cooked turkey. Very lean, boiled hamburger meat can be substituted as well. Feed small meals every 4-6 hours. We do NOT recommend using any over-the-counter medication to treat the diarrhea. Please call us if there are any questions or problems.
E-collar (restraint collar)
We rely on you to keep the E-collar on your pet. While they may not enjoy it initially, they will enjoy it even less if they have to come back to our office for a recheck visit to repair an incision that has been chewed open! Most pets become accustomed to the collar within one or two days and they can eat, sleep, and drink with it on. We are counting on you: please keep the E-collar on your pet.
Injury to surgical site
If for any reason you suspect that your pet has reinjured the surgical site, confine your pet and call us immediately for advice.
If you have given your pet all the pain medication prescribed and you feel your pet still has discomfort, please call and we will be happy to discuss refilling the pain medication or providing additional prescriptions as needed.
Despite the medications we have prescribed, some pets will still show signs of pain at home, such as restlessness/inability to sleep, poor appetite, lameness or tenderness at the site of surgery. Please confine your pet to limit their activity. Then call us immediately so that we can dispense or prescribe additional medication or therapies as necessary to keep your pet comfortable.
This is commonly seen after surgery. It may indicate soreness but is often due to anxiety. Please call and we can help determine whether additional pain medication is advised. We will be happy to recheck your pet if you are concerned.
Seroma (fluid pocket)
In any healing surgical area, fluid produced during the healing process may accumulate and form a seroma (fluid pocket). Fortunately, this is not painful and does not impair the healing process. Eventually, the body will reabsorb the fluid. If the seroma is small, we typically will leave it alone. If it is large, we may remove the fluid with a needle and syringe or even place a drain. If you notice a seroma developing, please call. We may wish to recheck the area to ensure there is no infection.
Some pets may urinate less after surgery or may seem to be unable to control urination. This is usually temporary and may be a side effect of medication, anesthesia drugs, or difficulty assuming "the position" to urinate. Please call if your pet has not produced urine for more than 12 hours. Many pets initially drink less after returning home, so expect less urination at first.
An episode or two of vomiting is occasionally seen after surgery or anesthesia. If the vomiting continues, blood is noted in the vomitus, or if your pet is not holding down any food or water, call to schedule a recheck of your pet by a veterinarian.