There is no question too big or too small for our veterinary team. Below are some answers to our most common questions.

Frequently Asked Questions

At Plaistow-Kingston Animal Medical Center, we get a ton of interesting questions from pet parents. Below are some common FAQs that might help answer any questions or concerns. Please feel free to call us at 603-607-7865 for any other concerns you might have about your pet.

What over-the-counter medications can I give my pet?

Before administering ANY over-the-counter medications to your pet, you should always consult with your veterinarian. There are some popular OTC medications that should NEVER be given to pets. These include, but are not limited to:

  • Ibuprofen: (Motrin, Advil and Nuprin, etc.)
  • Acetaminophen: (Tylenol, etc.) This drug absolutely cannot be administered to CATS because they lack the ability to metabolize acetaminophen. Should only be used in DOGS under the supervision of a veterinarian.
  • Aspirin: (Bayer, etc.) Should only be used under the supervision of a veterinarian.
Is it a good idea to let my pet have at least one litter?

No, there is no advantage to letting your pet have one litter. Beyond controlling pet overpopulation, there are plenty of health and behavioral benefits to having your pet spayed or neutered.

In females, spaying eliminates the risk of life-threatening uterine infections (pyometra) and significantly decreases the risk of mammary cancer. Behavioral benefits include the prevention of females going into “heat” (typically every 6 months), as well as the associated bloody discharge, and in turn, decreases the possibility of your pet running off in search of a mate.

In males, neutering eliminates the risk of testicular cancer and decreases the risk of prostatic disease (hyperplasia and cancer). Behavioral benefits include a reduction or prevention of traits associated with testosterone and the reproductive urge, including aggression, roaming, and urine-marking. The strong scent associated with intact male urine is also decreased significantly.

Do you bill?

Payment is required as services are rendered. In order to focus on our patient’s needs, customer service, and minimizing costs, WE DO NOT BILL. We accept payment in the form of cash, credit card (including CareCredit), personal/business check, and VPI (Veterinary Pet Insurance).

CareCredit is a credit card exclusively for pet owners to use when paying for their veterinary bills. You can complete an application in just a few minutes at our hospital, we can call in your application over the phone for immediate approval, or you can apply yourself at: www.CareCredit.com.

CareCredit cardholders receive:

  • No annual fee
  • Low monthly payments (3% of the total balance)
  • 6 months interest-free financing

Pet Insurance is another option for owners. To learn more, please visit: www.PetInsurance.com

At what age can I have my pet spayed or neutered? What does the actual procedure involve?

Cats and dogs are generally good candidates for spaying at 6 months of age because they are good anesthetic risks and recover quickly from the procedure. A spay can be performed at any age, but the benefits of the procedure decrease, while recovery time increases with age. It pays to spay early.

Cats and dogs can be neutered at any age (animal shelters often neuter pets at 6 weeks of age to ensure they are sterilized prior to adoption). Most veterinarians prefer to wait until the animal is 6 months old, as they are better anesthetic risks while still remaining sexually immature.

“Spay” is the commonly used term for the ovariohysterectomy surgery veterinarians perform in order to sterilize the female dog or cat. The procedure is performed under general anesthesia by a veterinarian and at least one technician to monitor the patient. During a spay, the Y-Shaped uterus and the two attached ovaries are removed entirely. Due to the large blood supply to these organs, great care must be taken to tie off the associated blood vessels, then the various levels of muscle, subcutaneous tissue, and skin are closed separately.

“Neuter” is the commonly used term for the orchiectomy surgery veterinarians perform in order to sterilize the male dog or cat. Pre and postoperative pain medications are administered to ensure the patient’s comfort. The patient is placed under general anesthesia and prepped for surgery by shaving the incision area, followed by surface sterilization of the exposed skin. An incision is made just forward of the scrotum in the dog, while two incisions are made in the scrotum of the cat, through which both testicles and the spermatic cord are removed, and the associated blood vessels are tied off. There are usually 2-3 skin sutures to close the incision in dogs, while tissue glue is usually used on cats.

Can I bring my pet in without an appointment?
We strongly suggest that you make an appointment. We will accommodate walk-in patients as best we can. Emergencies are seen immediately. All elective surgeries must be scheduled in advance.
What should I do if I think my pet has eaten something poisonous?

If you suspect your pet has been exposed to a poison/toxin, call us (603-607-7865) or ASPCA poison control (888-426-4435) immediately! Many poisons do not show signs right away–so don’t be fooled if your pet is acting normal. Also, DO NOT induce vomiting unless instructed to by a veterinarian or other poison authority, as this can make matters far worse with certain toxins.

It seems like my pet has the same issue as before, so why can't I just use the same medication you gave me last time?
It is illegal for a veterinarian to prescribe medication without seeing the patient before formulating a working diagnosis. Medication that worked for a specific problem before may be expired, or the dosage may need to be adjusted due to weight loss/gain or the aggressiveness of the problem. Additionally, many conditions/diseases manifest similar symptoms, so you could be treating a different problem entirely with the wrong medication. The only way to be sure of what and how to treat is through a physical examination by a veterinarian.
Why does my pet need a blood test before procedures requiring anesthesia?

A pre-anesthetic blood test allows us to evaluate your pet’s health and determine whether it is healthy enough to be placed under anesthesia and manage any special needs while under anesthesia. Test results may indicate a procedure should be avoided altogether until a discovered problem can be corrected. Pre-anesthetic bloodwork is performed entirely to safeguard the well-being of your pet while under anesthesia.

When will my pet have her first heat?

Most cats and dogs have a first heat period between 6-12 months of age. This heat cycle increases significantly the risk of breast cancer, which is why we highly recommend spaying your dog or cat before 6 months of age. If your pet has already experienced a heat cycle, we recommend waiting 6-8 weeks before spaying to allow the reproductive system to return to normal, as well as minimize anesthetic risk. A dog or cat can be spayed while in heat, but it is significantly more involved and inherently more dangerous for the patient. We recommend this only on an emergency basis, where the life or long-term health of the animal is at risk.

What is the normal temperature of a dog or cat?

99.5 – 103° for dogs
100 – 103° for cats
A temperature above 103° is considered a fever.

What is the procedure for handling emergencies nights/weekends/holidays?

Call our hospital to receive a recorded message for the emergency hospitals we refer to. We typically refer to the Intown Veterinary Group.

Who does the paintings in your lobby?

The original paintings and prints in the lobby and throughout our hospital are done by our associate Dr. Heather Berry. If you are interested in acquiring one or would like artwork of your beloved pet done by Dr. Heather Berry, you can view her artwork gallery at seacoastartist.org.

How often should my pet receive preventative vaccinations?

NH and MA state law (along with many other states) now requires that all cats and dogs be current on rabies vaccinations. If an animal is not known to be vaccinated against the disease and bites someone, NH and MA state law require a mandatory 15-day quarantine period. Additionally, if an animal is unvaccinated and bites someone, the state may require your animal to be euthanized and tested for rabies, and the owner can be held liable for any personal injury claims stemming from the bite. All good reasons to have your pet vaccinated against rabies! For your convenience, we offer both 1 & 3-year rabies vaccinations.

For all other vaccines, we recommend vaccinating your pet once a year (especially if they go outside at all) to ensure they remain healthy should they become exposed to any disease preventable through current vaccinations. For more specific protocols, please consult with one of our veterinarians.

How do I know if my pet needs to see a veterinarian?

It’s usually hard to tell by yourself at home, so please call us and describe what you’re seeing. Signs of illness can include a significant decrease in appetite or activity level, vomiting, diarrhea, coughing, sneezing, limping, itching or losing hair, or eyes looking abnormal. Signs of emergencies can include trouble breathing, trauma, bleeding, stumbling, seizing, difficulty delivering puppies or kittens, and many eye problems. Call us immediately (603-607-7865) if you see any of these symptoms.

Why does my pet have to be seen each year if he/she looks okay to me?

As with humans, preventative medicine and early detection are keys to health and longevity. Our pets age at a far faster rate than we do. Taking your dog or cat for an annual physical examination is the equivalent of you seeing your doctor or dentist every 5-7 years. Only a full physical examination by a veterinarian can accurately assess the health of your pet and identify potential problems. If you have a senior pet (6+ years), we recommend exams twice a year for optimal care and health.

Why does my pet need an exam with each vaccination?

We must be sure your pet is healthy enough to receive vaccinations. Vaccinating a sick patient could make their condition worse or even be life-threatening! Depending upon your pet’s overall health, your veterinarian may recommend splitting annual vaccinations into two visits to lessen the possibility of complications.

Why won't my cat use the litter box?

There are many reasons, both behavioral and medical, why a cat will stop and/or refuse to use its litterbox. In multi-cat homes, some cats will object to the odors of other cats in the box. Certain cats will sometimes let you know the box needs to be cleaned by urinating/defecating somewhere else, even in single-cat homes. Medical reasons include bladder infections, kidney stones/crystals, and chronic diarrhea. With senior cats, sometimes it is simply too painful to climb into the box, and a lower one may be indicated. Any cat which suddenly stops using its litterbox or enters the box but begins to cry out (possible urinary blockage/bowel obstruction) should be seen by a veterinarian immediately, as the medical reasons for this behavior can become quite painful or even life-threatening.