General Question/Answer Sheet


Do we ear crop dogs?

We don’t ear crop at Forest Trails. We don’t have a major problem with it; however, none of the doctors have developed an expertise in this surgery. We can suggest the 15th Street Vet Group of Woodland Animal Hospital Central. Less and less people are choosing to ear crop nowadays since it is only a cosmetic surgery with no actual medical need.

Do we declaw dogs?

It’s not a good idea to declaw dogs since they don’t have retractable claws like cats. It causes deformity of their feet making it difficult for them to walk. The reason for requesting the declawing of dogs is usually digging in the back yard. Usually this is because of boredom or having too much extra energy. We might suggest hard play for a couple of times a day to try to use up the extra energy.

Sometimes putting dog feces (from the back yard) in the holes will discourage further digging in that area.

What do I do about my dog barking all the time when in the back yard?

Dogs generally bark when looking for something to do and thus are barking trying to get attention from either other dogs or people. Sometimes they will bark at squirrels or other animals. The easiest thing to do is bring the dog inside the house which will usually take care of the barking. Other options are a citronella collar (better than a shock collar) which sprays citronella on the dog’s chin when it barks. Dogs can be “debarked” which is a surgery where the vocal cords are trimmed causing a hoarse bark which is not as loud as a normal bark. This is usually reserved for individuals where lawsuits or disturbing the peace charges

are possible.

My puppy is chewing up everything … what should I do?

Puppies chew in the same way that human babies put things in their mouths. Generally, the goal is to find something that you want them to chew on rather than furniture, shoes, etc. We suggest chew bones (nylabones, etc.), rawhides, or other chew toys.

Should I allow my dog to chew on bones?

Chicken bones, rib bones, and other soft bones are always a risk due to splintering of the bones. Soup bones or other large bones can have the risk of being so hard that they can cause a “slab fracture” of one of the large back teeth (camassial teeth or 4th premolars) where the part of the tooth chips off causing the need for a root canal or removal. Generally, dogs can safely chew on the condyle ends of large bones.  You can ask a butcher to cut the joint area off.  This part of the bone is softer, contains lots of cartilage and tendons which can clean a dog’s teeth.


What do the doctors at Forest Trails think of raw meat diets?

Never. Although proponents ofraw meat diets say this is the “natural” way dogs eat, there is lots of research showing the much greater risk of bacterial intestinal disease, especially Salmonella. If one does decide to feed uncooked diets, they need to be very alert for bacterial enteritis in their pet.


What do you think about home made diets for my dog?

There are recipes for home made diets which are probably fine as long as a daily vitamin is used. Our thoughts are that major dog food companies have invested years and millions of dollars in research to develop healthy diets and they probably beat what we can put together.


My puppy urinates when it gets excited… what should I do?

It is rather common for puppies to be “submissive wetters”. This is where they get excited and literally “wet their pants”. They generally outgrow this behavior well before their first birthday. Until then, when you come into the house, don’t acknowledge them immediately in order to allow them to calm down and hopefully avoiding the wetting.


At what age do we do puppy dewclaws and dock tails?

Dewclaws and tails need to be done at 3-7 days of age. They can be done later in life, but it is a major surgery at that point.


What are the reasons to remove puppy dewclaws and dock tails?

Tails are usually docked as “cosmetic surgery” to make them look like others of their breed. Actually, this doesn’t need to be done if the breeder doesn’t want to. Dewclaws are usually removed so that they won’t get snagged on something.

Another reason is to allow more comfortable wearing of boots in hunting dogs which are sometimes used to protect their feet.


Is there a pregnancy test for dogs?

There is a blood test which can be done after 28 days of breeding. Usually, however, a dog will start gaining weight and looking pregnant at about 30-35 days into the pregnancy.


Can dogs/cats be spayed if they’re pregnant?

Yes, but the costs are somewhat higher due to the added surgery time.


Does neutering a male animal guarantee that it will calm down?

It doesn’t guarantee it, but usually this is the case.


What is a neuter?

Although it is proper to refer to neutering as referring to either altering the sexual situation of males or females, it usually refers to castration of the male. This is an actual removal of the testicles (not a vasectomy). The testicles need to be removed to decrease the testosterone or male sex hormone.


What is a spay?

A spay surgery is actually an ovariohysterectomy. This is surgical removal of the uterus and ovaries. In humans, generally only the uterus is removed or there is a tubal ligation (where the egg can’t make it from the ovary into the uterus). In dogs, we want to remove the ovaries so that the dog will no longer go into heat and the uterus to remove the risk of uterine cancer.


Why should I spay my dog?

An ovariohysterectomy causes the dog to no longer have heat cycles, prevents pregnancy, removes the risk ofpyometra (uterine infection) later in life, ovarian cysts, uterine cancer, and decreases the risk of mammary cancer.


Does my female dog need to have a heat cycle before spaying her?

Research has shown that it is not necessary to go into heat before spaying. In fact, if spayed before the first cycle the chances of mammary cancer are almost zero; and if spayed before two and a half years of age, mammary cancer is significantly reduced.


Do dogs and cats go through menopause?

No. They can get pregnant at any age. This is a danger as they get older since the heat cycles can become abnormal resulting in pyometra.


Why should I neuter my dog?

Neutering a dog is usually done for several reasons. To remove the possibility of getting a female pregnant, decreasing “unwanted behaviors”, deceasing the likelihood of prostate problems, and finally to decrease the incidence of perianal tumors (tumors that develop around the anus which often ulcerate and cause a problem with bleeding on the carpet. They can be surgically removed but usually regrow.


My pet has been vomiting for three days… what should I do?

Vomiting once or twice generally isn’t a concern and can be due to eating something nasty or bile reflux. If the vomiting continues it is best to have the dog examined. The main thing we are concerned about is an obstruction or an ulcer.


When is the best time to do “eye tacking” in a Shar Pei dog?

“Eye tacking” is usually done to get the eyelids away from the eyeballs (to avoid corneal ulcers/irritation) until the dog grows and the eyelids stretch and aren’t bunched up quite as much. It is a temporary procedure where the puppy is anesthetized with Forane/Oxygen and sutures are placed in the eyelids to lift them away from the eyes. This can be done if needed and usually it is 4-9 weeks of age.


Can you remove a dog’s voice box?

The vocal cords can be surgically altered to create a hoarse quieter bark. Generally we suggest trying a bark collar (Citronella collar) rather than surgery which is usually reserved for owners where lawsuits or disturbing the peace charges have been threatened. The cost is about $300.


What can I do about my dog barking all the time when outside?

Usually dogs bark due to boredom where they are trying to communicate with neighbor dogs or people. Bringing the dog inside is the quickest “cure”, but sometimes bark collars are necessary.


My dog is dragging its rear on the ground. Does that mean he has worms?

Dogs who drag their rear ends on the ground often are trying to “wipe” stool off the hair or just scratch that area. However, it can be due to anal glands and occasionally intestinal worms such as tapeworms.


Should my dog be on heartworm preventative all year round?

Yes. The Entomology Department at OSU Vet School found that mosquitoes are around our area through the winter and are a risk.


What are heartworms?

Heartworms are a blood parasite where a mosquito bites one dog then transfers the larvae to another dog. The larvae migrate from the mosquito bite to a blood vessel then to the right side of the heart. The larvae grow into actual worms about 6-8 inches long which block up the ventricle. They don’t suck blood but cause problems since you can’t pump blood through a mess of spaghetti-like worms.


Why does Forest Trails sell Interceptor and Sentinel as heartworm preventatives?

We feel these are the best products on the market. They protect against heartworms and also kill hookworms, roundworms, and whipworms (intestinal worms). The Sentinel has a product in it which is a birth control medication causing fleas to not be able to reproduce.


My dog is scratching but I can’t find any fleas… what should I do?

The usual cause is allergies (inhalant, contact, or food). In humans, the target organ for allergies is the respiratory tract, but in dogs it is the skin. Occasionally antihistamines help, but usually steroids are needed.


Can I give my dog antihistamines for allergies?

Generally, only 20-25% of the dogs will respond favorably to antihistamines but they can try. We have a sheet giving recommended dosages if they want to come by and get one. If the antihistamines don’t work, we’re usually stuck with steroids.


What foods do you recommend for my dog?

Any of the name brand foods are acceptable. The premium foods are Iams, Science Diet, Purina Pro Plan, and Royal Canin. These foods use more meat protein. The next level down (which is still fine) is Purina, Pedigree, Alpo, etc. These foods use more cereal protein so although less expensive, require more food to be fed. We suggest avoiding off-brands and generics since their quality and ingredients are questionable.


What is the best thing to use on my dog for fleas and ticks?

We strongly recommend Frontline since it can be used every 2 months for fleas and monthly if battling ticks. It isn’t absorbed into the body so is very safe and doesn’t wash off if the dog is bathed, goes into a swimming pool or pond, etc. Advantage and Advantix are okay, but have to be used more often and do wash off. Definitely don’t use products sold in stores such as Pro-Spot or Bio-Spot since they don’t work well and are potentially dangerous.


If Frontline a prescription drug?

No, it is “over-the-counter” so anyone can come in a purchase it, but only veterinarians can sell it (which is why you don’t see it in stores).


Is drip-on Frontline or Frontline Spray better?

They are the same product (Fipronil) so work the same but spread over the skin differently. The drip-on is more convenient but more costly. The spray is less money, but more of a hassle and really doesn’t work well on long-haired dogs and cats. If you use the drip-on, you don’t want to bathe the dog or cat within two days before or after the application since shampoo removes the oil on the hair and this is how the product spreads.


Do I need to use gloves when applying the Frontline spray?

Not really. The warning was put on the bottle since there is rubbing alcohol in the product which dries our skin therefore is “toxic”. However, the spray will mess up women’s fingernail polish so probably they might want the husband to spray the dog or cat©.


Should I treat my house and yard for fleas and ticks?

Usually you can just treat the dog with Frontline or cat with Revolution and get the situation controlled. If there are a massive amount of fleas in the carpet or yard, products can be picked up at Southern Ag, etc. The main reason to use these products is to get as many fleas as possible before they can jump on the animals. Always follow package directions since these products are toxic.


Are there any diseases that I can catch from my pet?

Rabies is about the only disease that quickly comes to mind which is why we vaccinate dogs, cats, and ferrets for rabies. Actually, if a family has chronic Strep throat which has been passing around the family, it may be carried by the family dog. If someone thinks this could be the case, let one of the vets talk with them. We put the dog on Amoxicillin for a couple of weeks and it may take care of the problem.


What should I do if I am changing dog foods?

It is usually wise to mix the foods for a few days rather than “cold turkey”.


How are puppies supposed to be vaccinated?

Puppy vaccinations are usually started between 7-9 weeks of age and are given every 3-4 weeks until the puppy is 16 weeks old. If a puppy is older than 16 weeks, it needs at least 2 boosters to be properly protected.


What vaccinations do dogs get?

We vaccinate for Distemper, Parvo virus, Infectious Hepatitis, Parainfluenza (respiratory infection), Bordetella (infectious tracheobronchitis or “kennel cough”, and Rabies. Other vaccinations which are available are Lymes disease for dogs with lots of potential contact with ticks and occasionally Leptospirosis.


How should new pets be introduced to the other animals in the house?

Introduce pets slowly with the owner present. If introducing cats, they will usually keep an eye on each other from a distance slowly getting used to each other. Adult dogs will usually accept puppies quite well. The main thing is to acknowledge the older dog as the more important of the two petting him first, feeding him first, etc. He will accept the pup as “one of the pack” as long as he’s secure in his place in the hierarchy. One needs to keep an eye on introducing dogs older than a year since there can be some posturing for who is the alpha dog. Keep the dogs on leashes when initially letting them get to know each other in case a fight might break out.


Do we spay dogs and cats when they are “in heat”?

Yes, but the cost is higher due to the added time required for the surgery due to increased size of blood vessels. Usually we just suggest allowing them to go through the heat cycle and spay them a couple of weeks later.


How long are dogs “in heat”?

About two and a half weeks. Dogs go through a Proestrus period of 7-9 days when they are bleeding from the vulva. They then go through 3-4 days when they are in true “heat” and can be bred. They then progress to Post-estrus for another 3-4 days. Finally they are in Anestrus when everything is quiet.


What happens ifmy dog bites someone and he has to be quarantined for 10 days? Legally the dog has to be quarantined at either the Tulsa Animal Shelter or by a veterinary hospital for IO days. Due to disease, etc. at the Animal Shelter, we feel it is best to be at a hospital as long as the dog isn’t vicious. Occasionally, animals can be allowed to be quarantined at the owner’s home if properly vaccinated and with permission of the Animal Shelter.


Is there a cure for rabies?

No. Rabies is I 00% fatal.


What is the difference in the 1-year and 3-year rabies vaccine?

In Oklahoma, we are allowed to use either of these two vaccines. The I-year vaccine was tested to last for at least one year then submitted to the USDA, the 3- year was tested for three years. The 3-year vaccine is not three times as powerful but just tested to be effective for at least three years. Either is okay. The only exception is in ferrets where we have to use the 3-year Imrab vaccine given yearly as the law states.


How often do dogs need to get vaccinated?

Puppies are to get a series of puppy boosters every 3-4 weeks until they are at least 16 weeks old. They are then vaccinated one year later at which time the DHPP can be given every three years. Bordetella is to be given yearly. If a dog gets Lymes or Leptospirosis vaccines, they must also be given yearly. The Rabies is given at the end of the puppy vaccinations then is given a year later at which time the owner can choose a 1-year or 3-year vaccination.


What is “kennel cough” and do we vaccinate for it?

“Kennel cough” is actually Infectious Bronchitis in dogs. It is a combination disease of Bordetella bronchiseptica bacteria, parainfluenza virus, and respiratory adenovirus. It is very contagious with an incubation period of 5-7 days usually being passed between dogs at kennels, groomers, dog shows, parks, etc. There are several different strains of the disease so a dog can sometimes get it even if previously vaccinated, but it seems to be less severe. Some vets vaccinate every 6 months, but we don’t feel that is necessary and recommend yearly vaccination.


I’m concerned about over vaccinating my pet… what do you think at Forest Trails? This is the reason that research was done to determine how long vaccines protect for. We changed to 3-year vaccinations when research showed this to be efficacious. There are other vaccinations available that we don’t routinely use be.cause we don’t want to introduce drugs that the animals really don’t need. (Examples of this are Giardia vaccine for dogs and FIP vaccine for cats.)


What are the vaccinations that are not normally given and should I get them?

In cats, we recommend Feline Leukemia vaccine if a cat goes outside. FeLVis contagious between cats but there needs to usually be sexual or blood (fighting) contact. Feline Infectious Peritonitis (FIP) is another disease they can get, but the vaccine isn’t good and not worth using.

In dogs which are around ticks a lot (like going to the lake a lot) we suggest Lymes vaccine. Sometimes, we give Lepto vaccine, but being in Tulsa, this isn’t generally needed and the vaccine is questionable.


Should my dog be on vitamins?

Vitamins usually aren’t needed if they are being fed a good diet, but they never hurt.  Some of the older dogs don’t absorb vitamins through the intestine as well as they should so vitamins are a good idea. Also, puppies which have had a rough start can benefit from vitamins. We have Pet Tabs Plus.


At what age do you recommend neutering dogs and cats?

Usually we recommend neutering at six months (or any time after five and a half months). Most pets go through their first heat cycle at 6-8 months of age.


Should my dog be on heartworm preventative all year?



What is the gestation period in dogs and cats?

Dogs and cats are pregnant for about 63 days (9 months for a human… 9 weeks for a pet).


How can I tell ifmy dog is getting ready to have her puppies?

Dogs will usually start “nesting” behavior and start preparing a place for the puppies a few days before birth. Milk will be in the nipples (which you can gently squeeze and get a drop) at about 7 days before birth. Also, the rectal temperature usually drops from 101-102 degrees down to 98-99 degrees within 24 hours of birth.


What is a cryptorchid dog?

This is a condition in male dogs (or cats occasionally) where one or both of the testicles aren’t present in the scrotum. At birth, the testicles are located near the kidneys and slowly progress downward through the inguinal canals into the scrotum. Sometimes they don’t make it all the way and we have to go into the abdomen like an ovariohysterectomy to find them. Retained testicles have a much higher chance of becoming cancerous than normal testicles so we always recommend removing them. The cost is more than a routine neuter.




Why should I spay my cat?

Generally an unspayed outdoor cat will be a pregnant cat. Cats are induced ovulators, which means they generally stay in heat until they can get bred. This means that cats can stay in heat for a couple of months. Most people get tired of the meowing they make when in heat. As they get older, there is also the risk of mammary tumors and pyometra.


Why should I neuter my cat?

So that he won’t get a female cat pregnant and to decrease unwanted behaviors such as spraying, fighting, etc.


What foods do you recommend for my cat?

Generally, we recommend Iams, Science Diet, or Royal Canin. These foods (dry or canned) have a tendency to cause less bladder stone problems in cats (especially males). Name brand cat food is okay, but not as good as the above.

We usually try to avoid fish diets in males due to possible bladder problems due to minerals which sediment out in the bladder.


Is there a pregnancy test for cats?



What is the best thing to use on my cat for fleas and ticks?

Generally, ticks aren’t a big problem in cats so you’re trying to avoid fleas. Frontline works well, but Revolution also works well in cats and gets other things such as intestinal parasites and ear mites (which is why we prefer the Revolution in cats). Revolution doesn’t work as well in dogs unfortunately.


How often do cats need to get vaccinated?

Like puppies, they get initial boosters as kittens then vaccinated a year later. At that time the FVRCP can be given every three years, but if they get the FeLV vaccination it needs to be given yearly. The Rabies is given at the end of the kitten boosters and then given a year later. At that time the owner can choose a I­ year or 3-year vaccination.


Do I need to change my cat’s litter after it gets declawed?



Is declawing a cat a bad thing to do?

We don’t think so. If cats are to be kept indoors, claws can do a lot of damage to furniture. Since cats have retractable claws, they can be removed without damaging the feet. Usually, we just do the front claws.


Will my cat be painful after being declawed?

They may be slightly uncomfortable for a couple of days, but they don’t seem to have a big problem with it. We do send home pain medication for them to take if they need it.


At what age can I have my cat declawed?

We usually recommend waiting until at least 14 weeks of age. Most owners wait until the cats are spayed or neutered and do it all at the same time. If that’s the case, they can use human fingernail clippers to clip the front claws as needed until then.


Is it okay to change cat foods?

Usually not a problem, but cats are picky so make sure they are eating the new food.


How are kittens supposed to be vaccinated?

Kittens are usually vaccinated starting at 7-9 weeks old and vaccinated every 3-4 weeks of age until they are at least 13 weeks old.


Should I declaw all four of my cat’s claws?

Usually, people only declaw the front feet. The only reason to declaw the rear feet are if the cat “launches” itself off furniture thus scratching tables, etc. This is rarely a problem though.


My cat has been vomiting hairballs… what should I do?

You can give one of the cat laxatives (we carry Lax-Aire and Laxatone) once or twice/week or you can try one of the hairball cat foods. Remember that brushing the cat will remove some of the hair so they don’t swallow it.


Should cats be on heartworm preventative?

Recent research has shown that cats don’t have a problem with actual worms in the heart like dogs but rather the larvae migrate to the lungs where they set up an irritant reaction causing chronic lung problems. There is no treatment for heartworms in cats so prevention is the only option.


Do you recommend heartworm preventative for cats?

According to recent research, it would be wise for all cats to be on preventative but primarily cats going outside. Several years ago, a study was done at OSU where 20-30% of the cats tested showed that they had antibodies to heartworms (so had been bit by mosquitoes and injected with heartworm larvae). Revolution (Feline) protects against heartworms, ear mites, hookworms, and roundworms so is an excellent product.


What vaccinations do cats get?

We vaccinate for distemper (feline distemper is actually called Panleukopenia), Rhinotracheitis, Calicivirus, and Rabies. If the cat goes outside, we recommend feline leukemia.


How long are cats “in heat”?

Cats are induced ovulators which mean they will not ovulate until they are bred by the male. This means their bodies try to stay in heat which can last for a couple of months. They often become very vocal and annoying when in heat although there is no bleeding from the vulva like in dogs.


Pocket Pets, Rabbits, and Ferrets


When do pocket pets reach sexual maturity?

Hamsters: about 6 weeks Gerbils: about IO weeks Rats: about 7 weeks Guinea Pigs: 3-5 months Rabbits: about 5 months


What are the gestation periods for various pocket pets and exotics?

Hamsters: about 16 days Gerbils: about 25 days

Guinea Pigs: 63-68 days (the more in the litter, the longer the period)

Rats: 21 days

Rabbits: 32 days average

Birds: Usually they will sit on eggs 18-23 days, but always go at least7 days further before throwing the eggs away.


Is it common for rats to have tumors?

It is very common for rats to develop mammary tumors. About half are malignant and about half are benign. The cost to remove mammary tumors is around $60.

If a tumor is malignant, it can grow back in as little as 2-3 weeks. There is really no way prior to removing the tumor to tell if it is malignant or benign.


Why do you neuter male rabbits or spay female rabbits?

If a male and female are kept together, at least one of them needs to be altered sexually. Males may become overly aggressive thus the need for neutering.

Females are more prone to cervical and uterine cancer and spaying helps prevent this. Sometimes, females will become aggressive also and spaying can help that.


How old do rabbits need to be to spay or neuter them?

Females generally need to be at least 4 months old. Males can be neutered about that time also; however, you need to make sure that the testicles have “dropped” and are observable.


What the average life spans are various pocket pets?

Rats: 1.5-2 years (occasionally reaching 3 years of age) Hamsters: Usually 1-2 years

Gerbils: 3-4 years Guinea Pigs: 3-6 years

Rabbits: 4-5 years for females and 6-7 for males Ferrets: 5-7 years


How often do pocket pets need to come in to visit the vet?

As needed if they have a problem.


Do rabbits, pocket pets, ferrets, and birds need vaccinated?

Rabbits don’t need to be vaccinated. Ferrets are vaccinated annually for Rabies and dog distemper. Birds usually don’t need to be vaccinated except in certain situations.


Can I give my ferret the flu?

Yes, ferrets are the research animal for the human flu. So if anyone has the flu, stay away from the pet ferret. They act just like people with the flu by acting lethargic, not wanting to eat, etc. and it usually runs its course in a week or two.


Do ferrets need vaccinations?

Yes, they are vaccinated as “kits” (what baby ferrets are called) with boosters like puppies and kittens. They should be vaccinated annually with Rabies and dog distemper (along with an annual exam).


How do we treat mites or other external parasites on pocket pets?

Usually we use injections of ivermectin. It is a pocket pet exam with a mite injection, with the following injections 3-4 weeks apart being only the mite injections.


Can I breed my Guinea Pig?

If a person is going to breed a guinea pig, it must be done before six months of age. After that time, the pelvic bones fuse and the babies have to be delivered by c-section. Usually g. pigs have 2-4 babies.


What can I do if the mother guinea pig abandons her babies?

Not a problem. They can eat on their own from day one. Just make sure the pellets are broken up a little for their small mouths, have hay available, and water that they can easily reach.


Can we declaw rabbits?

It’s not a good idea to declaw rabbits since they don’t have retractable claws like cats. It causes deformity of their feet making it difficult for them to walk. We suggest using human toenail clippers and clipping the nails as needed.


What should I feed my rabbit or g. pig?

They can have a small amount of pellets, a small amount of veggies, fresh water, and all the hay they want (usually I like Timothy Grass better than Alfalfa since pellets are usually Alfalfa and I like the diversity in the diet). Occasionally, fruit is okay but as “dessert”.


Should I give my Guinea Pig Vitamin C?

Yes, guinea pigs are one of the only mammals that needs supplemental Vitamin C which can be given as a piece of orange, piece of cabbage or other vegetable high in Vit. C. You can also get chewable children’s Vit. C and crush it and sprinkle a little bit over the veggies. The final way is to mix a little Tang breakfast drink in the water (only need enough to lightly turn the water orange).


What should I feed my rat?

Although they will eat seed diets offered in the pet stores, the best is the boring looking rat chow. It is hard which helps wear down their teeth and has been used in research rats for years and is the best balanced diet.


What should I feed my ferret?

Ferrets can be fed ferret food or a good quality dry cat food such as Iams or Science Diet.


What should I feed my gerbil or hamster?

Rather than the seed diets, it is best to use the pellet-looking diets the pet stores carry.


Reptiles and Fish


How often do snakes eat?

Snakes generally eat when hungry rather than at specific times. Generally, they will eat every two weeks or so; however, some snakes will go months without eating. If you are concerned, it is best to have them examined by a doctor.


Is it better to feed snakes live food or dead food?

If a snake will eat frozen mice/rats, this is easiest for the owner. If  not, it is best to “stun” the mouse or rat with a blow to the head before putting it in the cage so that it won’t bite the snake when being constricted. If putting a non-stunned rat or mouse in the cage, watch it carefully and remove it if the snake hasn’t attacked it within about two minutes. Remember, if the rat becomes hungry before the snake does, the rat will chew on the snake possibly causing death to the snake.

Do we treat fish at Forest Trails?

Yes, but usually koi and sometimes larger aquarium fish such as Oscars. (Talk with Dr. Welch before scheduling appointments for fish.)





Is it normal for female pet birds to lay eggs?

Yes, although unless there is also a male in the cage, they will be sterile eggs and won’t hatch. Usually eggs are laid randomly one at a time; however, sometimes birds such as cockatiels will lay a “clutch” of 3-4 eggs. The eggs are usually laid every other day. Unless the bird is laying eggs over and over again, it’s usually not a problem, but if laying continues the owner needs to make sure there is a cuttlebone or other source of calcium available to the bird. Sometimes the bird can get an injection to slow down the laying.


How often do birds generally lay eggs and how many do they lay?

Usually random eggs but sometimes a clutch of 3-4 eggs.


How often do birds need to come in to visit the vet?

It’s usually good to bring birds in at least once/year; however, most people bring them in to have wings trimmed or nails clipped and if there are any problems, they can be checked then. The main thing is that if there is a problem in a bird, don’t wait to have it checked out.


How often does my parrot need its wings and nails trimmed?

As needed, but usually a couple times/year. Trim the nails if they hurt the owner or if they are getting so long they are getting caught in clothes or the cage. Wings are trimmed if the bird can gain height.


Do parrots and other hookbill birds need their beaks trimmed?

Usually you only trim beaks if they have a deformity such as “scissor beak” or if it overgrows. You usually can’t make it less sharp.


What is the difference in feeding pet birds seed verses pellets?

Pellets have been improved over the last 20 years and are very well balanced compared to seed diets. Seed diets have a tendency to be deficient in vitamins and minerals whereas “people-food diets” are often unbalanced as far as protein and carbohydrates. Feeding seed with “people food” helps, but isn’t as good as pellets. Pellets are also easier and cleaner around the cage avoiding the empty shells, etc.


Are pellets more expensive than seed diets?

When you figure that half of the weight of seed is the shell and that they waste half of what is in the dish, you end up getting about I pound of food for every 4 pounds that you buy. This makes pellets a great choice.


Why do we prefer Harrison’s Bird Food?

Harrison’s is organic and well researched. It is also humanly edible (tastes like cereal that needs some milk and sugar).


My bird keeps laying eggs, is there anything I can do to stop the laying?

You can try to decrease the amount of daylight thus making the bird think it is becoming winter (non-breeding season). Cover the cage allowing only IO hours oflight and 14 hours of darkness or nighttime. If this doesn’t work, hormonal injections can sometimes be used.


Will it hurt my bird to lay eggs?

Usually not unless they continue to lay lots of eggs (some cockatiels will lay every few days and lay 20-30 eggs) and have calcium deficiency problems. Make sure they have calcium available such as cuttlebone or a mineral block.

Sometimes they can become “egg-bound” where they can’t pass an abnormal egg. This is dangerous and they should make an appointment.


Do I need to worry about the bird flu?

No. The bird flu has not be found in the U.S. yet. The federal government is monitoring the bird flu around the world very closely.


What foods do your recommend for my bird?

Bird pellets are by far the best for larger hook bills (parrots, etc.). Pellets that I like are Harrison’s Bird Food (which we sell), Zupreem, Kaytee Exact, Lafeber, and Hagen. Cockatiels are a little different and we suggest cockatiel seed rather than pellets. For budgerigars (parakeets) we like Lafeber Avi-Cakes or parakeet seed best. If the birds eat seed, get a clean seed mix and supplement with “people food”. If a bird is on seed, don’t switch to pellets “cold turkey” without direction on how to do it since they can starve.


If I want to switch my parrot to pellets, how do I do it?

Give the bird its regular seed mixture making it available twice each day for about 20 minutes for breakfast and dinner. After breakfast, take out the seed and replace it with some pellets until dinner where seed is available for about 20 minutes again then pellets again until breakfast the next day. Eventually, the bird will get tired of waiting for breakfast and dinner and usually start eating the pellets. “Cold turkey” switching is dangerous since birds will actually starve rather than eating new types of food.


How long do we suggest that a new bird be quarantined from other birds in the house?

Usually, I will keep a new bird away from other birds in the house for about 4 weeks. They can be across the room, but we want to make sure that if the new bird gets sick, that he’s far enough away from the other birds that we don’t have to worry about them.





What do we do if there is an emergency with our pet after hours?

We refer to the Animal Emergency Center. It is located on 41st Street half-way between Sheridan and Memorial on the south side of the street.


If I decide to euthanize my dog/cat at Forest Trails, how is it done?

We usually give a sedative which is the same medications that we give as a pre­ anesthetic before surgeries. This relaxes the pet so they aren’t anxious. We then give an injection of Sodium Pentobarbital which is an anesthetic (we just overdose it so that the pet becomes too deep and passes away). The whole procedure takes just a few minutes.


Do I need to make an appointment to bring my pet in to be euthanized?

We realize that putting a pet “to sleep” is one of the most stressful things an owner ever has to do. Because of this we usually suggest that when they feel they are up to it, just give us a call to let them know they are coming and we will work them in between appointments as quickly as possible. This way, they don’t have to look at the clock and think about coming in at a certain appointment time thus increasing their stress.


What are my options concerning my pet’s body after being euthanized?

The options are:

  1. The owners taking the body home and burying it (this isn’t really legal, but the city doesn’t seem to enforce
  2. The health department can pick up the body and it will be buried. This is a mass grave, but the bodies aren’t “thrown in the trash” or just taken to the dump.
  3. Companions Forever can pick up the body for cremation with the ashes returned.
  4. Companions Forever can pick up the body for “common cremation” where the ashes aren’t returned but rather are scattered at their garden
  5. Finally, there is a pet cemetery (Pet Memorial Gardens) located on far north Yale towards Owasso. They can contact PMG for


What are your hours?

The hospital is open from 7am to 6pm Monday through Friday and 7:30-12:00 noon on Saturdays. The doctors are here 8:30am to 6pm M-F and 8am to noon on Saturdays.


If I pick up on Sunday, is it less expensive?

The owners will be charged as if the animal stayed until Monday morning. We feel this is a service and are happy to provide it, but it doesn’t make it more convenient for us.


Where is Forest Trails located?

We are located at 6528 E. 101st Street (at 101st and Sheridan) on the southeast corner in the Village South shopping center. This is the center behind the Shell station.


Do dogs and cats need to be current on vaccinations to board?

Yes. If we didn’t vaccinate them, we need proof where they were vaccinated just like any kennel in town.


Do your doctors do house calls?

Rarely, since often we find we don’t have the right equipment available. Discuss with the doctor before arranging a house call. Dr. Welch does it for APHIS exams for sugar glider breeders and sometimes for euthanasia.


I’ve never been in… can I charge?

No, we need payment when services are rendered (remember there are over 250 veterinarians in Tulsa, so we’re not the only choice they have). We suggest they borrow the money from a family member or friend and pay them back later (I figure if a family member won’t lend them the money, there’s probably a good reason for us not to let them charge either). We will hold a check but it needs to be dated on the date of the exam and we need to get their driver’s license number on the check just like a grocery store does (there should never the be problem of not having a driver’s license since they are supposed to carry it when they drive to get here.)


I am an established client… can I charge?

Yes, but we have them sign a Short-Term Agreement Form and usually make sure the total is paid within three months. Make sure it is fully filled out and make them a copy to take with them.


Do we groom dogs and cats at Forest Trails?

We bathe, but we don’t actually groom. We refer to groomers in the area such as Critter Cuts at 91st and Sheridan and to the groomer in our shopping center.





I found a wild bird/animal in my yard… can someone come get it?

We work with wildlife rehabilitators and are happy to take the baby if needed, but don’t have the ability to come get it. If they can get it to the hospital, we’ll take it from there. If they want to try to raise it themselves, we can give the caller directions on what to do. Remember that when baby birds leave their nests they are on “walk-about” and just hop around about 1-2 days learning to eat and fly.

The parents are up in the trees supervising them, so don’t “save” them. If there is danger in the back yard, etc. just pick them up and take them to the side or front yard where the parents can continue to supervise them. Don’t bring them to

us… the parents do a better job.


How do I know if a mother rabbit has abandoned her babies?

Mother rabbits only feed their babies 1-2 times/ days so are usually away eating. If the babies appear satisfied, mom is probably around. You can take a small string or piece of grass and put over the babies overnight. If it is displaced the next morning, you know mom has been there. Baby bunnies do very poorly if “rescued” and taken from the mother, so it is a very last resort to bring them in. It is safer to risk all the dangers of the wild.


If I bring in wildlife, do you just euthanize it?

If the birds, squirrels, raccoons, opossums, bunnies, etc. are healthy or can be made so, we try to do it and get them to rehabilitators. If they can’t be eventually released to the wild or if their injuries are so severe that they can’t survive, we humanely euthanize them. We feel that is better than them being eaten by something and one can’t just keep collecting non-releasable wildlife.


There is a bird acting strangely in my yard… should I be worried for myself or my pets?

No. There really aren’t any diseases that are readily transmittable to pets or humans. West Nile Disease is passed to birds by mosquitoes and is often fatal but people can’t catch it from the birds. Pigeons are often poisoned in the Tulsa area and act strangely.


If I find a baby bird and put it back in its nest, will the parents smell my scent and abandon it?

You can pick up a baby and put it back in its nest or if a nest falls out of a tree, just put it back in the tree or a nearby bush. You can also, make a nest from a box, etc., lash it to a tree or bush and put the baby in it. If the baby has left the nest and is being supervised by its parents, it will just jump out again anyway.


Q: How do dogs get heartworms?

A: Only by the bite of an infected mosquito. There’s no other way dogs get heartworms. And there’s no way to tell if a mosquito is infected. That’s why prevention is so important.

Heartworm disease has been reported in all 50 states. And the bite of just one mosquito infected with the heartworm larvae will give your dog heartworm disease.

Heartworm disease has not only spread throughout the United States, but it’s also now found in areas where veterinarians use d to say, “Oh, we don’t have heartworrn disease.” Areas like Oregon, California, Arizona and desert areas — where irrigation and building are allowing mosquitoes to survive. And if you have mosquitoes and you have animals, you’re going to have heartworms. It’s just that simple.

It takes about seven months, once a dog is bitten by an infected mosquito , for the larvae to mature into adult heartworms. They then lodge in the heart, lungs and surrounding blood vessels and begin reproducing. Adult worms can grow up to 12 inches in length, can live five to seven years, and a dog can have as many as 250 worms in its system.


Q: Can people get heartworms from their dogs?

A: It can be passed on only by mosquitoes. It’s a specific parasite that affects only dogs and cats and ferrets and other mammals. In rare cases, heartworms have infected people, but it does not complete its life cycle. The heartworm will migrate to the lung and cause a round lesion that looks like a tumor. But these are very rare cases.


Q: If one of my dogs has heartworms, can he give it to my other dogs?

A: No. Again , the only way heartworms are transmitted is through the bite of an infected mosquito. And even if an uninfected mosquito bit your infected dog, and then bit your uninfected dog the same night, he wouldn’t transmit the parasite from one dog to the other. That’s because when a mosquito bites an infected animal, the heartworm needs to undergo an incubation period in the mosquito before the mosquito can infect other animals.


Q: ls it OK to adopt a dog with heartworms?

A: It’s a very common problem in animal shelters today, and public shelters rarely have the money to treat heartworm disease. It’s perfectly acceptable to adopt a dog with heartworms, but you have to be dedicated to having the disease treated appropriately, because it’s a horrible disease that can lea d to a dog’s death if left untreated.


Q: How can I prevent my dogs from getting heartworms?

A: For less than the cost of going to Starbucks for a weekly coffee, you can prevent heartworm disease in your dog. There are monthly pills, monthly topicals that you put on the skin. and there’s also a six-month injectable product. The damage that’s done to the dog and the cost of the treatment is way more than the cost to prevent heartworm disease. A year’s supply of beartworrn preventive will cost about $35 to $80, depending on a dog’s weight.


Q: What are the symptoms of heartworm infestations in dogs?

A: Initially, there are no symptoms. But as more and more worms crowd the heart and lungs, most dogs will develop a cough . As it progresses, they won’t be able to exercise as much as before; they’ll become winded easier. With severe heartworm disease , we can hear abnormal lung sounds, dogs can pass out from the loss of blood to the brain, and they can retain fluids. Eventually, most dogs will die if the worms are not treated.


Q: Once my dog has heartworms, what’s the treatment? How much will it cost?

A: The drug that you treat with is called Immiticide. It’s an injectable , arsenic-based product. The dog is given two or three injections that will kill the adult heartworms in the blood vessels of the heart.

The safest way to treat heartworms includes an extensive pretreatment workup, including X-rays, blood work and all the tests needed to establish bow serious the  infection is.  Then the dog is given the injections. With alJ the prep work, it can run up to $1,000. But just the treatment can be done for about $300 in some areas.


Q: Why do I have to keep my dog quiet during the several months he’s being treated for heartworms?

A: After treatment, the worms begin to die. And as they die, they break up into pieces , which can

cause a blockage of the pulmonary  vessels  and  cause death. That’s why dogs have to be kept quiet during the treatment and then for several  months afterward. Studies have shown  that  most of the dogs that die after heartworm treatment do so because the owners let them exercise . It’ s not due to the drug itself.


Q: If my dog is diagnosed with heartworms, can I just give him his monthly preventive instead of having him go through treatment? Won’t that kill his heartworms?

A: Studies have shown that if you use ivermectin, the common preventive, on a monthly basis in a dog with heartworm disease, after about two years you’ll kill off most of the dog’s young heartworms. The problem is, in the meantime, aJJ of those heartworms are doing permanent damage to the heart and blood vessels.


But if there’s no way someone can afford the actual treatment, at least using the preventive on a monthly bas is could be a lesser alternative.


Q : Can I skip giving my dog his preventive during colder months, when there aren’ t any mosquitoes?

A: The American Heartworm Society recommends year-round heartworm prevention. One reason is, there’s already a serious problem with people forgetting to give their dogs the heartworm preventives. It’s a universal problem. Now if you use it year- round, and you miss a month, your dog will probably still be protected. But if you miss more than one o r two months your dog could become infected.

The other reason not to stop is that many of the preventives today also include an intestinal parasite control for roundworms, whipworms or tapeworms. You want your dog to be protected against those at all times.


Q: If I don’t treat my dog with heartworms, will be “outgrow” bis heartworms?

A: No. He stands a good chance of dying from the disease.


Q: I’ve heard the treatment for heartworms can be dangerous. Are there any newer , safer alternatives?

A: We used to use plain arsenic to treat it, which had man y side effects. What we use now is a

safer product with fewer side effects. It’s a safe product if used correctly.


Q: If my dog gets heartworms, and is treated for them, can he get them again?

A: Yes, he can get them again. That’s why prevention is so important.