Frequently Asked Questions

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

We Proudly Serve Pets of Fairfield, ME and Beyond

At Hometown Veterinary Care, 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 (207) 453-7387 for any other concerns you might have about your pet.

Why do indoor cats need rabies vaccinations?

There are a few great reasons for vaccinating your indoor cat for rabies.

  • Rabies is a deadly disease that causes a horrible death for your animals. Rabies can also harm humans and is potentially fatal.
  • It’s the law. While we are not enforcement, the state of Maine requires all pets to be vaccinated against rabies.

When should I spay or neuter my pet?

This is a question that should be answered by one of our veterinarians following a consultation. In general, six months of age is a great time to do the surgery based on development and “ease” of surgery (both for the veterinarian and the pet’s recovery). However, the spay/neuter surgery may be done earlier or later based on a number of issues, such as the potential for exposure to a sexually intact pet or delayed development like a giant breed dog.

Why do a “heartworm test” if my dog is on a year-round preventative?

  • In our area, tick-borne disease is rampant. Our “heartworm” test also tests for three of the most common tick-borne diseases. This allows us to treat dogs as soon as possible after exposure when treatment is most effective.
  • We have seen cases of heartworm-positive dogs that have been on year-round preventatives, so resistance is occurring. This is mainly seen in the southeastern U.S. right now, but it is a scary development that we should take seriously.

When should I start my pet’s first vaccines?

  • The first “core” vaccinations (diseases every pet should be vaccinated for) should start at 8-9 weeks of age.
  • Booster vaccinations should be given every four weeks until the pet is at least sixteen weeks of age.
  • “Non-core” vaccinations (like Lyme in dogs – although we might argue this is now “core”) should be mixed in based on discussions with one of our veterinarians.
  • Rabies may be given at any time after twelve weeks of age.

Why should I have my dog on heartworm preventative year-round?

  • Heartworm preventative also prevents infection and disease caused by intestinal parasites, “worms.” These worms can cause severe disease in people as well, especially children. It is for this reason a monthly preventative for heartworm and intestinal parasites is absolutely imperative.
  • Though we are not in such an affected area like Florida, we routinely see mosquito exposure from April to November. Many people will find mosquitos in their house during the winter so treatment needs to continue throughout the year.

At what age can I have my pet spayed or neutered?

Spaying or neutering can be done at approximately 6 months of age. However, recent studies suggest that larger breed dogs, such as Golden Retrievers, may benefit from later neutering at 8 to 12 months, to allow bone growth to be complete. Your pet is given an exam prior to surgery to help determine whether your pet is healthy enough to undergo the surgical procedure. Current vaccinations are required at the time of surgery. Also, a pre-anesthetic blood screen is recommended 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 blood sugar status of your pet. The pre-anesthetic blood screening is done to assure safety during surgery and the ability to heal following surgery.

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; in fact, there are many disadvantages, such as pregnancy risks and complications during delivery. However, there are plenty of advantages to having your pet spayed or neutered. There are always too many unwanted pets in North America that end up in shelters, on the streets, or worse. Advantages of neutering and spaying include decreasing the chances of breast tumors later in life, decreasing the chance of cystic ovaries and uterine infections later in life, decreasing the desire to roam the neighborhood and be injured by vehicles, decreasing the incidence of some cancers later in life, helping prevent spraying and marking, and also decreasing the burden on shelters.

Do I need to have an appointment?

Yes, patients are seen by appointment. “Walk-ins” are not accommodated. Please note that in some instances, if an appointment is not available when you call, you may be able to drop your pet at the hospital for a few hours, and one of the veterinarians will be able to fit him in as soon as time allows.

What forms of payment do you accept?

At Hometown Veterinary Care, we accept many payment options, including all major credit cards, cash, and CareCredit.