Answers to the questions we are most commonly asked about pet care, health, and our animal hospital.
If you don’t see your question, don’t hesitate to contact us!
Questions & Answers
We want our patients to have the best possible outcome. Therefore, we sometimes make the decision to refer patients to veterinary specialists or specialty clinics when advanced training or equipment will be beneficial. Our veterinarians make every effort to stay current and skilled in many aspects of animal health. However, board-certified specialists have extensive experience and training in a particular area of veterinary medicine or surgery. Be assured that when we refer a patient to another hospital, we continue to stay involved with his or her care, consulting with the treating specialist and often providing any needed follow-up care and rehabilitation right here at McKnight.
Because of the vast geographical area of McKnight, we are generally unable to provide euthanasia services outside of the clinic. If you require palliative care or end-of-life services for your pet, please do not hesitate to call and speak with us at 403-457-0911.
Rest assured that our Veterinarians and RVTs will take every precaution in ensuring a safe surgery for your pet. Pre-anesthetic blood testing is mandatory at our clinic because knowing the status of internal organ health prior to the delivery of anesthesia significantly reduces the risks for your pet. During the procedure, an RVT trained in anesthetic monitoring will continually assess your pet’s heart and respiratory rate, blood pressure, and other vital signs to help prevent any anesthetic risk. We also provide appropriate pain medication during recovery so that your pet recovers in comfort. We know that you are concerned about your pet when undergoing anesthesia for even the simplest procedure. We make a point of calling you or sending a text immediately upon their recovery from surgery to update you on their status.
In the event of a loss of consciousness or seizure, bring your pet in immediately to be assessed by a veterinarian. Call us right before you leave or while you’re on your way to help us prepare for the situation.
Veterinarians can’t diagnose over the phone. Besides being unethical and illegal, diagnosing by phone doesn’t allow veterinarians to physically examine a pet. A physical exam is necessary so that your veterinarian can provide an accurate diagnosis and proper treatment. Treating a pet for the wrong disease or condition will cost more in the end and could be harmful or even deadly to your pet. If you have a concern about your pet’s health, please call our office at 403-457-0911 and schedule a convenient appointment time.
We keep track of your pet’s weight just like your doctor’s office keeps track of your height and weight each time you visit. Having an accurate and current measurement of your pet’s weight will help us ensure that we prescribe the right dose of preventives, medications, and any needed anesthetics. It can also help us notice any early clues to health concerns. In addition, a regular weigh-in can help you track and manage your pet’s weight, reducing the risk of obesity and the health problems associated with excess weight, such as diabetes, heart failure, and joint disease.
For the safety and protection of all clients, patients, and veterinary team members, we require all pets to be on a leash or in a carrier when they arrive at our hospital. They must continue to be restrained while they are in the reception area and while travelling to and from the exam rooms. Your veterinarian or veterinary technician will let you know when it’s OK to let your pet off-leash or out of his/her carrier. There is often a lot going on at our hospital. Combine that with the unfamiliar surroundings and new animals, and any pet—even one that is well trained—might become uneasy or excited. We want you and your pet to have as pleasant of an experience as possible every time you visit our hospital, so we ask all of our clients to respect our policy.
Call us. Just like doctors, veterinarians sometimes need to try more than one treatment or medication to find the solution to cure or manage a pet’s condition. Please let us know if something we recommended or prescribed isn’t helping. We want to work with you to find the right answers for your pet.
Although we can’t provide lengthy consultations or a diagnosis over the phone, we welcome questions from our clients. Please feel free to call at 403-457-0911 or stop by anytime.
At McKnight Hospital, we understand that quality veterinary care, especially during unforeseen accidents and illnesses, can be costly. Please inquire about these programs with our Client Care Representative or Practice Manager. We do accept major credit cards, as well as veterinary insurance plans, which can help cover many routine and emergency services.
To book an appointment, please give us a call at 403-457-0911. Orthopedic surgeries are only performed on Mondays and Tuesdays. All other surgeries are booked according to urgency and veterinarian availability.
In the event we are closed, and you need urgent/emergent care, please try contacting:
The fees that you pay for veterinary services take into consideration a number of factors, including the costs to compensate your veterinarian and veterinary team for their professional services and the expenses involved in maintaining the hospital and equipment. When someone decides to adopt a pet, he or she needs to be prepared to include annual veterinary care in the overall cost of owning the pet. Thanks to advances in veterinary medicine, pets are living longer, which means you may be spending more over the lifetime of your pet. However, in general, the annual cost of caring for a pet hasn’t increased much over the past several decades. Consider how much the costs of many professional services, such as human health care, have risen over that same period!
Certain advanced procedures may come at a higher cost, but as the owner, you decide what care you want to provide your pet. It may seem like you’re paying more for your pet’s care than for your own, but that perception may stem from the fact that you’re paying the entire cost of a service or procedure, rather than a percentage or set fee determined by an insurance company or government health plan. If you want to save money on your pet’s care, there are several pet insurance plans available. These plans may cover or help keep costs down for many routine veterinary services, prescriptions, medical conditions, and diseases. Muskoka Animal Hospital also offers a third-party health care financing option. Be sure to ask about payment options at your next visit.
The answer is different for each pet depending on the lifestyle and life stage of the pet, although many commercially available foods are fine to feed healthy dogs and cats. You can look for a nutritional adequacy statement from the Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO), as well as the words “complete and balanced”. Pets’ nutritional needs do change, depending on their life stage and health. Your veterinarian can recommend a pet food, as well as give you advice on deciphering ingredient lists and determining how much to feed your pet.
Losing a pet can be extremely upsetting and hard to move beyond. We have such a close bond with our pets, so letting go is never easy. Many veterinary hospitals offer grief counselling, as do some veterinary colleges and professional organizations. You can contact us directly to find out who we recommend.
Even though your pet may be showing the same symptoms as he or she did the last time, the problem may be different. Many diseases have similar symptoms, and your veterinarian needs to examine your pet to ensure that he or she correctly diagnoses the cause.
Modern anesthesia is generally quite safe. Most veterinary hospitals perform a physical examination and run blood tests before all procedures requiring general anesthesia to make sure your pet doesn’t have any hidden health issues. In addition, a veterinary technician should be monitoring your pet’s vital signs during the procedure, to ensure your pet’s safety or to catch and treat any potential concerns as quickly as possible. Anesthesia and patient monitoring vary from clinic to clinic. For more information about how we protect your pet before, during, and after the use of anesthesia please give us a call at 403-457-0911.
You can turn to the Resources section of our website, which offers information on a wide variety of topics. In addition, many veterinary colleges and professional organizations offer excellent resources online. Your veterinarian can discuss your pet’s health in more detail.
If you purchase preventives from sources other than a veterinary hospital or a website affiliated with a veterinary hospital, you don’t have any guarantee that the product is authentic or that it has been stored and shipped as recommended by the manufacturer. When you order from your veterinarian, you’ll have the added benefit of being able to rely on his or her expertise and knowledge of your pet’s medical history.
It is not safe, and it is illegal for anyone (including veterinarians) to offer anesthesia-free dentistry in Canada.
Dental health is just as important for dogs and cats as it is for people. Bacteria and food debris accumulate around the teeth and, if left unchecked, will lead to deterioration of the soft tissue and bone surrounding the teeth. This decay can result in irreversible periodontal disease, tooth loss, and expensive oral surgery. Bacteria can also cause serious and potentially fatal infections in your pet’s kidneys, liver, lungs, and heart. Unless your pet just ate something fishy, stinky breath isn’t normal. Having a veterinarian evaluate your pet’s teeth regularly and clean them as needed will help prevent dental disease and any related health problems.
Almost all puppies are born with intestinal parasites, which are passed from mother to pup during pregnancy. Although kittens are not infected when they’re born, they can become infected through their mother’s milk. Puppies can also become infected while they’re nursing. Puppies and kittens should both be dewormed every 2 weeks, starting at about 2 weeks of age for puppies and 3 weeks of age for kittens. After the biweekly series of deworming are finished, monthly deworming should begin (at about 8 to 9 weeks of age for kittens and 12 weeks of age for puppies).
Many factors affect the cost associated with treating heartworm infection, including diagnostic testing, hospitalization, medication, and office visits. Preventing heartworm is much less expensive, which is why most veterinarians recommend that you keep your pet on heartworm prevention year-round.
Your pet should be tested for heartworm infection before he or she is placed on a preventive, in order to avoid any harmful or possibly fatal complications. For instance, if a heartworm-infected dog is started on monthly preventive, immature heartworm (called microfilariae) can die suddenly, causing a serious, shock-type reaction. In addition, preventives won’t kill adult heartworms, so an infected dog needs to be started on a treatment plan.
Just because your cat doesn’t venture outdoors doesn’t mean outdoor parasites can’t get inside. Mosquitoes can transmit heartworm disease, and as you probably know, they always seem to find a way to get inside your home. Plus, both fleas and ticks can hitch a ride on clothing, so every time you come back into the house, you could potentially be bringing these parasites inside with you. Although you can’t always protect your pet from coming in contact with these blood-sucking insects, you can help protect him or her from the diseases they can transmit. We would be happy to discuss the benefits of preventives with you in person.
Never give your pet medication intended for people unless your veterinarian has prescribed it. Most over-the-counter pain relievers, such as acetaminophen (Tylenol) and ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin), can have serious and potentially fatal consequences if a pet ingests them. A variety of pain medications are available for dogs and cats. Your veterinarian can help you determine which one will fit your budget and help alleviate your pet’s pain.
During your pet’s wellness exam, your veterinarian will take your pet’s history and perform a thorough physical examination. Your veterinarian will also give your pet appropriate vaccinations and perform a diagnostic workup, which may include blood, fecal, and urine tests to check for parasites and underlying diseases. Your veterinarian will prescribe preventives and may recommend dental work and other follow-up care. The specific services provided during the exam will vary depending on your pet’s age. You can help by letting your veterinarian know if you’ve noticed any unusual behavior or physical changes in your pet.
When you consider the cost of prevention versus the cost of treating a disease or condition, you’ll find that treatment is often far more expensive. For example, parvovirus treatment can frequently cost 10 times more than a single parvovirus vaccination. When you keep your pet up to date on preventive care, you’ll know that your pet won’t have to suffer from a condition that could have been prevented or treated.
Your veterinarian will determine which vaccinations are appropriate for your dog or cat, based on individual factors, such as lifestyle and health status. Veterinarians commonly recommend that dogs be vaccinated against rabies, distemper, and parvovirus and that cats be vaccinated against rabies and panleukopenia (feline distemper). Additional vaccines, such as feline leukemia virus (FeLV), feline immunodeficiency virus (FIV), and Bordetella (kennel cough), are recommended based on your cat or dog’s risk. Many of these diseases can be fatal to your pet. Preventing them is far easier and less expensive than treatment. For more information on vaccines, please give us a call.
Many areas have laws that require dogs and cats (and sometimes ferrets) to be vaccinated against rabies. These laws help protect both pets and people from this deadly disease. Check with your veterinarian to learn local requirements and to find out what he or she recommends. Except in certain rare cases, a veterinarian needs to examine a pet before the vaccine is given. Because of rabies laws, control and prevention programs, and pet owners’ cooperation, domesticated pets in North America rarely become infected with this disease. By keeping your pet up to date on his or her rabies vaccination, not only are you protecting your pet, but you’re also helping to eradicate rabies from the pet population in your community.
Several companies offer health insurance for dogs and cats (and other pets). These plans have premiums and deductibles, just like human health insurance plans. The premiums and deductibles vary based on the level of coverage that you select. Many routine services, such as office visits and diagnostic testing, are covered, as well as prescriptions, procedures, and surgeries for a wide variety of diseases and conditions. However, there are restrictions and limits, as well as certain guidelines to follow, including making sure that your pet receives regular preventive care. For more information about pet health insurance, please give us a call.
Our team at McKnight see pets on a regular basis, and we are usually willing to work with the owner to come up with a payment plan. This is one of many reasons why it’s a good idea to keep up with your pet’s routine care. Owners whose pets don’t receive regular veterinary care will have a harder time finding a veterinarian who is willing to provide services without guaranteed payment. Contact us to inquire any alternative payment options that are right for you.
Relatively speaking, veterinary care is a great value! The cost of veterinary care has risen very little over the last 20 to 30 years, especially when compared to the cost of human health care or almost any other service. Veterinary fees reflect the costs of maintaining suitable facilities, equipment and support personnel to provide the level of care that is expected in animal medicine today. Remember, too, the original cost of the animal has no bearing on the cost of services delivered. Annual veterinary care is a cost that should be factored into the decision to own a pet.
Puppies and kittens generally have the same health requirements: an initial veterinary visit that includes a physical exam, vaccinations, and tests for parasites. Follow-up visits include the rest of the puppy/kitten series of vaccinations, as well as treatment and preventives for parasites. Most veterinary hospitals can give you a basic estimate for these services, and most of the fees for these services shouldn’t vary significantly from hospital to hospital. We are always accepting new patients here at McKnight and are here to answer any first-time pet owner questions you may have.
Besides being unethical and illegal to prescribe medication over the phone, veterinarians can’t accurately diagnose or treat a pet without physically examining him or her. Veterinarians appreciate observant owners and want to hear their description of the pet’s symptoms. However, many diseases have the same symptoms but require different treatment. To determine the cause of the symptoms and ensure the best outcome, veterinarians need to examine the pet in person and sometimes perform diagnostic testing. Treating a pet for the wrong disease will cost more in the end and could be harmful or even deadly to your pet.
Spaying and neutering can have major benefits for your pet, including lowering or preventing the risk of several diseases and types of cancer. Your veterinarian can discuss these benefits with you. In addition, spaying and neutering help to control the pet population by reducing the number of unwanted pets. Spaying and neutering are surgical procedures that require your pet to be put under anesthesia. We consider the cost of the anesthesia during these procedures, as well as your veterinary team’s time, medical expertise, monitoring, drapes, suture material, and hospitalization. Spaying or neutering your pet is much less expensive than feeding and caring for litters of unwanted puppies or kittens or dealing with potential pregnancy complications.
Just like your doctor, dentist, and most other professional offices, veterinary facilities usually require payment in full at the time of service. You can call before routine visits and ask about the hospital’s payment policy, as well as any alternative payment methods. We accept major credit cards, and certain insurance plans. If you would like help in preparing for pet care expenses, please contact us and we would be happy to go over your options. We often can advise you on how much you can expect to spend on routine care for your pet, as well as how to prepare for emergency care. In addition, your veterinarian can help by spreading out preventive health care services with multiple visits over a span of an appropriate time frame.
Last updated: October 5, 2021
NOTICE: OUR HOURS OF OPERATION HAVE TEMPORARILY CHANGED. We are working hard to serve you better and improve our practice. We sincerely appreciate your patience, kindness, and understanding during this time while we battle the COVID-19 Pandemic, in addition to our hospital renovations, and staff shortages.
SUNDAY to WEDNESDAY: 24- HOUR URGENT CARE SERVICES AVAILABLE ----- NO 24- HOUR URGENT CARE SERVICES THURSDAY to SATURDAY -----
WALK-IN ONLY SERVICES FOR ALL OTHER NON-URGENT MEDICAL NEEDS. PLEASE NOTE: APPOINTMENT BOOKINGS WILL RECOMMENCE NOV 1, 2021. Walk-in clinic hours: MONDAY TO FRIDAY: 9:00 AM - 4:00 PM. SATURDAY: 9:00 AM - 5:00 PM (RETAIL & PHARMACY ONLY) -- No Veterinarians available on Saturdays --
Our #1 concern is keeping both you and your pets safe. We have implemented the Alberta Health Services Guidelines at the McKnight 24-Hour Veterinary Hospital in an effort to keep you safe. At this time, clients are required to wait outside by the hospital entrance, where a Client Care Representative will be greeting you and collecting vital information about your pet to be admitted to triage.CLIENTS WILL NOT BE ALLOWED IN THE BUILDING UNTIL FURTHER NOTICE.
For urgent medical help outside of our hours, please contact: 1. Fish Creek Hospital - (403) 873-1700 2. Western Veterinary Specialists & Emergency Centre - (403) 770 -1340 3. VCA Canada CARE Centre - (403) 520-8387 4. Southern Alberta Veterinary Emergency - (403) 995-3270
For non- urgent care outside of our hours, please contact: 1. Edgemont Veterinary Clinic - (403) 239-4657 2. Airdrie Animal Clinic - (403) 948-3619