Client Education

At Oakwell, it is important for our staff to partner with pet owners to ensure excellent care for your animal throughout the year. We strive to make you a confident pet owner, prepared in case of emergencies, and up to date on the best preventative care practices.

Poison Control 

There are many things in our homes that we don’t think of as poisonous, but the fact is there are many items in our homes that are nontoxic to us but can be deadly to our pets. Here are a few examples you may find inside your home: chocolate, onions, xylitol (often found in sugar-free items such as gum and some brands of peanut butter), alcohol, marijuana, human anti-inflammatory medications, some household plants, grapes and raisins, household cleaners, and many others.

Here are a few examples of toxic things outside your home: antifreeze, azaleas, daffodils, lilies, tulips, many products used on lawns, insecticides, poisons designed to kill pests or weeds, and many others.

If you suspect that your pet has come into contact or ingested anything of question, please DON’T WAIT! Consult our veterinarians or call one of the provided poison control numbers and speak to a professional. 

Vaccination Information

All puppies and kittens require their first examination and vaccination by six to eight weeks of age. Vaccinations will be boostered every two to four weeks until your pet is at least 16 weeks of age. During these visits, our team will treat any ailments discovered through physical examinations, blood tests, and parasite screening tests. Prevention begins as early as their first visit!

All adult dogs and cats will require yearly examinations and vaccinations, including a combination vaccine and rabies vaccine as well as any lifestyle vaccines that are appropriate for them based on their individual needs. 

The list of vaccines recommended for dogs and cats can be daunting to look over, so let’s break it down to simplify things. Core vaccines are those that are recommended for ALL pets, regardless of their lifestyle. Lifestyle vaccines are any that are considered optional based on the pet’s individual risk of exposure to the diseases.

Below is a short description of each disease protected against in our core vaccines. 



An extremely contagious virus that can cause severe, life-threatening gastrointestinal signs. Parvovirus can survive for many months to years in the environment and is spread through infected feces or fomites.

Parainfluenza Virus

A very contagious airborne virus that can cause respiratory signs. Dogs most commonly contract this virus via contact with other dogs in kennels, dog parks, or shelters. This virus is one of the causes of kennel cough.


A very contagious airborne virus that can cause gastrointestinal, respiratory or in severe cases, neurologic signs. It is frequently fatal. Carriers of this disease include other dogs and a variety of wildlife.


A virus that can cause liver disease or respiratory disease depending on the strain. Carriers of this disease are other dogs and a variety of wildlife. This disease is spread through feces, urine or in the air and can be fatal.


Feline Herpes Virus

A very contagious airborne virus that can cause respiratory disease and eye problems. Infection is lifelong with periods of latency (rest) and reactivation after stressful events. Commonly found in shelters, catteries, and in stray cat colonies.


A very contagious airborne virus that can cause respiratory disease and severe issues within the oral cavity. This virus is very commonly found in animal shelters, catteries, and in stray cat colonies.


A very contagious virus (frequently called "feline parvo") that can cause life-threating gastrointestinal signs or sepsis (infection throughout the entire body). The disease can be transmitted by other domestic cats through any bodily secretions or fomites. This virus can survive in the environment for up to a year.

Feline Leukemia Virus

A contagious virus that can cause severely weakened immune system and therefore can have a wide range of clinical signs. In severe cases, the virus can cause malignancy (cancerous growth) in the lymph nodes. Once infected, a cat will remain infected for the rest of its life. Transmitted via direct contact with infected cats.

Dogs & Cats


A 100% fatal virus that causes neurologic signs in both cats and dogs. Transmission occurs through saliva of an infected animal, most commonly by an animal bite. This disease is transmitted by a variety of wildlife. Due to its 100% mortality rate and ability to transmit to humans, all cats and dogs are legally required to be vaccinated against rabies by a licensed veterinarian.

Our Clients Ask

Explore answers to some of the most popular questions we get asked. If you have a question that is not answered here, call our office or schedule an appointment to speak with a veterinarian.

Well, the average is six to nine months, but depending on size, some can go into heat as young as four months, while larger breeds could be over a year before their first heat cycle. 

While most dogs have two heat cycles a year, it is not uncommon for them to have three cycles in a year.

Unfortunately, litter box issues are often the hardest to answer. If only our cats could talk! It could certainly be something as simple as an unclean litter box, the type of litter if changed recently, or stress from a shockingly long list of possible cat stressors. However, it is very important to rule out medical issues. There could be a urinary tract infection (UTI), crystals or stones in the bladder or kidneys, a variety of diseases that cause excessive drinking, or even just arthritis. All of these and other possibilities could require medical attention by a veterinarian. Only your veterinarian can help you determine the cause of this behavior.  

The most likely culprit of stinky breath is dental disease. By as early as two years of age, most cats and dogs have some dental disease. Just like us, our pets need regular check-ups and teeth cleaning to avoid more serious issues later down the road.

While some foods we eat can be healthy for your pets, most are unhealthy and there are plenty that can be quite dangerous and even deadly. In moderation, it is ok to feed things like peanut butter without xylitol, carrots, bananas, cheese, and pumpkin. 

The list of dangerous foods is quite long. Some of the most dangerous are chocolate, coffee, onions, grapes, macadamia nuts, garlic, and avocados. These foods can lead to serious life-threatening conditions.

Common Flea & Tick Myths

Fleas don’t like the cold, so like an unwanted visitor; they move inside your home. Fleas thrive in 65-degree weather or higher, so this makes homes the perfect winter vacation spot. Fun fact: fleas require seven days of consecutive below-freezing temperatures to die off in the environment.

In colder environments than ours, ticks are kind of like bears. They burrow into the ground and become dormant where snow and frozen grounds keep them nice and cozy until they wake up in the spring HUNGRY! Here in the South, ticks tend to still be active in winter and find a host such as deer to hang out with. Those ticks that don’t want to be cold will just simply hitch a ride on your unprotected pet and move indoors. 

A flea’s life cycle takes place not on your pet, but usually in furniture, carpet, and shaded areas in your yard. The flea life cycle starts with a few hundred eggs PER adult flea! And, as any exterminator knows, the flea eggs are nearly indestructible, making prevention a much easier solution than waiting for an infestation to become established.

A tick’s home is wherever their food is. It doesn't matter if you live near woods or your backyard is perfectly manicured, when you or your pet rubs up against that blade of grass, plant, bush, etc, the tick just simply hops on and finds a good spot for a meal. 

Fun fact: ticks will usually find their new host by questing. Questing is when a tick climbs on any blade of grass and holds its arms out waiting for a passing animal to latch onto. 

Both fleas and ticks can be difficult to eliminate from your home once they have become established. Not only are they pests that can cause discomfort to your pets, but both can transmit diseases that can lead to serious illnesses. With these things in mind, it is important to discuss with your veterinarian the right products that will protect your pet. There are many over-the-counter flea and tick products available online that may only protect your pet from certain life stages of these parasites. Schedule an appointment today to discuss which medication is best to keep your pet protected!

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