Pet Health Faqs

Frequently Asked Questions

Many people have questions about various aspects of their pet’s surgery and wellness and preventive care for all the life stages of their pets. We hope the following information will help. Contact us to learn more about your pet’s medical needs.

Is anesthesia safe for my pet?

Modern anesthesia methods have made surgery much safer now than in the past. At Rancho Bernardo Hospital, we do a thorough physical examination of your pet before administering anesthetics. This ensures that any other illnesses don't interfere with the procedure.

Blood testing is important prior to anesthesia. Blood testing before surgery is recommended to ensure that vital organs can handle the anesthetic. Even apparently healthy animals can have internal problems that can only be detected by blood testing. We administer IV fluids to pets during most of our anesthetic procedures. This is crucial in keeping your pet well hydrated throughout the procedure and it provides us with an emergency access port should the need arise.

If serious problems are detected, surgery will be postponed. For some geriatric or ill pets, electrocardiograms, additional blood tests, or x-rays may also be required before surgery. It is important that surgery be done on an empty stomach to reduce the risk of vomiting during and after anesthesia. Your pets will need to withhold food for at least 8 to 12 hours before surgery.

Will my pet be in pain?

Whatever causes people pain can be expected to cause animals pain. Pets often do not show the same symptoms of pain as people do (whining or crying) but you can be sure they do feel it. Every surgical procedure includes pain management for the comfort of the pet and to help speed up the recovery process. Sometimes this can involve a postoperative injection.

Medication for the days following surgery may be necessary. For dogs, in order to lessen the risk of discomfort and swelling, we may recommend an oral anti-inflammatory the day after surgery and several days after. We use modern medications that are less likely to cause a stomach upset.

The cost of the medication will vary depending on the size of your pet. Pain medication is administered on a case by case basis after surgery. Any pet that appears in pain will receive additional pain medication. Under no circumstances should you give your pet human medication unless specifically directed to do so by a veterinarian.

Will my pet have stitches?

For certain surgeries, we use absorbable sutures beneath the skin. These dissolve in their own time and do not need to be removed. Some surgeries, particularly tumor removals, require skin stitches. With either absorbable sutures or skin stitches, you need to keep a close eye on the incision for swelling or discharge. Most pets do not lick excessively or chew at the incision, but it can happen occasionally. Skin sutures will be removed 10 to 14 days after surgery. You will need to limit your pet's activity after surgery and no baths are allowed for the first 10 days after surgery.

What other decisions do I need to make for surgery?

Whilst your pet is under anesthesia, it is a perfect time to perform other minor procedures, such as ear cleaning or implanting an identification microchip. It is important to please ask ahead of time if you would like an estimate for these extra services.

How often should I bathe my pet?

Bathing is important to maintain your pet’s good coat and healthy skin. How often you need to bathe your pet depends on coat length & type, environment, activity level, and overall health. A bath is appropriate if you notice your pet isn’t clean and doesn’t smell fresh. However, over frequent bathing, or use of harsh products can cause dry, flaky, and sometimes itchy skin which is not healthy for your pet. When it is bath time, consider your pet's other grooming needs including nail trims, ear cleaning, coat brushing, and trimming (if appropriate). Ask a professional groomer for their recommendations on grooming your pet.

How important is nutrition for my pet?

The right nutrition can improve your pet’s quality of life and extend it. A balanced diet can reduce or eliminate allergies, itching & scratching, arthritis, joint problems, bad breath and more.

Nutritional supplements can help provide your pet with a happier, safer and longer life. Supplements promote the overall well-being of your pet as well as fight diseases.

We can recommend various nutritional supplements to help treat or prevent arthritis, joint problems, skin and coat ailments, as well as intestinal disorders.

Skin and coat supplements are an excellent way to keep your pet's skin and coat healthy. Brushing and massaging your pet is also important to detect unusual growths or changes in their coat. Detecting these issues early can help prevent illness or costly treatment at a later date. Pet owners should also be observant of changes in behavior or motion.

We can help your pet battle unhealthy weight gain. Our veterinary health care professionals will counsel you on the nutritional options that are available.

Your pet’s health conditions can often be improved with the use of prescription food. Rancho Bernardo Pet Hospital offers a variety of prescription food.

What are the preventive care needs for my pet?

Preventive care is crucial in maintaining your pet's health. Read more below to learn about the preventive measures that should routinely be done for your pet.

Flea and Tick Control

Don't leave your pets at risk for visits from parasites like fleas and ticks. Fleas and ticks can get out of control and can damage the relationship between you and your pet. These parasites make your pets extremely uncomfortable and also pose grave health risks.

Preventive measures need to be taken year-round. By undergoing measures to inhibit these outbreaks, the diseases these parasites transmit to pets and people can also be mitigated or prevented.

Our veterinary team will help you choose from the many safe and effective flea and tick control products available.

Parasite Control

Intestinal parasites like hookworms and roundworms are a real concern, especially for very young pets. Worms live inside your pet from birth which makes the symptoms difficult to pinpoint and they are therefore detected through a fecal analysis. Internal parasites can harm your pet, and can also be transferred to children and adults, making them sick too.

Rancho Bernardo Pet Hospital performs a fecal analysis on all new puppies and kittens. If your pet does have a parasite problem, our veterinarians will provide you with the different medications and treatments required to remedy the problem. Preventive care and prescription heartworm medication are vital because of the damages intestinal parasites present to both pets and people.


Vaccinations are vital to keep your pets healthy and to combat viral diseases like Parvovirus, Distemper, Lyme, Panleukopenia, Feline Leukemia Virus, Parainfluenza virus and Rabies. Vaccinations at Rancho Bernardo Pet Hospital are part of a veterinarian consultation and examination to ensure your pet's condition is stable enough to receive them.

Vaccinations expose the pet's immune system to a small amount of a particular form of bacteria or virus in order to combat it. Our veterinarians will help you decide which vaccines are appropriate for your pet.

Vaccinations are crucial for young animals with immature immune systems. Vaccinations usually begin at 6-8 weeks of age and are given every 3-4 weeks until completed.

Heartworm Prevention

Heartworm disease is transmitted by infected mosquito bites. Heartworms that live inside the dogs can mature into adults, mate and produce off-springs. Heartworm disease causes lasting damage to the heart, lungs and arteries and can affect the dog's health and quality of life long after the parasites are gone.

Rancho Bernardo Pet Hospital recommends an annual heartworm blood test for all the dogs. we also recommend a regular heartworm preventive for all of our canine patients as a part of their wellness care.

Do you offer a pet care plans?

Our pet care plans provide your pet with a comprehensive level of preventive care to live a happy and healthy life. Enroll in one of our pet care plans today in order to give your pet the best chance at a long and healthy life.

Our annual pet care plans offer considerable discounts on preventive care and allow you to spread the payments over time. Our plans include semi-annual comprehensive wellness exams, up to two additional office visits, vaccinations, screenings, blood tests and additional services depending on the selected plan level.

By adopting a plan early on, you're taking an important step in supporting your pet’s good health. Our annual pet care plans provide your pet with the preventive care services they need to treat conditions early on. We develop plans specific to your pet so you’ll receive a broad range of services at an exceptional value to you. Annual pet care plans offer discounted preventive care services, flexibility to spread the payments over time and additional discounts on non-plan professional services.

Do you take pet insurance?

We have an exclusive partnership with Trupanion Medical Insurance. If your pet has Trupanion Medical Insurance , then you will have to pay your 10% copay and deductible only upfront and we will collect the remaining balance from the Trupanion Insurance company directly on your behalf. We will get the pre-authorizations and submit the medical claim directly with them to collect our payment. Our partnership with them is very similar to what your own doctor and hospital has with your own medical insurance. We are very excited about our partnership with Trupanionand fully endorse their medical insurance for your pet. Do not forget to ask us about the benefits of Trupanion Medical Insurance on your pet's next visit.


We are happy to help. Please contact us at 858-451-1700


Monday - Friday 8:00am to 6:00pm|Saturday 9:00am to 4:00pm


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