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New Patient Examination

It’s important that your new pet get off to the right start. That’s why we offer a free new pet exam. Whether you’re new pet is a rescue, a new puppy or kitten, or someone who showed up on your doorstep looking for a handout, it'’s important that he get off to the best start with his new family. We will check him out from head to tail, take blood, stool and urine samples and run them through our lab, and make sure that you and your new friend have the best start possible.

Yearly Examination

Prevention is the cornerstone of good health. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Prevention starts with education and examination. We recommend yearly exams because:

  • 93% of pets examined annually need some level of care or management to restore health.
  • One year of our lives is equivalent to five to eight years of a dog or cat’s life.
  • 60-80% of cats and dogs over three years of age have dental disease that needs care.
  • Dental disease can decrease life expectancy by 20%

Annual examinations play an important role in patient care management. Many diseases do not produce observable symptoms, making their clinical signs difficult to pick up. An excellent gauge of a patient’s health status is weight. Weight changes that are slow or mild are difficult to identify without using a scale. Early in many disease processes, the only indication that something is wrong is a weight fluctuation. Bringing your pet in for an annual exam is one way to detect weight fluctuation.

A thorough physical examination is necessary to identify hidden problems such as oral disease. Even if there are not overt problems with oral health, the exam allows us to teach pet owners about the importance of home dental care and to demonstrate effective care. Dental disease not only causes discomfort and inflammation in the mouth, it can also significantly impact the kidneys and liver or cause heart infections. Yearly examinations help determine when professional cleaning is necessary and also encourage and educate clients on how to care for their pets’ teeth.

All exams are a chance to check routine care practices and talk to owners about how to better train, groom, feed, and generally care for their pets.

Teeth Cleaning

Even if you are following your veterinarian’s recommendations regarding your pet’s oral health, it may be necessary to have your pet’s teeth cleaned professionally from time to time. Since this procedure requires that your pet be anesthetized we do not recommend the procedure for cosmetic reasons but only when it is required for the health of your pet. Like in humans, dental disease can cause other health problems if not addressed.

Nail and Ear Care

Some, but not all, long haired animals grows hair in their ears that can become matted and serve as a conduit to infection. For these animals it is necessary for the ear hair to be removed from time to time. It is important that this procedure be done properly, however, to avoid injuring the animal’s ears. We recommend you let one of our capable assistants perform this procedure for you when necessary rather that leaving it to a groomer or trying to perform the procedure yourself. As a service to our clients we also offer to keep your dog’s nails trimmed and smooth for a small fee.


Surgery is always a serious procedure whether for a trauma or a routine matter and we at South Side Veterinary Hospital always approach it very seriously. Unlike humans, animals cannot be operated on under a local anesthetic. All surgeries require the complete anesthetization of the animal and with anesthetization there is always a risk. This is why we will always discuss the risk involved given your pet’s age and state of health and require that you sign a form indicating your acknowledgement of that risk.

veterinary care - veterinarian examining dogs teeth on white background - english cocker spaniel

We will never suggest surgery unless we feel that it is the safest way to resolve your pet’s health problem and, whenever possible, we will recommend laser surgery to reduce the risk to your pet and speed his recovery.

Laser Surgery

Laser surgery uses a device that generates an intense beam of light that can cut, seal or vaporize tissue. Lasers have been successfully used on humans for over 30 years and now this same technology can be used to help your cat or dog. South Side Veterinary Hospital is proud to offer CO2 laser surgery as an option on most surgeries. Laser surgery has numerous benefits over traditional surgery including:

  • The laser beam is smaller than a scalpel, which means incisions can be made with more precision.
  • The laser cauterizes as it cuts, reducing bleeding for the patient.
  • The laser kills bacteria as it cuts, producing a sterilizing effect.
  • With less bleeding, the surgeon can more easily visualize the surgery site, often speeding surgery time, meaning less anesthesia time for your pet.
  • With the laser nerve endings are sealed, making the recovery time more comfortable.
  • Unlike a scalpel, the laser never has to touch the tissue, resulting in less trauma.
  • Less bleeding, reduced chance of infection, less pain and less swelling often allow the patient a far quicker post-surgical recovery.

Sick Animal Boarding

Occasionally, we cannot get your pet well enough to go home at the end of the day so we offer over night boarding for sick animals that need more care than you can provide at home. We have a trained professional monitoring all of our patients to ensure they continue to receive the best of care. Because your animal is ill, we insist that you leave clear instructions with us regarding when and how you wish to be contacted if your pet should take a turn for the worse. As always, we will do everything in our power to ensure the health, safety, and comfort of your pet while he is in our care.

Permanent Identification

We strongly recommend that your pet be given some form of identification. We recommend the HomeAgain system of marking your pet. We insert a microchip under the skin of your pet in a painless procedure that can be done at any time. Your chip is then registered with the HomeAgain company. They keep track of your contact information and if your pet is ever lost the microchip can be identified by a simple scan that will likely be performed by the animal shelter or veterinarian that next sees your pet. HomeAgain can then help you be reunited with your friend. You can pick up HomeAgain brochures in our office or ask any of our staff if you have any further questions.