Dr. Laura Tonetti Hall is one of the three veterinarians at East Hill Animal Hospital. The clinic treats cats, dogs, small animals, birds and reptiles. East Hill Animal Hospital is a state-of-the-art facility and is open until 5:30 on weekdays and is even open on Saturdays until 12 p.m.
IN: Let’s say I’m a loving pet owner, but kind of lazy. What check-ups and wellness routines should I absolutely not skip?
DR. HALL: We should at least see your pets annually for rabies vaccines. The annual visit is very important. We can pick up on dental or heart issues the owner doesn’t notice. That’s the same for dogs and cats. Preventative care is the way to go—yearly shots, heartworm and flea tests, dental exams and wellness blood work will help detect problems early such as diabetes or kidney problems.
IN: How often do you need to see my pet?
DR. HALL: Puppies or kittens will need to be seen more often—when they get spayed or neutered and for their four sets of shots. Vets probably see puppies and kittens four to six times in a year and then they can follow-up annually. As pets age, especially pets over the age of 10, they need to be seen more often, about two times a year.
IN: I’d never leave my dog in a hot car (honest), but how much should I worry about their heat sensitivity in general?
DR. HALL: Don’t leave your pet in the car. If it is an absolute emergency and you have to leave your pet in the car, leave the key in the ignition. Even if it’s only for 10 minutes, your pet still could have a heat stroke. Use extreme caution, it’s not recommended you do this ever.
IN: What’s your take on pet insurance? Do you recommend it?
DR. HALL: You don’t need it until you need it. With pet insurance, you pay the vet and the insurance company pays you back. Those who can afford pet insurance can afford to put a bill on their credit card and pay it off the next month. Pet insurance isn’t very common.
IN: 1-800-Pet Meds—is it legit?
DR. HALL: Some are medications that are legitimate and some come from other countries and don’t have to pass the same Federal Drug Administration regulations. If you’re ordering because of convenience, East Hill Animal Hospital fills prescription orders and can have it shipped to your door. I would also use extreme caution in going to a traveling vet like the Pet Care-A-Van [mobile vets you see at Walgreens]. Owners take their pets when the Care-A-Vans are in town because it’s cheap, but you get what you pay for. The vaccinations they use are sub-standard. I speak for the Northwest Florida Veterinary Association that it’s not recommended. Instead of going to a traveling vet, have an honest discussion with your vet about what you can afford. Every vet I know will work with you.
DR. LAURA TONETTI HALL
EAST HILL ANIMAL HOSPITAL
WHERE: 805 E. Gadsden St.
BUSINESS HOURS: Monday-Friday 7:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Saturday 8 a.m. to 12 p.m.