Frequently Asked Questions for Veterinarians in Harker Heights

How often should my pet have an exam?

Pet Medical Center recommends yearly visits for most pets and older pets coming in more frequently – at least every 6 months. Yearly exams include physical examinations by our veterinarians plus annual or booster vaccinations, parasite screening & prevention, and various lab tests performed.

For puppies and kittens, we need to see them on a more frequent schedule during their first year of life. For pets over age 7, we recommend exams and blood work every 6 months to help us detect diseases and issues before they become a problem.

Why does my pet need a dental cleaning?

Many people think that it is normal for a dog to have bad breath, but that is not the case. Bad breath is caused by bacteria in the mouth that create byproducts that contain sulfur. Regular home cleanings accompanied by scheduled professional cleanings will help to prevent bad breath and the bacteria that cause it.

Besides just bad breath, dental disease:

  • Releases bacteria into the bloodstream
  • Increases risk for heart, liver and kidney disease
  • Can cause severe pain and problems for your pet

Pets need regular dental cleanings to increase quality and length of life and:

  • Allows us to chart dental disease over time
  • Means less time under anesthesia
  • Reduces the need for more advanced and expensive treatment in the future such as teeth extractions and oral surgery

Dental disease is the most common disease in dogs. Recent studies show that 85% of cats and 92% of dogs over age 3 have periodontal disease.

What happens during my pet’s dental cleaning?

A thorough dental cleaning can only be accomplished while the pet is under general anesthesia. The anesthesia we use is safe for all animals and your pet is constantly monitored during the dental procedure. Prior to anesthesia, blood tests are performed to help uncover any hidden illnesses.

A professional cleaning (called a dental prophylaxis) removes plaque and tartar from the teeth. Your pet's entire mouth health (teeth, tongue, gums, and lips) will be examined and assessed.

I noticed a change in my pet’s behavior. Should I see a veterinarian?

Pets cannot tell us how they feel and are able to hide their pain from us (especially cats). Changes in behavior such as appetite change, lethargy, energy level, aggressiveness, inappropriate elimination, and vocalization (barking/meowing) can be symptoms of behavior or health issues. Contact our vet hospital for an exam appointment right away.

What should I do if I notice fleas or ticks on my pet?

Isolate your pet from other animals and small children to prevent the spread of the parasite to them. Bring your pet to our vet clinic for thorough testing for parasites. They can usually be easily treated, but parasite preventative measures are best for both your pet and your wallet. Ask about our available safe and effective parasite prevention products.

At what age should I have my pet spayed or neutered?

Pet Medical Center recommends waiting until your pet is at least 6 months of age before seeking a spay or neuter procedure. Contact us to discuss specific details based on species, breed, and size. Spaying / neutering has health and behavioral benefits for your pet and of course, helps prevent over-population.


What are heartworms? How can I prevent my pet from getting heartworms?

One infected mosquito is all it takes to infect your dog with the baby form (larval stage) of the heartworm parasite.

Heartworms are a serious and potentially fatal disease in pets. Twelve-inch-long worms (looks like spaghetti) live in the heart, lungs, and blood vessels of infected pets, causing lung disease, heart failure, organ damage, and can be fatal if untreated.

How does my pet get heartworms? Heartworms living in an infected dog, cat, or wildlife produce baby worms that circulate in the bloodstream. When a mosquito bites an infected animal, it picks up these worms and when it bites another animal, the worms enter through the bite wound. Heartworms can grow and live for 5 - 7 years in dogs and 3 years in cats.

What can I do to protect my pet? Heartworm disease is preventable! Dogs should be tested annually and before starting prevention. Prevention is the safest and most cost-effective option, but treatment is available for dogs (although costly and lengthy). Cats should be tested before starting prevention and re-tested as the veterinarian deems appropriate. There is NO treatment in cats, so prevention is critical and the only means of protection.

Pet Medical Center has safe, effective products available that cater to your pet's lifestyle and your budget. Heartworm prevention should be provided 12 months of the year.

Should I let my pet have at least one litter?

There is no advantage to letting your pet have one litter. However, there are plenty of advantages to having your pet spayed or neutered. These advantages include decreasing the chances of breast tumors later in life, decreasing the chance of cystic ovaries and uterine infections later in life, decreasing the desire to roam the neighborhood, decreasing the incidence of prostate disease later in life, helping prevent spraying and marking, and also decreasing the surplus of unwanted puppies and kittens.

Why buy from Pet Medical Center?

  1. We take medication refill requests via phone at (254) 690-6769, email at [Site Email 1], through our online forms, or in person. We are open 7:30am - 6:00pm Monday through Friday for pickup.

    • Our online pharmacy offers shipping directly to your home! Most items have free shipping, and if you choose auto-ship (which you can cancel at any time) for foods, you can get free shipping on them as well.

  2. Competitive Pricing!

    • When you buy from us, we often have promotions and rebates available making your price, per dose, less than the big Internet pharmacies. These rebates are also available at our online pharmacy.

  3. We know your pet better than anyone!

    • All prescriptions ordered are processed through our office, initiating a review of your pet’s medical history. When it comes to the right medication for your pet and being sure that it is safe to use, we know your pets best!

    • We can also offer medications in various formulations both in hospital and through our online pharmacy. Do you have a pup that turns their nose up at pills? A kitty who runs from their needed medications? Many medications can be formulated into liquids, chews, or even trans-dermal ointments that can be applied directly to the skin and absorbed.

  4. All of our products come directly from the manufacturer!

    • We stand behind our products 100%. The manufacturer’s warranty is void if the prescription is not filled by an authorized distributor *(1-800 PetMeds, Costco and Wal-Mart, to name a few, are NOT authorized distributors).

    • *Because our online pharmacy is an authorized distributor, they also have the manufacturer’s warranty.

  5. Support for your local pet care providers!

    • Buy local and support small business! Since the cost is similar, why not purchase locally? Your support allows us to continue to provide the best possible care for your pet.

Why might my pet need health insurance?

If your pet needs emergency surgery and aftercare, would you be able to pay for that? If your pet gets cancer, a complicated eye issue, or neurologic dysfunction and needs to go see a specialist, can you afford to take them? There are options for payment, but wouldn’t it be nice to know you didn’t have to worry about these sudden expenses? Pet insurance is a way to relieve that worry.

Pet Insurance is a relatively new phenomenon in the veterinary world but can be lifesaving in cases where it is needed. Most pet insurance is geared toward catastrophic events – illness or accident beyond routine care. Pet insurance does not cover pre-existing conditions. There are a variety of pet insurance companies with various types of costs, coverage, deductibles, and plan types.

Key Points:

  • Pet insurance is most useful for emergencies
  • Most policies require you to pay first and then the company reimburses you
  • Pet insurance does not cover pre-existing conditions
  • Pet insurance is most useful if purchased when your pet is young. The older your pet is, the higher the starting premium is

Things to look for:

  • How long is the deductible good for in regards to a certain condition (some must be repaid every year, some are good for the pet’s lifetime on that condition)?
  • Are there limits on condition payouts (ex: limit of $3000 for a certain joint issue)?
  • Do premiums increase as the pet ages or are they locked in as long as you maintain the policy?

If you're looking for a pet insurance provider, we recommend owners contact a few different companies to find one that works best for their pet. Check out Trupanion, Embrace, Healthy Paws, ASPCA, Nationwide, Figo, or Pumpkin.

Want to learn more? Check out the AVMA Pet Insurance Info, AAHA Covering the Cost of Pet Care, and TexVetPets: Pet Health Insurance.