Below are a number of helpful answers to frequently asked questions.

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How should I remove a tick?

Use fine-tipped tweezers to grasp the tick as close to the skin’s surface as possible.  Pull upward with steady, even pressure. Don’t twist or jerk. After removing the tick, thoroughly clean the bite area and your hands with rubbing alcohol and iodine scrub, or soap and water.

What are some common poisons that animals eat?

Common toxicities are listed here.

Does Riverside Animal Hospital offer a payment plan?

Riverside Animal Hospital accepts cash, checks and all major credit cards. We also accept Care Credit. Care credit is a medical credit card that can be applied for on-line at home or at Riverside Animal Hospital.

Should I give my dog the Rattlesnake Vaccine?

Any animal that will be hiking east or north of Bend, or anywhere that is lower in elevation, should be considered for the Rattlesnake vaccine. The lower Deschutes River, John Day area, and Smith Rocks area are several popular recreation spots with a high number of snake encounters. The vaccine does not replace the need for prompt medical care in the event your dog does get bit. It does reduce the speed and severity of the effects of the venom, but it is still important to get your dog to a veterinary clinic as quickly as possible. This vaccine must be given annually, and reactions are rare.

What vaccines should I give to my dog or cat?

Vaccine recommendations for Bend, Oregon. 

What do I do if I have an emergency after normal business hours?

Bend has two state of the art Emergency and Specialty Clinics that are open while Riverside Animal Hospital is closed.

Bend Animal Emergency and Specialty Center:  541-385-9110

Veterinary Referral and Emergency Center of Central Oregon: 541-210-9220 (Now with 2 locations!)


What do I do if my dog has a seizure?

Keep your dog or cat in a place that he/she cannot injure itself. Do NOT put your hand in their mouth to prevent injury to the tongue. Animals that have been seizing for more than 5 minutes need to seek immediate veterinary care. If this is your pet’s first seizure, please call us at 541-585-3739 during normal business hours.  After normal business hours, please call either the Bend Animal Emergency and Specialty Center  at 541-385-9110 or The Veterinary Referral and Emergency Center of Central Oregon at 541-210-9200.

What is a normal body temperature of a dog or cat?

Dog: 100.4-102.4F
Cat: 100.5-102.5F

What should I do if I find a baby bird?

Baby birds have the best chance of survival if the mother is able to raise it. They should be left where you find them.

Can my children catch lice from my dog?

Luckily, no. Lice are species specific.

Should I feed my pet a raw food diet?

The AVMA (American Veterinary Medical Association) does not recommend a raw diet for animals due to the potential for bacterial contamination. This is particularly important if you have young children or immune compromised family members.  Many pets and people have become seriously ill from eating and handling raw meat. If you elect to feed a raw food diet, veterinary nutritionists recommend high pressure pasteurized raw diets like those made by Stella and Chewy and Nature’s Variety to minimize risk of infection to you or your dog.

What diet do you recommend for my healthy pet?

There are many good commercial diets available for your pet.  We recommend diets that are balanced by the Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO). The AAFCO is a private, non profit organization that helps ensure that pet food products have undergone analysis making sure they provide the proper nutrition to your pet.  We also recommend a grain inclusive diet as recent studies have shown an increased incidence of heart disease in dogs on a grain free diet.  

If you prefer to cook fresh food for your pet, there are many good resources on-line that can help you provide a well balanced diet.  Petdiets.com and Balanceit.com are two sites that are staffed by veterinarians  who are specially trained in the field of veterinary nutrition. 

There are several dog food companies that make fresh food and delivery it to your home.  Just be sure that it is balanced by a veterinary nutritionist or the AAFCO.

How much should I feed my pet?

For dogs this varies on the caloric density of the commercial diet they are on. Each bag has recommendations on it according to the size of your pet. Be aware these amounts are usually on the generous side so consider it a starting point and don’t be surprised if you need to reduce it a little!

Cats should be fed a combination of wet and dry food.  Obesity is a serious health risk for our domestic cats so calories should be monitored and adjusted as needed to prevent weight gain.

Can I feed my pet the night after surgery?

Anesthesia will make some animals nauseous. Try feeding your pet half of his or her normal amount of food. If they hold it down for two hours and still seem hungry, you may feed them the rest of their normal amount.

Why is my pet whining after anesthesia? Is he/she in pain?

Some pets become “dysphoric” after anesthesia. Dysphoria is a state of restlessness or a feeling of ill at ease. Many animals will whine after anesthesia secondary to this. Animals that are whining after a painful procedure, I assume they are painful instead of assuming they are dysphoric and start with trying pain medications. If you are concerned, please contact us  at 541-585-3739 or if Riverside Animal Hospital is closed, contact the Animal Emergency Center at 541-385-9110.

Does my pet need Heartworm preventative?

Currently, we do not see much in the way of heartworm disease in Central Oregon, unless the pet has a history of travel. The disease is transmitted by mosquitos, and while completing its stage in the mosquito, the larvae are very susceptible to cold temperatures. If you travel with your pet to warmer or wetter regions, you should give your pet heartworm preventative. Known high-risk areas close to us include southern Oregon and northern California. The Willamette Valley also has cases. As this disease is very temperature-dependent, warmer summers could mean significantly increased transmission rates throughout the state. So while historically central Oregon has enjoyed minimal risk, this is likely to change! Please consider putting your pet on heart worm preventative during the summer months.

Heart worm preventative will also kill intestinal parasites like roundworms, whipworms and hook worms. Consider having your dog on a monthly heartworm preventative during the warmer months if they frequent dog parks, have contact with wildlife, eat feces (yuck!), travel, or live with children.

Why do I need to do yearly blood work to keep my pet on NSAIDS (Rimadyl, Metacam, Deramax)?

These medications are processed by the liver and excreted by the kidneys.  If either organ is not functioning well , your pet could become extremely ill or develop life-threatening disease.  In rare instances, these medications can result in liver disease. Blood work is the only way we can gauge how well your pet is tolerating these medications.

Can my pet have food or water the night before surgery?

Please do not allow your pet to eat solid food after 8pm. They may have access to water until the morning. Remove the water source when you get up in the morning.

How often should I brush my pet’s teeth?

We encourage our clients to brush their dog’s teeth a couple times a week. Veterinary dentists feel that teeth should be brushed daily to avoid the need for future extractions.

How old should my pet be when I spay or neuter them?

The answer to this varies. In general, we recommend waiting until your pet is 6 months of age. New research suggests that some breeds may benefit from waiting until they are a year old and their growth plates have closed. Please discuss this with your veterinarian during puppy visits.

What type of diagnostic technology is available at Riverside Animal Hospital?

At Riverside Animal Hospital we have Digital X- Ray, Digital Dental X- Ray, Ultrasound, a full in house laboratory, EKG monitor, blood pressure monitor, and pulse oximetry monitor.  We strive to utilize the most advanced equipment available.

Does Riverside Animal Hospital see emergencies?

Absolutely! Riverside Animal Hospital has doctors that are trained in Emergency and Critical Care.  We ask that you call on your way to the clinic but do not require it.  We refer to The Animal Emergency Clinic after normal business hours.  541-385-9110

Why is preventative healthcare so important for my pet?

Much like humans, animals are living longer lives due to preventative medicine.  Annual exams can bring to light problems that were not previously known and actions can be taken before the condition is too advanced.

How often should I have my pets teeth cleaned?

Your pet’s teeth will be evaluated during their yearly wellness exam. It is not unusual for dogs to need their teeth cleaned every couple of years if you are unable to brush their teeth. Smaller dogs tend to need more dentals in their lifetime than older dogs.

Why do dogs eat grass?

The general consensus among veterinarians is: Because it tastes good! I do think some dogs will eat grass in attempt to induce vomiting.