FAQs - Pet Health

What if something happens to my pet but I don't think it's too serious...can I just call in for a diagnosis or some advice?


Unfortunately, unless a veterinary doctor has actually laid eyes (and hands) on your pet, it is always impossible to say for sure what is going on.


Even if it appears to be a relatively minor symptom (like scratching) or occurrence (your cat ate a strange plant from your garden), without looking at other signs and manifestations your vet can never say with any real degree of confidence that things are okay. Because they have a commitment to making things right with your pet, not worse, they would never want to make a recommendation or offer advice based on just a partial picture.


This is why they’ve gone to school for eight years and specialized in animal medicine—they are trained to see things and make connections that the average person cannot, and to make sure even small mishaps don’t turn into major losses.


Take note: besides being unethical, it is also illegal for a veterinarian to prescribe for any animal sight unseen!

Why should I bring my pet in for regular veterinary visits... especially when he/she is healthy?


Just as you would schedule regular doctor visits for yourself or pediatrician visits for your child, it is a good idea to have your pet see a veterinarian regularly. Even if your pet seems to be in perfectly good health, the fact is that you can never tell for sure if something might be wrong until your pet is evaluated by a professional. The peace of mind that comes from knowing your pet is healthy is well worth it!


Also, consider this: the cost of treatment is almost always higher than the cost of prevention. Preventative health care procedures like vaccinations and check-ups are far cheaper than treatments for diseases or injuries. For example, say your pet contracts a dangerous virus. A complicated treatment plan will be far more expensive than an initial vaccination for the virus would have been.

Does my pet have to get a full set of vaccinations to get a rabies certificate? What shot(s) are absolutely necessary for my dog/cat, and how much do they cost?


Only a rabies vaccination is required to get a rabies certificate. Be aware, though, that your pet will probably need a full physical exam before the vaccine can be administered.


Your veterinarian can tell you what shots and vaccines are absolutely necessary for your dog and cat. They may discuss “core” vaccines that every pet should have, as well as additional preventatives that your particular pet might require. Costs for these additional vaccines should be minimal. It is important to remember that the initial cost of preventative medicine is much less than the cost of treating diseases or infections later. 

Why should I spay/neuter my pet? And why does it cost so much?


There are long-term health benefits to your pet when it is spayed or neutered—it can lower the risk of several cancers and diseases. Ask your veterinarian to explain these benefits. Obviously, the primary benefit is controlling the pet population by regulating the number of unwanted pets.


Spaying and neutering requires surgery, and surgery requires anesthesia. The cost of spaying and neutering procedures includes the anesthesia, the veterinary team’s time and knowledge, surgical equipment and other medicine, hospitalization, etc. Keep this in mind: a litter of unwanted puppies or kittens will cost far more in the long run than having your pet spayed or neutered early on.

Why does my dog/cat need to have a blood test before starting heartworm medication?


Giving heartworm preventative to dogs or cats that are already infected with adult heartworms can be harmful and even fatal to the animal. A blood test before starting any medication will tell your veterinarian if your pet is already infected.


Heartworm preventatives kill off heartworm larvae—the medicine does not kill adult heartworms. An owner might think his cat or dog is fine if the pet is on a heartworm preventative, but if the pet was already heartworm-positive, the disease is only worsening and the heartworm preventative is not helping.

I brought my pet to see the veterinarian for a problem, and my pet isn't getting any better. What can I do?


Before you call your veterinarian, make sure you’re aware of the timeframe for treatment and recovery. Did your vet tell you that your pet might take a day or two to start showing positive signs of getting better? Did they advise you that your pet’s treatment won’t yield instant results? If the timeframe isn’t an issue, and you think your pet still isn’t getting better, call your veterinarian immediately. They may need a follow-up examination to check your pet’s progress and condition. From there, they can obtain more information and make a diagnosis. If your pet isn’t improving with the treatment your vet gave him, let them know and they will do everything in their power to help your pet.

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Four Rivers Veterinary Center

1901 Commerce Dr

Vidalia, GA  30474

Phone: 912-535-8165

Fax: 912-535-8167



Four Rivers Veterinary Center - Baxley

1069 E Parker St

Baxley, GA  31513

Phone: 912-367-7161

Fax: 912-705-0201

Email: fourriversbaxley@gmail.com


Or use our contact form.

Office Hours


Mon-Fri:  8:00 am - 5:00 p.m. 


FRVC Baxley

8:30 am - 5:00 pm

8:30 am - 12:00 pm
(technician services ONLY)

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