Wilson's Creek Animal Hospital

3025 W Republic Road
Springfield, MO 65807



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Frequently Asked Questions

Here are some questions/answers that we are frequently asked. If you have additional questions that aren't covered here, please feel free to give us a call at Wilson's Creek Animal Hospital.


For easier browsing, click on one of the following headers to be directed to the appropriate section:

General Questions

Puppy/Kitten Care

Wellness Care 

Fleas, Ticks and Heartworms

Spay/Neuter and Surgeries




General Questions 

1. What are the clinic hours?

   Our clinic is open Monday to Friday from 7:00 am to 6:00 pm, and on Thursdays from 7:00 am until 8:00 pm. The clinic is closed on Saturday and Sunday and all Major Holidays.

2. Do I need to have an appointment?

    No, we are glad to see walk-ins, but an appointment is appreciated. Walk-ins are going to be worked in between scheduled appointments as time allows unless it is a current patient with an emergency. 

3. What forms of payment do you accept?

     Cash, Check, Mastercard, Visa, and Discover.

4. Can I make payments?

    Full payment is required at the time of service. 

5.  Do you board pets?

   No, unfortunately our facilities are not large enough to accommodate a kennel or grooming area. However, we are always more than happy to recommend other excellent locations to suit your needs.

6. What is a specialist?

    Over the last several years we had a number of questions from clients about specialists.  Either about a specialist in different types of cosmetic surgery, a specific breed of animal, or a group of specialists.  To help clear up the confusion, we have posted the AVMA definition of what a specialist is, what specialties are recognized by the AVMA, and links to the various specialty groups. 

    The AVMA defines a specialist as a veterinarian who has completed additional training in a specific area of veterinary medicine and has passed an examination that evaluates their knowledge and skills in that specialty area. 

    Specialty organizations: there are currently 21 AVMA recognized specialty organizations comprising 40 distinct specialties.  Below are the current list of recognized veterinary specialty colleges and a brief description of what the members of that college do.


Anesthesia: veterinarians who focus on making sure animals feel less or no pain associated with veterinary procedures

Behavior: veterinarians with additional training in animal behavior

Dentistry: veterinarians who perform procedures on animals' teeth

Dermatology: veterinarians who study diseases and conditions of the skin

Emergency and Critical Care: the "ER docs" and intensive care specialists

Internal Medicine, which includes specialties in

  • Cardiology: the study of diseases and conditions of the heart and circulatory system
  • Neurology: the study of diseases of the brain, spinal cord and other parts of the nervous system
  • Oncology: the study of tumors and cancer

Laboratory Animal Medicine: veterinarians working in research or in practice, making sure that laboratory animal species (rabbits, rats, mice, etc.) receive proper care.

Microbiology: veterinarians who study viruses, bacteria, fungi, etc.

Nutrition: veterinarians working to make sure that animals' diets meet their body's needs for nutrients

Ophthalmology: veterinarians studying diseases and conditions of the eye

Pathology: veterinarians studying disease in animals

Pharmacology: veterinarians studying how medications/drugs affect animals

Poultry Veterinarians: veterinarians who work with chickens, turkeys and/or ducks, usually in food production settings

Preventive Medicine: veterinarians who study how diseases are spread and how they can be prevented

Radiology: veterinarians who focus on the study of x-ray, ultrasound, computed tomography (often called CAT scans), magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), and other imaging procedures that allow us to see "inside" an animal's body

Sports Medicine and Rehabilitation: veterinarians who focus on returning animals to normal function after injury, lameness, illness or surgery

Surgery: veterinarians who specialize in performing surgery, which can also be split into 2 subcategories:

  • Orthopedics: these surgeons focus on bones, joints, ligaments, tendons, etc. of the body's skeletal system
  • Soft Tissue surgery: these surgeons focus more on the internal organs and non-bone tissues of the body

Theriogenology: veterinarians who specialize in animal reproduction

Toxicology: veterinarians who study the effects of poisons and other toxic products on the body (and how to treat animals affected by these toxins)

Veterinary Practitioners: veterinarians in clinical practice who have additional training and expertise in certain animal species

   If you want to know if a veterinarian is a specialist in a particular field, you may search for them in the appropriate specialty college.


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Puppy/Kitten Care



1. What is puppy wellness?

   Puppy wellness is the preventive care we recommend and do for our puppies (dogs under 1 year of age).

   Our goal with puppy wellness is very simple: we want to give the puppy the best possible start in life.  We do this by a series of examinations, testing for intestinal parasites, deworming, appropriate immunizations, and recommendations on nutrition

2. At what age should I start puppy or kitten care?

We generally like to start puppy/kitten wellness care when they are 6-8 weeks of age.  By starting wellness care at this age, we will get the puppy or kitten off to the best possible start in life.  See our section on wellness care here for more information on puppy/kitten wellness.

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Wellness Care



1. Why do I need a physical exam prior to any immunizations?

An annual physical exam is the best method we have of ensuring that our patients are healthy enough to be vaccinated.  If the pet is ill, injured, etc, then immunizing would not be effective, and may even be harmful to the pet.

2. What vaccinations do I need for my adult dog?

We divide our canine vaccinations into core (for every dog) and non-core (depending on the individual's risk) groups.  For adult dogs, the core vaccines are the Distemper-Adenovirus-Parvovirus and Rabies vaccines.  Due to the effectiveness of the vaccines, we do not need to vaccinate for those diseases every year.   Provided that the dog has been previously immunized against those diseases, we can give vaccines that are effective for 3 years.   Non-core vaccines (kennel cough, leptospirosis) are given based on the patient's risk for those diseases. 

3. What vaccinations do I need for my adult cat?

For adult cats, we divide our vaccinations into core (for every cat) and non-core (depending on the individual's risk) groups.  For a cat that is all indoors, the core vaccines are the Rabies and FVRCCP (Feline Viral Rhinotracheitis, Calicivirus, Chlamydia, and Panleukopenia) vaccines.  The only non-core vaccine that we presently use is the FeLV (Feline Leukemia Virus).  If the cat goes outside, or is exposed to outdoor cats, then the FeLV vaccine is necessary.  If not, then we recommend NOT vaccinating against FeLV.

4. My cat never goes outside, why does he/she need a rabies vaccination?

Even cats that do not go outdoors are at some risk for rabies, either through getting outside, or exposure to animals (wild and domestic) that get inside.  Additionally, local law mandates rabies vaccinations for all cats and dogs. 

5. What kind of food should my dog/cat eat?

In very general terms, we recommend feeding a high quality, age appropriate diet for dogs and cats that is AAFCO Certified.

6. What makes a good brand of dog/cat food?

                -Quality of ingredients
                -Good manufacturing practices
                -Good nutritional research

7. Is it ok to give my dog my medications when he's sick?

While people and pets often take the same type of prescription and over-the-counter medications, many are not safe for our dogs and cats.  Before giving ANY medication, either prescription or OTC, we strongly recommend asking the veterinarian if doing so is safe. 

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Fleas, Ticks and Heartworms



1. I've heard that garlic is a safe, effective, and natural way to protect my pet from fleas?

No, unfortunately garlic is not an effective flea control.  Additionally, garlic is toxic in even small amounts, and should not be fed to our cats and dogs. 

2. Can I use onions or garlic as heartworm prevention?

Unfortunately, garlic and onions are both toxic to dogs and cats, and do not work for preventing heartworms.

3. I've kept my pet on heartworm preventive year round, why do I need an annual heartworm test?

While our heartworm medications are very effective, and our tests very accurate, no test or medication is 100% accurate/effective.  Additionally, there is a 6 month time period between infection and a positive test result.   Finally, like any other disease, early diagnosis is the key to effective treatment.  We follow the American Heartworm Society recommendations for medications and testing.  You can find their website in the links section. 

4. Why do I need to give my outdoor cat heartworm prevention?

Heartworm disease is now considered a significant health risk for cats that spend any time outdoors.  Like in dogs, the disease is spread by mosquitoes, is potentially fatal to the pet, and can be prevented with either oral or topical medications.  Unlike dogs, there are NO effective treatments for heartworms in cats.

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Spay/Neuter and Surgeries



1. At what age can I have my pet spayed or neutered?

   Spaying or neutering can be done at approximately 4+ months of age. For large breed dogs, we strongly recommend waiting until ~8 months of age so that they are skeletally mature. Your pet is given an exam prior to surgery to help determine whether your pet is healthy enough to undergo the surgical procedure. Current vaccinations are required at the time of surgery. Also a pre-anesthetic blood screen is recommended prior to undergoing anesthesia and surgery.

2.  What is the pre-anesthetic blood screening?

   This is a blood test that is run here in the clinic prior to surgery. It tests the organ functions, blood counts and clotting function of your pet. The pre-anesthetic blood screening is done to assure safety during surgery and the ability to heal following surgery.

3. How long do the sutures stay in after my pet's surgery?

   Procedures involving sutures require them to be removed in 10-14 days following the surgery.

4.  Is it a good idea to let my pet have at least one litter?

    No, there is no advantage to letting your pet have one litter. However there are plenty of advantages to having you 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 cancer later in life, helping prevent spraying and marking, and also decreases the surplus of unwanted puppies and kittens.

5. Isn't it true that older dogs/cats should not be anesthetized?

While there is always a small amount of risk to any anesthetic or sedative, age itself is NOT a reason for avoiding needed dental or surgical procedures.  By performing a thorough physical exam, screening laboratory testing, using up to date drugs, and monitoring of all patients, we are able minimize the possibility of problems or complications occurring.  


For other questions about surgical procedures, click here

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