1. What should I do if my animal becomes injured or sick after normal business hours?
For small animal emergencies, call Pet Emergency and Trauma Services (PETS) at 406-587-3996.

For large animal emergencies, please call Sorensen Veterinary Hospital at (406) 388-3164.

For other inquiries or to make an appointment, please call during business hours 8am-5pm Monday through Friday, or 9am-1pm on Saturdays.

2. What are the benefits of spaying or neutering my pet? When is the best time to do this?
There are many benefits to spaying and neutering your pets. Altered pets typically live longer due to reduced risk of contracting certain types of cancer and life-threatening infections. Behavioral problems such as roaming, mounting, and inappropriate spraying and marking are also lessened. Finally, decreasing the world’s unwanted pet population will help shelters and rescue organizations better maintain and improve their already overcrowded facilities.

We recommend spaying and neutering pets when they are approximately six months old. We may make special recommendations for your pet, depending on its breed.

3. Why is deworming important?
No pet is absolutely safe from internal parasitism. Puppies and kittens, along with outdoor pets are particularly at risk. Internal parasites may not only make your pet sick, but certain types can be transmitted to humans and cause serious neurological, skin, or ocular disease. There are safe effective medications available to treat internal parasitism. Performing annual fecal examinations can help our doctors decide which medication should be given to your pet.

4. Is heartworm prevention really important in Montana?
Yes! Heartworm infection causes life-threatening illness in dogs and rarely in cats. It is spread via the bite of a mosquito. While there is a lower incidence of heartworm disease in Montana versus states with warmer more humid climates, the risk is still very real. Prevention is easily achieved with a once-monthly chewable tablet given during the vector season (spring, summer, and early fall months). Pets traveling to warmer climates during the winter months should be on preventative medication year-round. Annual testing for heartworm disease is recommended in order to ensure that your pet is adequately protected, as well as to prevent adverse reactions that occur when infected pets are given preventative medication.

5. How can I prevent flea and tick infestation in my pets?
Fleas and ticks are responsible for a number of illnesses in our pet population. Certain blood parasites can be transmitted via tick bites, which can cause life-threatening diseases in both dogs and cats. Fleas transmit tapeworms to their animal hosts, and they may be the cause of allergic skin disease that can persist after the flea infestation has been eradicated.

We recommend using a topical flea and tick preventative (like Advantix or Frontline) during the spring, summer, and early fall months. This is a safe, simple, and effective method of preventing external parasitism of your pets.

6. What are signs that my horse’s teeth need to be floated?
Because a horse’s teeth continually grow, they are naturally worn down as the horse chews. The teeth sometimes develop very sharp edges that can cut the tongue or cheeks. Abnormal hooks or ramps may also form in the front or back of the mouth, both of which can cause a significant amount of pain as the horse chews.

Signs that your horse’s teeth need to be examined include dropping feed, reluctance to eat, foul breath, or simply failure to gain or maintain weight. Sedating the horse for placement of a mouth speculum allows our doctor to thoroughly examine the mouth from front to back. Dental floatation (filing down sharp edges on the teeth) can then be performed, along with any extractions or other corrective procedures that are deemed necessary.

7. What are some reasons that my horse is losing weight?
Horses may begin losing weight for many reasons. Causes include poor diet, intestinal parasitism (worms), dental pain (sharp or pointed tooth edges, tooth root abscess, loose or worn teeth), gastric ulceration, chronic colic, or systemic disease. A thorough examination by one of our doctors can help to determine the cause of weight loss, upon which a treatment program can be initiated.

8. What is colic, and what should I do if my horse is showing signs of colic?
Colic is a generic term used to describe any type of abdominal pain. It is considered to be one of the leading causes of death in horses around the world. Horses experiencing colic may roll and thrash violently, or they may subtlety look or nip at their abdomen or flank. Others simply refuse to eat or appear uncomfortable. Colic can be caused by a variety of conditions, including bowel spasm or gas colic, intestinal impactions or obstructions, intestinal torsion or twisting, enteritis or diarrhea, gastric ulceration, or peritonitis (inflammation or infection in the abdomen). Many horses respond to conservative treatments, including pain medications, intestinal lubricants or laxatives, and light exercise in the form of lead walking. Others require exploratory abdominal surgery to alleviate the source of pain and intestinal trauma. It is important to call your veterinarian when your horse begins showing signs of colic. A prompt physical exam is an important step in ensuring that the condition is diagnosed and treated quickly.

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