You’ve Got Veterinary Questions —We’ve Got Answers


I’m traveling with my pet. What do I need to know?

Confirm that you have the correct carrier
Know the requirements before you arrive at the airport, because they will differ according to airlines and the plane size. The carrier must be spacious enough for the animal to stand up, turn around, and lie down in a natural position while they are being transported.

Rabies certificates
Once your animal receives a rabies vaccination at Great Neck Veterinary Clinic, you will receive a Certificate of Vaccination. By law, dogs typically must be licensed, and some towns require cats to be licensed as well. The licensing year may vary by each town, but you will most likely be required to present a Certificate of Vaccination that contains an expiration date that is in accordance with the licensing year for your town.

There are a few requirements you need to know before you make your journey. Check the requirements of the state you depart in, the state you arrive in, and those of your airline. Generally, you will be required to present a health certificate within a specified number of days before travel. This may even be required while you are driving, so be sure to check the requirements for the states you will be passing through—just in case! It never hurts to be proactive, so schedule an appointment within the necessary time frame. Provided that your pet is fit for travel, Great Neck Veterinary Clinic will provide you a health certificate for your pet’s adventures.

U.S. Department of AgricultureInternational Health Certificate
If you plan to take your pet on an international journey beyond the United States, you should contact both your airline and the consulate or embassy within the country of your destination so you will obtain the most updated requirements. The United States Department of Agriculture’s website is an excellent resource for further information and will help you immensely with your travels. The USDA also has a website for finding the consulate or embassy of the country of destination.

Great Neck Veterinary Clinic has doctors at our own facility who can provide you with a USDA Health Certificate. Being proactive is the key to a stress-free journey with your animal. Schedule an appointment with one of our certified veterinarians with enough time to comply with the regulations of the country of your destination. There are countries that require a rabies titer, which often needs additional time for blood test results. For travels to rabies-free destination zones, such as Hawaii or specific countries, the titer testing and quarantine process takes up to 5 months. Therefore, we strongly recommend that you contact our office as soon as you begin planning your travels to any of these locations.

For more information or to schedule an appointment, please call us at (757) 481–2800(757) 481–2800.

Is allergy testing available for pets?

Believe it or not, animals have allergies too. Sensitivity to allergens can make them equally as miserably as their human partners, commonly in the form of excessive itching. Often, these allergies are dismissed or inadequately treated because of an improper diagnosis. Great Neck Veterinary Clinic regularly tests our patients for allergic reactions to insects, plant life, and molds. Once we’ve eliminated other causes of itching (i.e., parasites, foods, infections), we perform blood testing as our next step in the diagnostic program. As fellow residents of Virginia Beach, Great Neck Veterinary Clinic is familiar with the local antigens that are most commonly responsible for pet allergies. However, we are also able to refer you to board-certified dermatologists for the more advanced diagnostics or treatment if needed.

What is involved in allergy testing?

  • Blood tests require two weeks for results.
  • You may need to temporarily suspend certain pet medications prior to testing.

Can Great Neck Veterinary Clinic help with pet behavioral counseling and training referrals?

Whether you just welcomed a new baby animal into your household of if your old dog actually learned some unwelcome tricks, behavioral problems interfere with having a fulfilling relationship with your pet. Using a combination of knowledge and experience, our veterinarians and staff would be happy to help you identify and address the causes of these behavioral problems. We use both the principles of behavioral medicine and the effectiveness of proper pet–owner interactions and pet training as a means of curbing undesirable and unsafe behaviors.

Using those techniques, we able to treat an array of behavioral issues in both felines and canines, such as:

  • House training issues
  • Aggression toward people and other animals
  • Noise phobias
  • Inappropriate urination or defecation
  • Inappropriate excitability

In tricky situations when your family is being seriously affected by your pet’s behavior, we have a working relationship with three local trainers for referrals. With Great Neck Veterinary Clinic, we will always do our best to banish behavioral problems and restore happiness to your family’s lifestyle.

What is veterinary cardiac care, and what treatments are available for my pet’s heart?

The clinical veterinary specialty that focuses primarily on the diagnoses and treatment of heart valves and muscles is cardiology. Great Neck Veterinary Clinic provides comprehensive cardiac evaluations by employing blood work, digital radiography, and electrocardiography (EKG). We are prepared for our patient’s cardiac needs with modern veterinary electrocardiograph (EKG) technology. Our EKG equipment makes it possible for us to consistently detect cardiac arrhythmia and other heart conditions. Our staff and doctors are capable of extracting answers in minutes in emergency situations and within 24 hours for all non-critical cases. We also have the ability record heart rhythms over a 24-hour period, which is particularly useful in the assessment of arrhythmia frequency, the determination whether the arrhythmia has a similarity to clinical signs, and the effectiveness of anti-arrhythmic therapy. After our initial comprehensive cardiac physical evaluation, we’ll discuss with you any additional testing or treatment that we recommend. In some cases, we may refer you to our affiliated hospital for cardiac ultrasound or to a board-certified cardiologist.

The discovery that your pet has a heart problem can be a difficult time. Finding out as much about the condition as possible is critical to effective treatment. Prompt treatment will improve your pet’s quality of life and increase your pet’s longevity.

If you would like to schedule a cardiac work-up, please call (757) 481–2800(757) 481–2800.  

Can you tell me about veterinary dermatology and skin care?

Animals can potentially be plagued by a large array of skin disorders. There are a number of causes for these disorders, including disease (infectious or non-infectious), parasites, or allergic reactions. Skin disorders are sometimes painful to your pets and, if left untreated, put your pet’s overall health and comfort at risk.

Great Neck Veterinary Clinic has many diagnostic methods for suspected dermatological conditions, including: 

  • Skin scrape
  • Fungal and bacterial cultures
  • Cytology (the study of cells)
  • Biopsy
  • Allergy testing

Determining the root cause of skin problems is much like investigative work—one possibility must be ruled out at a time. We believe in a methodical diagnostic technique: try simple solutions before moving on to the more costly diagnostic treatments. It is our hope that by using this method, the resolution and management of any chronic skin disorders will be rewarding for everyone—the pet, the owner, and the veterinarian.

Skin diseases are often frustrating for pet owners since some disorders cannot be cured, but only managed. In these situations, we should see your pet on a routine bases for follow-up care and continued treatment. 

Some common dermatological conditions we encounter are:

  • Flea allergy dermatitis
  • Atopy (environmental allergy)
  • Otitis (ear disease)
  • Bacterial diseases (staph infection)
  • Parasitic skin diseases
  • Fungal skin diseases (such as ringworm)
  • Food allergy
  • Skin cancer
  • Skin diseases of the foot or nail
  • Seborrhea and acne
  • Alopecia (hair loss)
  • Nutritional skin diseases
  • Endocrine and metabolic skin diseases
  • Autoimmune skin diseases
  • Drug reactions

What happens when a pet has cancer?

The sad truth is that cancer poses as significant a risk to our pets as it does to our fellow humans, particularly to aging and geriatric animals. Veterinary medicine has the same mantra for animals as our doctors do for us: the earlier the diagnosis, the better the chance that your pet’s quality of life can be improved while helping him or her to live longer with fewer complications. The best ways to be proactive for your pet’s health are to develop a close relationship with your pet, observe him or her for any physical or behavioral changes, and report them to your veterinarian. By giving your veterinarian the chance to detect these problems early, it will improve your animal’s chances for a successful treatment and recovery.

Great Neck Veterinary Clinic offers oncology services such as cancer screening, therapy, surgery, or referrals to board-certified oncologists for advanced cases. Your veterinarian will discuss the condition of your pet’s health and which proven treatments will benefit your pet the most. The good news is that many cancers are treatable. Our staff is here to coach your family on the therapeutic choices and assist you with your post-therapy pet. It is a difficult time for you and your pet, but we want you to know that we want nothing but to enhance your pet’s quality of life and provide the most appropriate treatments to combat this very sad disease.

Can you help with pet euthanasia and support for end-of-life Clinic?

Pet euthanasia and support for end-of-life care
Our staff members are also pet owners, and, therefore, they understand the bond between humans and animals and the difficulty of losing a cherished pet.

Grief for the impending loss of your pet is complicated by the need to make difficult, often painful decisions. You may ask yourself how much treatment you should pursue. At what point will treatment cause more trauma than relief? Can you provide the care needed to keep your pet comfortable? At what point, if any, should you consider euthanasia?

Sometimes circumstances don’t give you time to ask such questions. An unexpected illness or injury might give you only minutes. Whenever possible, it is ideal to develop a plan, taking into consideration three basic issues:

When should you consider euthanasia?
For most pet owners, this is the hardest question to consider and is simultaneously also the most important. When your pet faces a serious health condition, our veterinarians will supply you with the information you need to form a plan. It is helpful to define a “decision point” in advance—the point your pet will reach that decides the time when euthanasia is the best option. For example, some decide it is when their pet refuses to eat or drink for a certain period of time or is in pain despite medication. Considering these things in advance will place limits on the suffering that your pet experiences.

Would you like to be there?
Another aspect to consider is your presence at the time of your pet’s euthanasia. As the pet owner, this decision is entirely up to you. Many believe that the pet’s wellbeing and emotions should be the priority during this event. If you think that your pet will benefit from your presence, then you are welcome to stay. On the other hand, if you are concerned that your reaction and grief may disturb your pet, it is perfectly OK to stay away. There is no wrong option. You must go with what feels right.

What will you do next?
If you have lost a beloved pet, the thing furthest from your mind is what to do with your pet’s remains. If you currently have a sick or elderly pet, we recommend that you consider your options now so that you’ll only have to focus on grieving for your loss when the time comes. It has become increasingly common for pet owners to arrange for their pets to be cremated, but there are other choices to consider. For example, take some time to decide whether you would like to keep your pet’s ashes as a remembrance. If so, an individual (or private) cremation will need to be arranged to ensure that your pet will be cremated alone.

At Great Neck Veterinary Clinic, you may choose from three options:

  • Take your pet home for a private burial.
  • Private cremation where you may keep your pet’s ashes in remembrance. We can assist you in making arrangements for a private cremation so that the remains you receive will be only those of your pet.
  • Communal creation where your pet’s ashes will be sprinkled for you by our crematory services.

Our staff would like to offer you a shoulder to lean or cry on while you make this decision. We are here for both regular and new clients for this service. For new clients, we like to spend time discussing the pet’s current condition and assessing the overall health of the animal. When possible, call ahead to either schedule an appointment with us or alert us that you are en route to help us prepare for your arrival. In order for you to understand what to expect, we will be available to discuss the euthanasia process before you come in for the service. We also offer house call euthanasia services. Whatever you need, we want to be there for you.

Please call us at (757) 481–2800(757) 481–2800 for any questions you may have about euthanasia.

Does Great Neck Veterinary Clinic offer microchipping services for pets?

Microchips are sometimes the key to reuniting families with their missing pets, especially in the Virginia Beach and other hurricane-stricken areas each year. In the whole country, one in three pets will go missing within their lifetime. According to the American Humane Association, only 17% of lost dogs and 2% of cats will ever make their way back to their original homes. Almost 4 million pets are euthanized every year because their owners can’t be located in time.

Microchipping is quick and can be conveniently performed during a regular wellness exam. A small chip, the size of a grain of rice, is implanted beneath the skin between the pet’s shoulder blades. The process takes only few seconds and since it very similar to a shot, your pet will not react any more than he or she might to a vaccine. No anesthetic is required.


What are the benefits of registering your microchip?

  • An organization for lost pets, called HomeAgain, will send out lost pet alerts to veterinarians, shelters, and pet rescuers in the area that your pet was lost. HomeAgain also has a feature that will help you create a “Lost Pet” poster that you can print and post in your neighborhood.
  • Each animal shelter in the Hampton Roads area possesses scanners so pets will be identified and returned to their owners quickly and safely.
  • HomeAgain members receive free round-the-clock emergency medical assistance through the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center Hotline (which normally comes at a $55 cost)
  • For any injuries your pet suffers while lost (with proof of a lost pet incident), members receive complimentary lost pet medical insurance. After a $50 deductible, this service will cover up to $3,000 of emergency medical treatment. All you have to do is call to activate your pet’s insurance coverage once you have enrolled in HomeAgain.
  • With HomeAgain’s most inclusive package, pet owners are given pet ID cards with the pet’s name, microchip number, photo, vet information, and emergency clinic contact information to carry in your wallet for convenient access.

Does Great Neck Veterinary Clinic provide veterinary ophthalmology and treatment for my pet’s eyes?

The treatment of diseases of the eyes and visual pathways is so important to the maximization of your pet’s quality of life. We provide top-notch veterinary ophthalmological care and include eye exams as a routine component of our pet wellness programs.

Humans and animals suffer from similar eye troubles. Luckily, there are conditions that can be corrected if caught early on, such as cataracts and canine eyelid disease. Since some breeds of dog are more likely to have eye conditions than others, we believe screening dogs for inherited eye diseases is one of the most important eye services we provide. At home, pet owners should be vigilant for any uncommon behaviors or indications. If your pet is squinting, rubbing his or her eyes, or if there is any swelling, redness, or discharge, then he or she should be seen by a vet immediately.

Great Neck Veterinary Clinic uses highly specialized technology to assess and diagnose eye issues, including:

  • Instruments used for measuring intraocular pressure
  • Fluorescein stain to diagnose corneal scratches or ulcers
  • Schirmer tear test strips to diagnose KCS or “dry eye”
  • Tonometry for evaluating ophthalmic pressures

Even though we do not have an ophthalmologist on staff, each of our vets is trained to assess all mammalian eyes and diagnose and treat many diseases and injuries. We believe all ocular afflictions should be taken very serious and that no problem should be ignored. If a patient arrives with a condition too severe for treatment at our facility, we will supply you with a referral to a trusted, board-certified ophthalmologist with whom we have a close working relationship.

Once the critical part of the disease has past, we are prepared to continue with the long-term management of your pet’s ocular needs. Our pharmacy is stocked with an array of ocular medications, including antibiotics and pain relievers, which are available by prescription. At Great Neck Veterinary Clinic, we always strive to provide our patients high caliber, kind, state-of-the-art eye treatment.