What Do High Standards of Medical Care Look Like?

At Latah Creek Animal Hospital, we pride ourselves on having a high standard of care for your pets.  This may not be the same at every hospital you encounter, and one of the wonderful things about Spokane is that there is a clinic to fit everyone’s goals and budget.  We understand that we may not be for everyone, but we would love to partner with you to provide a high quality of medicine and a high standard of care.


Physical exams are one of the foundations of both diagnosing illnesses/injuries, and preventative care.  Because our pets can’t talk, we rely on a thorough physical exam to help detect any issues.  This encompasses both the exam itself, and a through history from you.  Because of the importance of the exam, it is necessary for adult pets to get them yearly, and senior pets to get them biannually.  Because our pets age faster than we do, it is even more important for senior pets to get these exams more frequently.

As puppies and kittens, they will need exams more frequently both to assure that they are not developing any concerns as they grow, and to address behavioral concerns/milestones as they age to help you raise a well-balanced, happy puppy or kitten.  Our puppy and kitten exams include not only a comprehensive physical exam, but also a puppy or kitten pack with important age-specific information about behavior and lifestyle to act as a reference guide as your puppy or kitten grows.

Vaccinations and Routine Fecal Checks

We will discuss what vaccines are needed for your pet, based on their lifestyle, during their yearly visits.  We recommend staying up to date on vaccinations to keep your pet healthy and protect them from preventable diseases.

In this area, intestinal parasites and giardia are common.  We recommend a routine fecal screen at least yearly, and possibly more frequently based on lifestyle.  This will also be discussed with you at your annual visit.


Another pillar of high quality care is routine bloodwork.  Starting at a young age, monitoring your pet’s bloodwork annually can screen for early detection of illnesses.  It can also provide a vital baseline, allowing us to monitor trends over time so that we may know what values are normal for your pet, and will allow us to detect issues earlier than we would otherwise.

Blood pressure

For cats specifically, we also monitor their blood pressure throughout their lives.  Cats are prone to stress-induced secondary hypertension while at the clinic, so monitoring their baseline and watching for trends over time can allow us to know if they are experiencing hypertension secondary to stress, or secondary to a disease process such as hyperthyroidism, cardiac disease, or renal disease.  We recommend this be done at least annually.

Dental Cleaning

At Latah Creek Animal Hospital, we are passionate about dental health.  Dental disease is graded from Stage 1 (mild) to Stage 4 (severe).  Our doctor and nurses will be making the recommendation that your pet receive a full dental cleaning when they are late Stage I.  Although this will lead to more frequent cleanings, keeping your pet’s teeth healthy and cleaning them before any major issues arise will keep your pet more comfortable and healthier.  Abscesses and broken teeth can be painful, and having a source of bacteria in the mouth can allow bacteria to seed to other organs in the body, leading to further issues.

Eyes, Ears, and Growths

Certain presenting complaints will require additional diagnostics.

Eyes – may require staining to check for ulcers, checking pressures, or checking tear times to assess for dry eye.  Because the eyes are quite sensitive and can have difficulty healing, frequent follow ups may be necessary for certain complaints.

Ears – both yeast and several kinds of bacteria can grow in the ear when the skin barrier is disrupted due to allergies, cuts, water in the ear, etc.  Even if your pet has frequent ear problems, they may have a different spectrum of infection at each visit.  Therefore, a cytology is necessary at every visit.

Growths – even soft or small growths can be cancerous.  We recommend either a fine needle aspirate or excisional biopsy for all growths as we do not want to simply “watch” them turn into cancer!

Medication monitoring

  • NSAIDS – NSAIDs can have long-term effects on the liver and kidneys.  It is very important to monitor your pet’s bloodwork every 6 months to assess for any organ changes
  • Anti-seizure medications – depending on the specific medication your pet is on, anti-seizure medications can have effects on the liver or kidneys and would need to be monitored yearly for any organ changes.  Additionally, if your pet is on Phenobarbital, it is necessary to measure the Phenobarbital levels in their bloodstream every 6 months, to make sure they are not at an unsafe level.  Even if they appear to be well-monitored, knowing their level is crucial for best care.
  • Thyroid medication – since our pets age faster than we do, their metabolisms can change quickly.  Therefore, they will need thyroid checks every 6 months.

Fear Free

We are committed to keeping your pets’ stress level as low as possible while they are in the clinic.  We use pheromones, calming music, treats, and gentle handling to help keep your pet calm and relaxed while they are here.  For some patients, this may not be enough and they may need extra help.  This can include calming medications, prioritizing procedures, putting off non-urgent procedures to another day, and full sedation.  We do not “hold pets down” or “get it done” at the cost of their mental well-being.