Frequently Asked Questions for Veterinarians in San Marcos

How often should my pet have an exam?

Tickle-Blagg Animal Hospital recommends yearly visits for most pets and older pets coming in more frequently – at least every 6 months. Yearly exams include physical examinations by our veterinarians plus annual or booster vaccinations, parasite screening & prevention, and various lab tests performed.

For puppies and kittens, we need to see them on a more frequent schedule during their first year of life. For pets over age 7, we recommend exams and blood work every 6 months to help us detect diseases and issues before they become a problem.

Why does my pet need a dental cleaning?

Many people think that it is normal for a dog to have bad breath, but that is not the case. Bad breath is caused by bacteria in the mouth that create byproducts that contain sulfur. Regular home cleanings accompanied by scheduled professional cleanings will help to prevent bad breath and the bacteria that cause it.

Besides just bad breath, dental disease:

  • Releases bacteria into the bloodstream
  • Increases risk for heart, liver and kidney disease
  • Can cause severe pain and problems for your pet

Pets need regular dental cleanings to increase quality and length of life and:

  • Allows us to chart dental disease over time
  • Means less time under anesthesia
  • Reduces the need for more advanced and expensive treatment in the future such as teeth extractions and oral surgery

Dental disease is the most common disease in dogs. Recent studies show that 85% of cats and 92% of dogs over age 3 have periodontal disease.

What happens during my pet’s dental cleaning?

A thorough dental cleaning can only be accomplished while the pet is under general anesthesia. The anesthesia we use is safe for all animals and your pet is constantly monitored during the dental procedure. Prior to anesthesia, blood tests are performed to help uncover any hidden illnesses.

A professional cleaning (called a dental prophylaxis) removes plaque and tartar from the teeth. Your pet's entire mouth health (teeth, tongue, gums, and lips) will be examined and assessed.

I noticed a change in my pet’s behavior. Should I see a veterinarian?

Pets cannot tell us how they feel and are able to hide their pain from us (especially cats). Changes in behavior such as appetite change, lethargy, energy level, aggressiveness, inappropriate elimination, and vocalization (barking/meowing) can be symptoms of behavior or health issues. Contact our vet hospital for an exam appointment right away.

What should I do if I notice fleas or ticks on my pet?

Isolate your pet from other animals and small children to prevent the spread of the parasite to them. Bring your pet to our vet clinic for thorough testing for parasites. They can usually be easily treated, but parasite preventative measures are best for both your pet and your wallet. Ask about our available safe and effective parasite prevention products.

At what age should I have my pet spayed or neutered?

Tickle-Blagg Animal Hospital recommends waiting until your pet is at least 6 months of age before seeking a spay or neuter procedure. Contact us to discuss specific details based on species, breed, and size. Spaying / neutering has health and behavioral benefits for your pet and of course, helps prevent over-population.


What are heartworms? How can I prevent my pet from getting heartworms?

One infected mosquito is all it takes to infect your dog with the baby form (larval stage) of the heartworm parasite.

Heartworms are a serious and potentially fatal disease in pets. Twelve-inch-long worms (looks like spaghetti) live in the heart, lungs, and blood vessels of infected pets, causing lung disease, heart failure, organ damage, and can be fatal if untreated.

How does my pet get heartworms? Heartworms living in an infected dog, cat, or wildlife produce baby worms that circulate in the bloodstream. When a mosquito bites an infected animal, it picks up these worms and when it bites another animal, the worms enter through the bite wound. Heartworms can grow and live for 5 - 7 years in dogs and 3 years in cats.

What can I do to protect my pet? Heartworm disease is preventable! Dogs should be tested annually and before starting prevention. Prevention is the safest and most cost-effective option, but treatment is available for dogs (although costly and lengthy). Cats should be tested before starting prevention and re-tested as the veterinarian deems appropriate. There is NO treatment in cats, so prevention is critical and the only means of protection.

Tickle-Blagg Animal Hospital has safe, effective products available that cater to your pet's lifestyle and your budget. Heartworm prevention should be provided 12 months of the year.

My pet was sprayed by a skunk, what can I do?

Tickle Blagg Animal Hospital has an easy to make Skunk Deodorizer Shampoo you can use for your pet. Follow the instructions carefully, and please call us if you have questions.

Ingredients & Tools: 

  • 1 Quart Peroxide
  • 1/4 Cup Baking Soda
  • 1-2 tsp Dawn Dishwashing soap
  • Eye Lubrication Ointment
  • Sponge/Washcloth


  1. Protect your pets eyes with lubrication eye ointment. 
  2. Mix ingredients and apply to hair coat and skin.
  3. Use a sponge or washcloth to apply to facial area.
  4. Allow pet to soak 15 minutes and rinse well.
  5. Repeat the next day if needed.

*Treatment may cause fading of the hair coat, upholstery and other fabrics.

Click here for a printable form of this recipe.

Do you have any recommended products?

Tickle Blagg Animal Hospital has several products we recommend, based on your pet's needs. See below to learn more.

Dental Health Products

Periodontal disease is the most common clinical condition affecting dogs and cats over the age of 3, and it is entirely preventable.

The pharmacy at Tickle Blagg Animal Hospital is fully stocked with the latest in at-home dental care technology. From tooth brushes to chews, we can help you find a dental care protocol that will work for you and your pet.

  • OraVet Chews - Used for dogs as a once daily chew treat. Blocks bacteria to help prevent plaque and calculus.
  • C.E.T. Enzymatic Oral Hygiene Chews - Used for dogs as a once daily treat. Features an exclusive Dual-Enzyme System, plus a coarse texture that works with the dog’s chewing action to reduce plaque and calculus.

Pet Nutrition

Tickle Blagg Animal Hospital recommends both Hill's and Royal Canin nutritional foods and diets.

We carry an extensive supply of Hill's Pet Food, which includes:

  • Hill's Science Diet
  • Hill's Prescription Diet
  • Hill's Ideal Balance

All Hill's food is clinically proven and backed by their 100% guarantee.  

Royal Canin diets are all formulated and clinically tested to provide the precise balance of nutrients needed by our four legged friends and has a 100% money back guarantee.

Heartworm Prevention

Tickle Blagg Animal Hospital believes strongly in the doctor/patient relationship but we also understand the need to find safe and affordable medications for our pets. We are now offering the products we carry in-house through our online pharmacy at competitive pricing. We recommend the following products.

  • Advantage Multi for Dogs - Convenient monthly topical formula. Provides treatment and protection from heartworms, fleas, hookworms, roundworms, and whipworms.
  • Advantage Multi for Cats - Convenient monthly topical formula. Provides treatment and protection from heartworms, fleas, earmites, hookworms and roundworms.
  • ProHeart 6/ProHeart 12 - Convenient injection every 6 months or every 12 months. Provides protection from heartworms. *Dogs only, special offers frequently available through our online shop.
  • Heartgard Plus - Convenient monthly chewable. Provides treatment and protection from heartworms, roundworms and hookworms. *Special offers frequently available, Tickle Blagg Animal Hospital also provides a buy 6 get 2 free or buy 12 get 4 free offer - while supplies last.

Flea and Tick Control

We believe the key to a long and healthy life for our patients is the combination of preventative medicine and the latest in diagnostic technology. At Tickle Blagg Animal Hospital, we only stock products tested and proven safe and effective for our four legged friends. Give us a call or check out our online pharmacy to see what we offer.

Should I let my pet have at least one litter?

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