Coming Soon – Spay Neuter Charlotte Lake Norman!

We are so excited that renovations are almost complete at 325 Rolling Hill Road the third site for Spay Neuter Charlotte. All of our fingers and toes are crossed that we will be ready to open by the second week in January. To begin the clinic will offer surgery appointments Tuesday through Thursday and provide basic medical care on Fridays. Our intention is eventually use this location as a regional spay neuter hub, providing transport to and from other communities who are in need of services but aren’t able to easily reach us. Opening up a clinic in Lake Norman was the natural next step in making sure that everyone Charlotte-area has access to affordable veterinary care. Having a clinic in center Charlotte (near Uptown) and one in the south in Pineville, it only made sense to expand our reach up north. There aren’t resources readily available in Lake Norman/Mooresville. We know that the large number of homeless animals in this area contribute to the number of dogs and cats euthanized in the region. Spay Neuter Charlotte’s ultimate purpose is to prevent the euthanasia of healthy, adoptable animals in our community. Opening up a clinic in Lake Norman will get us closer to that goal.

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SNC is expanding to 3 locations! Here is a map of where you can find us in the Charlotte-area.

The new building is two minutes from the Exit 35 off of I77 and can also be easily accessed by Rolling Hill Road. It was formerly used as a day care center but we have revamped it for our purposes. The space is fabulous; a large lobby and spacious rooms for our animal kennels and there are windows in every room including our new surgical suite!

 

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Dr. Molly Foley

Dr. Molly Foley who currently works in our NoDa clinic will open the clinic assisted by our new staff veterinarian Dr. Cat Moore who will ultimately serve as the anchor veterinarian in this location. Dr. Moore joins the SNC team from a private practice in Maiden, North Carolina and is excited to support our mission to create a region without homeless pets.

 

 

 

We will host a community open house on Sunday, February 5th from 2:00 – 4:00. We hope that you plan to attend and spread the word. We are so looking forward to being in the neighborhood and making friends in the community.

-Cary Bernstein, Founder & Executive Director

It’s 7:30 am and you’ve just walked through our clinic’s doors – what happens next?

The staff of Spay Neuter Charlotte can appreciate how nervous our clients are when they are dropping their puppies and kittens off for surgery. Our check-in process can seem a little daunting, and may even add a little more stress to the owners, at first. Almost every day, however, we hear from at least one owner how easy going and quick the process truly was. A “well-oiled machine” is a common phrase thrown around in the morning. If you are new to our organization, and would like some insight on what to expect on your pet’s surgery day, please continue reading!

We open the doors first thing in the morning at 7:25 AM, and allow five minutes for everyone to get in the building. We ask that everyone with a dog please keep them in their car. Although our check-in discussion is very brief, if there were 15-20 dogs in the lobby during the “spiel” – I’m sure you can imagine the chaos that would ensue! We ask that anyone with cats bring them inside in their carriers. We do require that all cats come into our building in carriers because it makes them less stressed, easier to handle, and safer around the dogs. Once everyone is in the lobby we then take a few minutes to go over everyone’s surgical release. We require that a surgical release be signed for every pet receiving surgery that day.

Once your paperwork is signed, you will check your pet in for surgery with one of our staff members. We will take a minute to discuss what your pet is scheduled to get done for that day and if there are any additional services you’d like to add on. We will also require your rabies paperwork at this time. If your pet is up to date on their rabies, we are required, by law, to have some sort of documentation, so please don’t forget this at home! If you are seeing us to get your dog fixed we give you a collar made out of paper for you to put around your dog’s neck. This is important because it ensures that we know exactly who your pup is!

Once you’ve finished checking in with a staff-member you are able to then get your dog out of your car and bring him or her in with their collar on. The vet techs will then come up and take your dog into the back office for their pre-surgical exam. If you have a cat, we’ll ask you to label your cat’s carrier with a sticker and kennel card. Once your cat is labeled, you’re all finished and ready to go! Overall, this process typically takes 15-20 minutes if you arrive at 7:30 AM.

We take our patient care very seriously at Spay Neuter Charlotte and we want everyone who walks through our clinics’ doors to enjoy their experience. The best thing to do is come prepared (bring rabies paperwork, don’t give your dog or cat food after midnight, and bring your cat in carrier if you have a cat), take a deep breath and be patient with us – it’s 7:30 AM for us too! 🙂

– Kelly, Pineville Clinic Manager

What does wellness mean exactly?

Have you ever visited Spay Neuter Charlotte in NoDa on a Wednesday for Wellness? What about on a Friday in Pineville? If you have, you know we keep a steady and busy flow of doggy and kitty friends coming through the lobby for appointments. Some of them are here simply to have a vaccine updated, while others are waiting to see the doctor. When you’re making the appointment, you will be asked if you need a visit with the doctor or a visit with the technician. But what does that mean? We’re here to help with that.

When you contact us here at Spay Neuter Charlotte and ask to book an appointment for vaccines, we will book you for what we call a tech appointment. This type of appointment is what the majority of you, our clients, are looking for. We know that not everyone is looking for a visit with the doctor and sometimes you just need to come in and update Chuckie’s rabies vaccine or to get Tito a nail trim. A tech appointment is simply an appointment where your animal goes to the back with one of our trained technicians for services while you wait in the lobby. If you do not have questions or concerns for your pet that need to be discussed with a vet, this is the type of appointment you want.

These appointments are usually quick affairs, as we schedule three technicians’ appointments every fifteen minutes and you pay only for the services you need. We are usually able to schedule you for a tech appointment within 3-5 days of your contacting us to schedule. During a tech appointment, your animal receives a brief physical before any services are administered. If our staff sees anything out of the ordinary, we let you know about it, and if it is something we can help address, we go over your options to care for it as well. Some folks though are looking for a more complete physical exam, or have questions that need to be answered by the doctor. For these kind of appointments, we would schedule you for an office visit.

An office visit is an appointment where you go into a room with your animal with a technician and the doctor. An office visit is $25, plus the cost of whatever services are requested in addition to the office visit. During these visits, you have some one on one time with one of our doctors and are able to ask questions while your dog or cat is examined, and go over any concerns you might have. If your animal has a skin issue, or an ear infection, these would be addressed in an office visit appointment with the doctor. Our office visit appointments book up more quickly than our tech appointments and usually run 3-4 weeks out at a time. The office visits are booked as either a fifteen or thirty minute appointment depending on the day of the week you are scheduling and the reason for your office visit.

We are not a full services veterinary hospital and unfortunately are unable to see all types of visits here as we have limited diagnostic equipment. As an example, we do not have x-ray here so if your pet has a leg injury, we would refer you to your primary vet. If you are looking to schedule an appointment for something that is beyond the scope of what we can see here, we will advise you that Spay Neuter Charlotte can’t help in this situation and will refer you to your primary. In some instances, we can see you for an office visit to start a conversation but our veterinarian may have to refer to a primary vet.

As a general rule of thumb, unless you ask for a visit with a doctor, we will schedule you for a tech appointment. If you do want to see the doctor, please ask us when you are scheduling your appointment so we can make sure you are scheduled for the right visit. For every wellness day we have one technician dedicated to helping in the rooms with the doctor, and a different set of technicians working on the tech appointments. If you come in for an office visit appointment, you might see other appointments go back with a technician that came in after you while you are waiting. Because you are waiting to see the doctor and they aren’t, our technicians will take those back as they come in, but may help start services for your office visit appointment if there is a break and there is anything they can do to help get your visit started.

We now offer wellness three days a week at NoDa, Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, as well as continuing to have those appointments available on Fridays at Pineville. You can make an appointment by giving us a call, or by using the online scheduler on the website. The services we offer on wellness days can be found on our website, as well as pricing. We hope to see you soon!

-Nicole, NoDa Clinic Manager

Pitbulls and Birthdays

This month we celebrate our 5th birthday and the accomplishment of 42,000 surgeries.  We are very proud to have achieved this incredible milestone. Since we opened in 2011 there have been so many changes…

We have grown from a staff of five in one location to a 25 person staff spread out over two clinics and are moving forward to open a third clinic before the end of the year. In the beginning, back in 2011, we were working with one rescue group. Now more than thirty use our services on a regular basis and have become more than just clients and patients but partners in improving the lives of animals in our community.

We have pioneered a number of new and innovative systems to improve our patients’ experience with our organization. Back in 2011 we created appointments over the phone – now all it takes is three clicks on our online scheduler and you can have a date and time for your pet’s surgery or wellness appointment. Automated reminders go out to help remind folks of their upcoming appointment and to notify them that their pet’s vaccine will soon expire. There have been so many changes but one thing has remained a constant: our affection for the bully breeds.

Not to step on anyone’s toes (or paws) but if you took a poll in the clinic, pit bulls would hands down be favorite breed of our staff.  We have fixed more than 3,000 pitties since we opened and I am continually amazed at the wide variety of people who own them and how many different iterations of the breed there are – brindle, red, blue, brown, fawn.  Why do we love them so much?  In my humble opinion it’s because (in no particular order): their fur is like velvet, they want to kiss everyone (we laugh because more times than not they are licking the faces of the doctors while being given an injection or having their nails trimmed), will pretty much do anything to get you to rub their bellies, and their tails are wagging from the minute they come through the door until the moment they walk out of the clinic in the afternoon.  It can often feel like all we hear about pit bulls is the bad stuff. But as someone who interacts with multiple pit bulls five days a week for five years there is absolutely no question: not every dog is perfect but in our experience pit bulls rock!!

-Cary Bernstein,  Founder & Executive Director

Dog Days of Summer

I am a worrier by nature and when the temperature is consistently over 95 degrees I start worrying about our furry friends. Particularly when I see people running with their dog during the heat of the day or even worse, riding a bike with their dog alongside. Yikes! Of course, I didn’t want to presume that this was necessarily a bad thing and luckily for me, I have experts “in the house!” (i.e. I asked Dr. Welch!)  Here are her tips and strategies for managing your pup in the heat:

Outdoor Safety Tips in High Temperatures:

  • Provide animals with plenty of fresh, clean water.  You can also freeze chicken broth into ice cubes as a cool, fun snack for dogs!
  • Provide animals with adequate shade and shelter.
  • If outside longer than 15 minutes, water your animal down with a hose and/or provide a clean water bath where they can cool off in the shade.
  • Avoid the heat of the day.  Early mornings or evenings are recommended for exercise.
  • Brachycephalic breeds (short nosed breeds such as Boxers, Boston Terriers, Pugs, etc.) are at a higher risk for heat stroke.

With the high temperatures it’s also important to recognize the signs of dehydration.

Signs of Dehydration:

  • Excessive panting
  • Vomiting and/or diarrhea
  • Anorexia
  • Lethargy and/or change in attitude
  • Vocalization
  • Seizures

Keep your pups safe this summer by being smart about the heat and keeping your eye out for signs of dehydration!

-Cary Bernstein, Founder & Executive Director & Dr. Welch, Medical Director

Why You Should Microchip Your Pet

Every morning when you drop your pet off for surgery at Spay Neuter Charlotte, we give a brief talk about our admit process we mention that we can microchip your pet. I feel strongly about microchipping and always recommend a pet owner to do it if given the chance.

A microchip is a tiny chip, about the size of a grain of rice, that is implanted under the skin in-between the shoulder blades. Making an incision is not necessary for implanting a microchip as the chips come with a tool to helps insert it. The tool is similar to the needle we use for vaccinations, but it is a slightly larger gauge. Your phone number is associated with the microchip along with your information (and usually your vet’s information for extra precaution). Every vet and shelter has a “wand” that is used to scan for microchips. If the pet is chipped, once scanned the phone number will appear on the wand. The vet or shelter employee can then enter the number into a national database and the information found can be used to help reunite the family.

The microchips that we carry at Spay Neuter Charlotte are from a company called Save This Life and their chips take things a step further as they don’t just provide a phone number but are also search engine based. Save This Life microchips come with a stainless steel tag that has “Google this number to find my family” engraved onto it that a pet owner can attach to the pet’s collar. Why is having this number and phrase on the chip so helpful? Because it eliminates the need to take a stray pet to the vet or shelter to have them scanned. The person who found the stray can just Google (or look it up using any search engine) the number provided on the chip and as soon as they hit enter the pet owner will receive a text message or an email with a map of the location from where the person searched. While this is incredible because it can make the pet owner aware of where the pet is located, it is important to remember that a Save This Life chip is NOT a GPS. There is no safe way to implant a GPS into your pets. Save This Life chips are able to locate the pet based on the search because it uses the IP address of the device used to search.

We have helped reunite so many pets that have come to us as strays, because they were microchipped. Once a cat came into Spay Neuter Charlotte as a stray that had been taken in by a kind family that found her. It turns out the cat was already spayed…and microchipped! We let the family that found the cat and and brought it in know that it was microchipped and they gave us approval to call the original owners. It turns out that while the original owners were on vacation at Disney World the cat had accidentally gotten out of their home when the pet sitter was there. The kitty had been missing for almost a year. When the cat was finally reunited with her original family there were tears from both the family that had been missing their beloved cat and from the family that had found her and made her part of their family. While the reunion was a happy moment, it was also bittersweet. We were so glad the original family got their kitty back but sad for the family who found her and now had to let her go. This is only one of many just stories we could share about the benefits of microchipping. At the end of the day, microchips can truly save your pets life.

-Nora, Patient Services Manager

You can learn more about Save This Life here.

Just Call Me Auntie

Thanks to a PetsMart Charities grant that enables us to fix puppies and kittens for just $20 every June has been total puppy & kitten mayhem. Everywhere I look there’s a puppy. Sitting at my desk I hear the chorus of puppy barks coming from the kennels down the hall. I spend my breaks checking on the youngsters and helping them settle down. Would you believe that even being under anesthesia doesn’t keep them mellow? All puppies want is love, attention and reassurance. Even though the vet can be a stressful situation for animals when I walk into the room where all of our feline patients relax as they wait their turns for surgery I see their little paws reaching out just wanting to play.

All the puppies and kittens this month has made me reflect on how fortunate am I to get to take care of your little ones while they come in for their vet care. More than a clinic staff person, I consider myself an Auntie – I can love and spoil all the animals that walk through our door. I can say that everyday I help kittens and puppies, cats and dogs. Everyday I help animals that need the services Spay Neuter Charlotte provides. So whether it’s behind a phone and desk or actually with your animals, I am that favorite Auntie who is always here waiting for the next visit…the next opportunity to show even more love to your babies!

-Hillary, Clinic Operations Manager