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Frequently Asked Questions

Below are some of the most common questions clients have.
For questions not answered below, please contact the office at (691) 923-1960.


When is the veterinarian on island?


Dr. Joel Joseph is on island roughly every 10 weeks.  He is usually in Pohnpei in February, late April, around July 4th, Labor Day, and Thanksgiving every year.  For up to date information concerning the next time the veterinarian will be on island, click here

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How old does my pet need to be to receive his/her first vaccine?


Core vaccinations are those that every puppy and kitten should receive. 


Puppys receive their first core vaccine when they are between 6 and 8 weeks old.  At this time, they are vaccinated against distemper, measles, parainfluenza and can also be vaccinated against bordatella. Puppys continue to be vaccinated until they are around 16 weeks old.  At 10-12 weeks of age they receive a DHPP vaccination (distemper, adenovirus [hepatitis], parainfluenza and parvovirus) or DHLPP (DHPP plus Leptospirosis), which is repeated at 14-16 weeks of age, and continues as part of the puppy's yearly vaccines.


The two main feline core vaccines are those for feline panleukopenia virus and feline viral respiratory disease, which protects against both calicivirus and feline herpesvirus. These vaccines are generally combined in a single shot, given when a kitten is about 6 weeks old.  Kittens also continue to be vaccinated until around the age of 16 weeks with a DRC vaccine (Distemper, Rhinotracheitis and Calicicirus).  It is also recommeneded to vaccinate your kitten against feline leukemia. 


Learn more about important vaccines for your new pet here.


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How much does it cost to get my pet vaccinated?


Wise Owl Animal Hospital strives to make all pet care affordable.  Young puppys and kittens whose mother has been a part of our Pregnancy and Birthing program receive their examinations at no cost until they have completed all their vaccines at around 16 weeks of age.  The cost of the vaccines themselves range based on the vaccine given. Contact our office for most recent pricing. 


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When do I start my pup on puppy food?


Newborn puppies receive complete nutrition from their mother’s milk for the first four weeks of life. Mom's milk is 100 percent perfect for their needs, so there is no need to feed them anything else. In the event that the mother dog is ill or doesn’t produce enough milk—or if the pups are found as orphans—it may be necessary to feed a commercial milk replacer. If you find yourself in this situation, please contact our office for product and feeding recommendations.


Puppies generally begin eating puppy food around three or four weeks of age. Start with small quantities, and gradually increase the amount of puppy food. Puppies often play with their food when it is first introduced, but they will quickly learn what to do with it!  By the time the pups are completely weaned at seven to eight weeks old, they should be eating their dry food consistently.


Our office has a variety of foods available.  Ask one of our vets or technicians about which one would be recommended for your new pup.


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When can I get my dog/cat spayed/neutered?


It is recommended that dogs be spayed/neutered no earlier than 6 months of age and cats no earlier than 4-5 months of age. Modern veterinary research has proven that spaying/neutering pets before six months of age absolutely interferes with healthy development. Dogs and cats need their hormones to complete their development properly.  If dogs are spayed/neutered at less than 6-9 months of age (cats at less than 4-5 months - especially female cats), the list of side effects is very extensive.  


Learn more about spaying or neutering and the common mythy assosiated with these procedures here.


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Can my pet get heartworm if it's an inside pet?


Yes, inside pets can get heartworm.  It is a common misconception that "inside pets" are immune or will have no contact with the environmental factors that can lead to heartworm. Although your pet may have limited exposure to the outside environment, disease carrying insects such as mosquittos can make their way into your home and infect your pet.  We suggest protecting all pets against heartworm, fleas and ticks to ensure their overall health. Learn more about worms, fleas and ticks here.


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How can I tell if my dog or cat has worms?


Symptoms of an internal worm infestation can varry significantly. It is important to know that sometimes animals demonstrate few to no outward signs of infection despite having a potentially serious health problem. In these cases the only way to diagnose a worm infection is through a fecal exam done at our office.


Other common signs your pet may have worms include:


  • Visible worms or eggs in faeces - This is the most common way to confirm that your pet has worms. However, not all kinds of worms are visible to the naked eye.


  • Visible worms in fur, or area around rear - Tapeworms, in particular, may appear as small moving segments, which later dry out to resemble grains of rice.


  • Scratching or rubbing of rear on the ground or against furniture - if your pet shows signs of itchiness around the rear, it may be irritated by worms in the area. However, this could also be due to problems with anal glands (completely unrelated to worms) or other conditions.  Please schedule an appointment with our office if your pet shows this behaviour.


  • Vomiting with visible worms - if your pet has worms, you may also see them in your pet's vomit.


  • Bloated stomach or belly - This is another common symptom of worms, often seen in puppies and kittens who contract worms from their mother.


  • Weakness, increased appetite, constant hunger and weight loss - If your pet has worms, the worms are stealing their nutrition. Your pet may be weak or constantly hungry, and in severe cases, may be losing weight. If your pet is showing these symptoms please schedule an appointment to see one of our vets who can help you manage treatment.


  • Diarrhoea, particularly with blood in it - Diarrhoea can be indicative of worms or other serious conditions. Bloody diarrhoea can also indicate other very serious disease and you should contact us immediately if you see this.


Some parasitic worms are hazards for humans as well. Learn more about worms and other parasites here


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When can I get my puppy/kitten dewormed?


Hookworms and roundworms are the most common intestinal worms found in puppies and kittens. Roundworms compete with your pet for food, while hookworms live on blood, causing anemia. Don't wait until you are sure your pet has parasites before deworming because they may have already caused damage by that time.


Worms in puppies and kittens are common. This growth phase of their life is when they are most susceptible! Knowing when to worm puppies and kittens is important. Wise Owl Animal Hospital reccomends deworming puppies and kittens at 2, 4, 6, & 8 weeks of age, then again at 12 & 16 weeks of age. Continue their deworming treatment again at 6 months and 1 year, then deworm them as an adult.


Wise Owl Animal Hospital has many deworming and parasite prevention products available in our office. See our Parasite Prevention plans here.


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How do I get rid of fleas and ticks on my pet?


Both fleas and ticks thrive in the warm environment here on Guam and they love the soft, warm fur of dogs and cats. These insects feed on your pet’s blood and can cause health problems ranging from allergic reactions to serious tick-borne illnesses.  So it is important to take care of fleas and ticks immediately, for the health of your pet and your family. 



Pets can easily pick up fleas when outdoors. Indoor cats can get them even if they just go out on the patio or share their home with a dog. Female fleas can lay 40 to 50 eggs a day. That can lead to an infestation in just days. For every flea you see on your pet, it is estimated there are 100 more in your house. This is because when fleas lay eggs on your pet, some eggs may fall off and hatch on your carpet, bed, or other furniture. The new fleas then target you and your pet, feed on your blood, and lay more eggs. Carpets and humid areas are favorites for fleas. 



You can feel ticks when you pet your cat or dog, and you can see them. They most often attach near the head, neck, ears, or paws. On cats, they're usually found around the ears and eyes. Ticks can carry diseases. If you find a tick on your pet, try to remove it as soon as possible. Skip gasoline, nail polish, petroleum jelly, alcohol, or a hot match. These methods can force infected fluids back into the bite. Instead:


  • Use gloves or tissue to cover your hands.

  • Grasp the tick with tweezers from the side, by its head, close to the skin.

  • Pull straight up. Don't twist.

  • Don't squeeze (or pop!) the bloated belly.


Wash the bite area and your hands! You can’t catch tick-borne diseases directly from your pet, but the same ticks that bite your animals can nibble on you, too. When you remove a tick from your animal, don't touch the tick's blood.


If you are uncomfortable removing a tick from your pet, we are happy to do this for you.  



Flea and tick shampoos are used for killing the fleas and ticks that are already on your pet. They don’t work as well to prevent future fleas or ticks. Make sure you get the right kind. Some products for dogs can kill cats. Our office staff is happy to help you find an appropriate flea and tick shampoo for your immediate needs.  


To prevent future flea and ticks on your pet and in your home, we recommend all pets be on a preventative program.  Wise Owl preventative programs range to include products that require biweekly, monthly, 3-month, 8-month or yearly application.  Find the program that is right for you and your pet.


Learn more about fleas and ticks here.

Learn more about our preventative programs here


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How do I stop my pet from bitting?


Puppies spend a great deal of time playing, chewing and investigating objects. All of these normal activities involve puppies using their mouths and their needle-sharp teeth. When puppies play with people, they often bite, chew and mouth on people’s hands, limbs and clothing. This kind of behavior may seem cute when your puppy is seven weeks old, but it’s not nearly so endearing when he’s three or four months old-and getting bigger by the day!


Bite inhibition refers to a dog’s ability to control the force of his mouthing. A puppy or dog who hasn’t learned bite inhibition with people doesn’t recognize the sensitivity of human skin, and so he bites too hard, even in play. A dog who has learned to use his mouth gently when interacting with people will be less likely to bite hard and break skin if he ever bites someone in a situation apart from play-like when he’s afraid or in pain.


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FAQ 10

How can I get my pet potty-trained?


House training your puppy is about consistency, patience, and positive reinforcement. The goal is to instill good habits and build a loving bond with your pet. It can typically take 4-6 months for a puppy to be fully house trained, but some puppies may take up to a year. 


When you start to house train, follow these steps:

  • Keep the puppy on a regular feeding schedule and take away his food between meals. 

  • Take puppy out to eliminate first thing in the morning and then once every 30 minutes to an hour. Also, always take him/her outside after meals or when he/she wakes from a nap. Make sure he/she goes out last thing at night and before left alone. 

  • Take puppy to the same spot each time to do their business. His/her scent will prompt them to go. 

  • Stay with puppy outside, at least until house trained. 


A crate can be a good idea for house training your puppy, at least in the short term. It will allow you to keep an eye on him/her for signs he needs to go and teach him to hold it until you open the crate and let him outside.


Here are a few guidelines for using a crate:

  • Make sure it is large enough for the puppy to stand, turn around, and lie down, but not big enough to use a corner as a bathroom. 

  • If you are using the crate for more than two hours at a time, make sure puppy has fresh water, preferably in a dispenser you can attach to the crate. 

  • If you can’t be home during the house training period, make sure somebody else gives him/her a break in the middle of the day for the first 8 months. 


Accidents are common in puppies up to a year old. The reasons for accidents range from incomplete house training to a change in the puppy’s environment. When your puppy does have an accident, keep on training. 


Keep the following do's and don'ts in mind while housetraining your puppy:

  • Punishing your puppy for having an accident is a definite no-no. It teaches your puppy to fear you. 

  • If you catch your puppy in the act, clap loudly so he/she knows they've done something unacceptable. Then take puppy outside by calling or taking him/her gently by the collar. When he/she’s finished, praise puppy or give a small treat. 

  • If you found the evidence but didn’t see the act, don’t react angrily by yelling or rubbing puppy's nose in it. Puppies aren’t intellectually capable of connecting your anger with their accident. 

  • Staying outside longer with puppy may help to curb accidents. He/she may need the extra time to explore. 

  • Clean up accidents with an enzymatic cleanser rather than an ammonia-based cleaner to minimize odors that might attract the puppy back to the same spot.


If you prefer not to have to potty-train a dog, adopt a boony dog.  Kalilah was already trained to go outside, never had to train her.  It was so nice.  We're working on fetch though.  I'm putting this in here to see if you're reading this :P


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FAQ 11
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