Physical Examinations and Vaccines

Keeping your pet healthy is our top priority and a comprehensive annual physical examination is the single best thing you can do to ensure your pets’ health. Diagnosing health problems before they progress – often before symptoms even appear – greatly improves the chance of a successful outcome.  Because of that, for older pets we recommend a physical exam every six months to minimize the risk of potential issues.  During the examination the doctor will listen to your pets’ heart and lungs, check his eyes, ears, teeth, etc., discuss any recommended diagnostics and answer any questions you may have about his physical or mental health.

While vaccinations are an important part of maintaining animal health, our doctors will work with you to determine which vaccines are appropriate for your individual pet.  Vaccine recommendations may vary depending on your pets’ age, lifestyle and risk factors for various diseases.


Dental health affects more than your pets’ ability to chew.  Excessive tartar and gingivitis (infection of the gums) can result in a shower of bacteria being spread throughout your pets’ body, affecting not just the mouth but also the heart, lungs, liver, kidney and other vital organs.  Loose teeth can also cause pain.  We encourage regular brushing and providing your pets with toys and treats that promote good dental health, but most pets will still eventually benefit from a dental cleaning.  Using the same equipment as human hygienists, your pets’ teeth are cleaned using both ultrasonic de-scalers and by hand scaling, followed by a high-speed polish and an application of Oravet (a barrier sealant which will minimize future plaque buildup).

Routine dental procedures are performed with the pet under general anesthesia, both for their safety and so that the technician is able to perform a thorough exam and cleaning.  We take every precaution to minimize risks and make each anesthetic procedure as safe as possible.  There will occasionally be a rare pet for whom anesthesia is not a viable option, and for those pets we offer anesthesia-free teeth cleanings once monthly.


At Bark Ave., we do not consider any anesthetic procedure to be “minor”.  Even routine procedures are taken very seriously and with every precaution for your pets’ safety.  Every pet undergoing anesthesia first has a physical examination and pre-anesthetic blood work to determine the ability of the internal organs (primarily the liver and kidneys) to process the anesthesia.  In addition each pet receives an intravenous catheter enabling them to receive fluids during the procedure.  This helps to regulate blood pressure and provides immediate access to a vein should one be needed at any point during the procedure.  Our surgery table is heated for greater comfort and post-operative recovery, and isoflurane anesthesia is used to insure a deep sleep and a smooth recovery.  Perhaps most important, all anesthetic patients are monitored by trained veterinary technicians not just during the procedure but until your pet is fully awake to further ensure his or her safety.  Our anesthesia protocols are individualized for each pet, with special attention paid to our geriatric patients.

Avian and Exotic Medicine

Through their years at the Phoenix Zoo and working with various volunteer wildlife groups, both Drs. Orr and Rice have amassed tremendous knowledge and experience treating birds and exotic animals.  Although exotic pets generally do not require vaccinations, they do have special medical, dietary and husbandry needs and should receive a physical examination at least once a year to assist in the early detection of disease.  Your avian and exotic pets will be treated with compassion and a significant level of expertise.

In-House Diagnostics

Bark Ave. Animal Hospital is equipped with state-of-the-art diagnostic equipment which in many cases allows our doctors to determine your pets’ diagnosis faster and with less expense for you.  We offer digital radiography, which allows us to obtain precise internal views of your pet faster than standard x-ray machines, significantly reducing both x-ray exposure time and any stress associated with being held in position.  In addition, in-house equipment means we are often able to get results of blood and urine tests while you wait.  Of course for specialized tests we use an outside laboratory with a primary focus on testing for animals.  Most results are obtained within 24 hours.

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