405683_9515 small 1

Frequently Asked Questions


Below you will find answers to some of the most frequently asked questions we receive. To go directly to the answer just click on any of the questions below. If your question is not answered, please feel free to contact us.
  • What can I expect on my visit to your hospital?
    On your visit to our hospital you can count on driving into a clean and spacious parking area flanked by gardens of plants. Upon entering our spectacular lobby, you will notice it is unlike any veterinary hospital you have ever been in. Many of our clients say the lobby looks like a plastic surgeon's office and thought they were in the wrong place the first time they came in. You will be impressed with our extremely clean hospital.

    Promptly, one of our happy and courteous front office staff members will welcome you. Sharon, Barbara or Liz will gather information from you regarding the reason for your pet's visit and then you will accompany your pet into the exam room to see Dr. Dave or Dr. Linda Johnson. These competent staff members will also offer you your choice of drinks and a warm cookie. You can expect the Doctor to take a thorough history of your pet, followed by a complete physical exam from head tail. You will be given an honest explanation about your pet's condition and what we think is the best course of action. You can expect to have all of your questions answered completely and to your satisfaction. If there are multiple problems to take care of, we will prioritize the recommendations and give you treatment options. Next, we will give you a computer printout of these recommendations, their cost and a timetable to accomplish them. We will only proceed on treating your pet after we have your signature of approval. This will clarify our joint goal of health care for your pet. This same process of approval occurs with outpatient surgery, hospitalized cases, boarding and bathing patients.

    Our main concern is that we may aid you in helping your pets live long and healthy lives. We want to communicate accurately with you so that you have realistic expectations from us for your pet. Back to top
  • Who will be taking care of my pet(s)?
    For information on our doctors, please go to the about us page. Back to top
  • What can you tell us about your hospital?
    Commonwealth Animal Hospital has been a landmark veterinary hospital in Fullerton since 1953 when Dr. Fred Sattler opened its doors in a small house. Many of our clients remember bringing their pets to that building. He had a veterinary surgical referral service and was a leader in developing heart valves and respirators used in both human and veterinary medicine. His visionary concepts contributed greatly to the development of modern veterinary medicine.

    In 1980 upon his retirement, he selected Drs. David and Linda Johnson, general practitioners, to assume his practice. At this time a new 3,200 square foot hospital building was designed with a new parking lot and landscaping. The hospital houses a beautiful lobby, spacious exam rooms for you and your pets with elevator lift tables and scales, a large treatment room with cages to view intensive care patients, a complete dental prophylaxis area and a modern surgical suite. Our surgical suite utilizes the safest gas anesthesia while your pet is monitored with a blood pressure monitor, pulse oximeter for blood oxygen levels, EKG monitor to catch problems with the heart and a controlled heated water circulating blanket to help maintain normal body temperature. We have a new X-ray machine next to surgery. We maintain an isolation ward for contagious cases.

    We are pleased to announce our beautiful new boarding suites for canines. Our kitties have their own separate area too. We have continued to insist on maintaining a beautiful hospital both inside and outside by meeting the strictest standards of excellence. We have been dedicated to continuing the excellence Dr. Fred Sattler began over a half century ago.

    We would love to show you through our hospital. Just ask any one of us and come in when you have the time. See for yourself what our clients already know. Back to top
  • What happens if my pet has to be hospitalized?
    If the need should arise requiring the hospitalization of your pet, you will first receive our heartfelt concern and a full explanation of exactly why your pet needs to be hospitalized and what we will be doing. You are welcome to visit your pet while hospitalized.

    Second, you will receive a written estimate of the range of anticipated expenditures for the complete care when possible.

    Third, you will receive daily phone updates from the Doctor or other staff member on the progress of your pet.

    Fourth, if the circumstances change from the original estimate, you will be so advised as soon as we are aware of the situation. We will keep you fully informed at all times.

    Fifth, we have a fully equipped kitchen at your service. We are willing and able to prepare, heat or serve any special diet for your pet.

    After your pet goes home, we welcome phone calls from you with follow-up questions on your pet's progress. Never hesitate to call. The reason we are here is to serve you and care for your pet. Back to top
  • How do I learn what is best for my pet?
    We are committed to educating you about your pet. You spend more time with your pet than anyone, which makes your knowledge extremely vital. We believe the more you know about your pet's health care, the more likely they will receive great care and be happier for it. To impart this information to you, we have developed several avenues.

    1. The Doctors personally review your pet's medical record before each appointment. We do this so we can follow up on any past problems your pet has had and get an update to be sure they are resolved. The Doctors also check to see if your pet is due for blood work, urinalysis, EKG's so they can advise you that it needs to be done. We look for vaccinations and fecal exams that are due and let you know. Any treatments such as dental cleanings or medication refills that still need to be done will be advised to you at your pet's appointment. During the appointment we will take a thorough history, listening carefully to you and answering your specific questions. We can help you with nutritional and behavioral concerns, so please ask. Next, the Doctors will do a complete physical exam from head to tail and give you an oral report as we go. After the history and physical exam are complete, we will tell you what we think needs to be done and why. Then we will have our receptionist complete a written estimate with each item we have recommended and the associated cost presented to you for your approval. We will give you multiple approaches to solve a problem with the pros and cons of each approach. We will proceed only after you have approved the written estimate with your signature. We want to be clear and on the same page with our clients as we plan their pet's health care together. Once the tests have been performed, you will receive a phone call or in person explanation regarding the results and the best course of treatment if any is needed. Blood, urine, fecal, X-rays, EKG's, blood pressure exams, ophthalmic exams and more results will be available the same day or within 24 hours to us and we will then call you.

    2. We send you reminders by mail when your pet's due for their annual exam, vaccinations and internal parasite checks. Just give us a call to set up an appointment.

    3. We have open phone lines always welcoming your questions and concerns about your pet. Our receptionists will answer your questions when they know the answer. If they need the Doctor's input, they will get the information from the Doctor and relay the answer to you. Sometimes it will be necessary to examine your pet to give you complete and accurate information on the best course needed to answer your question and help your pet. Back to top
  • What services are offered besides medical and surgical care?
    Boarding: We offer boarding 365 days a year. We know there is no place like home but we have endeavored to provide a comfortable and loving environment in your absence. We want you to rest assured that while you are away, your pet is in competent and loving hands. We welcome phone calls for updates on your pet during your trip. You can be sure that we will contact you through your emergency phone number first if anything out of the ordinary would happen. Any new medical developments with your pet will be brought to your attention and treated per your approval.

    Our beautiful boarding facility is located in our hospital building and under our veterinarians' watchful eye. It is temperature controlled for your pet's comfort. Your pet will have a large, private, indoor tiled suite. Each suite has been newly prepared with large designer tiles. The suite contains a welcome cool-a-roo comfort bed, blankets, food and water. Any special toys or comfort items from your home can be added. Each suite is decorated with wrought iron wall designs, well lit overheads and a clear door so your pet can see out. Each suite is a separate enclosure for each pet. Your canine pet is walked at least twice daily by themselves for private attention, love and safety from the other dogs. The dog's suites are in a separate section from the felines.

    For our feline friends our boarding area is also inside our hospital with roomy individual cages. Each feline area has a tent, blankets, litter box, food and water. They are tended each day individually by our caring and competent attendants. Your kitties are petted and loved to make them feel welcomed and ease their separation from you.

    For both our canine and feline guests, we can give them any special diet, treats or brush outs per your instructions. Also on going medications, treatments, procedures such as dental cleanings or diagnostic procedures can be completed during your pet's stay with us. Just let us know.

    We strictly enforce our policy that vaccinations are current and no infectious pets are allowed to board. We have a separate isolation ward in the hospital to keep any known or suspiciously infectious pets away from the rest.

    Pet Food: The food your pet eats is very important. We provide two types of pet food: (1) specialty food for the healthy pet and (2) prescription diets for the pet who has a medical problem.

    Health Care and Pet Safety Products: The health care products include: Chinese herbs, nutritional supplements, vitamins, flea control products, shampoos, creme rinses and dental cleaning products. We encourage every cat owner to have a cat carrier for their pet. It is the safest way to transport your pet and it keeps them out of reach of dogs. Back to top
  • How do I get my pet ready for boarding, surgery or hospitalization?
    Boarding: All pets must (a) be flea free, (b) have had a physical exam at our hospital within the last year and (c) be current on these vaccines:

    For cats: FVRCP and Rabies

    For dogs: Distemper Hepatitis Parainfluenza (DHP), Parvo Virus, Corona Virus, Bordetella, Rabies

    These rules are for the protection of your pet and all of the other pets who stay at our facility.

    If your pet is not current on any of these vaccines or has fleas when admitted, your pet will be given the necessary vaccines and/or Advantage. These services are charged to you in addition to the boarding fee. If it has been longer than a year since your pet's last exam or we have never seen your pet you will be charged 1/2 of the normal exam fee for our doctors to examine your pet.

    Surgery: All pets must be clean and free from fleas to undergo surgery. (There are a few exceptions to this such as trauma cases.) You may take care of this yourself at home or we can provide Advantage (a flea adulticide) here. Prior to surgery we want your pet to have had a physical exam and pre anesthetic blood work. Your pet needs to be fasted after midnight the night before surgery. You may bring your pet to our hospital the night before or the morning of the surgery. If you choose to bring your pet the night before, there is no charge for the overnight stay.

    Hospitalization: All pets must be clean and free of fleas when hospitalized.

    There are exceptions to all rules. Sometimes the Veterinarian will determine that it would be unwise to bathe or apply Advantage to a pet because of the nature of the illness. In these cases this rule will not apply and extra care will be taken for the protection of all pets. Back to top
  • When can I bring my pet in to be checked, groomed or boarded?
    Office Hours: We are open during the following hours to serve you. You can pickup or drop off your pet or buy food or medications during these times. If you need to see the Doctor, have your pet groomed or desire boarding, we will make an appointment for you.

    Tuesday - Friday: 10:00 A.M. to 5:45 P.M.
    Saturday: 9:00 A.M. to 5:00 P.M.
    (The office is closed from 12:30 P.M. to 1:30 P.M. every day for lunch.)

    Rush Hour Traffic Days and Times: Like any other place, we have our rush hours and busier days. During these peak times and days, you may find several people in front of you. Regardless of arrival times, people with appointments have priority, except in cases of emergencies. If you have an appointment, we hope you will understand our delay in taking care of your pet. We are sure you would want your pet cared for first if you had an emergency. We thank you for your patience. An emergency is any time your pet has a poisoning or an illness or trauma that is life-threatening or shock inducing.

    Rush hours with us are 10:00 A.M. to 11:00 A.M. and 4:00 P.M. to 5:45 P.M. More people come in during these hours. The phone is particularly busy during these same hours. Tuesdays and Saturdays are our most crowded days. If your schedule permits to come in on our other open days you are likely to experience a decreased wait time. If you have a non-emergency call or appointment which may be made during our slower hours or days, you will receive less "on hold time" from our busy receptionists and less waiting in the lobby. If you do call during our slower hours and days it is more likely the Doctor will be able to take your call and have more time to spend with you on the phone. Back to top
  • What types of appointments do you have and what is different about each of them?
    We have three different types of appointments:

    1. Medical problems, vaccines and other visits with the Veterinarian
    2. Boarding
    3. Surgery, hospitalization and outpatient care.

    Below is a list of the differences with each appointment.

    Medical problems, vaccines, annual exams and new pet exams: These appointments will involve the Veterinarian and you on a one-to-one basis. It gives you the opportunity to talk with our Doctor and explain your concerns about your pet and get your questions answered. The Veterinarian will be examining your pet while you are in the room and can explain his/her findings about your pet. If your pet needs additional medical care it will be discussed fully with you.

    Boarding: Boarding appointments are made to reserve specific days for your pet. You may drop your pet off any time of the day during our regular hours.You may pick up your pet anytime on go home day, unless your pet is being bathed, then later in the day is preferable.

    The earlier you make your appointments for boarding around the holidays, the better chance you will have of reserving space for your pet. Space is limited and can become full at these times of the year.

    Surgery, hospitalization and outpatient care: These appointments are made for dropping your pet off for surgery, special hospitalization or for outpatient day care. The day and time of these appointments will depend upon the service being rendered. You will usually have a drop off time period on a given day when the service is to be performed or you may drop off your pet the night before if that is more convenient for you.



    Back to top
  • Do you accept walk-ins?
    Walk-ins are always welcome. Walk-ins will be served at the earliest possible time, but not to the detriment of those with appointments. This could be in a few minutes if we have an opening or a cancellation or it could be an hour or more if the Doctor is in surgery or seeing other clients who have appointments. Back to top
  • What are drop-offs?
    A drop-off allows you to bring your pet in at any time during our office hours. Your pet is kept in the hospital while you go about your business. The Doctor checks your pet over, gives the vaccines or the medical treatment needed during periods of the day not set aside for appointments. If there are other problems needing attention, the Doctor or staff will call you during the day and get your approval for treatment. You then pick up your pet at a later time in the day, which is established when you drop your pet off. Back to top
  • What if I cannot make my appointment?
    We would appreciate it if you would call us at the earliest possible time when you cannot make an appointment. You can then reschedule for a more convenient time or you can call us back when you are ready. There is no charge for canceling an appointment. Back to top
  • If I have an emergency with my pet, what should I do?
    Please refer to our "Emergency Services" page and follow these guidelines.

    1. Keep calm.

    2. Call us as soon as you discover your pet is in trouble. DO NOT WAIT. By waiting, you may be using up valuable time.

    3. You will be given advice over the phone as to the immediate attention you need to give your pet, how to transport him/her and where to go.

    4. During most of our open hours our Doctor will be available to examine and care for your pet. You are our priority. If our Doctor is not in the hospital or is in surgery and not available, we will advise you where you can go for emergency care.

    5. We are closed between 6:00 P.M. and 9:00 A.M. daily and all day Sundays, Mondays and Holidays. When we are closed you will be served by the an emergency pet clinic. They are open the hours we are closed. They have a full-time Doctor on duty during these hours and a well-trained support staff and equipment to serve you and your pet. Contact information and the location for local emergency pet clinics can be found on our emergency services page.

    We receive follow-up reports from the emergency pet clinics. These reports tell us about your pet's condition, treatment and recommendations for follow-up care. We will provide any follow-up treatments necessary to complete your pet's care.

    We have brochures on the emergency pet clinics. Please feel free to pick one up and keep it handy at home in case you need it. If you have an emergency after we're closed, you can always call us. Our after-hours answer phone gives you the phone number of the emergency pet clinics.

    Remember, when we are closed:

    (a) Do not come to our Animal Hospital.
    (b) Go straight to the Emergency Clinic.
    (c) Call them for directions on how to get there or go to our emergency services page to get a map and directions. Back to top
  • How will I know what my approximate expenditures will be?
    You will be provided a full explanation of all proposed medical treatments. We obtain your consent before any treatment or diagnostic plan is started. (Note: Sometimes in an emergency, this cannot be done.)

    You will receive a written estimate of the range of fees you may expect to incur. Your questions are welcomed when we are discussing fees. We will work within the bounds you set for us.
    Back to top
  • How do I pay?
    Payment is due at the time services are rendered for our patients.

    Hospitalized patients requiring diagnostic medical or surgical treatment will be asked to leave a 75% deposit of the total written estimate you initially receive. Daily updates on any new developments will be communicated to you in person or by phone for your approval.

    Payment may me made by cash, check or credit card (Master Card, Visa and Discover). Back to top