Frequently Asked Questions

How long have your surgeons been practicing veterinary surgery?


ASG's board certified surgeon has more than 19 years experience in the field of veterinary specialty surgery. We stand alone as Scottsdale's only bona fide surgery specialist.




What makes your practice so much different from my regular veterinarian? When and how do you work together?


ASG is many things. But we're not a general veterinary practice. We're not a long term, boarding facility. And we don't offer pet grooming beyond surgical patient preparation.

Our clients and patients are typically referred to ASG by a primary care doctor, an emergency veterinarian, outside specialists or friends and former clients for diagnosis and surgical management. Our thinking is simple, straightforward, logical and direct. Imagine your child breaks a bone, and no matter how much you like and respect your family doctor, he/she wouldn't perform your child's surgery. Your medical team would send you to a proven, credentialed and experienced orthopedic surgeon for the best possible result. The same holds true for our animals.



What does it mean to be "board certified" by the American College of Veterinary Surgeons?


Academically, board certification by the American College of Veterinary Surgeons represents the highest level of learning and clinical achievement in surgery. Practically, and as a pet owner, you can expect to receive comprehensive, individually tailored care based on extensive training and experience with an honest, ethical and evidence-based approach to treatment. Residency training typically includes primary surgeon case responsibility for more than 1,000 general and orthopedic operations beyond what one may be exposed to as a veterinary school graduate.




How would I know if my veterinary surgeon is an experienced and board certified specialist?


Only individuals who have earned the credential of Diplomate, American College of Veterinary Surgeons (ACVS) are board certified surgeons and may represent themselves as specialists. There are simply no alternatives, similar affiliations or academic equivalencies. Be wary of those veterinarians who promote "special interests", "special training" or "special expertise" as examples of ways individuals may attempt to promote their practices and bolster their general practice capabilities.

While some veterinary organizations tout far more than general practice capability in surgery and anesthesia, there are only 7 groups in all of Arizona that offer specialty surgery services. A complete list (as of May 2013) of the only active, board certified surgeons in the greater Phoenix/Scottsdale area with more than 10 years experience follows below:

Ross A. Lirtzman, DVM
Bradford Dixon, DVM
Stephen Gilson, DVM
Michael H. Jaffe, DVM

For additional information on the training and credentialing of veterinary surgeons or to find a board certified surgeon in your community, go to the online directory of the American College of Veterinary Surgeons.

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What should I do to prepare for my consultation with ASG?


To expedite the registration process for scheduled appointments, you are encouraged to download and fill out our Patient Registration Form and Patient Information and Medical History Form prior to your consultation. Please complete these forms in their entirety.

Assemble and bring all pertinent information including, if applicable, a Referral Form completed by your veterinarian, x-rays, blood test results, special dietary needs and a list of current medications. Please remember that the information your veterinarian provides to us before your appointment may be very important, represent a significant time-savings, avoid repeat testing and help to contain diagnostic and treatment costs.

Please plan to arrive 15 minutes before your scheduled appointment to complete any registration documents and to create the patient's medical record.

You may give your pet water and feed according your regular schedule unless otherwise recommended.Continue your pet's normal medication schedule and bring all medication(s) with you.

If you are unable to keep your scheduled appointment, please provide us the courtesy of 24-hour notification. Our client care staff will provide several options to accommodate your changing needs and the best interests of your pet.

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What can I expect when I arrive for my pet's appointment?


After you have been received by our admissions staff and have completed your registration, a certified veterinary technician will greet you and, with your assistance, weigh your pet. For non-emergencies, you and your dog/cat will be placed in an individual exam room and a technician will collect your pet's vital signs.

The doctor will meet with you to obtain a complete medical history and your pet will be thoroughly examined – in your presence – by a specialist board-certified in veterinary surgery.

Following examination, your specialist will provide you with a detailed assessment of your pet's medical condition(s), treatment options, recommendations and estimated expense of care. Consultations for new patients/problems may require approximately 60-90 minutes. Please plan your visit and time requirements accordingly.

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What is ASG's payment policy?


Based on an estimated range of services to be provided and costs, a deposit will be required if/when your pet is hospitalized for evaluation, treatments, anesthesia and/or surgery.

Payment in full for all professional services is expected at the time of patient discharge or final determination. For your convenience, Animal Specialty Group of Scottsdale accepts personal checks, MasterCard, Visa, American Express, Discover and CareCredit. A credit card pre-authorization may be provided for payment of balances due.

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Where can I find information about any financial aid available for my pet's procedure?





Animal Specialty Group of Scottsdale accepts CareCredit® - a credit card exclusively for veterinary and other healthcare services.

The application process is fast, easy and secure!You may find out instantly if you are approved and start using your account immediately with ASG — even before your card arrives!

With CareCredit, you can get a no interest payment plan if paid in full within 6, 12, 18 or 24 months on purchases with your CareCredit card.Interest will be charged to your account from the purchase date if the promotional balance, including optional charges, is not paid in full within a specified time or if you make a late payment. Minimum monthly payments are required.

Approvals are based on information from your credit application and past credit history.

Pet Insurance

With rapidly increasing, modern capabilities for both diagnosing and treating disease for animals, associated costs of care make having pet insurance not just a wise choice but a real and growing necessity.

Current pet insurance programs are financial relationships between the pet owner and the insurance company.There are no third party payer systems.As such, Animal Specialty Group of Scottsdale "accepts" all forms of pet insurance and will support your individual claims for reimbursement.

There are numerous pet insurance companies today.Several are listed below and you are encouraged to review program benefits, fees and reimbursements before making your decision.

Pets Best Insurance


Veterinary Pet Insurance (VPI)

ASPCA Pet Health Insurance

PurinaCare® Pet Health Insurance

PetPlan® Pet Insurance

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I'm from out of town. Do you recommend any nearby hotels or restaurants while we're here with our pet?


For your convenience during your pet's hospitalization or surgery, below is a list of hotels, local restaurants, convenience foods and coffee/dessert shops. All are located within a short drive of ASG Scottsdale.



The Westin Kierland Resort & Spa
Marriott Desert Ridge
Fairmont Scottsdale Princess
Four Seasons Resort




Morton's Steakhouse
The Capital Grille


Flo's Asian Kitchen
Pei Wei
P.F. Chang's China Bistro


Tapino Kitchen & Wine Bar
The Herb Box
Pure Sushi


Maggiano's Little Italy
Pizza Picasso


The Cheesecake Factory
The Good Egg
Jason's Deli


X-Tapa Joe's
Cantina Laredo

Coffee and Desserts

Baskin Robbins
The Yogurt Bar

Food Fast

Boston Market

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How should I care for my pet after his/her procedure?


There are three phases in your pet's postoperative care: Immediate Postoperative, Home Care and Convalescence, and Rehabilitation and Full Recovery periods.

Immediate Postoperative

Following major surgery, your pet will typically remain hospitalized for 24-48 hours with continuous and individualized care provided by certified veterinary technicians (CVT) for complete anesthesia/surgery recovery, pain management and general nursing support. We encourage patient visits and phone calls during this time, but recommend waiting at least four hours postop to allow your pet to wake up from anesthesia. Your pet will receive injectable pain medications during their hospitalization, have their vital signs monitored continuously, will be comforted and offered food/water. To make your pet's stay as secure, restful and least stressful as possible, we allow you to bring blankets, toys and food.

Home Care and Convalescence Period

This is the period when you have taken your pet home and, depending on the procedure, may last anywhere from a few weeks to a month or more.You will be provided with detailed, written instructions before you take your pet home to help you during this time. For most procedures, you will need to examine your pet's incision(s) daily. You may be asked to apply cold packs to the surgery site to help aid in the recovery process. You may also receive oral medications to give your pet. Because of the anesthesia, administration of opioids (pain medications), lack of food preoperatively and difficulty posturing, you may expect your pet to not defecate for up to 3 days postop. During recommended confinement periods, your pet may not be allowed normal activity. Activities like running, jumping and play with other animals will frequently not be allowed during this period to promote uncomplicated healing. Especially during the summer months, we may also recommend you apply sunscreen to your pet's exposed skin to prevent sunburn. You should expect stubble to be present within three weeks of surgery and full regrowth of hair at around three months of surgery. During the convalescence period, we often need to see your pet at least two to three times for follow-up. The first appointment will be to remove the skin sutures/staples and/or bandage and check healing progress. The next appointment will be to check healing progress towards the end of the recovery process. The office will contact you several times during this period to check on progress and answer any questions you may have.

Rehabilitation and Full Recovery Period

At the end of the Home Care and Convalescence Period, a recheck exam will be scheduled with your surgeon. Depending on the length of the confinement period, a gradual return to regular activity will be recommended. As your pet may have been relatively inactive during their convalescence, they may need to be reintroduced to exercise slowly. We will outline either a simple plan for increasing leash walks, swimming, etc., or recommend an organized physical therapy regimen.

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Are there any local kennels or pet resorts at which my other pets can stay?


The following businesses are listed here for your convenience. Please note that these establishments are simply in proximity to ASG Scottsdale; our practice has no business affiliation with these facilities.

Pete & Mac's
Almost Home
Applewood Pet Resort

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