How to get the most out of a trip to see your veterinarian
In 2006, Americans spent $9.4 billion for veterinary care for their pets (source: American Pet Products Manufacturers Association).
So what types of things do you need to tell your vet in order to get the most “bang” for your buck? The answer is simple: details, details, details.
Below is a “cheat sheet” from IDEXX Laboratories with five vet visit tips for pet owners from Dr. Arnold Plotnick, veterinarian and president of Manhattan Cat Specialists. This will help you share the necessary details to maximized your visits to the vet and make sure that all is well in your furry friend’s world.
Expert Tips to Help Your Cat Live Nine Lives — All of Them in Good Health
Know The Basics: Share your cat’s age, breed, whether or not your cat is neutered or spayed, and if he is an indoor or outdoor cat.
Food For Thought: Be prepared to discuss your cat’s eating habits with the vet. What kind of food does he eat and what brand? How frequently is he fed? Does he have a good appetite? Has your pet gained or lost weight?
Vital Cat Stats: Share your cat’s basic medical history, especially when meeting a new vet. Bring copies of previous medical records.
*** Ask about testing and prevention for conditions such as feline immunodeficiency virus (FIV), feline leukemia virus (FeLV) and heartworm disease. An estimated one-third of pet cats are at-risk for FIV and FeLV, which often show no outward symptoms.
*** Heartworm disease is found in cats in all 50 states, making indoor and outdoor cats equally susceptible. Many cat owners mistakenly believe that heartworm is a disease only affecting dogs. Heartworm season varies depending on where you live, but typically starts in the spring and ends when the weather gets cold.
Brush Up On Home Care: Ask your vet what you can do to keep your cat healthy, including at-home grooming tips for nail clipping and brushing — his fur and his teeth. A recent IDEXX Laboratories study reports that cats with common dental diseases are five times more likely to test positively for FIV and FeLV.
Harmless vs. Harmful Behavior: Tell your vet about any sudden behavior changes. Lethargy, hyperactivity, aggression, growling and urinating/defecating in inappropriate places may indicate an underlying medical problem.
Your veterinarian is the best source for information on testing, disease prevention and pet wellness, but YOU are the best source of information about your pet.
(The above information can be easily modified to apply to dogs.)