This week is Take Your Cat to the Vet Week. Valuable info at http://www.petfinder.com/pet-health/take-your-cat-to-the-vet.html
A poll from Cat Channel.com posed this question: What challenges keep your cat from seeing the vet? The results are revealing.
1) Fear of cat carrier- 22.13%
2) Not in my budget- 44.27%
3) Utter loathing of vet/vet’s office- 13.44%
4) Do I need to go? I’m an indoor cat- 20.16%
Editor’s note: I’m not surprised that finances are the biggest reason for not taking a cat to the vet, but it’s clear more education is sorely needed. We addressed tips for getting cats into carriers at last week’s Vet Q & A. Cats are masters of disguising symptoms and the only way to know for certain that they’re healthy is to take them for a check-up. If money is a concern, discuss this with your vet. Most vets take credit cards, many give discounts and can tell you about treatment options. The Humane Society has this video on low cost vet resources http://www.humanesociety.org/animals/resources/tips/trouble_affording_veterinary_care.html low cost options.
This week’s Vet 101 question is:
Our vet takes our cat into an examining room and I wait in the waiting room. Is this normal? I’d like to know what does a routine check-up involve for an 8-year-old male cat and why can’t I help assist in the examining room.
Today’s “Word of the Day” is COMMUNICATION.
The relationship between a veterinarian and a patient and their family is one that is based on trust, sound medical practice, and communication. There is no definitive way for a veterinarian to practice the art of medicine, and there is no “normal” or “routine” when it comes to practicing. What is most important is that you and your veterinarian are communicating and are on the same page about how to treat your pet. If you are uncomfortable about not being with your cat during his exam, ask the vet if you can be there. If he says, ‘no’, ask why not. If you’re not satisfied with the explanation, it may be time to find a new vet. But be aware, that even if you are present in the room, you will most likely not be permitted to “assist.” This is for safety, insurance, and legal reasons (not to mention that the cat shouldn’t associate getting a shot with you being the one restraining him for that!)
There are some valid reasons why the vet may have you sit in the waiting room. Some owners may prefer not to be in the room because they get nervous themselves. Since our cats often sense our unease, some cats may actually be calmer for their exam if mom is not in the room. If blood needs to be drawn or tests need to be performed, a quiet, darkened room with as few people as possible may make it less stressful for a nervous kitty. Insurance and safety concerns may also come into play. Again, it’s important to communicate. If you want to be present, make your wishes known, and assess the response.
A “wellness visit” for your cat should include a thorough physical examination (the most important part of the visit), a thorough history of any changes you have noticed in your cat’s routine (even subtle ones), any necessary vaccines, and any recommended blood tests (especially for older cats or cats whose “routine” has changed). Everyone practices differently, and the contents of a “routine” check-up will vary between cats, owners, and veterinarians. A discussion with your vet about what is recommended for your cat (and what you can afford) is essential.
The selection of a veterinarian should be done with the same thoroughness as selecting your own physician, or your child’s pediatrician. Ask trusted friends and family members for recommendations. Ask the doctor questions. You need to find someone who you are comfortable with, who you can trust to head up your cat’s medical team, and who listens to you.