5 things to think of BEFORE you visit the veterinarian
Submitted by Lisa A. Yackel, CVPM, PHR
Hospital Administrator at Case Veterinary Hospital
You know how it is. You have a million questions about your pet before you get to the veterinary clinic but when asked, your mind is blank. Veterinarians rely on you to be your pet's voice. You need to keep your eyes and ears open so that you can report any changes in your pet's behavior to the veterinarian.
Sharing information about how your pet is behavingâ€”including eating, drinking, sleep, urinating and/or passing stoolâ€”could help make a lifesaving diagnosis.
- Ask about vaccinations. Vaccinations are essential to your pet's health and should be tailored to your pet's lifestyle. A pampered high-rise dweller that never sets foot outside won't need the same vaccines as a mud hound forever rolling in the grass, even if they live across the street from each other.
- Ask about parasite prevention and control for fleas, ticks, heartworms, and intestinal parasites such as roundworms, hookworms and tapeworms that is appropriate for the region of the country in which you live.
- Ask about proper behavior training and socialization. Shelters report behavior problems as a primary reason people give up their pets. Your veterinarian can assist in evaluating your animal's disposition and provide advice and tips on how to appropriately train and socialize your pet.
- Ask about nutrition. What type of food should you feed your pet? What serving size is appropriate? And does their age impact that you should be feeding them? Is your pet overweight and, if it is, how you can get your pet back to a healthy weight? As in humans, weight control for pets is essential for good health.
- If you have a pet older than 7 years of age, ask about senior care. Note any changes you've noticed in your pet's energy level, water intake, behavior or any lumps and bumps your pet has developed. Although many of the lumps and bumps are not problems, some of them are cause for concern. It's best to have all of them checked out, just to make sure. Older pets are more prone to conditions such as arthritis, heart disease, dementia and other problems. Prevention and early detection of problems are essential to helping your pet live a longer, healthier life.