Friday, August 26, 2011

Part 1 of Pet Peeves

I have a few pet peeves. We all have them. But it seems that when you become a business owner, wife, mom, or any kind of professional you develop these. Perhaps it isn’t that your list of things you are responsible for is getting longer, but that the list of things you have definite opinions about is getting longer. I get older, I get more responsibility, I get more pet peeves. It is a very simple linear formula.
Here are a list of some of my peeves and how I got them;
I nag all of my staff, and many of my clients who arrive without their pets on a leash or in a carrier, about how dangerous this is. I don’t care if it is the cat on the leash or the dog in the carrier, but it has to be one or the other. Imagine a big dog jumping up at you to see your cat and the cat bites you in fear, or worse, the cat jumps out of your arms, the dog runs after it and a child gets in the middle of the turmoil. Ask me how many cats I have lost on the grounds of the clinic? It is more than one, and that is 1 more than it should be. What about the dog that is afraid of others (people or dogs) and then lunges at the opposing party? If that dog isn’t on a (short) leash it isn’t under your control. Dog fights happen, and people are bitten. Just 2 days ago an owner lost her cat in the parking lot because she was taking the cat out of the carrier when she got to her car. We now have humane traps surrounding the clinic to try to find her.
I give out microchips for free because I know there is a good chance that at some point you will need it. I always tell my clients that I give them away and hope you never need them. But stats say 2 out of 3 pets will at some point slip away from their owners. I LOSE money by giving them away because I don’t want your pet to end up at the shelter. If you miss your 5 day window to pick up your pet, it may be euthanized, plus the longer your pet is in the shelter the more likely they are to get exposed to illness. A shelter is not an ideal place for your pet! So microchip your pet! Even if it isn’t free!
 If you cannot afford the basic care of a pet then please don’t get one. I know it is an incredible gift to feel the unconditional love of a pet, but that pet brings responsibility. If you want to love a pet love a pet in a shelter, or foster a pet for a rescue. You will still get that unconditional love and that wet kiss, and all of the joys of a pet but the bill will be someone else’s responsibility. Then when you have your feet on the ground adopt a pet and save a life.
Please don’t think that the de-wormer you buy over the counter is the same as the stuff the vets office gives you.  If it says “Do not use on cats” it means, “this will likely kill your cat if you use it on them.”
Please don’t let your pet suffer because you diagnosed them online and are treating with the stuff it suggests. What happens if you, or the all-knowing internet, is wrong?
If you are worried about your pet call and ask for advice. If you still are worried bring your pet to someone. And if even after that you are still worried go get a second opinion. Treat your pet like you would your child, all the same advice applies.
For dogs; I recommend the following; check a fecal once a year, get an annual veterinary exam, or twice a year if they are a geriatric pet, check blood and urine yearly if geriatric, use a monthly heartworm preventative, feed a high quality commercially available dog food, provide mental and physical stimuli and attention daily. Never yell, hit, or rub their nose in anything. Positive reinforcement works much better than negative. If you need advice seek a professional.
For cats; check a fecal once a year, get an annual veterinary exam, or twice a year if they are a geriatric pet, check blood and urine yearly if geriatric, feed a high quality commercially available cat food, provide mental and physical stimuli and attention daily. Never yell or hit. Clean the litter box everyday. Change the litter weekly. I love catnip applied to cardboard scratching mats. I re-apply the catnip weekly and I buy new mats every 6 months. If you need advice seek a professional. Cats only trust you if you are kind, patient, and consistent. Never apply a product, or give a medication or food without  talking to a pet professional first. Cats are very sensitive to many products and I never want to see another cat die because they were given a dog or human product.
Remember that an antibiotic prescribed to your pet is supposed to be used until gone. So don’t call me a year later and ask for more, and then explain that you need it because you have been “spot treating” with it. You are doing to your pet what your doctor tells you that you are doing to yourself, “using an antibiotic inappropriately.  And making “super-bugs”.” An antibiotic should be used until gone to kill ALL of the bugs, not used for a few days then stopped so you can ration the drug for the next time. Because what you might have done is killed the weak bugs and let the strong bugs live. Also if you are using the drugs sporadically and intermittently you are setting us up to try to treat an infection that now might be drug resistant. And please remember that an antibiotic should only be used when you have infection, not an itchy ear, or a red ear.
The correct term is spayed, not spaded.
A spay is a big deal, think hysterectomy, not drive-thru botox. Ask for pain medicine and don’t go to the cheapest place in town. And the answer to pre-op bloodwork is a “yes.”
If your dog is over 6 months old when you neuter him ask to “borrow” an e-collar overnight. Better to have one and not need it, than, well, you know the answer to that.
The more stuff you bring to the kennel the more likely it will be lost, or more likely not used at all. You see your dog in our kennel will poop, shred, or destroy your belongings. Or we will lose them, and “no, not on purpose.” So most kennels put your stuff in a bag to stow away until pick up time the minute you give it to us.
Whenever you call us trying to avoid coming in to the clinic and we try to coerce you anyway please remember we deal with worst case scenario. We understand that you deal with having to foot the bill and re-arrange your schedule, but we don’t want your pet to have worst case scenario disease and be left untreated. So play the devil’s advocate with us, and get your butt and your pet in the clinic.
Just because you “quicked your pets nail one time four years ago, and it bled forever” doesn’t mean that you can’t learn and perform this task on your own. Ask your veterinary technician to show you how to trim the nails and make sure you have the right tools when you are at home.
Please don’t be rude or disrespectful to the front staff or technician, because I promise you they probably know more than you do, and almost as much as the vet does. Be nice. You always get more out of everyone with a carrot than you do a stick.
And last for now. If you have a budget, or concerns about anything, speak up. We always have options and all we really want is to help your pet. We don’t judge and we don’t assume, so you have to talk to us. The care of your pet is a team effort and approach.

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