Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Tips To Avoid A Trip To The Vet.

Daily there is a call, an online request, a pet parent at the door who has found themselves in a perilous pet predicament that they were not prepared for. It is unrelenting and exhausting. Worst of all it is in so many cases; they are avoidable.

In an effort to ebb the tide I have assembled a short list of common avoidable pet health care issues.

As a small incentive I added associated costs for avoiding them and what you might expect to pay if you end up at the emergency clinic.

Brush teeth daily. Cost to client, FREE, cost to resolve when they are at stage 4 can range from $800 at my clinic to $2,000 (plus) at a specialists office. Not to mention the damage a diseased mouth does to the heart, kidneys, and overall health. 

Eat a good nutritious wholesome food. If your pet is predisposed to obesity, disease, and any other ailment by their breed or genetics then diet is a key element to avoiding the worsening or exacerbating an underlying predisposition or disease process. You are what you eat, and, you get what you pay for. These are inescapable. The expensive prescription diets are, well, of course, expensive, but so is intensive care for a diabetic coma, heart failure, kidney disease, and a multitude of other conditions. It is my firm belief that we make up for poor diversification in breeding by diet and exercise. We will willingly pay $2,000 for a giant round lab puppy, then balk at the joint prescription diet they need daily to preserve their ambulatory function after they blow both knees.

Get lots of sleep. Dogs and cats have this concept mastered. We have some important lessons to learn from them. Try to go to bed tired, clear headed and exchanging whispers of adoration. Stress does awful insidious unraveling of our core functions. Not to mention obsessive compulsive disorders, incessant chewing, and needful whining, pacing, or nocturnal activity. Free!

Lots of interesting nose grabbing exercise. What do I mean by this? Let your dog be a dog. Sniff, tug, play, hide, walks that are adventurous AND at their own pace and destination. Let them explore the world. The best exercise is the one that is fun. Stop walking the path everyone before you has forged. Go off leash! Get dirty! Embrace the flavors of the season. Heck, go ahead and roll in it! Free!
Charlie and Jekyl
Ideal body weight and muscle mass. Avoid lots of the diseases and disease processes that obesity predisposes your pet to. Indoor cats need exercise and I warn about poor quality free feeding of dry kibble. Few of us maintain healthy eating habits at the "all you can eat" buffet bar. Try feeding a high quality canned food for breakfast and dinner. For an average indoor cat this is about 3/4 of a 5 oz can twice a day with 1/4 cup of high quality dry kibble as a "scavenger hunt" snack. For dogs I recommend they be fed twice daily a vet recommended food. Again, make it fun, earned, palatable and intentioned. Make it part of your daily morning and evening regimen. Clean the bowl and monitor poor intake as a means of health status. Diabetes, thyroid issues, cancer, joint problems,, gosh the list is long and expensive. Crazy expensive and often debilitating to life threatening, if not, severely life impacting.

Basic parasite prevention. For my part of the world this includes fleas, ticks, heartworm, and intestinal parasite preventatives. For less than $20 a month you can protect and prevent a flurry of health insults that not only threaten your pets health and safety but also your own. Heartworm treatment costs up to $2500, intestinal parasites can lead to life threatening gi conditions, and more kittens die of fleas than almost anything else. Tragic and completely preventable.

Spay and neuter your dog by 1 year old (7 months for cats). For the few poorly bred, hyperinbred, cancer prominent breeds they may benefit from sterilization at 18 months. Most pets were acquired to be companions. Spay and neuter. Avoid unwanted pet over population and behavior issues. Cost of pyometra surgery at an emergency clinic can be > $2500. Pyometra blog.

Chloe and Cooper. Two divine miracles!
Obedience and socialization. What would happen to you if you were not able to care for your pet AND your pet refuses to allow anyone else near it? Obedience is NOT about submission to humans. Rather it is enjoyment with sharing life with them. Be kind, compassionate and teach those around you to enjoy and love life. Not fear it. Too many pets are euthanized due to behavior issues that stem from not being adequately socialized.

Microchips save lives every single day. If you want the most affordable way to get one see a vaccine clinic, shelter, or rescue. They are obtainable for about $25 in many places. The statistics on finding your pet (cats predominantly) after they are lost is abysmal.

Start a savings plan for the unforeseeable accidents ahead. Wellness plans are not in the consumers best interests. Avoid them. Purchase pet insurance instead. Or, best yet. Put away $40 a month in a pet emergency fund. You will thank yourself later. Average emergency visits for trauma alone are in the thousands of dollars. Accidents happen, be prepared. Many are treatable with the help of an emergency plan and resources in place.

Have a great vet who knows how much you love your pet and be there for each other. Here are my tips on how to get something for nothing from your vet. At our clinic there is an answer for every situation and dilemma. Find a vet who will help you in both the good times and bad. 

Stop smoking. It is killing everyone in your home. Your feline family first. Smoking shortens everyone's life. Please quit for your kids, two and four legged. 

Basic hygiene and grooming. This includes petting, brushing/combing/brushing teeth every single day. The most beautiful and luxuriously coated cats are those who are loved, caressed, and kept matt free, flea and tick free and groomed by their family. Your fingers can feel the grit of flea dirt, the hair bunched in the armpits, behind the ears, around the face, and base of tail, etc.. The simple act of petting your pet is the single best indicator of their overall health. Train your hands to be the best instrument a vet has. And, at the same time you are reinforcing the love and trust every pet longs for. A sore spot, a wet spot, a decrease in muscle mass are all vital clues in identifying a problem at its infancy.

Do you have any tips you think I forgot to mention? Please add them as a comment.  I look forward to hearing them.

If you have a pet question or concern please find me on Pawbly.com. I am also on Twitter @FreePetAdvice, YouTube, Facebook at Jarrettsville Vet, and in the clinic seeing appointments.

Please always be kind.

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