In This Issue You Will Find:
Reducing Stress For Cat Veterinary Visits
Wildlife - Spring Babies
When is it an emergency?
Reducing Veterinary Visit Stress For Cats
We all know that cats are creatures of habit. The vast majority of cats do not like significant change in their surroundings or routine. Even a trip to the veterinary clinic can be very stressful. Things like the carrier, the car ride, the odors of the strange or disliked location, and the very act of handling a cat against its will, can all bring out very stressed behaviors.
The good news is that there are ways to help make the trip to the veterinary clinic less stressful for all involved. These all take some work and not every cat will respond as desired.
- The process of reducing veterinary visit stress starts at home. Cats are very perceptive of their owner's moods. Try to remain calm both at home and at the clinic.
- Try to help your cat become used to the type of handling they are likely to experience at a veterinary clinic. This amounts to touching your cat almost everywhere.
- Pet carriers should be relatively small. Hard plastic carriers work extremely well. The best carriers have a door in the front, a door on top, and the top half of the carrier can be removed. My personal preference is to have clamps holding the 2 halves together making the top half of the carrier very easy to remove.
- When at home, the carrier should be left out for the cat to have access to. This helps make the carrier familiar and not an object of stress.
- When in the exam room at the veterinary clinic, open the carrier door to see if your cat will venture out on its own. Avoid dumping or pulling a cat out of the carrier.
- Carriers should be considered a necessity for transporting cats in a vehicle. It is far safer for you and your cat.
- Practice car rides.
- When in the car try to keep the carrier level.
- When at the veterinary clinic, try not to put the carrier on the floor. Cats feel less vulnerable when they are in an elevated location.
- Help us keep the exam room relatively quiet.
- You can find a brochure here for more information.
Cats need veterinary care. Preventive care will prolong their lives and improve their quality of life. Making veterinary visits less stressful will help your cat receive the care it needs. The techniques discussed in this article, and in more depth in our blog, can be very helpful, especially when initiated at a very young age.
When is it an emergency?
This can be a very difficult question to answer for a pet owner or even a veterinary professional over the phone. For this reason, we often recommend an examination. Sometimes, even if it is not an emergency, the consequences of missing a condition are too great.
A prime example of this is a male cat straining to urinate frequently but producing only a few drops of urine. This could be merely a bladder infection. If so, the main problem will be discomfort. However, the same symptoms are consistent with a rapidly life threatening urethral obstruction. Not being able to urinate is not compatible with life and is excruciatingly painful.
Working at an emergency clinic, I see some cases that really are not true emergencies. This does not mean that they do not have medical problems or that they should not have come in. It means that the phone triage system is not perfect.
Alternatively, I see some patients hours to days after a better time for presentation. Sometimes this is because owners do not (and cannot) have the training to properly interpret the situation. Part of this may also be that the veterinary professional on the phone hears a description so mild, the situation does not seem significant enough to tell the owner to bring the pet in.
Because of the limitations of our system, the general rule should be, if you are concerned enough to consider calling the veterinary clinic, you should call. You are likely to be directed to have the pet seen.
One of the big lessons learned in the great recession is that when veterinary medical care is put off, the average treatment expense is significantly more. Additionally, for many conditions, early treatment carries a better prognosis.
Wildlife - Leave The Spring Babies Alone
Spring has sprung, I think. As the weather warms and we get outside more, we will be finding spring babies from birds, to squirrels, rabbits, cats, deer and other animals.
Most of these babies will be healthy and happy. The best course of action is usually to leave the babies alone. Observe them from a distance. In the case of a bear cub, a very long distance.
Mom and/or dad often visit the nest only a few times a day. Therefore, the babies only appear to be alone. Taking a baby wild animal is almost always a poor choice leading to decreased survival.
Most veterinarians are not wildlife rehabilitators. We cannot legally care for wild animals except for emergency situations. We usually refer wild animals to the Wildlife Rehab Center.
Once again, the best course of action is to leave an “abandoned” baby alone.
Angel Fund at Bobtown Pet Clinic
Bobtown Pet Clinic recently had a client donate some funds with a request to start what is commonly called an Angel Fund. These accounts are designed to assist pets in urgent need and families in financial need.
We are currently accepting donations for this Angel Fund. These donations are not tax deductible.
The Angel Fund will be administered by the doctors and staff of Bobtown Pet Clinic as deemed appropriate. Unless the donations are overwhelming, we anticipate funds to be limited and requirements to be relatively high.
This Angel Fund was started by a client and a group of her friends.
We appreciate very much their concern and compassion for others in need.
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