Eight Tips for Protecting Your Pet »
From household hazards to insurance, here is a roundup of our best tips for ensuring your pet's safety.
From vacation ideas to gardening preparation, check out our September checklist to enjoy the rest of summer and get ready for fall.
Just like the planning that went into your vacation, there is planning needed before boarding your pet. Here are some dos and don'ts to help make the process a little easier.
The respected Checkbook.org gives The Cat Clinic of NE Seattle "top rating" for both quality and price. Choosing the right vet is a matter of life and death for your pet. At the same time, it can make a significant dent in your pocketbook. And either free up, or tie down, your own precious time. Despite the proximity of their names, do NOT confuse this business with the Cat Clinic of Seattle. Dr. Romatowski is very thorough. For instance, the time he spent actually examining my cat was at least two to three times that either vet at the Queen Anne Animal Clinic spent doing the same. He took the initiative to do these things on his own rather than wait for me to ask him to do them. Of the six vets we saw during an 18-month period, he was--hands down--the most conscientious. He doesn't push expensive procedures of dubious value, as is often the case today with vets. I would hazard more than a guess that an annual check-up here for your cat would be outstanding. I sought a secondary opinion on my cat's health from him, and the office visit I received was the best one my cat ever had. He was congenial, knowledgeable, caring. Another plus is that unlike some clinics, there is NOT staff rushing around. You don't get the feeling that you're just one client coming through a "revolving door" here. Only one vet (Dr. Romatowski) and a very experienced one at that. He was also the very first of four vets to test for high blood pressure, which is a serious condition for cats in renal failure. We promptly got my cat on amlodipine to keep it within the normal range. And he brought to our attention a very serious problem with theregime set out for us by the Cat Clinic of Seattle. Unfortunately, when my cat was seriously ill with melena (black tarry stool with diarrhea), he was unwilling to write a prescription for sulfacrate, a protectant/absorbent for upper GI tract ulcers, which may have been helpful in jump-starting my cat's appetite. My cat' s health began to go rapidly downhill only 24 hours after the last visit here, which the vet had not been able to foresee--and I had to go to another clinic to let him go another 24 hours later, which, for me, was devastating. The explanation of the treatment that day was particularly unclear--to what end was the injection of prednisolone? He also told me to return in 8-9 days if it "it didn't work" and we'd "try something else." My cat was dead within 48 hours. "Stuff happens," I guess. What is troubling is the thought that if I had brought him in, say, only two days after I had noticed his appetite was "off," that THAT probably would not have made any difference, since the vet had not been able to, apparently, predict the seriousness and urgency of the problem even just one day before the final crash. Also, I wonder, with great sorrow, if my cat had been immediately treated for the melena and diarrhea that had occurred three times during the two-week interval before my cat's death? I had requested him to write a prescription for sulfacrate, a common upper gastrointestinal tract absorbent/protectant, which he declined to write. However, maybe nothing could have been done. I'll never know. In sum, although I think Dr. Romatowski is an extremely competent vet, I do believe that communication with clients is less than ideal. When I wrote to inform him, for instance, of the death of my cat less than 48 hours after he been to his clinic--and of my concerns about the injection given, as well as what his findings actually had been that day, I received no response. I did receive a card of condolences, six days after. I trust Dr. Romatowski's judgment more than any other vet I have been to. Also, he is one of the few veterinarian here in Seattle who has not pushed me to do unnecessary tests or other things I could easily done myself.
We've been seeing Dr. Monahan for the last year, since my cat was diagnosed with diabetes. Dr. Monahan taught me everything I needed to know to manage Toby's care at home, was responsive and thorough in her assessments of him. Toby also was seen once each by Dr. Roberti, and by Dr. Echentile, who discovered the cancer that would eventually take his life. The staff has supported my family in more ways than I can say - they are professional, respectful and caring. In the end, Dr. Monahan came to our home to put Toby to sleep, and I will never forget her utter compassion towards him and me. Her love and understanding of animals and people are apparent, and her manner that sad day helped make that awful experience so much more peaceful than I could have imagined. Eternally grateful.
Going to a veterinary emergency hospital is never easy when life or death decisions are involved. But I can't help but be grateful to the staff and doctors at ACCES for their responsiveness to my situation. They took kitty right to the back and began working on her to save her life. Turns out he was blocked and needed a catheter placed. After a few days of care kitty was just fine and went home happy and on the way to being fully healed. I am so grateful to the doctors, who kept me updated every step of the way while kitty was in the hospital. I should also mention that the staff was very professional yet kind while I sat and worried over my cat. Thanks ACCES. To anyone wondering about going to this place, I highly recommend it.
Choosing the right vet for your pet can be tough. After all, your furry friend can't tell you how he or she feels about the doctor. Even though you're not the one treated by the vet, whoever your animal sees is obviously your decision. Since many veterinary diseases and injuries can turn into emergencies very quickly, it's important to have a go-to vet. This way, you can ensure you'll know whom to see when your animal needs care.
Speak to your friends and family about vets who've treated their pets. You can even talk to your groomer or an animal shelter worker for referrals. When you visit the clinics you've been referred to, check that the facility is clean, animals are separated and the staff is calm and courteous. Not all clinics are American Animal Hospital Association accredited. This accreditation isn't a legal necessity, though a clinic that's AAHA-accredited is guaranteed to offer high-quality medical care. To receive accreditation, the clinic has to meet the AAHA's standards in the areas of facility, equipment and quality care.
If you're looking for a specialist, you want to make sure he or she is board-certified to practice in that specific area of animal medicine. You'll want to make sure your vet is also convenient to visit, so there are factors to take into account.
The type of animal you own should play a part in which vet you choose as well. While your options are vast if you have a dog or cat, you may have to visit an avian clinic for your bird or an exotics clinic for your snake.
Just as there are many types of doctors, there are many types of vets. Some focus on livestock or house pets, while others may specialize in dentistry or surgery. They may work in a veterinary clinic or zoo, working specifically with the animals housed there, or travel to farms to work with livestock. Since horse racing and other equestrian activities are so popular, some vets are trained to work just with horses.
Diseases, like malaria and yellow fever are also transmitted through animals. Some vets have insight to diseases that affect both humans and animals. Vets have contributed to the treatment and cure of many diseases that plagued both humans and their furry friends.
Government agencies employ veterinarians as well. When an animal comes from a foreign land, these vets quarantine them and check for any diseases that may be present in an effort to control new diseases that can be brought into the country. Other Specific types of vets include:
A vet assistant works alongside the veterinarian and helps out around the clinic. In some cases, they may assist vets in surgery or restrain struggling animals during tests or lab work. The everyday duties of a veterinary assistant include; monitoring and caring for animals after surgery, keeping medical records, cleaning animals' teeth, feeding and bathing them, cleaning cages, sterilizing surgical equipment, giving animals medication, collecting samples for testing and performing laboratory tests, and offering grief counseling to pet owners.
It's a good idea to bring your pet to the vet regularly. This way, he or she becomes familiar and comfortable with the care providers, and you can stay on top of your pet's preventative care. If the animal is small enough, bring it to the office in a carrier. Just as you visit the doctor for a yearly check up, you should bring in your pet for regular check ups as well. During a routine veterinary visit, the vet will probably begin by asking you if there have been any changes in your pet's behavior or habits.
The vet will then take your pet's vitals, like weight, temperature, pulse and respiration rate, and perform a physical examination of the pet. During a physical exam, the vet checks the abdomen for swollen organs, and the legs, feet and joints for any potential problems. Depending on the age, breed or condition of your pet, your veterinarian may also check the eyes, ears and mouth.
When your vet conducts a full body examination, he or she will check out your pet's coat and skin, noting any hair loss, itchy spots or lumps. Keep note of your animal's shedding habits so you can let the vet know if anything seems abnormal. The vet will check for parasites, fleas, ticks, mites and heartworms as well.
Vaccinations are also important to your pet, especially if you have a cat or a dog, and your vet will suggest that you make sure they're current. Keeping up to date with vaccinations can prevent your furry friend from getting distemper, rabies, hepatitis and lyme disease. Some vaccinations last longer than others, so speak to your doctor about staying caught up with your animal's shots.
Just like your own health insurance, you want to make sure your animal is covered before he or she needs veterinary services. Some common animal surgeries can cost thousands of dollars, and you don't want to end up having to foot a surprise bill that costs more than your paycheck.
There's no set price for pet health insurance. Costs can depend on factors such as where you live, the age and breed of your pet, and how much coverage you want. Before you take out a pet insurance policy, you'll want to meet with your vet to go over what he or she thinks your animal should be covered for. Many vets believe that you should make sure cancer, chronic disease, hereditary and congenital disease, and common breed-related medical conditions are all addressed in your policy.
Some pet owners can't afford insurance for their pet, so there are other options to make paying for surprise pet visits as easy as possible. Some pet stores have wellness plans - which tend to be much cheaper than an insurance policy - that offer shots, check ups, screenings and discounts on various procedures your pet may need. A lot of veterinary offices offer payment plans for pricey procedures as well, as long as you have decent credit history. For a last-ditch option, there are even privately funded organizations that offer pet owners financial aid for their pet's treatments.