The September To-Do List »
From vacation ideas to gardening preparation, check out our September checklist to enjoy the rest of summer and get ready for fall.
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From vacation ideas to gardening preparation, check out our September checklist to enjoy the rest of summer and get ready for fall.
From household hazards to insurance, here is a roundup of our best tips for ensuring your pet's safety.
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.
I recommend this vet clinic for anyone whose pet needs immediate care. I took my cat here late at night because he was very very sick. His condition was life threatening. My financial constraints meant that the hospital stay recommended for my cat's condition was impossible for me to afford. Dr. Johnston is extremely knowledgable and still did everything possible within my limitations to give my cat the best care and a possible chance at recovery. I don't have words to express how grateful I am for what they did for my baby. After calling around and asking about cost estimates for treatment, I had realized that my pet's health condition probably meant that the only thing I could do for him would be to stop his increasing discomfort and pain. But Dr. Johnston did his absolute best to come up with a viable alternative for my cat, and in this case, it worked. Healthcare for pets in an emergency can be enormously expensive just like it can be for people. I was lucky enough to find this clinic where they were willing to work with me to come up with alternatives to the ideal (expensive) treatment. I had called every other 24 hour vet clinic in the area, and my options for my cat were almost non-existant. This was the only clinic that would work with me about treatment options. Vets have very little control over the cost of animal healthcare, and it reminded me very much of people-doctors trying to figure out how to make scripts and come up with treatment plans affordable for human patients. I want to point out that my good review is independent of the medical outcome for my boy. No matter how much we love our pets and no matter how much we are willing to sacrifice for them, sometimes we have to say good-bye and I understand that. Even if the treatment plan Dr. Johnston came up with hadn't worked I'd still feel grateful for the excellent care that he gave my little guy, and would take my other cat to see him without hesitation. But thankfully my formerly sick cat is now eating and happy and recovering. If it hadn't been for the Emerald City Emergency Clinic, my only option would have been to put him down which would have just broken my heart. I really appreciate the kindness and wonderful care my cat recieved; these people really care about the pets they see.
This emergency clinic is phenomenal. I wish my own doctors and my dog's regular vet was this excellent. My 10lb shih tzu had been throwing up all morning and I rushed her to the clinic. After several tests, they diagnosed possible ingestion of a foreign object needing surgery. But knowing my dog also had pre-existing kidney disease (so surgery would be more risky to her) they recommended keeping her overnight for observation in case the object was just a shadow on the x-ray. The following morning they concluded she would indeed need surgery. The vets were very communicative with me, explained clearly the risks and were obviously experienced with this type of emergency. Knowing they were experienced and the open lines of communication gave me trust and some relief that she was in capable hands. She went into surgery the next day and then had to stay a few more days with 24 hr care. The vets change every shift and I always got a call from the new vet on duty. I was amazed at how well coordinated they were, working in sync with each other, always on top of her recent care and status update. After we took her home, they taught us to syringe feed her and gave us a comprehensive schedule for her 7 medications. They were on call for every little question we had administering her medication from home. They did everything they could for her and she pulled through. She looks great now and is back to her old self. The vet techs were also excellent. Normally my dog hates the vet and panics. The clinic's environment is calm and drama free. Total bill for a week in the hospital plus surgery was about $6K but pet insurance took care of the majority. I know cost can be a huge barrier for treating your pet so definitely recommend creating a savings account for the deductible along with getting pet insurance. Having those resources made it a lot easier for the vets to do what they needed for her. You can tell that they always have the "price" conversation, which affects what they can do for your pet. Couldn't recommend them enough.
I was very pleased by the care given to my cat over the weekend - given a scary and overwhelming situation. The staff was professional, acted with a sense of urgency and were compassionate. The Dr's were thorough and spent a lot of time with me when I brought her in. The care involved an overnight stay, and was updated by the Dr on duty multiple times a day on her status and progress. I was told I could call whenever, everyday I did everyone was helpful and friendly. I felt like she was in good hands. For those who have never experienced an emergency vet (this was my first experience) it is not going to be at all like going to your regular vet. Here are some things to expect: -Expect long waits and for them to busy - especially evenings and weekends. They are going to be juggling, and there may be other animals who take priority (just like the ER). -This is not your regular vet, who has all your animals history. Given that, they likely may have to run a gamut of tests for them to diagnose. -You may have to continue treatment with your regular vet (just like when we go to the ER), they are there to get your animal stabilized. Not to create a long term plan and diagnosis. They will work with your vet to share test results, etc.... -It's going to be VERY expensive - kind of goes with the territory. I did notice they had options for payment plans. -You are going to see everything there, and it may be overwhelming. The night I was there, there were 5 other animals. Some were minor and some not. I was unprepared for what to expect, given I was already upset this added to it. Finally, if your vet is on the fence about hospitalizing (mine was) I would say hospitalize at your vet. Much less expensive and they know your animal. Hopefully, you will never have to go to an Emergency Vet:)
My 8 month old French Bulldog puppy started acting drunk and clumsy last night after his walk. I caught him with something in his mouth and tried to pull it out, but by the time I got in there, whatever it was was gone. Half an hour after this, at 9:30 at night, he was swaying while sitting, extremely lethargic, and acting very odd. Panicking, I found the closest emergency vet clinic from my Queen Anne home and Emerald City was it. I would of had to drive to Shoreline or farther to get help and I was not about to risk it. We were greeted promptly, and he was taken in for an exam. It took about 20 minutes and when the vet came in she gave me some possible diagnoses. She thought he had eaten something toxic and wanted to do a drug screen of his urine to confirm and give him activated charcoal and fluids. All of this was going to be about $800. Expensive, but it's an emergency clinic, the only one in the downtown Seattle area, and it was late at night so I wasn't about to argue. Turns out, he had eaten an antidepressant pill or a Valium pill during our evening walk to Kerry Park (Watch out fellow dog parents! Stupid addicts dropping their pills probably!!) He only weighs 19 pounds so this could have ended tragically. I was very pleased that I was called several times during the night and early morning with updates and that they took excellent chart notes. The even faxed the notes over to my regular vet so they had the information on file. Overall my dog and I were treated promptly and professionally, which is all I wanted. Yes this ER vet is slightly pricy, but that being said, if you love your pet you just suck it up and pay. It beats having to drive far away in order to save a buck or two. Needless to say, I am so happy I brought him here and that they took care of him so quickly.
Let's talk about my trip to a huge local university hospital emergency room in the middle of the night. I had to sit, while in pain, and go over all the forms and releases necessary for them to treat me. And the bills! Out of this world. Oh, and no warm fizzles for me, either. Now let's talk about Emerald City Emergency Clinic. They have been nothing but professional and caring in critical, late night situations. In no way did we feel they were there just to make money. Several years ago we had taken out beloved dog there, in the middle of the night, to end her pain. They were extremely compassionate, caring, and professional. Yesterday we had another late night pet emergency. Our dog was having seizures, and we thought that, again, we were at an end of life situation. Again, they were caring and professional. Our pet was seen immediately and yes, was taken in the back without us. That's the way it goes here. After examination, they gave us a written estimate of the charges. I'm sure some are in shock at the cost of emergency care. The estimate was $247 to $1,363 (we really appreciate knowing what we are getting into so we can make informed decisions). They went over pros and cons of treatment, especially considering her age. There were several positives, and we were able to take our pet home with us. We are to follow up with our local vet. Bottom line, $248.26 for late night emergency care, we were reassured regarding what was happening, our pet received an IV for fluids and other meds to make her more comfortable, their recommendations were professional and common sense, and we were 100% satisfied. I would not hesitate to recommend this clinic to pet owners
This place gets all five stars from me. If you're looking for a 24 hour vet emergency hospital, this is the place. In regards to the reviewers below complaining about the expensive prices, well, WHAT DO YOU EXPECT FROM AN EMERGENCY CLINIC? This is not the place to take your animal if s/he is just having a routine check-up. This is a place people turn to when they are in a panic and need emergency care for their beloved pets. My cat ate oriental lilies that were sitting around in a vase and couldn't stop vomiting. I found out about the effects of lily poisoning online and rushed him to this place. They kept him for 2 days and were extremely patient, kind, willing to answer all questions, etc. I've had really bad animal hospital experiences in the past ... this place was top notch. When the vet said he would call me, he ACTUALLY called. The receptionists were deeply attached to my cat and gave me updates on not just his vitals but also anecdotes to make me laugh regarding how he acted during his stay. Yes, this place is pricey, but again, what do you expect from a 911 place for animals that is open at all hours of the night? I rushed my cat to the hospital around 1 am. He made it through and beat kidney failure thanks to their round-the-clock care. Best of all, this place offers payment plan options with a 1% interest rate whereas other vet clinics don't offer payment plans as an option... that, or they gauge you on interest. I'd recommend this hospital to anyone who undergoes a pet emergency.
My [leashed] dog was on the losing end of a scuffle with another [unleashed] dog at around 9pm, so I took him here. The waiting room is boring (no TVs or cool magazines), but the staff was great! Dr. Johnston did a great job explaining what my dog needed and recommending the proper course of treatment. I left my dog for his surgery and returned in the middle of the night to pick him up. I was shocked to see the inch and half of stitches in two places, but the sutures never leaked, became infected, or swelled. My boyfriend's father is an orthopedic doctor and said that our dog "had excellent care" and they had done a nice job on his stitches. There were a few things that I didn't LOVE, like having to bring him back in when he refused food and liquids and then being recharged for a re-check exam less than 24 hours after he had been there. I didn't love the vet assistant (who was great, by the way) having to be there until 5am and then back the very next day. It just didn't feel like a fun place for them to work, but my dog is healing up nicely and won't have any ugly scars because of the job they did. Dr. Johnston was awesome and compassionate (even when the people I was with tried to convince him to "kill my dog" as a cheaper alternative). I appreciate their being willing to work with me, answer my questions, and treat my dog wonderfully. Thanks!
I am INCREDIBLY impressed with Emerald City Emergency Clinic!!! Today I encountered a gravely injured pigeon who kept walking up to strangers, and was truly suffering. I called two vets nearby, one of which had even treated my OWN pets, and both refused to humanely euthanize the suffering bird. I called Emerald City Emergency Clinic, and the receptionist immediately said she would ask the vet if they could help while I waited on the phone. She said they absolutely could euthanize the bird, so I put him in a box and took him to the clinic. When I walked in, I was greeted by an INCREDIBLY friendly, kind and compassionate staff member who took the bird to the back. The vet agreed that euthanasia was best, and they humanely euthanized the pigeon. THIS is the mark of true compassion in veterinary medicine. When two other local clinics blatantly refused to help me in this situation, Emerald City stepped up to the plate. The core of veterinary medicine is to help animals who are suffering, and what I experienced today with Emerald City was compassion in it's truest form. I will be speaking with Emerald City again soon to see if I can start to take my own pets there for care in the future, as the people who helped me there today are TRUE angels to animals, even animals that most people won't even take a second look at.
I wouldn't call the experience great, as no one wants to have to take a furry family member to the vet at 2AM. That said, Emerald City took amazing care of my dog Molly when I brought her in 3 months ago with what turned out to be bloat and a twisted stomach. They got her in immediately, performed the tests to determine what was wrong, and she was in surgery within the hour. The excellent doctor saved Molly's life, and her aftercare was excellent. I was regularly called with updates from various staff and the doctor on duty, as well as allowed to come in and spend time with Molly several times before she was allowed to come home. I also brought her a stuffed toy from home and the staff made sure that it came back with her . Her treatment plan and postsurgical care plan was clearly written and explained in detail to me and my husband. Yes, it was expensive, but it was an emergency surgery in an ER. The bill was clear, itemized, and the doctor and staff made sure that I knew what I was signing at every stage, and were kind and considerate when I was emotional following her initial diagnosis. While I hope to never have to make another emergency visit, I am very relieved to know that there is a competent, clean, and skilled ER vet just down the street in case Molly ever needs one again. God forbid!
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.