Being Proactive At The Vet

Today I’d like to talk a bit about being proactive at the vet. Back in my younger days, I thought of my cats’ vet as the God of a healthy pet. Not anymore. Let me explain.

Be proactive at the veterinarian

First of all, vets may obtain a degree showing they know what to do under just about any circumstances you can conjure up. This doesn’t mean the vet stays up to date with changes in the veterinary world. A typical vet is open from as early as 7 a.m. until at least 5 p.m. Many are open later, to provide service for people who work. Practices that double as 24-hour emergency clinics are even more stressed to stay updated. If a vet spends the day treating animals, grabbing something quick for lunch, then working until sundown, there’s not much time in between for updating skills. I seriously doubt a vet will study at home each night. Family time likely takes priority.

We, as cat owners, tend to study cats on a daily basis. And I think it’s safe to say the older we get the more we learn. Both from hands-on experience or from online studying. I’ve found changes are constantly occurring in the world of pets. Drugs that were once considered safe may be judged unsafe. Formulas change, adding ingredients to the ‘new and improved’ that now can harm out cat. Diarrhea medication comes to mind. Kaopectate was once suggested, but with an ingredient called attapulgite, is now dangerous. What if your vet doesn’t realize the change in formula, and suggests it for your cat? Pain medication and antibiotics are also a concern, as Michael and Ruth have covered many times (recent example).

So what’s a cat owner to do? We study. We look up the symptoms our cat is experiencing, and we learn what we need to tell the vet on a visit. I have a bad habit (or is it a GOOD habit) of looking up any drug the vet prescribes on my cell phone while I’m standing in the examination room. If there are a lot of bad experiences online from a credible source, I’m not afraid to mention that to my vet. The way I see it, we work as a team. It’s not beneficial to anyone for him to do something out of ignorance to harm my cat. If the instruction label says “dog only,” I look it up to see if the drug is safe for cats. Many times it is, but I want to be sure. I also remember what drugs have been safe in the past, and periodically Google them when I’m sleep-texting at 5 a.m.

Since many of us are older cat owners, it’s our responsibility to teach the young or first time cat owners not to be afraid to speak up and ask questions at the vet. Don’t be afraid to do this. You’re paying for a service, and your vet wants you for repeat business. It’s beneficial to everyone if you’re not afraid to ask questions, or question something you’re not sure of. In the end, your cat will thank you, and even the vet may thank you for bringing something new to his/her attention.

How are you proactive at the vet? Am I being a concerned cat owner, or just a nag? Please leave a comment below.

Elisa

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Comments

Being Proactive At The Vet — 8 Comments

  1. You confirm a good point that I make from time to time. The key reason why we have an obligation to speak up and be well informed is because we are the voice of our cat.

    Normally the client would be able to assist the doctor by explaining the symptoms and how he/she feels. That is not possible for the cat so it is down to an observant and informed cat owner to stand in as a guardian.

    The vet’s is a place where the cat owner truly becomes a guardian and caretaker. It is a test as to how good he/she is in that role.

  2. Henry had a vet visit this week for a very bad URI. We could tell he had a sore throat and he just looked and sounded miserable. I was quick to tell the vet this was a serious infection and I had an inner voice telling me to stress that. Henry got a strong antibiotic Monday and is finally feeling better.

    • There is a lot of instinct involved in trying to figure out what is wrong with our cats. I like the way that you provide your vet with your input and I think all good veterinarians will like clear, solid input from their client because it helps them, a lot, to diagnose the problem and treat the illness.

  3. good article as ozzie just came back from the vet after being dematted he was badly dematted. As he doesnt do well with the sound of the trimmer i had to put him under. Hes all ok. Got them to check his tail as thought he had been in a fight. Just as well really as he got a badly hurt on his tail and been given antibotics other tavuloxhan that hes now soft and silky and make to his normal self. Though i was in alot of trouble last nite due to not allowed to give him any food . He really hated me. But i understand needed to do it. Its called Clavulox so start that tomorrow. Poor baby.

  4. Worked for a vet who was thoroughly insulted by a patient/client looking up information and especially in the examining room or when he left the examining room. Just a comment. Not my feelings.

    • Good share. I suppose it depends on the personality of the vet. Perhaps looking up stuff is a bit obvious, a bit insulting. A check on the vet could be done more subtly perhaps or the client could ask questions instead.

      • I wait until the vet is getting the injection ready and do it when he’s out of the room if possible. Mainly its the name of a drug. He’ll tell me what he’s going to prescribe before he goes for the injection so most of the time I don’t believe they even see me.

    • I think we give our vet so much business I could do about anything. I do understand how a vet could be offended. Most of our visits are for minor things but when something is serious I believe in speaking up.

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