This week is National Pet Week, but for some of us, every day is “Love Our Pet Day.” These days, many caring pet owners are being faced with difficult economic decisions. During these tough economic times, pet owners may be tempted to delay or even skip preventive healthcare for their pets, but this could prove to be “pennywise and pound foolish.” The staff of The Animal Medical Center recommends routine visits to your veterinarian to allow early identification of medical issues before they become extensive and expensive problems.
To make the most of your visit with the veterinarian, advance preparation is required. Doing your homework will help you to readily answer your veterinarian’s questions, focus your veterinarian’s attention on potential problems you have identified and decrease the need for return visits to deliver additional samples or have procedures performed. Below are The Animal Medical Center’s suggestions to make the most of your veterinary healthcare dollars.
Before visiting your veterinarian:
• Create a list of pet’s current medications, diet and dietary supplements to bring with you to the visit.
• Write down a list of questions to ask your veterinarian regarding diet, exercise or other health concerns.
• If your pet has skin bumps and lumps you want evaluated, be sure you know where they are located so you do not waste your appointment time hunting for them. In light colored pets, a permanent magic marker can be used to color the overlying fur to make the lump easier to find. In dark coated pets, you make want to make a drawing to indicate where the mass is.
• The night before the visit, take up any food bowls and the morning of the visit, skip your pet’s breakfast. An empty stomach makes sedation safer, if sedation is required for a minor procedure. Blood tests are easier to interpret in a fasted pet.
• On the morning of the visit, collect a urine sample and a fecal sample. Having these available at the time of the visit may save you another trip to the veterinarian to drop them off. If they are not needed, the samples can easily be disposed of in the trash.
While at the veterinarian’s office:
• Restrain the pet properly in the waiting area with a collar and leash or a sturdy carrier. A waiting room altercation with another anxious patient will distract you and your pet from the task at hand.
• During the examination, don’t be afraid to ask the veterinarian to muzzle or sedate your pet if it is very fearful and may injure itself or the clinic staff.
When visiting a new veterinarian or bringing a new pet to your current veterinarian:
• Have all your pet’s medical records with you at the time of the visit.
• The day before the visit, confirm the directions to the veterinary hospital, double check the date and time of the appointment and investigate parking options so you arrive on time and prepared to focus on your conversation with the veterinarian.
After the visit as been completed:
• Have a nutritious, low-calorie snack ready to reward your pet for a job well done.
For nearly a century, The Animal Medical Center has been a national leader in animal healthcare, known for its expertise, innovation and success in providing routine, specialty and emergency medical care for companion animals. Thanks in part to the enduring generosity of donors, The AMC is also known for its outstanding teaching, research and compassionate community funds. Please help us to continue these efforts. Send your contribution to: The Animal Medical Center, 510 East 62nd Street, New York, NY 10065. Visit www.amcny.org for more information.