Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Good Vets, Bad Vets

Do you have a good relationship with your vet? Do you trust them to take good care of your furry family member? Too many times I’ve heard from people ready to give up because their vet has prematurely given up on their pet. One person told me that their vet felt just because her kitty was elderly and had IBD, she should be put to sleep. Without trying any treatments or proper diagnostics, this vet felt the cat should be euthanized. Luckily the parent didn’t listen and the kitty is now getting the proper treatment for her condition. But this didn’t stop her in the meantime from thinking that it may be the end!

Another person I know lost her kitty because the vet out and out refused to try a different medication with her and there were no other vets around for over 100 miles. The medication is used frequently for cats with IBD and could have potentially saved her life. Maybe not, but it’s always worth trying if there's still a possible chance of recovery. He wouldn’t even consider it and there was no good explanation given as to why. This poor woman eventually lost her best friend. There are more stories like these unfortunately. But thankfully there are plenty of stories of good and even great vets as well.

I know many people with vets that truly care about them and their pets. Some have more experience with IBD and certain medications than others. But here’s the kicker; the ones who don’t…are willing to learn! They take their oaths as healers seriously and put aside any egos to actually listen to the pet parents and possibly even try new things. If you have a vet like this, you’ve won half the IBD battle. You need a vet that will be on the same side of the battle-lines with you and your sick little baby and do what it takes…together.

If you are unhappy with your current vet or you need to find another one for whatever reason, here are some things to look for:

Find a vet that has experience with IBD (or any other disease that may apply) and is willing to learn more about it. They can always do consultations with other vets and/or hospitals and consult with you in the process. They can also take a look at my website and view the case studies to see what’s working and what isn’t for different kitties.

Make sure your vet listens to your concerns about medication side effects, long term dosing and different medication options. Arm yourself with knowledge so you know what questions to ask.

Keep a diary for yourself and your vet so they know exactly what’s happening with your pet and what they’re looking for. Mention any vomiting, soft stools, diarrhea, blood in stools, inappetance and so on. It’s much easier to remember everything that’s happening and give the vet what they need to make a diagnosis. 

Make sure your vet has flexible hours and can squeeze you and your pet in if you feel something is not right. You know your pet better than anyone. If you feel something is very off or they’re sick, don’t wait to call for an appointment. Otherwise you may end up taking your kitty to the emergency.

Ask your vet’s office for a copy of your pet’s records or at the very least, an itemized receipt. This way you know exactly what they gave your pet, how much, what tests were done, etc. If you do have to take kitty to the ER for something like an adverse drug reaction, you’ll know exactly what was given to them.

Just as in your own medical care or that of your human child, be involved and ask questions. It’s you’re right as a pet parent. Any good vet won’t have a problem with that as long as you aren’t bombarding and overwhelming them.