How do I know when to take my pet to the vet?

How do I know when to take my pet to the vet?

    This is a good question. And it is a rather common question. Because too many times, clients worry that they waited too long or brought their pet to see the doctor too soon and somehow they will be at fault if Fluffy has any issues. At this point, I usually tell them that no amount of guilt will save poor Fluffy from whatever treatment needs to be done. But this is a good time to go over a few things to help when someone is in doubt of when to go see a vet. And as a fan of communication, I thought it would be a great time to share this information with the public – a sort of cheat sheet to help along the way.

    A few of my ideas seem a bit, shall we say “unorthodox”? But I like to find comparisons between different circumstances and scenarios to help people make connections they can remember. One of my favorites is to think of your pet as you would your child. Not just spoiling your pet and not allowing it to date or drive the car, I mean actually describing what’s going on with your pet as you would describe an issue concerning your child. If you were to say “my daughter has been limping for 3 days” – does that seem like something you would take her to the doctor to have checked out? Or, “my son has had diarrhea for 4 days and there is blood in it”? If you said “my daughter was attacked by a dog and is bleeding” – yeah, panic button can’t be pushed fast enough. So, while we cannot, and should not, give human medications to our pets, we can look at their situations and needs much like we do our kids. If saying it about your daughter makes you want to go to the doctor, then your dog shouldn’t be waiting for you to eventually try to help him/her – it’s time to go to the vet.

    If in doubt, your pet needs checked out. If you are calling to see if you need to bring your pet to the vet, then you need to bring your pet to the vet. Even with the best description ever given over the phone, it is still just over the phone. Your doctor is great at what he/she does and wants to provide the very best care to your fur baby, but that cannot be done without a proper exam. If you are worried enough to call and ask, then we need to check your pet out. At the visit you will either get confirmation that something is wrong and your pet will get treatment, or you will get the reassurance that everything is ok and you get to stop worrying. Sounds like a win/win?

    You do not have a degree in veterinary medicine, but you do have more experience with your pet than anyone else. Nobody is born with all the knowledge necessary to care for a pet. And nobody is born with the medical knowledge, terminology and ability needed to medically care for your pet. Each member of our staff had to train, learn, and prove their abilities in order to be a part of our team. And one important, although easily overlooked, aspect of care is that we try to always listen and pay attention to what you observe at home. Pets can’t talk, well most can’t. And those pets rely on you to see something is wrong and to take the necessary steps to get proper treatment.

    Some irritating new habits can be a cry for help. We receive calls quite often about cats who used to go to the litterbox but suddenly started going in other places. While this can be frustrating to deal with, it can also be a sign that your cat needs to be seen. Urinary tract issues can be to blame for this new behavior. And while this new behavior can be aggravating, it can also be a sign of something much more serious. It’s a good idea to rule out anything medical before diving into figuring out the behavioral. So if a new habit has started to show itself, it is a good time for a check up.

    Our pets offer us many positive things including companionship, loyalty, entertainment, and unconditional love. In return, we do our very best to keep those pets happy and healthy. As long as we all strive to do our best and to give our best, we are all moving in the right direction. If you are unsure what to do, bring your pet in. It’s better to have your pet seen and be told everything is ok than to wait and find out too late that it’s not.