When you need to consult a vet, particularly when our beloved fur babies are ill, it is understandable to feel anxious and overwhelmed. You might end up being underprepared for the vet’s visit and forget to acquire crucial information or leave the vet’s without asking a few critical questions.
Fear not! We got your back. When it comes to our precious pets, remember, there are no silly questions. It is up to us, as our pet’s primary caregiver, to arm ourselves with expert guidance and information in order to offer them the finest care possible.
At or around the time of scheduling an appointment, the first thing to do is to make sure you have your pet’s medical records and history on hand to help with diagnosis and treatment. It is advisable to digitise and store everything, including vaccination records, previous vet visits, and all medical history, in a centralised location, for ease of access.
Your veterinarian relies on you to supply information that will assist him or her to rule out potential causes of health situations and make an accurate diagnosis because your pet cannot communicate.
Here is some vital information that you could prepare ahead of time to assist your vet in properly diagnosing and treating your pet.
History of your pet
Nutrition and exercise
Previous medical history
In addition, if your pet is exhibiting erratic symptoms, take loads of photos and videos at the time of the symptoms. Nothing’s worse than having your pet exhibit symptoms only to have them disappear by the time you consult the vet, making diagnosis trickier.
Finally, put together a list of all the questions you would like to ask the vet. You can ask your vet anything about providing the best care for your pet - from nutrition and preventatives to oral care and behaviour. The beginning of the examination is the optimum opportunity to ask questions. Before the end of the consultation, ask your vet any other follow up questions you might have. Remember, there is no such thing as a silly question!
All time is precious, whether it is yours, or your veterinarian’s. By preparing information and your list of questions ahead of time, you can be thorough and efficient in providing medical help to your pet.
Veterinarians are happy that pet owners take an active role in their pets’ care. Vets and their staff spend many years studying to gain the knowledge needed to provide expert medical advice.
You notice something isn't quite right with your pet, but only the vet has the skills and expertise to figure out what's wrong and what to do about it.
Some health situations can also be accurately diagnosed through telemedicine, saving you heaps of time and effort, as well as sparing your sick pet from a stressful trip to the vet’s.
Whether in-person or through telemedicine, here’s a handy list of questions that you can reference to make the most out of a consultation.
1. When do my pet's vaccines need to be given, and which ones should they receive?
Core vaccines are important for dogs and cats, as they prevent life-threatening viral infections . Additional vaccines are available based on your pet's lifestyle and surroundings, particularly if they spend a lot of time outdoors, or are in frequent contact with other dogs or cats
2. What can I give my pet to eat? Is their weight suitable?
There are a plethora of pet food options available. What do you do if you don't know where to start? Begin by selecting a meal that is appropriate for your pet's size, age, and breed. Next, check to see if the brand meets the dietary requirements for complete and balanced nutrition.
Choose only high quality dog or cat food. Cheap, low quality food contains loads of fillers like grain and soy that will not give your pet adequate nutrition.
Consult your veterinarian if your pet has vomiting, diarrhoea, inappetence, weight loss, obesity, or suspected food allergies. In that case, your pet may require a prescription diet. Many pets are overweight because their owners are unaware that they are overfeeding them, or because they are unsure of their pet's proper size.
When viewed from above, dogs and cats should have an hourglass figure, and their waistline should be plainly visible from the side. Normally, you should be capable of feeling the ribs but not see them. This varies according to breed. Certain lean breeds like Greyhounds have more pronounced ribs.
3. How often should I exercise my pet?
Dogs and cats, like us, require exercise every day. It's critical to keep joints and muscles working, to maintain a healthy weight and physical condition, and to keep pets entertained and stimulated so that they don’t become overweight, bored, and possibly destructive.
4. What diseases should I be aware of?
Dental disease, skin problems, ear infections, and non-cancerous skin tumours are among the most frequent ailments in dogs and cats.
Annual exams and open conversation with your veterinarian can help your pet live a longer, happier life by preventing these and other disorders from becoming severe.
5. What is the best time for my pet to have blood work done?
Blood work is usually recommended from around the age of seven when the senior years begin. There are several types of blood tests available. Biochemistry can check liver, kidney, glucose values etc. Complete blood count is to check red blood cells and white blood cells. There are also blood tests for hormones eg. thyroid profile and blood tests to check electrolytes level.
6. Should I brush the teeth of my pet? When should they have their teeth cleaned?
It is recommended to brush your pet's teeth frequently. Other items like dental bones can assist with dental care for pets that dislike brushing.
7. What if I discover lumps on or under the skin of my pet?
On the surface or beneath the skin, dogs and cats can form growths and lumps. This is extremely frequent in dogs, and there are both malignant (cancerous) and benign (non-cancerous) growths and masses to be found.
It is often a good idea to have every lump and bulge examined by your veterinarian. Your vet may use a needle to extract cells from the mass and perform cytology - viewing the cells under a microscope using special stains. While most lumps can be benign, better safe than sorry!
8. What preventative medications must my pet be taking on a monthly basis?
Heartworm and flea and tick prevention should always be given to all dogs and cats once a month or as prescribed. Heartworm prevention includes intestinal parasite management, so if your pet is taking a monthly heartworm preventative medication, it is far less likely to catch roundworms, whipworms, or hookworms.
Pets which have sensitive skin, spend a lot of time outside, or live in hot, humid climates like that of Singapore, need to be protected from fleas and ticks. Tapeworms and a variety of germs are carried by fleas, which can cause serious illness in dogs and cats. Ticks can bring Lyme disease and a range of other diseases in dogs, which can cause serious sickness and even death.
9. How frequently should I give my pet a bath?
Cats, in general, do not require frequent baths since they groom themselves. Depending on the dog breed, they may need a bath every 1-3 weeks. Over-bathing may risk eliminating some of their protective skin oils. If your pet has particular conditions, allergies, or a skin illness, the frequency of baths will vary. Check with your veterinarian if your pet has any exceptional conditions, allergies, or a skin condition.
Additional questions depending on the situation:
Talk to your veterinarian about costs
Talking about money can be uncomfortable for both pet owners and vets. If you're worried about your budget, inform your veterinarian about it. Don't be afraid to inquire about expenses or request an estimate. You can also inquire about pet insurance with your veterinarian.
Asking the right questions and preparing critical information will help your veterinarian to provide your pet with the best healthcare available.
Some health situations can be resolved by telemedicine; and not only will it be more affordable, it also saves you valuable time and effort getting a sick (and stressed out!) pet to the vet.
Also, consider online veterinary resources such as Pawlyclinic the next time you want or need to consult a vet. As you inquire and receive answers, it can be hard to recall everything. Fret not!
With Pawlyclinic, the attending vet is able to provide you with a digital medical report after every single consultation, enabling you to store vital information about your pet’s medical history and proactively manage its health.
Thanks for reading, and good luck to you and your beloved pets!