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Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Need to know that your Vet will look after your pet well when they are sick? The best solution is to find a good vet in advance before you need one, to make sure that you feel happy that they will provide the best care for your particular pet.

Ask others in your area of their experiences, word of mouth recommendations are very valuable as they are not biased and you are more likely to get a true appraisal of the abilities of the vet and the practice in general.
Approach local Animal Shelters and animal clubs who will have experience of many different vets.

* Not all vets can be judged the same this is because some vets practices specialise more in one type of animal than others. This is especially true in rural areas where the bulk of the vets work may be with larger farm animals. It is important therefore to compare several vets and to find out as much as possible about their individual experience and knowledge with the care of cats.
* When visiting and comparing different vet surgeries you should have already prepared a set of questions to ask. These questions should include:
* Opening times, important if you need to have flexible access to your vet, for instance evenings and weekends.
* Fees – find out their standard consultation fees, also their fees for standard treatments such as vaccinations, worm and flea treatments etc.
* Emergencies – what are the arrangements for out of hours emergency care for your cat, for instance do they do home visits?
* Alternative medicine – find out what their attitude is towards alternative and complementary treatments for your cat, such as homoeopathy and acupuncture. Holistic treatments such as these can have many benefits especially in the older cat.

Never be afraid to ask a vet what their experience is in the treating your particular breed of pet. This may be especially important if you have pedigree show cats for instance that may require specialist care. In which case making sure that the vet you choose is up to date with all the latest medical advancements in cat care would be a benefit.

* Once a suitable vet has been chosen, you will need to discuss with them your cat care and what their recommendations are for the inoculations etc over the coming year. The types of inoculation required will vary depending on the particular risks in your geographical area and also the age and medical history of the animal. As a general rule the program for treatment are:
* Nine weeks – first vaccination
* Twelve weeks – second vaccination
* 16 weeks – spaying for female cats
* 4 – 6 months – neuteringfor male pets.
* 6 months – first flea treatment then monthly thereafter
* Every six months – worm treatment
* Every year - booster vaccinations and check up
* The yearly check up carried out by your vet will include:
* Checking for parasites and mites, your vet will look in the ears for any signs of infection causes by mites etc and will brush the fur around the neck area to check for flea dirt’s.
* Teeth – the vet will check for gum disease and any loose or bad teeth. You may notice them scraping the teeth with their fingernail to remove any plaque build up.
* Weight – many vets will weigh the cat and keep a record of this. Often loss of body weight and condition can be one of the first signs of an underlining illness.


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