Ear infections, skin conditions, urinary tract infections, and diarrhoea – the list of the most common pet ailments are long and continue to grow every year. Cancer, hereditary diseases, and breed-specific disorders are more common than before, making frequent vet consultations all the more necessary. In this article, we break down and answer the most common questions related to veterinary consultations – what to expect, when to consult, and when to choose online consultations.
What to expect?
Before a consult:
When deciding to get a pet, it is a good idea to do your research and find a good veterinarian that is close by for any pet emergencies. Visit the vet personally, have a chat, and clear all your doubts. Some pets may not be suitable for apartments, some breeds need more exercise than others, and some cannot be left alone at all. Have these questions answered by a vet before you decide which pet to get.
When you do get your little bundle of joy home, you will need to take them for their very first visit. This is to ensure that they are healthy, they get vaccinated, and their food and care are discussed in detail.
Call your vet to set up an appointment. Ask them if your pet needs to fast beforehand, or if you’ll need to bring in a stool sample. If the pet is vomiting or has irregular stools, it would help in making a faster diagnosis if you’re able to take a sample with you.
If your pet is smaller in size, like rabbits or cats, carry them in a carrier to reduce their anxiety. Get them used to these carriers so that they know that this is a safe space. Have some clothes with your scent on them kept inside the carrier, with their favorite treats, and the carrier door kept open during this phase. Doing so would prevent them from being stressed out when actually being carried to the vet.
If your pet is larger in size, have them on a leash. If they are not sociable with other animals, or if they tend to get aggressive quickly, let the vets know beforehand. They’d either suggest muzzling your pet or keeping you waiting outside, away from the others, until it is time for your appointment.
Do make a note of your pet’s regular routine, so your vet can determine what is out of habit. Note down their food habits, any recent travels or illnesses, their vaccination history, and past medications. Cats and dogs can occasionally miss a meal or have diarrheoa sometimes, without it being a severe illness. However, a change in bird feces or a rabbit not wanting to eat is not a good sign. Mention every single change to your doctor. Nothing is too much information when it comes to the health of your pets
Find out more about what to expect before a consult right here.
During A Consult:
Your vet will usually start the consult by asking you basic questions about your pet. While petting or stroking your pet, they are looking for signs of any abnormalities. They are observing the heart rate, skin conditions, and physical health. You’ll notice that they analyze the ears, eyes, mouth, and skin for any signs of infection. They’d check your pet’s weight and observe their gait. This is a usual routine check-up.
The vet will ask you many questions regarding your pet’s diet, exercise, social habits, toilet routine, and general energy levels. Make sure you mention every detail, no matter how small. The more informed your vet is, the better they can make a quick and accurate diagnosis.
This is also the time for you to ask all your pet-related doubts. Although googling, and asking other pet parents, or breeders might be easier access for you, getting first-hand information from a veterinarian ensures that your pet is well taken care of. Ask whether supplements are needed for your pet. Check if any dietary changes are required. Be fully informed about your pet’s health.
Older pets usually develop certain health issues. Cardiac problems, arthritis, and renal issues are the most common to develop later in life. It may look like your vet is massaging your pet’s belly, but they are in fact looking for any enlarged organs or abnormal growth. A senior pet would need some changes in diet and lifestyle. Instead of once a year, increase your routine medical checks to twice or thrice a year for your pet.
After a consult:
The aftercare depends on your pet’s health issue. If a diagnosis was made, then follow the veterinarian’s instructions explicitly, especially the medication doses. Your pet’s dosage will depend on its weight, making it absolutely crucial to follow the prescribed dosage. Ask your veterinarian for alternative medicines as well in case you have difficulty finding what is prescribed. And keep an after-hours emergency number handy to be prepared for any rare side effects that may arise. Follow up with your veterinarian for a medical update.
If you had booked for a routine check-up, then the aftercare is much less. Remember to book a timely follow-up, ensure the vaccinations are up to date and replenish your pet’s supplements if any.
For older pets, it would be wise to increase the number of routine health checks, as they are more prone to health issues after a certain age, depending on their species and breed. Increasing the frequency of your routine check-ups would help in diagnosing diseases at early stages. This would prolong the life of your beloved pet, and make you better informed about medical emergencies if any.
For dog pet parents, you can find out more about routine check-ups right here.
When To Consult:
At the risk of sounding like a broken record, have routine health check-ups booked for your pet – at least twice a year, for a healthy happy pet.
Other than routine check-ups, you can book a consult when your pet does anything that is not habitual, such as sleeping more than often, being lethargic during playtime, not using the litter box, extra aggressive, low appetite, anything that seems unlikely for your pet.
You would know your pet the best, not Google, not the neighbourhood pet expert, not even the Instagram influencer. Every pet is unique in behaviour and personality. If you feel something is off, irrespective of what others say, book a consult immediately. It may seem small, but you may end up saving your pet’s life.
For those times where the symptoms may seem small, it would be best to book an online consult instead. The veterinarian can determine whether you need a physical visit, or if the issue can be solved through an online consult.
If you are new to online veterinarian consults, you can find out more about them right here.
Dog pet parents can find out more about when to book a consult in this blog post.
Cat parents can find similar information right here.
When to use Online Consults:
If your pet is seriously injured, vomiting blood, choking, or is showing any other critical symptom, then please rush to your nearest pet hospital immediately.
If not, then you can consider booking an online consultation.
Online veterinary consultations can help when you want immediate help but without the hassle of travelling with your pet to a hospital. Most pets tend to dislike visiting a veterinarian, no matter the benefits of frequent visits. It would be advisable to instead have your check-ups done online unless it is absolutely necessary to physically visit the veterinarian.
You can find out more about pet emergencies in this blog post.
Dog emergencies are detailed by a veterinary physician, Dr. Champak, in this post.
Other than the most common symptoms mentioned in this article, many other instances require a veterinarian’s check. Some of which are mentioned below:
Our pets are masters at hiding their medical problems so that they do not seem weak. It is up to us as pet parents to be proactive when it comes to their health. It might also be beneficial in buying pet insurance. You can find out all about pet insurance in this blog post.