3 steps can help your pet have its best vet visit ever

It’s an all-too-common scenario: Your dog or cat freaks out the minute he gets wind that the next stop is the veterinarian’s office. Not only is the vet visit stressful for him, but if he becomes aggressive or uncooperative, it’ll be hard for the staff to give him the care he needs. To ensure that things go as smoothly as possible for all concerned, take these steps before you set out to the vet:

1. Find the right vet

Ask fellow pet owners for referrals. Look for an office that is clean and welcoming, where the overall feeling is that the staff genuinely loves animals. The doctors should be approachable, willing to answer your questions and hopefully evoke a positive response in your pet. Once you’ve found a practice you like—and one where your pet feels comfortable with the doctors and staff—make sure to transfer any previous health and vaccination records.

2. Visit the office when nothing’s wrong

If trips to the vet only conjure up memories of feeling sick or undergoing uncomfortable examinations, your pet is likely to panic before a visit. Demystify the experience by stopping by the office once in a while for a quick pat or treat from the receptionist, so your pal has positive associations as well. (This takes a lot more effort for cat owners, but it’s especially important to give it a try. Since cats don’t generally engage with the outside world as much as dogs do, they can be extremely skittish and difficult to handle when they need health care.)

3. Be prepared and do your homework

Making a vet visit pleasant is a two-way street. Always keep your pet in a carrier or on a leash while in the waiting area (because even if she’s not aggressive, you can’t predict how other animals will behave). If your pet tends to become protective of you while in the exam room, offer to step outside so the doc can do her job. You’ll reap the most benefits from the appointment if you’re organized and know the details of your pal’s diet (what he eats and how much), his bowel and urinary habits, and any unusual behaviors you may have noticed. If you’re concerned that your pet has eaten something potentially toxic, bring a sample that the doctor can evaluate. Bottom line: The better prepared you are for a vet visit, the better your pet will fare.

Vital Vaccines Your Pet May Need

Current guidelines identify vaccines as either core, non-core or not recommended. Core vaccines are considered vital because the risk and severity of a disease are high and it can be transmitted to you. Non-core are given depending on the animal’s exposure risk. Your vet can determine an appropriate vaccine schedule based on age and breed.

Dog Vaccines

Core Vaccines

  • Canine parvovirus
  • Distemper
  • Canine hepatitis
  • Rabies

Non-Core Vaccines

  • Bordetella
  • bronchiseptica
  • Borrelia burgdorferi
  • Leptospira
  • interrogans

Cat Vaccines

Core Vaccines

  • Panleukopenia
  • Feline calicivirus
  • Feline viral rhinotracheitis (FVR)
  • Rabies

Non-Core Vaccines

  • Feline leukemia virus
  • Bordetella
  • Chlamydophila felis
  • Feline Immunodeficiency Virus (FIV)

Source: Written by Babette Gladstein, V.M.D.

From Remedy+ digital magazine, a part of our Remedy Health Media family (Fall 2011)

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Publication Review By: the Editorial Staff at Healthcommunities.com

Published: 23 Sep 2011

Last Modified: 15 Dec 2014