Before visiting your GP, you probably list the questions you want answered. So why not do the same for your pet! Here are our top 10 questions to ask your vet at your next visit.
It goes without saying that we all lead busy lives. To manage, many of us have an easily accessible diary or notebook to jot down notes or questions as and when we think of them. After all, who can remember the thousands of thoughts we have scurrying through our brains each day!
Well, it's also important the family pet gets the same treatment when it comes to thinking about questions you're looking for answers to. And we've all done it - "What was that question I wanted to ask the vet again?".
Whether for your fur friend's next routine check-up, or in case of emergency, write down any questions that pop into your mind in the same place you would for yourself or your family. That way you'll never forget to ask those niggling or important questions during the appointment.
But first, questions from the vet...
During a clinical examination of your pet, your vet will no doubt ask you a range of questions depending on the reason for the visit.
For example, if seeking a diagnosis to an issue with your cat, the vet will probably want to know if the animal has experienced vomiting, diarrhoea, changes to their feeding behaviours (including loss of appetite), thirst changes and increased urination. For example, excessive thirst and increased urination may be a sign of diabetes or kidney failure.
After answering the vet's questions, you will have the opportunity to ask questions of your own. Regardless of your visit, these are useful questions to know the answers to so you can be well armed to give your fur friend the best life possible.
With that in mind, here are our top 10 important questions to ask your vet.
10 questions to ask your vet
1. What is my pet's ideal weight?
Obesity in pets is an increasingly common problem. It is a very real condition with very real consequences to health. These can include cardiovascular and other heart-related diseases, respiratory difficulties, cancers, joint problems, susceptibility to infections, diabetes, depression, and many more.
Your vet will be able to tell you the ideal weight of your pet based on its breed, age, sex and physical condition, and give you personalised nutritional advice.
They will also likely weigh your animal to see where they are at. If they are under or overweight, your vet will be able to help guide you in returning it to a healthy level.
2 . What should I feed my pet?
It is important to offer a complete and balanced diet so that your fur friend leads a healthy and happy life.
Be wary of cheap pet food, as well as fancy product packaging with buzzwords such as 'natural' or 'real meat' etc. These can often be misleading as the product may well include high levels of sugar, artificial flavourings, or only a small and inadequate amount of decent nutrition.
Instead, seek expert advice from your vet. Whether you choose dry food, wet food, or a mix of both, always ensure you go for quality. If budget is an issue, talk to your vet about suitable options for you.
3. Are my pet's teeth and gums healthy?
The disease is progressive and begins with the gradual accumulation of dental plaque. Left, this plaque produces many pathogenic bacteria that then colonise the mouth.
Gingivitis then develops (inflammation of the gingiva), which is accompanied by scale deposition on the teeth. This then evolves into periodontitis.
At this stage, the accumulation of tartar on the teeth and under the gum is very important. The consequences can be local, with tooth loss and destruction of dental bone, but also with the potential of bacteria passing into the blood, which can reach other organs of the body (heart, liver, kidneys, etc).
This is why it is important to closely monitor the oral health of your pet before lesions become irreversible. Your vet is not only your pet's doctor but also their dentist!
4. Are their blood tests up to date?
Blood tests can detect certain infectious or congenital diseases. They can also determine if various nutrients are lacking.
Biochemical assessments are useful to identify certain health problems. They are routinely made when the animal ages to monitor their health so find out when your pet had their last blood test - and when they'll be due for their next routine one.
5. Why does my pet need to play? And how much?
It might seem like a strange question to ask, but many pet parents aren't always aware of how much this is needed to ensure their pet is suitably stimulated.
It's vital that all pets are played with in some manner suited to their personalities, instincts, surroundings and so on. This is especially the case for indoor pets or those who remain inside the house for extended periods.
For example, indoor cats need to exercise their hunting instincts while dogs at home during the day need entertainment to avoid getting bored, destroying items, and becoming depressed. Thus games are essential!
6. How often should I bring my pet to the vet?
Depending on the type, breed, age, physical capacity or even lifestyle of your pet, your vet will be able to recommend when you should bring them in for regular check-ups. These should be adhered to regardless of any other unforeseen incidences, unless otherwise specified by your vet.
7. What are the essential vaccines?
Again, this will depend on the type, breed, age and lifestyle of your pet.
For example, your cat should have the first injection at the age of two months, and the second a month later, although this should be done by shelter homes and breeders. This is important to find out!
Annual boosters may also be necessary for effective protection of certain diseases, parasites and so on. It is also imperative that vaccines are not overlooked as your pet ages as their immune system will begin to decline in their later years making them more susceptible to illness.
8. How to administer medication to my cat ?
There are a variety of ways prescribed medications can be administered to your pet depending on the condition being treated. Treatment options may come in the form of tablets, lotions, liquids, chewable gummies, drops or other.
Your vet will be able to tell you how best to administer the treatment prescribed to ensure it is properly given. They may even demonstrate and get you to practice with them for any of the more challenging methods.
9. Are there generic medication options available for pets?
You may well have been asked if you'd like the generic version of a medication prescribed to you by a doctor. These are the same drug produced under a different brand at a cheaper price.
Therefore, if your budget is very tight and your pet requires extensive medicalisation, ask your vet if there are cheaper alternatives or generic forms to help reduce the cost to you.
10. How much will these routine consultations cost?
Vets get asked this question all the time so don't be shy asking them how much you can expect to outlay for routine medical check-ups for your pet.
You may also like to find out about additional costs involved when a blood test is conducted (for the pathological analysis), samples are taken (and assessed) and approximate costs of potential surgery. You can also about therapeutic alternatives, although ensure that you provide your pet with veterinary-recommended, scientifically-proven treatments where required.
Arming yourself with as much information as you can about giving your pet the very best care will help to ensure they live a long, happy and healthy life, and provide you with years of of joy and wonderful memories.
What other questions would you ask your vet?