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Page 18 Healthy Cells Magazine Peoria May 2014

The Best Veterinary Care for Your Pet

By Lauren Malmberg, Peoria County Animal Protection Services
ment without your pet to meet the veterinarian and staff, observe
the clinic or hospital, and learn about the practice's health care
philosophies and policies. You'll want to be comfortable with your
veterinarian and free to ask any questions necessary related to
your pet's care. And, you'll want your pet to be comfortable with
the veterinarian as well.
Establish an Effective Relationship
Once you've selected a veterinarian, make an appointment
for your pet's first exam. Depending upon the species, you may
need required vaccinations, fecal exams, and other diagnostic
examinations to start. Listen to your veterinarian's recommenda-
tions, and determine the preventive health care practices you'll
need to follow. Your vet should be able to make diet and exercise
recommendations; suggest vaccine, de-worming, and parasite
prevention protocols; and discuss procedures like spaying or
neutering that will benefit your pet.
healthy pets
anaging our pet's care is as essential to their well-being
as managing our own health care is to ours. Pet owners
must select a veterinarian, establish an effective relation-
ship, implement preventive health care practices, and maintain
necessary routines to provide the best health care for their animal
Choosing a Veterinarian
Selecting a veterinarian can be one of the most important
decisions you make for your pet's health care. You can begin
your search by asking friends or relatives for recommendations
for veterinary services who do they use for their pets? Do a bit
of research into the office you're interested in. Check with the
vet to inquire about the number of veterinarians on staff, what
services are available, their fee/payment structures, and what
types of animals may be treated. If you're looking for a specialist,
ask about board certification. You can also make an appoint-
May 2014 Peoria Healthy Cells Magazine Page 19
Having good client manners encourages a happy relationship
with your vet. Be a good client and see your vet regularly, not
just when your pet becomes ill. Learn what's normal for your pet,
so you can recognize the first signs of illness. If your pet is not
well, don't wait until he's really sick before you consult your vet-
erinarian. Schedule appointments and be on time. Don't expect
your veterinarian to diagnose a pet's problem over the telephone.
Even in an emergency, call ahead to ensure your vet is available.
Don't waste precious time driving to the office only to be referred
to an emergency clinic. Take your dog in on a leash and under
control; bring your cat in a carrier.
Hopefully, you'll continue to see the same veterinarian as your
pet ages. Not only will your pet be more comfortable with some-
one he knows (just as you will), but the doctor will also be able to
observe your animal's health as he ages. With an effective relation-
ship, you can consult with your vet whenever a health issue arises
he will have a historical perspective of your pet and be more able
to help you. Still, if you're not comfortable with the first professional
you choose, don't worry about leaving. Most veterinary practices,
like all businesses, understand that clients may come and go. If
you must leave, be sure to ask that a complete copy of your dog's
health records be mailed or faxed to you or your new vet.
Provide Routine Veterinary Care
Annual visits to the veterinarian can help prolong your animal's
life and certainly maintain his good health. While they may seem
unnecessary, regular veterinary visits allow the doctor to evaluate
the animal's behavior, diet, and life stage. During the examina-
tions, your vet will likely gauge your pet's dental, body, and mus-
cle conditions. On the basis of the examination and your pet's
history, your vet can then assess the animal for potential medical
conditions, infectious and zoonotic diseases, and genetic, breed,
or age-related conditions.
Based on his observations, your vet can recommend parasite
prevention or control, nutritional changes, and behavior modifica-
tions if necessary. Dental care is of primary importance as poor
teeth can lead to a number of serious health issues. Changes
in your pet's dental condition can be identified early if routine
examinations are conducted.
We always want our pet to live as long as possible; the hardest
part of pet ownership can be losing him or her especially at
a young age. You can help prolong your pet's life by feeding an
appropriate diet, providing adequate exercise, and maintaining
his health through proper veterinary care.
Consider adopting a new pet when you're ready from an ani-
mal shelter or rescue group, like the Peoria County Animal Pro-
tection Services. We have many terrific domestic pets looking for
forever homes. Come visit us today! Call Peoria County Animal
Protection Services at 309-672-2440.
This article is sponsored by Waggin Tails Doggy Daycare and
Resort, Goodfield, IL. Call 309-642-9299 or email waggintailsre- for your dogs boarding, doggy day care, and
grooming needs.
Photo credit: Fuse/Thinkstock
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