Dear Readers: Recently, I presented resolutions for the new year for veterinarians. Now I'd like to offer several similar resolutions for pet owners to adopt.
In 2004, as a pet owner who wants to keep my pet as healthy as possible, I will ...
- Find a veterinarian who listens to me and doesn't rush through the visit. Formulating a proper diagnosis and treatment requires time and is only possible if I relay critical information. I will bring to the appointment a list of concerns and questions.
- Allow the doctor to get a diagnosis first when possible. The doctor needs to know exactly what is wrong before my pet can be properly treated.
- Ask for a second opinion before it's too late. Even the best doctor doesn't know everything.
- Feed my pet the best diet. When possible I will prepare food at home for my pet. Otherwise, I'll learn to read pet food labels and avoid foods containing byproducts and chemicals.
- Say "NO" to drugs whenever possible. If drugs are needed I will use the lowest dose possible, and insist my pet be monitored when needed for side effects.
- Not ignore potentially serious problems. If the doctor hears a heart murmur during the exam, I will pursue treatment for heart disease. Dirty, infected teeth should be cleaned as soon as possible to prevent further pain, infection and inflammation. Tumors should be evaluated or removed; I won't watch cancer grow.
- Practice preventive medicine, insisting upon an annual exam and blood tests, and semiannual exams and blood tests on my pets once they reach 7.
- Accept that most pets do NOT need annual vaccinations. I will only vaccinate my pet if and when needed as determined through antibody titer blood tests. I will not vaccinate my pet if she is sick.
- Treat my pet as she ages as aggressively as I did when she was younger. Pets should not be ignored because they are older.