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Choosing A Vet

Just like choosing the right doctor for your family, it is important to find a vet you can trust for the care of your cat. It is important that a suitable vet is found before you bring your new pet home, just in case you need to take them to see a vet during the first few days of ownership.

The best way to find a local vet that you can trust is to ask others of their experiences, word of mouth recommendations are very valuable as they are not biased and you are more likely to get a true appraisal of the abilities of the vet and the practice in general. Another good way to find a vet in your area is to approach local animal shelters and cat clubs who will have experience of many different vets.

Not all vets can be judged the same this is because some vets practices specialise more in one type of animal than others. This is especially true in rural areas where the bulk of the vets work may be with larger farm animals. It is important therefore to compare several vets and to find out as much as possible about their individual experience and knowledge with the care of cats.

When visiting and comparing different vet surgeries you should have already prepared a set of questions to ask. These questions should include:

Opening times, important if you need to have flexible access to your vet, for instance evenings and weekends.

Fees - find out their standard consultation fees, also their fees for standard treatments such as vaccinations, worm and flea treatments etc.

Emergencies - what are the arrangements for out of hours emergency care for your cat, for instance do they do home visits?

Alternative medicine - find out what their attitude is towards alternative and complementary treatments for your cat, such as homoeopathy and acupuncture. Holistic treatments such as these can have many benefits especially in the older cat.

Never be afraid to ask a vet what their experience is in the treating of cats. This may be especially important if you have pedigree show cats that may require specialist care. In which case making sure that the vet you choose is up to date with all the latest medical advancements in cat care would be a benefit.

Once a suitable vet has been chosen, you will need to discuss with them your cat care and what their recommendations are for the inoculations etc over the coming year. The types of inoculation required will vary depending on the particular risks in your geographical area and also the age and medical history of the cat. As a general rule the program for treatment for kittens are:

Nine weeks - first vaccination
Twelve weeks - second vaccination
16 weeks - spaying for female cats
4 - 6 months - neutering for male cats
6 months - first flea treatment then monthly thereafter
Every six months - worm treatment
Every year - booster vaccinations and check up

The yearly check up carried out by your vet will include:

Checking for parasites and mites, your vet will look in the ears for any signs of infection causes by mites etc and will brush the fur around the neck area to check for flea dirt's.

Teeth - the vet will check for gum disease and any loose or bad teeth. You may notice them scraping the teeth with their fingernail to remove any plaque build up.

Weight - many vets will weigh the cat and keep a record of this. Often loss of body weight and condition can be one of the first signs of an underlining illness.

Finding a vet that you can trust and feel comfortable with is essential to ensure that you always feel confident that your pet is receiving the best care and that you are paying a reasonable price for their treatment. Vet costs and expertise in cat care can vary quite dramatically from one practice to another, so by taking your time to find the right one for you and your cat will have great benefits for you both.

More cat health and cat care tips can be found at our site A feline friendly community full of helpful advice and fun things to do to make sure you have a happy cat and a happy you. Kate's second site promotes simple living and the reduction of waste and personal debt.

Copyright 2007 Kate Tilmouth

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