Preventive medicine for feline patients provides link to comprehensive care - DVM
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Preventive medicine for feline patients provides link to comprehensive care

DVM Best Practices

Reproduction is a preventive medicine topic that should be broached at the initial examination of young cats. Clients need to be educated on the health benefits of spaying and neutering. It may also help to mention the pet owner's responsibility in containing the pet overpopulation problem. Both doctors and staff should be willing to discuss the pre-surgical protocol (pre-op laboratory work, vaccination requirements), the anesthetic protocol and monitoring capabilities, the surgical procedure itself, hospital stay, pain management protocol and post-operative care. Informed clients are more apt to agree to spaying and neutering and feel better about the fees they pay when they understand how much is involved in a "routine" ovariohysterectomy or castration.

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One for good behavior Feline behavior is a topic that bears discussion throughout a cat's lifetime as part of an overall health program. It's more difficult to maintain a successful preventive medicine plan for the cat that is banished outdoors because he clawed up the new sofa. Behavior counseling is yet another area where our staff members are very helpful. Basics of litter box training, spraying, scratching, and aggression in multi-cat households are daunting problems for cat owners and they appreciate the time that staff members take to discuss these situations. Keeping the cat part of the family unit is not only an obligation, it makes us feel good and it provides the hospital with a long-term, loyal client who will bolster the bottom line of the practice.

Veterinarians assume many duties during the course of a regular workday and all of them fall under the auspices of health care guardian. Successful preventive medicine protocols depend on the doctor in charge but involve the entire clinic and are team efforts. We veterinarians must decide what to include in the practice program by weighing the risk of disease (infectious or parasitic), difficulty of treatment (in clinic and at home), and expense of treatment (cost of medication or new couch) against the risk of prevention (vaccine reactions) and cost of prevention (premium pet food, parasiticides). The balance must be re-calibrated for every preventive medicine issue and the hospital program designed by the tip of the scale. Whatever is included in a hospital's feline preventive medicine program, the clinic and its patients will be the better for it. And what's just one more job for a busy veterinarian?

Dr.Buzhardt is a companion animal practitioner and along with her husband, is co-owner of The Animal Center, Inc., in Zachary, Louisiana. A native of Louisiana, she graduated from Louisiana State University School of Veterinary Medicine in 1980.

Buzhardt has more than 20 years of experience in conducting pharmaceutical field trials. She has served as a spokesperson for several animal health companies on key issues of concern to pet owners and lectures to fellow veterinarians on medical topics as well. As an advocate of the human-companion animal bond, Buzhardt has been recognized by the human medical community for her seminars that focus on integrating infants into pet-owning households. She also coordinates pet therapy programs for the elderly and pet education programs in elementary schools.


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