AAHA, AAFP announce new feline healthcare guidelines - DVM
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AAHA, AAFP announce new feline healthcare guidelines
Groups hope guidelines improve consistency of care


Overcoming barriers to veterinary visits

"Cats are perceived as being self-sufficient because they hide their pain and illnesses. We need to educate clients about that," Rodan says. "There's also a lot of fear associated with bringing cats to the veterinarian. People don't want to be the bad guy dragging the cats in. We need to change that."

Recommendations cover topics like reducing the stress of transport, making the cat and client comfortable at the clinic and facilitating calm examinations and treatment. Recommendations begin at the start, helping kittens become comfortable with the carrier and traveling, and continue in the clinic by reducing wait times and giving cats time to adjust to the exam room and unfamiliar surroundings.

Web resources on cat healthcare

The guidelines include a lengthy list of Web sites and online publications for veterinarians, clients or both audiences. The AAFP will be offering more online links and materials to aid client education at http://catvets.com/professionals/guidelines/publications.

Ultimately, Rodan says the avenue to healthier cats and more frequent feline veterinary visits is the personal relationship veterinarians build with clients. "There needs to be that client-veterinarian bond for us to have credibility and increase compliance," she says. The new guidelines are a step in helping veterinarians see what today's feline experts recommend and communicating that to clients.

Cats and chips

As the guidelines flowed through the approval process, one practitioner found something missing completely: microchipping. The committee filled the gap with a paragraph on "Identification" that read in part:

"Assuring the indentification of all pet cats, regardless of their lifestyle, is recommended to increase the prospect of lost cats being returned to their owners.

"The wellness examination is the ideal time to discuss the important of identification with owners. The benefits of both visible (e.g., collar and tag) and permanent (microchip) identification should be explained, and compliance with identification [should be] recorded in the medical records along with other elements of the history."


Source: DVM360 MAGAZINE,
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