The following is a list of answers to the questions most frequently asked by members of the public:
Finding the right veterinarian is a matter of personal choice and preference. The vicinity of the clinic is only one consideration. In selecting a veterinarian your goals should be to find the doctor that best meets your needs and to establish a long-term relationship. The veterinarian will maintain a history of your pet, including health records that detail immunizations, reactions to medications, behavior traits, etc. So, it is important to see your veterinarian for all your pet’s health care needs.
Tips to Help You in Selecting a Veterinarian:
Fees and Payment
You are entitled to ask your doctor for charges in advance. Comparing price alone, however, does not reflect the level of service veterinary practitioners provide. In veterinary care, the development of a close doctor/client/pet relationship is of utmost importance. The knowledge your veterinarian has of your pet from past physicals, along with his or her recognition of your concerns – financial, personal, and pet oriented – enables your veterinarian to guide you in selecting the best health care choices for your pet.
CVMA endorses the best possible care for each animal, taking into consideration the owner’s financial constraints. Remember, as with most products and services, you usually get what you pay for, and a low cost treatment choice may even cost you more in the long run.
For Denver residents who meet financial requirements, PetAid Animal Hospital (191 Yuma St, Denver, 80223) offers affordable, high-quality spay/neuter procedures to the general public at reduced rates to qualified low or fixed income pet owners. As a non-profit organization, PetAid Animal Hospital is able to subsidize some surgical procedures by receiving funding from alternative means. These savings are passed on to qualified low-income pet owners. To find out if you qualify, or for more information, call 303.722.5800, or visit www.PetAidColorado.org.
As with the answer to the previous question, price is only one consideration when considering health care procedures for your animal. In addition, a veterinarian will not be able to quote you an accurate price for procedures such as vaccinations without performing a physical examination of your pet, and having a thorough discussion of the animal’s characteristics and lifestyle. For example, a small dog in an urban environment may have different vaccination requirements than a large dog in a rural setting. Visit with your veterinarian for the most appropriate vaccination protocol for your animal.
Automated verification of licensure is available via telephone from the Colorado State Board of Veterinary Medicine at 303.894.7437. For more information visit the State Board Web site at http://www.dora.state.co.us/library/alis.htm.
Behavior problems are the number one reason owners are dissatisfied with their pet(s), so they are important to address. Your first step when considering pet behavior is to visit your veterinarian. Behavior problems in animals can often be the result of an underlying medical condition. It is important to rule out physical problems before addressing the behavior issue. Once illness or other physical ailments have been ruled out, your veterinarian will be able to recommend a behavior specialist.
Before taking your animal in for an elective procedure such as tail docking or ear cropping, it is important to talk with your veterinarian about the risks of each medical procedure. These procedures cause pain and distress, and, as with all surgical procedures, are accompanied by inherent risks of anesthesia, blood loss, and infection. Talk to your veterinarian about the specific risks for your animal.
Recently, the American Animal Hospital Association and the American Veterinary Medical Association have opposed ear cropping and tail docking of pets when performed for cosmetic reasons alone. Ear cropping and tail docking in dogs for cosmetic reasons are not medically indicated nor of benefit to the patient. In addition, AAHA has encouraged the elimination of these procedures from breed standards. What may be a breed standard today may not be tomorrow.
The American Animal Hospital Association and the American Veterinary Medical Association have recommended that canine devocalization only be performed by a licensed veterinarian as a final alternative after all behavior modification efforts to correct excessive barking have failed. Consult with your veterinarian about alternative options first.
Both the American Animal Hospital Association and the American Veterinary Medical Association state that de-clawing of domestic cats should be considered only after attempts have been made to prevent the cat from using its claws destructively or when its clawing presents a health risk for its owner(s).
The following points should be considered before discussing de-clawing with your veterinarian:
Scratching is a normal feline behavior, is a means for cats to mark their territory both visually and with scent, and is used for claw conditioning (“husk” removal) and stretching activity.
Owners must provide suitable implements for normal scratching behavior. Examples are scratching posts, cardboard boxes, lumber or logs, and carpet or fabric remnants affixed to stationary objects. Implements should be tall or long enough to allow full stretching, and be firmly anchored to provide necessary resistance to scratching. Cats should be positively reinforced in the use of these implements.
Appropriate claw care (consisting of trimming the claws every 1 to 2 weeks) should be provided to prevent injury or damage to household items.
Surgical de-clawing is not a medically necessary procedure for the cat in most cases. While rare in occurrence, there are inherent risks and complications with any surgical procedure including, but not limited to, anesthetic complications, hemorrhage, infection, and pain. If onychectomy is performed, appropriate use of safe and effective anesthetic agents and the use of safe peri-operative analgesics for an appropriate length of time are imperative. The surgical alternative of tendonectomy is not recommended.
De-clawed cats should be housed indoors.
Scientific data do indicate that cats that have destructive clawing behavior are more likely to be euthanatized, or more readily relinquished, released, or abandoned, thereby contributing to the homeless cat population. Where scratching behavior is an issue as to whether or not a particular cat can remain as an acceptable household pet in a particular home, surgical onychectomy may be considered.
There is no scientific evidence that de-clawing leads to behavioral abnormalities when the behavior of de-clawed cats is compared with that of cats in control groups.
Check with your veterinarian to determine whether or not the veterinary practice accepts pet insurance.
The American Animal Hospital Association offers a guide to AAHA-approved pet insurance providers:
Pet Insurance Buyers Guide: AAHA Seal of Acceptance