Strategies For The Feline Friendly Vet
Your approach to feline health care determines the quality of your examinations and treatments.
The basic health checks many cat vets miss (and why it matters)
I’m a great believer in Occam’s Razor. Simply put, one should adopt the simplest approach as it will most likely provide you the best understanding of a presenting case. Another way of saying it is to Keep It Simple Sam! So – it is with that in mind that I ALWAYS start with basic checkups…
The most basic cat vet exam includes:
- Taking the cat’s weight
- Listening to the heart
- Collecting Urine
- Collecting blood samples
Despite the vital importance of basic checks for assessing feline health, I am staggered by the number of students and even established vets I work with who bypass these basic revealing steps.
In the end, the result is lose-lose because the cat, the owner and you, the vet, miss out because you can end up not building a relationship with the cat that enables you to easily discover problems or spot possible preventative measures.
And all this in an environment when the cat can quickly get distressed. If you are developing a feline friendly practice you really need to be doing them!
Begin a feline health check before your exam
Before you get the cat out of the carrier, you should have everything you think you will want ready to go. Hanging around and putting cats in and out of carriers just makes the cat cranky.
Adopting Feline Friendly Practice processes and attitudes have created a 5% increase in turnover, with little or no increase in expenditure. Take notice of these simple steps and get the benefits.
Having everything ready keeps you calm and organised, the cat calm and responsive (with more stable results) and the owner confident that you know what you are doing.
I use the same pieces of equipment and conduct the same tests in pretty much the same order every time, so I know what to expect, and can note any variation as unusual. The video series below outlines each of the steps.
See more video examples of conducting a cat vet exam in a Feline Friendly way
Video Series: How to conduct a physical exam
1. Taking the cat’s weight every time they visit you
You can track feline health with weight as it is an early warning system for any potential medical issues. So – for vets, nurses and practice staff…ALWAYS take the weight at visits.
Your clients and staff will benefit by you sharing this page: Creating a cat weight chart at home
If you don’t already do it, I strongly recommend you immediately set up a program to encourage all your clients to also regularly take the weight of their pet.
Clients, their families and even the cats will love you forever if you engage them in this easy, bonding process that reduces the chances of an evasive and sometimes debilitating illness later.
If they have children it can also be a fun activity they all get involved in, supporting the long-term cat-vet-client relationship.
You could even have prizes for the most consistent charts!
2. Always listen to the cats heart
Whether your feline patient is in for a checkup or a more serious condition they don’t always make it easy for you to check the heart.
In this video, I show my best practice position and provide some very Feline Friendly strategies to assist you to take an accurate reading.
Do you or your staff have a problem checking the heart? This video will help.
3. When to collect urine samples, how and with what needles
You can use this video with your vet and nursing staff for my “Best Practice” feline urine collection strategies.
Need a primer on why you need to collect urine? Here’s my handy summary of the value of feline urine tests for assessing feline health.
Many vets and nursing staff do not enjoy working with pet cats and, performing Cystocentesis(collecting urine) can be challenging and protracted. Using the wrong gauge needles can make it even worse for you and the cat. In this video, I outline the needles to use to make that part of the process simpler.
4. Collecting feline blood samples
Every cat has blood. (Yes! It’s true) But every furry feline comes in different shapes and sizes, packets and colours so you need more than one type of needle for collecting blood. Unfortunately, as I explain in the video above, suppliers can almost try and force you to use a particular size needle determined by the tube size they supply. This forces you to collect more blood than is necessary, often from the jugular vein and the result can be very Feline UNfriendly!
Educate your team about the correct needles with the video below
Learn more about the Feline Friendly way of Collecting Blood Samples