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Caring for pets

Our pets are like family. However, when they are sick they cannot tell us how they feel. This makes caring for a sick pet incredibly difficult for you and your vet. In a moment, I’ll tell you how to overcome this limitation with a simple and easy process, but first my own story.

I have dealt with my dog’s health problems for several years. She has had urinary incontinence from a young age (happens to ~10% of spayed females), minor elbow dysplasia, cushing’s disease and diabetes. The diabetes caused diabetic neuropathy and then complete blindness that was recently reversed with successful cataract surgery.

Cushing’s disease and diabetes have a lot of symptoms that overlap, as well as symptoms that mimic old age. As a result, many times these diseases are not properly diagnosed. I was very frustrated with many vets as I could not get a consistent answer on what was happening to my dog. Then, it dawned on me that the vet’s did not have all of the info.

I started to keep a diary of my dog’s health. As the vet visits kept coming because my dog was not getting any better I kept adding to her diary. When I was referred to a specialist I walked in and handed them my dog’s diary. This accomplished several things:

  • It gave the vet a clear patient history throughout her life
  • It ensured I would not forget to tell them anything
  • The record could be added to her new vet file immediately
  • It allowed me to relax knowing that I was providing the best possible informatoin

The lack of language and communication for a dog makes it critical that the owner fill in this gap. The dog cannot tell the vet what is wrong, but if the owner keeps a diary of their dog’s health then the language barrier and it’s problems can be overcome. Also, even as owners we sometimes forget important information to tell the vet, and then we have to go back for more tests!

If you do begin to log your dog’s health I strongly recommend using something like Google Docs. Dogs live for a long time. While it may be tempting to save that information into a document on your computer, who knows where that computer or document may be in 10 years. Using Google Docs you’ll always have access to your document as long as you can access the Internet.

Take an active role in your pet’s health and well being. I can think of no better way than to keep your own record of his/her health through the years.

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