We had to stop writing this post because as we were writing, our little dog Piper had horrible belly issues and we had to stop what we were doing and tend to her. It was disgusting. Gag reflexes were met (hi, gag reflex!). We have seen it before (little miss likes getting into the cat food despite the doggie traps we’ve created) but with elderly pets, it is never pleasant.
Luckily we found a good vet in our current area who knows the pets well. They’ve already nicknamed Piper “Pipey”. She tends to win over every vet practice we enter due to her size and coloring. She uses her big bat ears as weapons to woo them in and charm them.
How did we find our vets? Well, first Yelp comes in handy because without any other context, it’s the best we have. You will find that Yelp is subjective. That’s a nice way of saying “Yelp lies”. When arriving in a place that we’ll be for more than a week, we usually like to bring the dogs to a vet we want to use to get a nail trim and laser treatment (for Ally). We give them the pets’ records so they have them on file. It helps to go over their histories in a non-emergent time, because when there is an emergency (and during a time of stress), we don’t have to remember every single important item. It is much easier to discuss their histories when everyone (us and the pet) are calm.
But you can’t always establish the relationship. We find a vet for every night stop we make via Yelp, but if you’re staying a day it doesn’t make sense to try to establish a relationship. This is where decisioning needs to be made.
Once we were in an area where it was suggested that “pet care” equaled “bring them in the back yard”. Knowing this, we opted a day for what we thought was important but not emergent. You have to trust your gut. Also don’t be afraid of getting a second opinion. We found this with Sommer. We knew that kitty seizures are BAD NEWS. A day after we had to euthanize Nala, Sommer had a seizure. Our hearts sunk. We previously had a cat with brain cancer, saw what kitty seizures meant, and brought her in the next day. The practice we went to seemed to brush off the seizures and couldn’t provide good definitive guidance as to what was going on and kind of questioned their own feedback. So we went to a cat hospital where they looked at her history. What they saw from her bloodwork and her demeanor was that she was a hyperthyroid kitty who wasn’t being medicated properly. They altered her dosage. Immediately her numbers normalized and no more seizures.
You’ll also find that area makes vet care better or worse. We’ve found excellent care in areas, terrible in others. Sometimes it’s the area (competition keeps the level up up up), sometimes it’s luck of the draw. Don’t be afraid to stand up for your pet and do what you feel is right. Yelp and Google can only do so much. The rest is up to you.