Our pets, just like their owners, can have long term health issues. Regardless of their age, pets can have chronic illnesses to manage. An orthopedic injury at a young age can result in joint pain or limited mobility as the pet grows. Viral infections, particularly in cats, can result in chronic long term issues that must be managed. Diseases affecting the kidney, nervous system, liver, immune system, lungs and heart may require long term medication and/or monitoring.
Our goal at Veterinary Care Specialists and VCS Pets First is for your pet to remain a healthy, happy and active member of your family. The key to meeting those goals, when there are chronic health issues, is working with your veterinarian to create a management plan. Once your pets illness has been diagnosed, your veterinarian will be able to review with you the disease process present, the appropriate treatment plan and expected outcomes. Here are some of the techniques that will be applied to your pets care:
- Your doctor will give you certain parameters to monitor at home like: appetite, weight, water consumption, resting respiratory rate, exercise tolerance, mobility, seizure activity (if they have epilepsy) and general behavior at home.
- Be sure to keep a record of your observations and bring this information to each visit.
- Communication is key should you notice even a subtle change in your pets condition please call. Your observations are valuable and should always be discussed with your pet’s doctor.
- Your doctor will review any medications that will be administered and explain how long your pet would be expected to remain on the medication. We will also explain side effects and any monitoring that will be necessary while your pet is on medications.
- If your pet is to remain on long term medications such as: analgesics (pain medications), anticonvulsants, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAID’s), cardiac medications, blood pressure medications, steroids or other immunosuppressives, your doctor will recommend that your pet be re-evaluated a minimum of every 6 months. Many of these medications are regulated by the DEA and we are unable to refill prescriptions for longer then 6 months before seeing the patient again. In other instances re-evaluations will be based on the safest interval for your pet, based on their health issues and the medications they are taking.
Chronic illness does not mean a shortened life expectancy or a poor quality of life. It does mean that you have an opportunity to make a positive impact on your pet’s life within your family by following veterinary instructions, being thorough in your at home monitoring and administering medications as prescribed.
- Regular visits will be necessary to be sure that your pet remains as successful as possible. Remember, that you and your pet need the benefit of your veterinarians objective assessment of your pets progress. At that time it may just be an exam or blood work, urinalysis, blood pressure testing, radiographs, or ultrasonography may be indicated at prescribed intervals. Your doctor will provide an outline of these expected schedules so you are sure to know when your pets next appointment will need to be scheduled.