Animal Health

You and Your Veterinarian: Partners in Health

Selecting a veterinarian is a personal choice, much like selecting your family physician or dentist. In choosing a veterinarian, your goals should be to find the doctor t

hat best meets your needs and to establish a long-term relationship.

Considerations in Selecting a Veterinarian

  • Office Hours
    What are the doctor’s regular office hours? Are they compatible with your schedule? Who covers the practice when the doctor is unavailable
  • Professional Staff
    How are routine telephone calls handled? If there is more than one veterinarian in the practice, can you request an appointment with a specific veterinarian? Do you feel comfortable talking with the doctor?
  • Fees and Payment
    What methods of payment are accepted? Is immediate payment expected on the day of visit? Are credit cards accepted? Is pet insurance accepted?
  • Services
    What is the range of services that the veterinary hospital provides?
  • Emergency Care
    How are emergency calls handled during regular office hours and after regular office hours?
  • Facility
    Is the practice clean and orderly? Are there any unpleasant odors?
  • Professional Affiliations
    Is the veterinarian a member of a professional veterinary association?
  • Policies
    Do you understand the hospital’s policies and procedures?

From the American Veterinary Medical Association

Generosity of Veterinarians

The Veterinarian’s Oath reads:

“Being admitted to the profession of veterinary medicine, I solemnly swear to use my scientific knowledge and skills for the benefit of society through the protection of animal health and welfare, the prevention and relief of animal suffering, the conservation of animal resources, the promotion of public health, and the advancement of medical knowledge.  I will practice my profession conscientiously, with dignity, and in keeping with the principles of veterinary medical ethics.  I accept as a lifelong obligation the continual improvement of my professional knowledge and competence”

When veterinarians receive their license, they are taking an oath to care for and provide adequate health care to animals.  With that being said, many times veterinarians are a humble crowd and do many things that you, the pet owner, are sometimes not aware of:

  • Give up their time: Many times veterinarians don’t want to leave the hospital or their clinic.
  • Use their free time to accommodate walk-ins or complete diagnosis, medical records, return phone calls, check on patients, and take emergencies surgeries if needed.
  • Stay late in order to make sure every animal is seen.
  • They value personalized connection with clients and their animals.
  • Good vets take the time to educate the client and make sure the client is aware of a drug’s side effect and how it should be administered.
Large Animal

pigs 2Swine veterinarians are critical partners in the care and treatment of swine herds. For more information about swine veterinary medicine, click here.

Bovine veterinarians are licensed animal health professionals who are qualified to diagnose and treat cattle in the beef or dairy industries. To complete their duties, bovine vets routinely travel to locations where cattle are kept to provide medical services.  For more information on bovine veterinary medicine visit, click here.

Equine Medicine

fall horse 4Equine veterinarians care for your horse. For many equine owners, their horse is a gentle companion. With proper care, including veterinary care, horses can live long lives, giving their owners many years of joy.

Important areas of equine veterinary medicine:

Horses Body Condition Scores – Regular body condition scoring helps you keep your horse in good health. Learn how and when to score your horse with Dr. Bob Coleman of the University of Kentucky.  Click Here for the explanation!

Equine Dentistry –

All horses deserve a thorough oral examination by an equine veterinarian at least once a year to ensure good overall health. While most dental problems are easily treated when diagnosed early, neglecting one can lead to other serious health problems for your horse. Learn how you can keep your horse smiling with proper dental care.

Proper dental care is essential to your horse’s health, well-being, and longevity. Even if your horse does not show outward symptoms of dental problems, it’s likely that he has developed sharp points on his teeth which can interfere with his ability to chew hay and grain easily. As horses age, it is important to maintain an even bite plane in order to ensure a level grinding surface into their later years. Otherwise, the surfaces may be worn excessively and/or unevenly, and alignment may be impossible, possibly leading to gum disease in older horses. Among many benefits, proper equine dental care can prevent premature tooth loss, reduce impaction and colic, allow easier tooth eruption, and prevent pain during bit use and feeding. Ask your veterinarian to recommend a dental care program that is appropriate for your horse.

FAQ About Dental Care with Dr. Jack Easley – Click here
Equine Dental Care: Don’t Forget the Teeth – Click here
Equine Dental Glossary – Click here
Understanding Your Horse’s Teeth – Click here
The Importance of Maintaining the Health of Your Horse’s Mouth – Click here

Emergency Care

Nose of DogPet Poison Helpline 1-855-213-6680

Click here for an article about the top 10 pet toxins.

Click here for the Community Pet Preparedness Toolkit (from FEMA)

Click here for information on “Dog Emergencies”

Click here for a Family Disaster Plan.

Click here for a brochure on Emergency Pet Preparedness (IN BOAH)

Small Animal

Choosing a Pet

The relationship between humans and their animals is a unique bond. Whether a cat, dog, hamster, bird, horse, or fish, pets can bring joy and companionship to our lives. However, great responsibility comes into play when bringing a pet into a home. Those who are considering owning a pet, have to understand the responsibilities that come with pet care including: food, shelter, grooming, training and regular examinations and vaccines with a veterinarian.

If your family decides to bring home a new puppy or kitten, it is important to understand the special care and attention needed to help the animal grow healthy. In particular, it is essential to give your pet the proper vaccines in order for them to have the best life possible. It is also important to spay or neuter all companion pets. For any other questions regarding choosing a pet, talk to you local veterinarian

Pet Safety

When lost, do you have a plan for your pet? Forms of identification, such as an ID tag and microchips, can help you reunite with your pet should they become lost.

Collar and ID Tag – Pets should wear ID tag on their collar with the pet’s name, owner’s name, address, and phone number. Using “O” ring to attach your pet’s tag to its collar will be ensure the tag remains on the collar more securely. Update ID tags when you move or get a new phone number. If you are traveling with your pet, it is a smart idea to put a temporary tag on your pet with your “travel location” Rabies and license tags can also be helpful if your pet becomes lost.

Microchips are another way of identifying your pet. The American Veterinary Medical Association has a variety of resources on micro-chipping. This gives you and your pet a better chance of reuniting in the incident your pet gets lost. With the technology of the microchip, you can store your information as well as your veterinarian’s information and can be easily updated if you move or change veterinarians. Also, in the event that your pet is injured or taken to a hospital, the microchip will enable your veterinarian to contact you as quickly as possible. Before purchasing a microchip, it is wise to discuss the process with your veterinarian. They will have the information you need as well as which microchips can be scanned at certain animal clinics and shelters.

Finding a Lost or Stolen Pet – Make sure to check your neighborhood or the area you pet became lost in. Even after several days of being lost, pets are many times found close to their home. Put up signs with your contact information and a picture of the pet. Post theses signs around your community. Note: for safety and privacy reasons, it is recommended to only put your first name and a cell phone number–cannot easily be traced to your home address via online searches. If your pet has a microchip, contact the microchip registration company ASAP. Once they are notified, they can activate a lost pet recovery network and place your pet on a “hot sheet.” If your pet is wearing its rabies tag, contact your veterinarian. If someone finds your pet, they can look at the rabies tag number and trace it back to your veterinarian. He or she can then inform you of your pets location. Call local animal shelters, animal clinics, police/fire stations, and animal control in your area. If someone finds your pet, and they are without an ID tag, sometimes they will take the pet to these locations. You can also look to several online resources including a pet “Amber alert” system.

Pet Health Insurance

Nowadays, an increasing number of pet owners are deciding to get pet health insurance polices. Typically pet insurance plans will cover your pet’s medical treatments, surgeries, lab fees and prescriptions. By having pet insurance, owners can lessen the risk of costly veterinary care and allow for a friendly and low budget for each household. Pet insurance can also provide peace of mind, knowing that there is financial backup plans for emergencies. Overall, insurance can help owners seek better pet car with economics being less of an issue and concern.
Points to Consider When Choosing a Pet Health Insurance Plan Coverage:

Make sure you understand what procedures and treatments are covered under each policy. Some will cover preventive care, like vaccinations, although some will require an additional cost. Many times, the least expensive plan to join is when the pet is young. Older pets may have established medical conditions that can possibly be excluded form coverage.

Keep an eye out for exclusions in the policy including pre-existing conditions, hereditary conditions, and conditions for specific breeds.
Deductibles and Copays:

It is important to understand that “out of pocket” expenses will be before the plan will reimburse you. Before choosing a coverage policy, make sure you understand the programs reimbursement process. Some insurance providers will allow you veterinarian to submit a claim on your behalf, while other may require you to submit the claim yourself. However, it is important to keep in mind that payment of you veterinarian is due upon his or her services when care is provided.

Pet Food Safety

Many people don’t realize that the basic principles of food safety apply to their pets’ foods too. For example, pet food or treats contaminated with Salmonella can cause infections in dogs and cats. And contaminated pet food that is not handled properly can cause serious illness in people too, especially children.
If you’re a pet owner, one of the most important things you can do to keep your pets, your family, and yourself safe from food-borne illness is to wash your hands:

Before and after handling pet foods and treats, wash your hands for 20 seconds with hot running water and soap. (Tip: Sing “Happy Birthday” twice to time yourself.)After petting, touching, handling, or feeding your pet, and especially after contact with feces, wash your hands for 20 seconds.

Wash hands before preparing your own food and before eating.
Because infants and children are especially susceptible to foodborne illness, keep them away from areas where you feed your pets. Never allow them to touch or eat pet food.

General Information ~ Safe Handling Tips for Pet Foods and Treats (FDA)
Pets can get food poisoning, too. How to buy, prepare, and store pet food to avoid contamination.Pet Food (FDA)
Details on how the FDA ensures that pet foods are properly labeled and contain safe ingredients.FDA 101: Animal Feed (FDA)
Yes: Pet food, including dry and canned food and pet treats, is considered animal feed.How to Report a Pet Food Complaint (FDA)
Before you contact the FDA, review this checklist on the pet food product and any symptoms your pet may have.

Prescription Medicines

Your pet’s good health is the primary goal of your veterinarian.Sometimes prescriptions are necessary in order to keep your pet healthy.

Click here for veterinary prescription information and guidelines.

Veterinary-Client-Patient Relationship

cats in doorWhat is the VCPR (Veterinarian-Client- Patient-Relationship)

According to Indiana law, it is defined as the following:

IC 25-38.1-1-14.5 “Veterinarian-client-patient relationship”
Sec. 14.5. “Veterinarian-client-patient relationship” means a relationship between a veterinarian and client that meets the following conditions:
(1) The veterinarian has assumed the responsibility for making clinical judgments regarding the health of the animal and the need for medical treatment, and the client has agreed to follow the veterinarian’s instructions.
(2) The veterinarian has sufficient knowledge of the animal to initiate a diagnosis of the medical condition of the animal. The veterinarian has recently seen and is personally acquainted with the keeping and care of the animal by either of the following:
(A) An examination of the animal.
(B) By recently seeing and being personally acquainted with the keeping and care of representative animals and associated husbandry practices by making medically appropriate and timely visits to the premises where the animal is kept.
(3) The veterinarian is readily available or has arranged for emergency coverage for follow-up evaluation if there is an adverse reaction or failure of the treatment regimen.
(4) When appropriate, the veterinarian has arranged for continuing care with another licensed veterinarian who has access to the animal’s medical record.
As added by P.L.58-2008, SEC.14.

A VCPR must be in place for a veterinarian to be able to legally provide treatment, prescribe medications, or administer vaccines to an animal.

For more information on the VCPR click here.