Wednesday, March 28, 2012
Organizing your pet's information
Do you know when your cat is due for her next vaccines? Do you know the name and dose of your dog's allergy medication? Do both you and your spouse know the name of your pet's flea and heartworm prevention?
Most of the time my clients don't remember everything about their animal's health. I often have owners call in to refill "the pink pill" or "the flea stuff with the dalmatian on the box" or "the food with the orange label."
So, I recommend making a pet information file. It helps you, the owner, stay on top of your pet's information, and it's also great if there's an emergency and you need someone else to take care of your pets for a while. The file should be organized and easy to find in your house. A folder with all your receipts from the past 10 years of vet visits will not be too helpful if your pet sitter needs to find out when your cat had it's last rabies vaccine if a bat gets in while you're out of town.
The first page should have your name, and the name of any other people your pet's account may be under at the vet. Many times a pet lives at one house, but is under someone else's name (parent, fiancée, sibling, etc) at the vet. Also, list any alternate names for the pet. Many times I'll have a chart on a pet with one name, and the owner calls to see if "Smoochie" is ready to go. I don't know who Smoochie is, since the name on my chart was "Sir Charles of Windsor and London-town."
Next, have a sheet for each of your pets with medical conditions and treatments. At the top have a list of current medications including doses and how often they're given. If you get them filled at a pharmacy instead of at your vet, have that pharmacy's info and the prescription number if you have one. Also list any special food that they're on, how much they eat, and where to buy it. Then, list any current medical conditions that would need to be monitored if the pet was in the care of someone else. This includes allergies, diabetes, kidney or liver problems, pancreatitis or sensitivities to food, heartworm disease, behavior problems, etc. Be sure to list any past surgeries or other anesthetic procedures.
Lastly, have all vaccinations listed with last date administered and the date when their due next. Some vaccines need to be given once a year, and some are every 3 years. I don't know when my own pets are due, so I don't expect my owners to remember that off the top of their heads. Most vets will be able to print off a certificate that lists the due dates of your pet's vaccinations. Keep that up to date every year.
Also, it wouldn't be a bad idea to store all of this information in some type of online file, even if it's just a private note in your facebook account, or a google doc, or an email you mail to yourself and save in a special file. That way if you lose your file, or you need to access the information when you're not at home, you can find what you need.
Staying on top of your pet's medical care wil be much easier if you stay organized. It's even nicer knowing that your pet's information is easily available in an emergency.