The Importance of Exams and Lab Work for Your Cat
“My cat is an indoor only, and he/she is young and seems to be healthy. Do I have to come in for an exam? Because they are an indoor only cat do I have to get the wellness lab work this year?”
It is important to remember that cats and kittens are not able to tell us when they are not feeling like themselves. Cats do not always show clear signs even when they are sick. We recommend services that will keep your furry friend as healthy as possible. Seeing your cat once a year helps us to keep them up to date on their vaccines, perform an annual wellness exam, and provide wellness services such as blood work to be tested yearly and products such as preventatives for fleas and ticks. Even if your kitty is an indoor only cat, they can still be exposed to illnesses, parasites, and the “outside” world. It is vital to perform a yearly check-up on all feline patients to make sure they get the services they need to keep them healthy for years to come. The doctor will examine your feline to check their eyes, ears, heart, lungs, abdomen, teeth, and entire body systems for any outward changes or concerns. This is also a perfect time to update the yearly rabies vaccine while they are here for their visit.
One of the most important reasons we recommend performing annual blood work on your cat is so that we can identify any changes in the blood work levels. When your feline is healthy and young, it is important to get a good baseline of blood levels, so that as your cat ages and we can monitor any changes: small and mild, or drastic and life-threatening.
Keeping your cat(s) healthy is our primary concern. We want to offer the best possible preventative and wellness medicine for your pets. At Gilbertsville Veterinary Hospital, we strive to provide the best options for you as a pet owner, and will gladly discuss this topic and any concerns you may have. We look forward to seeing you and your cat at their next wellness exam!
Meet Gilbert, the official mascot of Gilbertsville Veterinary Hospital. Gilbert joined the GVH team in Fall of 2014. He was a little “ruff” around the edges at first. So we sent him to GVH Business Manager, Diane’s house for a week long doggy boot camp. Boot camp was a challenge that involved some obedience training but with a little persistence and lots of treats, he graduated with honors.
After graduation, GVH Practice Manager, Tiffany promoted Gilbert to official mascot of Gilbertsville Veterinary Hospital. Gilbert knew this would be a super job for him – so he cut back on treats, exercised daily, and studied hard for his new position. He has been doing awesome ever since.
You can meet Gilbert at one of our many community events; like the annual Pottstown Pet Fair – Bring Fido, Barktoberfest 2015, and our annual Halloween Costume Contest. He loves to give high fives. He also enjoys having his picture taken with all of his friends. So if you see Gilbert don’t be shy, come on over and say “Hi!!” You never know when he will make an appearance!!
Here’s a few of his Stats:
- Height: 5’7”
- Weight: More than yesterday
- Born: 9/22/2014
- Residence: Lives at Gilbertsville Veterinary Hospital
- Favorite Food: Science Diet T/D treats
- Secret Wish: To make new friends every day
After getting this first year under his collar, our mascot really enjoys helping the team at Gilbertsville Veterinary Hospital celebrate the bond between you and your pets.
Stay tuned for a list of Gilbert’s future appearances…
I want a horse, a cow, couple of pigs, a few goats but CHICKENS??? That was never on my list. But here I am at 32 raising and loving 8 wonderful chickens. Last March my husband and I purchased a home with a few acres of land. We ventured out to Tractor Supply and found ourselves surrounded by bins of chickens. “Chick Days” is what they call it when hundreds of birds are shipped in to be sold during Easter. We left that day without chicks and went home to convert the dollhouse in our front yard into our chicken coup. The following weekend we made a trip back to Tractor Supply and picked up our feed, heating lamp, feeder, water dish, metal bin and I giddily told the clerk I would like 4 chickens. “Four – you have to get a minimum of 6”, said the clerk. So I selected 5 and my husband selected 1 chick for us to take home. Thus began our life with chickens.
We raised the chickens in the garage with the heating lamp and then slowly moved them out to the coup. Once they were out in the coup we noticed that more than one looked to be a rooster. 4 out of our 6 birds were roosters and only 2 were hens!!! We knew this was not a good mix to begin our flock but we were not exactly sure what to do.
Here are a few lessons that I have learned since we began our journey of “life with chickens”.
- Chickens are sweet social birds. They are a product of their environment and no two flocks are the same. Our current flock consists of 2 roosters and 6 hens. We have added on to our flock to increase the rooster hen ratio and learned to order them online for better odds.
- There is a pecking order and you better be on top if you want to survive a rooster. Roosters are protective of their flock and their coup. If you have more than one rooster the dominant rooster will decide the pecking order for the flock. If the second rooster does not stand down and find a job, there will be trouble. We are so far fortunate that our 2 roosters have found their place with the flock – though I am told by other “chicken friends” this may not be long term.
- Integrating new chicks into an existing flock – no matter how small the existing flock is – takes time and patience to keep the new chicks safe. We spent a few months slowing introducing the new hens to our 2 roosters and 1 hen so they are now living together as one flock.
- Chicken people find chicken people. Sharing stories, photos and videos of your chickens becomes the new normal in your life. My phone now holds more pictures of my chickens than I care to admit. Non-chicken owners will have a hard time understanding your newfound infatuation with your birds.
- When it gets dark you will worry that your chickens are safe and if the coup is closed. Predators at night are real; unfortunately we lost one of our birds to an overnight attack. We quickly established better night security for the flock.
- You will find yourself looking into the sky to watch for chicken hawks like a protective mamma, ensuring that your flock is safe.
- Now when I go to the store I pick up extra blueberries for my chickens. They love to eat blueberries, raspberries, sunflower seeds and happy hen treats out of our hands. Unlike the cartoons that I watched as a kid, my chickens do not like worms but they love spiders and helping me close up the garden.
- The recent time change had me concerned about the decreased amount of outdoor time my chickens would have to free range. They put themselves to bed when the sun goes down so this limits there time on our property. We are looking to extend their run to give them more room to play while we are at work.
- The first egg is really exciting! You will share it with friends, family and on social media like a proud parent. We have several of the hens producing eggs – right now we are getting 6 eggs per day.
- When visitors come over your dogs will bark and your chickens will crow. Crowing is not only for the wee hours of the morning but also as an alert, like a built in security system.
- Chickens are a lot of work! Like any animal or pet that you own you must carve time out of your schedule to care for and enjoy them.
Veterinary medicine is an exciting and dynamic field with many career opportunities. If you are interested in pursuing a career in the veterinary field, first consider which area of veterinary medicine most interests you. Here is a list of some of the typical areas of focus available:
- Private Practice
- Corporate Practice
- Teaching & Research
- Regulatory Medicine
- Public Health
- Uniformed Services
Private Practice is one of the most recognizable role in the veterinary field, as it is what most of us think of when we think about our pets going to the doctor. Corporate Practice is similar to Private Practice with the exception of ownership. Generally, Private Practices are owned by an individual or group or individuals, while Corporate Practices are owned by corporations and have different governing bodies. Both private and corporate practices can be small animal, large animal, exotic, emergency, specialty or a combination. Here are the typical careers within Private or Corporate Practices:
Veterinarian (Doctor of Veterinary Medicine (DVM) or Veterinary Medical Doctor (VMD)… veterinarians must complete High School (4 years), College (3 – 5 years), Veterinary School (4 years ) and Pass National Boards. They are required to continue their education with a minimum of 36 credit hours every 2 years. Veterinarians are responsible for diagnosing disease, vaccinating against infectious disease, performing medical and surgical procedures, preventing the transmission of disease, and advising owners on how to keep their pets healthy.
Board Certified Veterinarian … like human doctors that specialize in one area of medicine, veterinarians can become board certified too. Board Certified Veterinarians must complete High School (4 years), College (3 – 5 years), Veterinary School (4 Years), Residency or Practical Experience, Entrance Examination, (2 – 4 years of school in discipline) and Pass National Examination. As of 2014 there were 22 different programs. Here are some of the most common:
- Dentistry, AVDC
- Dermatology, ACVD
- Internal Medicine, ACVIM
- Oncology, DACVIM
- Ophthalmology, ACVO
- Pathology, ACVP
- Behaviorist, ACVB
Certified Veterinary Technician, CVT (also known as RVT or LVT) … Technicians must complete High School (4 years), College (2 or 4 year program), and Pass National Boards. They are required to continue their education with a minimum of 36 credit hours every 2 years. Technicians work under the direct supervision of veterinarians. Technicians administer anesthesia, monitor patients, collect laboratory samples, perform laboratory testing, setup and take radiographs, prepare surgical instruments, and administer medication, vaccines and treatments that are prescribed by the veterinarians. They are also responsible for observing patients behavior and administering emergency first aid to injured animals.
Specialized Veterinary Technicians … Specialized Technicians are licensed technicians with additional knowledge and skills in a specific discipline. Specialized Technicians must complete course work, additional hours in the discipline and complete an examination to earn credentials in a specialty. Here is a brief list of specialties: anesthesia, surgery, dentistry, behavior, and internal medicine. For a complete list visit http://www.navta.net/?page=specialties
Certified Veterinary Practice Manager … CVPM’s must complete High School (4 years), College (18 hours of management related courses), 48 credits hours of management related continuing education, three years of experience in the industry and Pass Certification Exam (covering Human resources, Law & Ethics, Marketing, Organization of the Practice and Finance). They are required to continue their education with a minimum of 48 credit hours every 2 years. The purpose of the practice manager is to serve the owner or board of directors of the practice in establishing and reaching the goals and policies they desire. The practice manger combines the elements of business and veterinary medicine to succeed in maintaining excellence and quality of care to clients and their pets. Practice Managers must be competent in human resources, financials, production, administrative duties, and accounting.
Client Care Specialist … CCS’s must complete High School (4 years) and extensive on-site training is required. The CCS establishes relationships with clients to better serve the healthcare needs of their pets. They schedule appointments and surgery, prepare the medical records, input vaccine information, greet client’s in-person and over the phone, review and respond to email and direct clients to the information that they need to make sound decisions about their pets.
Depending on the size of the veterinary hospital the following roles may also be available:
- Office Manager
- Team Leaders / Department Managers
- Human Resources Director
- Marketing Specialist
- Social Media Coordinator
- Operations Director
- Business Manager
- Kennel Technician
- Medical Director
We will continue this series about the career opportunities available in the dynamic field of veterinary medicine. Look for the next article in December.