Tuesday, July 19, 2011

How to help your blind cat succeed at the veterinarian's office

Lucy the blind cat needs to go to the veterinarian
Lucy was born with a severe birth defect that caused her blindness. She also has several extra, mutant claws that don't seem functional, and she had a few extra kitten teeth in strange places. I've always worried that she has other, hidden defects that I didn't quite know about that might shorten her life, but I've never taken her in for advanced testing as going to the veterinarian is so hard on her.

This weekend, she will have to go in, though, and I am a little worried. I think I've found another birth-defect-related problem and she probably needs advanced care.

I've noticed that she's taking a long time to eat her food, and she's been spending a lot of time licking her lips. She also has breath that could stop a truck. After peeking in her mouth, I know why this is going on. Her teeth are simply black and brown with plaque and her gums are scarlet red. She's only 3 years old, and it looks like she needs a dental procedure.

Like most blind cats, Lucy doesn't like to go to the veterinarian. She's fine with the extra attention, of course, but she's extremely resistant to having any procedures done when I am not in the room. She yells and screams as soon as they take her into any treatment room and leave me in the waiting room. When she had her eye surgery, she spent the entire day screaming and shaking. They thought she was painful, but it turns out, she was just frightened.

Dental procedures require anesthesia, which means she'll have to have her teeth worked on when I am not in the room, and she'll probably have to stay in the clinic for at least part of the day. I'm hoping I can convince the staff of the veterinary office to allow me to bring her home early, so I can reduce her stress and help her heal quickly. As soon as they take her out of my arms, they'll understand the request, I am sure.

There's not much you can do, as an owner, when your blind cat has to go to the veterinarian. If the pet needs care, you probably can't handle that request on your own.

But there are some things you can do to make the visit easier. Most of them involve asking the staff to do a few extra things for you.
  1. Request a high kennel, far away from dogs, for your kitty.
  2. Bring Feliway spray with you, and ask the staff to spray it in the kennel the kitty will stay in during the day. 
  3. Ask the staff to use the towels in your kitty's kennel to line kitty's cage. 
  4. Ask for an early release, so kitty can go home as soon as possible. 
If you use the same veterinary office every time, the staff may accommodate these requests easily. But beware: Some may not.

If the office you must use will not comply with your requests, do what I do: Hang out in the office during the procedure. That way, you'll be the first to get released when the whole ordeal is over, as you'll be sitting right there.