Monday, July 25, 2016

Getting answers about cat giardia from WhiskerDocs

Fergus the kitten in bed

The very first time little cat Fergus used the litter box, I knew we had a problem. Where his kitten siblings had firm, dark little droppings to leave behind in the box, Fergus had voluminous, very pale bits left for me to scoop. It just didn't seem right.

Pumpkin and probiotics, along with a strict and unwavering diet, have helped the issue quite a bit. But he's never been quite normal in the box. So he's had three different sets of fecal testings, and since he's on what is essentially a recheck basis, I don't often see his veterinarian. I bring a sample, it gets tested and they call with results. Sometimes, the team calls and leaves me a voicemail message with the results.

This week, the voicemail message came with a diagnosis. Fergus has giardia.

Fergus the kitten

By the time I got the message, the veterinarian's office was closed (of course). And that left me with a ton of questions I couldn't figure out how to answer. How serious is this? Can my other cats get it? Why did it take so long to find it? What happens next?

Normally, this is the sort of thing I'd ask Dr. Google. But then I remembered something.

At BlogPaws, I met up with some representatives from WhiskerDocs. We chatted about my menagerie and the issues I have from time to time, and the team gave me a 6-month membership, in return for an honest review. I thought this might be the perfect time to try things out.

WhiskerDocs is an online service that connects you with veterinary expertise (typically veterinary technicians, from what I understand) via phone, email or chat. You ask your questions, and they provide you with answers. The company also has a robust medical library that's certainly more reliable than Dr. Google, so you can get answers without talking to anyone.

I used the chat service. I outlined what was happening, and the team told me quite a bit. Giardia is very hard to diagnose, they tell me, so a long time to results isn't all that unlikely. They also told me that this most assuredly is contagious to other animals, so I need to ensure that Fergus keeps using his private litter box (which he does). And, they told me that I can get giardia from Fergus, which I did not know. So bleaching his room is vital.

Fergus the kitten

In addition, the team told me that giardia is often mistaken for other intestinal diseases, including coccidia. So if he doesn't improve on his medication, that's another parasite I could ask my veterinarian to test for.

I was frantically taking notes during the chat, but I needn't have bothered. After the chat, I was sent a complete transcription of the conversation, so I could refer to it later. And I could use a case number to pick up the talk later, if I forgot something. That could save me time, if I was dealing with something complicated. I wouldn't want to start from scratch each time.

WhiskerDocs is a paid service, and it can be a little expensive. A one-year subscription is $100, and other, shorter plans are slightly less money. But clearly, this is a robust service that provides on-the-spot advice that could save you from panicking. My senior pets, and my health-issue-prone dogs, make me a good candidate for this product. And I don't have to pay that fee per pet. My one payment would cover my whole furry family.

My trial membership lasts for several more months, so I'm sure I'll have another review to share with you soon. But for now, know this. I think this is a wonderful product line, and I recommend it. For some families, it could be a product that's well worth its expense.

And Fergus? He's on the mend with new medication. It's too early to say that he's totally "cured," but I feel at least reasonably sure that we're on the right track. Yay! 

If you'd like to try this service for yourself, I have a deal for you. Use the code Menagerie20 at checkout, and you'll get 20 percent off any purchase. Enjoy!

Disclosure: I was provided with a free 6-month membership plan in return for my honest review. I was not paid for this review, and I was not told what to say. All opinions are both honest and my own.

3 comments:

  1. How interesting that WhiskerDocs could answer your questions like that! We went through Giardia with Newton when he was a kitten, and it was a very long process to get properly diagnosed so he could start getting better. We hope Fergus is feeling better soon!

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  2. WhiskerDocs sounds like a great service especially for off hours when your regular vet is closed.

    I don't have experience with Giardia, but I did have a foster kitty with coccidia. Hope little Fergus gets over it quickly

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  3. Sounds like it was very handy that you had WhiskerDocs to chat with! I hope Fergus feels better soon!

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