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Three quick cat tips from CVC Kansas City
Feline speakers discuss terminology, distraction techniques and diagnostic testing.
During CVC Kansas City, the feline dream team of Ruth MacPete, DVM, Ilona Rodan, DVM, DACVP (feline), and Heather Prendergast, RVT, CVPM, presented ideas for boosting feline veterinary care to CVC attendees who attended their Full Circle session. Here are three tips for catering to cats in your veterinary practice.
1. Use the word “scared” in the medical record. When team members see the words “mean” or “will bite” in a cat's chart, they come into the exam room ready to do battle-and the cat's not going to win, Prendergast said. All systems are go for aggressive restraint. Instead, she suggested, use the word “scared” or “frightened.” First of all, it's a more accurate description of the cat's emotional state. Second, it changes the technician or assistant's mindset, preparing her to handle the patient with a gentle, less-is-more approach that mitigates fear and anxiety.
2. Distract the bold adventurers. These prowlers aren't afraid or mad; they're just determined to explore every corner of the room. But as is true with frightened cats, restraint is not going to help the situation-it's going to make it worse. With these cats, distraction is key, Rodan said. She suggested trying high-value treats, catnip, feather toys-whatever will keep the wanderers still for a few minutes so you can perform your physical exam. When you find something that works, write it in the medical record so you'll be ready for the next appointment.
3. Prep the owner for a blood test-and a lifetime of blood tests. One veterinarian in the audience shared a tip with the rest of the folks in the room. When an owner calls to make a cat appointment, she said, have your team tell the client to bring the cat in hungry “in case we need to draw blood for a fasting blood test.” By the time the doctor is in the exam room discussing blood work, the client is already mentally prepared and ready to agree to the testing.
In fact, chimed in MacPete, the earlier you can convince clients that routine diagnostic screening is the best way to preserve a cat's health-by detecting disease early, when it's treatable and more likely to result in a positive outcome-the sooner you'll be on your way to a long, healthy life for your feline patients and great partnership with cat owners.