The Feel Better Book for Cats and Dogs
This is a terrific book that would be of value to anyone who is caretaker of a dog or a cat. Written by vet tech Randi Golub CVT, it covers a lot of the medical support techniques that a dedicated person can do at home
Published in 2013, so relatively up to date. The techniques described would not be likely to change with advances in vet science. (note : for medical books, always notice the date of publication, as some medical fields can advaance rapidly).
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This is a book everyone who takes care of a cat or a dog should have, read and re-read . It concerns the home nursing techniques that you can do once you have been taught to do them. Your ability to do these can make a great difference in your pet's quality of life, may even make the difference between recovery and death.. The alternative to home nursing is daily clinic visits or hospitalization, which is more stressful for your pet and more stressful for your wallet.
This is NOT to take the place of veterinary care and hospitalization when needed. The care described is supplementary and supportive care.
Even if you've read the book, you will probably still want (need) to have your vet or vet tech demonstrate a technique before you do it for the first time, and ideally a vet or tech should supervise your very first performance. That would really enable you to feel confident that you were doing it correctly.
If you should need extra help learning these from your vet or tech, be sure to be generoous with your thanks. If you need one or more home visits to supervise your efforts, expect to pay for that service and give sincere verbal thanks. A small gift is never amiss, perhaps flowers or edibles from your garden or cookies.
Some of the techniques described are ones you are likely to do many times during the course of a pet's life. You will certainly be giving pills and liquid medications into your pet's mouth. You will certainly be collecting free-catch urine samples and fecal samples. You will be using ear cleaning solution. You are likely at some point to be giving eye drops or ointment , ear medications.You might be giving shots intramuscularly or sub-cutaneously and you might be applying transdermal medication.
Other procedures are less commonly needed, and with luck you may rarely or never do these.. For example, giving fluids sub-cutaneously, though often needed to extend the comfortable life of a pet in late stage kidney failure. Feeding by tube (naso-gastric, esophageal, or PEG) is something you may never need, but it's a life-saver when the simpler method of placing food directly into the pet's mouth is unsuccessful (eg pet unable to swallow or pet who would bite you if you tried). .
Some proceedures which only a vet or tech can do are mentioned, but clearly stated to be outside the realm of home care.. For example IV (intra-venous) fluid. (IV medication would also be in that category.). It's good to know these are possible , but also know that they are outside your competence. (assuming you are not yourself a vet tech or human med tech or nurse)
Of course most people today have spayed and/or neutered their pets, thus will not be breeding, thus the two chapters on that wouldn't be needed other than to make you realize how much responibility and work are involved.. But the author suggests that if you want the experience of the miracle (and sometimes tragedy) of birth and care of a litter for yourself or for your children, apply to your local shelters and rescue groups to foster a late term pregnant dog or cat or an orphaned litter. This book will give you the knowlege to handle normal events and to recognize thosse abnormalities requiring urgent vet care.
I have done many of the sick dog procedures described myself on my own dogs and foster dogs. They are not really hard to do once you have become comfortable with doing them. Some of the techniques (eg giving sub-Q fluids) were taught to me by my vet, and some I figured out for myself.
However I haven't done the ones relevant to birthing puppies (or kittens) and neonatal care. It's been about half a century since the three Min Pin litters I was responsible for. ("Lawsamercy Miz Scarlett, I don't know nothin' about birthing puppies".). Perhaps I can get one or more of my experienced breeder friends to review those sections.
The photographs (greayscale) are good, though they might be more plentiful, as some procedures not illutraited would benefit from photos.. Videos would be even better, but perhaps these are available on author Golub's web site (which I have not yet gotten to check out.) Note : in some cases you might find a different arrangement of your hands is better for you to use. (Eg for eye ointment, I hold the tube of ointment in my right hand that is above the eye, whereas the photo shows it in the hand below the eye). Your handedness would certainly matter..
More than a dozen vets contributed to confirming the accuracy of the material.
Author Golub has also witten "Sugarbabies : a holitic guide to caring for your diabetic pet", which has excellent review blurbs from vets and pet caretakers. I have not yet seen this book, but from the reviews I would expect it to be excellent. This topic seems to be one that is dear to the author.return to top of page