Short Takes

January 2009 Issue

Short Takes: 01/09

Lifestyle issues and feline health; heartworm; cats and the cause of seizures.

When veterinarians ask, "How are things at home?" they probably donít want to hear about your mortgage, your migraines or Aunt Millie in the guestroom. They should be asking about "lifestyle" issues that might be affecting the health of your cat. Problem is, too few vets do, according to a report in the Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association (JAVMA Vol. 233, No. 10) about client-veterinarian communications. The study compared verbal interactions during well-pet visits ó the once-a-year checkups (or twice-yearly visits for older cats) as opposed to vet appointments when a medical problem prompted a visit. Typically, as it turns out, well-pet visits include more verbal interaction with the pets, according to the report: Wellness appointments included "twice as much verbal interaction with the pet as did problem appointments, and the emotional atmosphere of wellness appointments was generally relaxed. There were more social talk, laughter, statements of reassurance and compliments directed toward the client and the pet." In contrast, during problem visits, 90 percent of the talk focused on what the report called "biomedical topics." And that is a problem, the JAVMA report concluded, because "veterinarians may neglect lifestyle and social concerns that could impact patient management and outcomes" when focusing on biomedical issues.

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