Cheshire Cat Feline Health Center
April 2011 Newsletter
Welcome to the April edition of the Cheshire Cat Feline Health Center Newsletter. This month we are featuring Babies, our clinic mascot.
Babies is a beautiful flame-point Persian born July 2000. He was brought to Cheshire Cat Clinic through a friend of a former employee. His owners just couldn't get his flea problem under control as he had a very resistant case of fleas. After his hair was shaved into a lion cut, the flea control medications finally worked. Now that his hair has grown back, he requires a lot of grooming attention to keep his coat free of mats. He has daily brushing and face cleaning and frequent combing with the Furminator to de-mat his coat. He is a very sweet and mellow cat. Babies even has his own fan club! He does have polycystic renal disease of Persians so we are monitoring his kidney values closely. Recently, Babies underwent a CAT Scan (no pun intended) and scoping of his nasal sinuses to help diagnose his chronic respiratory issues. If you come by to visit with our handsome Babies, he may be found lounging in the reception area or he may be on vacation at Janice's home as he loves to lie in the sun in her garden.
What to Expect During Your Cat's Exam:
At Cheshire Cat Feline Health Center, your cat's health is our top priority. The first step in assessing your cat's health is the physical exam but there are a few things that happen before the veterinarian even looks at your cat. Here's what will normally happen.
You will first be greeted and electronically checked into the clinic via the receptionist. He/she may ask again why your cat is being brought to us. This helps verify that the initial appointment was made appropriately and screens for any emergencies. The receptionist is will often ask to update pertinent contact information and have you sign clinic policies. The receptionist will then place you and your pet into a room.
The next person to enter the room will likely be the veterinary assistant or technician. This person will ask a battle of questions regarding the overall health, diet and behavior of your cat. This is a portion of the exam called the "subjective." There are no wrong or right answers to these questions. We are only trying to get an idea of what your opinion is about how your cat is feeling, your observations, and the events that led up to the visit. Sometimes, you may feel as if we have asked "the same questions over and over." This not only to be sure that nothing has changed but it is actually an effective way to help the client recall additional information they may have not considered when answering the questions in the past. Please be patient with us as we record these important questions.
Often, clients will bring written notes, photos and even video to an exam which can be very helpful!
Typical questions asked:
- Why are we seeing your cat today? Again, we are looking to hear your thoughts, not just what the receptionist recorded in the appointment calendar.
- Does your cat stay exclusively indoors or does he/she go outdoors sometimes? If so, how often (what percentage of time)? Does your cat have contact with other cats or places where other cats have been? Cats are exposed to more when they go outdoors and may need additional vaccines or blood tests based on their risk factors.
- Are there other pets in your household? If so, how many and what species? Do they go outdoors?Even if your cat stays indoors, your other pets may pose risks if they go outdoors.
- What do you typically feed your cat? What is the brand of food? How much do you feed per day and how often?
- How has your pet's appetite been?
- Have you noticed any change in weight recently? Gained or lost?
- Has your cat been drinking more or less water recently?
- Any coughing or sneezing?
- Does your cat vomit? How often? After eating?
- Any changes and urination amount or frequency?
- Any stool changes? Harder? Softer? Less frequent? Straining?
- Is your cat on any medications, supplements or vitamins? Although we may have much of this information in your chart, we ask this question because we are looking to see if the owner has stopped medications or changed the dosage. Asking open ended questions is invaluable to check compliance and accuracy
- Have you used any flea control lately? If so, what brand? When was it last applied?
- Does your cat have a microchip? We will often scan the chip just to be sure it is still working properly
- Do you prefer liquid medications or pills? Should there be a need for medicine, we try to accommodate the owner as much as possible, when there is a choice.
Once these questions have been answered, the veterinarian will come in to examine your cat (or the "objective" portion of the visit.) You may feel as if she is asking the same questions over. Again, it is not uncommon for the client to give additional information when asked similar questions because the memory may have been jogged. On the same note, you may find that when you call into the clinic, the staff will ask you questions that seem as if they should be clearly documented in your cats chart. This checks compliance and accuracy of our records. It may seem repetitive and time consuming but it is very important information. Thank you for your understanding!
In the January 2010 newsletter, we discussed what is involved in the Physical Exam. Read more here.
There is no greater compliment than a referral from a client! As a business in a slow economy, we depend on word of mouth referrals from our existing clients. We would like to thank you for recommending us to your friends and family. It is an honor to be entrusted with the care of your pets!
As a "Thank You" for your referral, we have started a new program. For every new client that you refer to Cheshire Cat that brings a cat for examination, we will send you a $10 "Thank You." You can present this coupon at your cat's next visit! Coupon is accepted for services only but not applicable towards diet food, prescriptions or other products. One coupon per new client referral (not per pet.) Prior referrals not applicable.
Again, thank you for your referrals. We appreciate your confidence in our practice. You are our life blood!
Some of you may be aware of a social networking site called Yelp.com. This site allows users to review a business and give opinions about their experiences. These reviews may persuade others to visit or avoid a business. This seems like a great way to get a feel for a place before you go there and can be invaluable information. Unfortunately, the Yelp.com site is NOT a perfect system. For example, anyone, such as a disgruntled former employee, can anonymously write a review and the information given need not be factual. A reviewer may write only half-truths and leave out pertinent information, putting the business in a bad light. A business has very little control over what is said. Additionally, because of privacy laws, a business may not be able to respond to a negative review without revealing specific information. It is considered unprofessional to write a retort to a negative review. Additionally, Yelp.com uses a system to "filter" reviews. Filtered reviews are not factored into the overall rating of the business and are not readily accessible to readers. Yelp claims that this "protects" the business from malicious reviews but in our experience, it does quite the opposite. For example, the Cheshire Cat Clinic page has over 30 reviews with 20 of those being "filtered." Sadly, most of the positive feed back we have received from long-term clients is hidden in the "filtered" section. Contacting Yelp is futile and it seems they will do nothing to balance their system and make it fair for both the consumer and the business. Some feel this may be a way for Yelp to force businesses to pay for advertising and there is currently a class-action suit against Yelp for this reason. Read more here.
If you would like to read our Yelp reviews, please click here. If you scroll to the bottom of the page, on the left, you will see a very small place that reads (20 filtered). Click on this and you will see all of the hidden reviews. You can write your own review of Cheshire Cat Clinic, or any other business, if you choose. You will first need to register with the site. We have not found that Yelp sends spam emails so registering is quite safe.
Cheshire Cat Clinic welcomes all feedback, positive or negative, when it is presented in a fair and factual way. We always try to keep communication open and discuss any concerns a client may have directly. If you ever wish to discuss issues with us, please contact the Hospital Manager, Diane O'Brien, directly firstname.lastname@example.org
Do you enjoy using Facebook? Find us and "like" our page! Click here. Check out our pictures and leave us a comment.
Thank you for reading. We look forward to seeing you and your feline friends soon!
Dr. Ann D. Middleton
Dr. Michelle R. Metcalf
And the team at Cheshire Cat Feline Health Center