In honor of World Vet Day, a California-based veterinary hospital took to TikTok to share several tips they think every pet owner should know.
The video, posted to TikTok on April 30 by Alicia Pet Care Center (@apccvet), has amassed more than 300,000 views and more than 500 comments from grateful viewers, many of whom said the tips could potentially save lives.
Here’s what the doctors had to say:
Record all “abnormalities”
Mellisa Rellinger, DVM, advised all pet owners to “videotape” any abnormal behavior their pets exhibit at home.
“When [a lot of pets] come to the hospital, they have so much adrenaline racing through them, that they hide their problems from us,” she said. “So filming at home and showing us at your appointment is so helpful .”
Watch out for poisonous plants
Jen Lassler, DVM, reminded viewers that certain flowers and houseplants are toxic to pets and can be fatal if ingested.
“Most lilies are toxic to cats,” she said, “Not all of them, but I’m just saying [to] keep them out of the house if you [have] curious kittens – lilies can be toxic to their kidneys.”
The American Kennel Club’s chief veterinary expert, Dr. Jerry Klein, said Newsweek who “signs [of lily toxicity] may start with drooling and vomiting, painful abdomen, abnormal heart rhythms, but may lead to severe complete cessation of urine production, which is usually fatal, within 48 hours.”
Dog owners, on the other hand, should “watch out” for sago palms.
“Any part of this plant may be toxic to [a dog’s] liver,” Lassler warned.
Klein further explained that ingestion can lead to “severe and sometimes fatal liver failure” in dogs.
Buy pet insurance
According to Alicia Pet Care Center Chief of Staff Matthew Wheaton, DVM, all pet owners should invest in pet insurance.
“It’s the best information and the best advice I can give people because, like a car, there will be inevitable problems,” he said.
“[Pet insurance can bail] get out of a really tough financial spot if your pet gets very, very sick or injured,” Wheaton continued.
Pet insurance can cost between $11 and $29 per month for a cat and between $18 and $49 per month for a dog, depending on coverage, the North American Pet Health Insurance Association said.
Dr. Ann Hohenhaus, senior veterinarian at Schwarzman Animal Medical Center in New York, said pet insurance typically reimburses a pet owner for their pet’s medical bills, rather than paying the veterinary clinic directly. .
“In human medicine, invoices are first sent to the insurance company, then an invoice is sent to the patient. Most of the time in veterinary medicine, the client pays the veterinarian and is then reimbursed by their insurer,” said explained Hohenhaus.
Male cats struggling to use the bathroom
“If you have a male cat and you suspect he is straining to urinate or poop, get him seen immediately or call your vet,” says Sarah Cortright, DVM. “It can be a sign of urinary obstruction, which is life-threatening.”
On its website, the Massachusetts Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals-Angell Animal Medical Center (MSPCA-Angell) further explained that urethral obstruction (UO) is a “blockage of the lower part of the urinary tract.”
“Although UO can occur in any cat, it is most common in young to middle-aged male cats,” the organization said. “Male cats are more vulnerable to UO in part because their urethra [the portion of the urinary tract connecting the bladder to the outside world] is longer and narrower than in females.
Overweight cats and cats whose diet consists only of dry food may also be at higher risk of contracting UO, MSPCA-Angell said.
What viewers had to say
Pet owners thanked doctors for sharing their advice, saying the advice could potentially save pets’ lives.
“My boy Batman had a urinary obstruction and it cost me over $2000 to save his life. Seriously, don’t wait if you see urinary issues! Catch him EARLY,” Whitney wrote.
“Saving them is a great idea, and pet insurance is so needed. Thanks for all the info,” mecheta93 said.
“I can absolutely vouch for the last one! I took my boy to the vet within hours and he still needed surgery!” shared JessicaRabbit666.
“YES PET INSURANCE” exclaimed Christine Hyatt. “An absolute lifesaver! If you have a pet, you should have insurance!”