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As most animal lovers will tell you, pets are more like furry children than cute, cuddly creatures. Finding a qualified veterinarian for your furry kids can be just as hard as finding a pediatrician, especially if you aren’t sure where to start. As you are considering the choices in your area, there are a few things you should keep in mind such as the age of your pet and any health concerns that you might have. It is also a good idea to determine if the veterinarians in your area specialize in specific types of animals, after all, not all vets are equipped to treat all types of animals.

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What to Look for at a Vet Clinic

Where can I find the best veterinarian near me? Once you have identified the unique needs of your pet, you can begin to narrow your choices by examining each clinic. The first step would be to visit the clinic’s website to learn the types of services offered. Next, it would be advisable to search for unsolicited reviews to see what others have experienced while at each clinic. Below is a checklist of things to consider:

 How friendly are the staff and do they seem to care about the needs of the animal?
 Do the clients have a trusting relationship with the veterinarian and staff?
 How easy is it to schedule appointments and how does the practice treat emergency patients?
 Is the clinic an accredited practice with the American Animal Hospital Association (AAHA evaluates veterinary clinics for their standard of animal care).

Once you have narrowed your list to a few choice locations, scheduling a tour could help you make the final decision in your search for a veterinarian

Veterinarian Technicians and Nurses

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In addition to a qualified veterinarian, a good clinic has knowledgeable and skilled technicians, who are more than happy to offer their services to you and your pet. The facility should be fully equipped to handle common procedures and most emergencies. If the clinic is not equipped to handle significant illnesses or procedures a working relationship with an animal hospital or larger facility is a must. To ensure a positive experience open lines of communication should be maintained between the provider
and pet owner.

Payment Plans and Options

Quality pet care can come with a hefty price, but that doesn’t have to be a limiting factor when extensive treatment or surgery is necessary. Dedicated clinics often offer affordable payment plans or other options such as CareCredit Veterinary Financing. This program is designed to help when the unexpected happens. Additionally, most veterinarians suggest purchasing pet insurance or Citi Health Cards at your first visit much like other medical professionals.

Will I Need Insurance for Pets?

Whether you already own a pet or are considering one, pet insurance might be a good investment. Like our human children, pets do get sick and can have accidents despite our best efforts to protect them. If you are considering insurance for your beloved pet, educating yourself before buying is always a good idea.

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An affordable insurance policy that gives you the most coverage for your pet should be a top priority. If you are concerned that your pet’s medical care would be compromised due to costly procedures, surgeries, or office visits, insurance will help ease any anxiety. It is also important to remember that most pet insurance policies reimburse the customer instead of paying the clinic. Ask for a timeframe for reimbursement and consider the overall costs for pet care insurance policy. If your pet is healthy, a less expensive policy may be a better choice for you.

When Should I Head to the Vet?

Much like first time parents, knowing when to take your pet to the doctor can be confusing. Just remember one thing, you know your pet better than anyone else so trust your instincts. Knowing that your companion doesn’t seem like themselves, is a start. Monitor them closely for changes in behavior, like humans, animals can have an “off” day, but symptoms that persist or worsen should be evaluated by professionals. Below are a few basic guidelines to go by if your cat or dog acts differently.

Mild symptoms to watch that may need to be evaluated but not considered an emergency:
 vomiting, diarrhea, or the lack of appetite
 change in the level of activity or lethargy
 change in behavior or attachment to others

More urgent symptoms that may require emergency care:
 Difficulty breathing
 Inability to lie down comfortably, abdominal distention, unsuccessful attempts to vomit
 Seizures
 Hemorrhaging
 Protracted diarrhea or vomiting
 Difficulty Urinating
 Collapse or Weakness
 Failure to use rear legs
 Inability to eat or drink
 Coughing/Gagging
 Severe Pain

When evaluating the urgency of a medical situation involving your pet, it is always important to consider all symptoms and the severity, as well as the frequency of the symptoms. When trying to figure out whether to take your loyal companion to a vet, make sure to err on the side of caution. It is always better to be safe than sorry when it comes to our furry friends.

Resources for Veterinarian Near Me

When searching for a veterinarian close to you, don’t forget about your local Humane Society. This organization always has a list of qualified vets and often can be called upon for advice and referrals. www.humanesociety.org
The American Holistic Veterinary Medical Association is another reliable resource for additional resources. For pet parents that are concerned with more natural approaches to healthcare, this organization will help you find a holistic veterinarian. Additionally, if you decide to join, membership will give insight into a wealth of information regarding holistic veterinary research. www.ahvma.org


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What Makes a Calico Cat Special?

Dubbed as a “lucky charm” in many places around the world, the Calico Cat has become very popular and highly sought after as a household pet. While their history and genetic makeup bring interest to many cat fanatics, it is safe to say that behaviors vary wildly making them a fascinating creature. Due to their unique nature, Calico cats are often unpredictable and quite entertaining to watch. Numerous scientific studies, dating all the way back to the 1940s, has been performed to determine what makes these cats so unique. Although the studies revealed a wealth of information, scientists discovered that calicos are not a specific breed of cats like previously thought.

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The Appearance of a Calico Cat

Although Calico cats are not a specific breed, instead they are a color pattern that can occur in almost any type of domestic cat. Categorized by a particular color pattern, the combination of colors are random giving these cats their unique design. Three distinct colors must be present for a cat to be considered a calico:
 White
 Black, gray or blue
 Red-orange, peach or brown
Within the world of calico cats there are three distinct types, dilute, tortoiseshell and classic calicos. Dilute calico cats are those with colors that are less intense or diluted while the classic calico has lots of white along with black, brown or orange hues and are often in equal parts of the three colors. Distinguishing the other calico patterns from tortoiseshell calicos is easy. True tortoiseshells, or torties, have no white markings or white of any kind on their bodies. Occasionally, you will find calicos that have distinct tabby or tiger stripes and unusually prominent black and ginger patches along the body. This color variation is common and the same rules apply if it is to be considered a calico cat.

Character/Temperament of Calico Cat

The temperament of calicos is primarily the same as is associated with the breed the calico belongs. That being said, there are a few characteristics that seem to be common among calicos. They are usually independent, occasionally very stubborn and may take some time adjusting to new surroundings. Once comfortable, they can be very loving and social. Calicos often like to be pampered, and it is not unusual
to see them carried around as you would a baby. Although most calico owners swear the temperament of this type of cat is different than others, it is important to note that these behaviors are also often associated with any breed of cat and not just calicos. Like all cats, calicos can be mellow, hyper, excited, lazy, friendly, or shy.

Health/Care

Because a calico cat cannot intentionally be bred and are born by chance, healthiness is determined by genetics and lifestyle alone. While a calico is generally healthy and hardy if born female, males are less likely to live as long. With less than 1% of the calicos worldwide born male, male calicos are among the rarest in the world and often very expensive to purchase.
As with any other cat, to maintain the health of your calico, a high-quality diet that includes essential amino acids, vitamins, and fresh water is a must. Although it is hard to resist, treats should not exceed 5-10% of your cat’s diet. Yearly trips to the vet will help to ensure optimal health allowing him or her to live a quality life. When handling the calico cat, one must remember a cat is different than a dog. Cats should be picked up with more caution and never by the neck or by pulling on their fur. The proper way to pick up a cat is by placing one hand behind the front legs while the other hand is placed under the hindquarters. Being gentle and calm helps the cat stay calm as well. Housing a calico cat is like housing any other cat. All animals should have a clean and dry place to call home. Rest, sleep and lots of fresh air are essential to keeping a cat healthy. A soft blanket will help the cat sleep better but should be washed often. Unfortunately, outdoor cats do not live as long as those who are kept indoors. These cats are exposed to more diseases and are more likely to encounter hazards such as predators or being run over in traffic. Indoor cats typically healthier and have a much better chance of living a longer life.

Housebreaking/Training

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Like most cats, calicos seem to have the mentality that they don’t need humans to survive except for when it comes to food or treats. They often seem to exhibit an independent behavior that screams “go away,” or at least “make yourself useful and feed me.” Learning the unique way each cat behaves will help new owners bond with their cats. After bringing any new pet into your home, there may be an adjustment period. For cats, this period is most often hardest when trying to get the cat to use a litterbox. Unlike dogs, training cats to go to a specific area or box when they need to relieve themselves can be easy, but mistakes are bound to happen with young kittens.

It is important to remember that indoor cats need their litterboxes to be in an easily accessible place that is quiet and dry. Once routines are established for your cat, do not move the litterbox otherwise you may have a confused cat on your hands. If it is necessary to move, it should be done in small increments each day until the litterbox rests in the desired location to prevent accidents. Cats are generally neater than dogs; therefore, a messy litter box is stressful to your cat. Remember to clean the box daily with a scooper and discard waste appropriately. Once a week the litter should be thrown out and refilled with new litter to prevent unpleasant smells and bacteria growth. Cats are sensitive to strong smells so using deodorants and perfumes near the litterbox should be kept to a
minimum.


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ESA Pets & Hotel Laws 

If you have a treasured pet that provides you comfort and is part of your overall therapy for an emotional or mental disorder, you probably want to keep it close to you at all times. Many people in this situation get certification to qualify their pet as an Emotional Service Animal, which gives you certain rights not afforded to other pets. If you’re interested in getting an ESA letter and how this will affect your pet when you stay in hotels, here is the information you need to know.

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Emotional Support Pets, Dogs, Cats…

ESA Hotel Laws

An ESA can be any animal that provides support and comfort to a person with mental or emotional issues. These can include anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder, social phobia, depression, or similar conditions. Any type of pet can be considered an ESA, though the most common are cats and dogs as they are easy to travel with and tend to exhibit more of the qualities that are comforting to their owners. To have your pet considered as an ESA, you must get a legitimate ESA letter.

How are Emotional Support Animals Treated at Hotels?

With a legitimate ESA letter, your animal may travel in the cabin of an airplane with you and live in your home with you with no extra fees or restrictions. However, hotels are not bound by any laws governing ESAs. They may exclude your pet from staying in their hotel with you if they see fit. A general rule of thumb is that if a hotel is pet-friendly, it will also be ESA-friendly. In some cases, hotel management will be understanding of your situation with an ESA. It never hurts to call them before booking and tell them about your condition and your pet’s status as an ESA. They may be willing to allow your pet to stay with you even if they are not technically a pet-friendly hotel.

Where Can I Find an Animal-Friendly Hotel? 

What is ESA Hotel Laws

Hotels are more and more likely to welcome pets at their establishments. Most hotels will state they are pet-friendly on their websites and in their marketing efforts. Many travel sites may also indicate if a hotel is pet-friendly. If you want to book a hotel room and do not know if they will allow your ESA to stay with you, simply call or email ahead of time to find out their policies regarding pets.

Getting an ESA Letter

If you are interested in getting an ESA letter so your pet can live with you, travel with you on airplanes, and stay close by your side, you need to talk to a doctor or licensed mental health professional. If you already see someone for your emotional disorder, you can ask them about getting an ESA letter. You can also go online and find a reputable business that offers ESA letters online. You will be able to speak to a doctor or LMHP about your condition so they can qualify you for a letter. If you are approved, you can have access to your ESA letter instantly.

Your pet can have a wonderfully therapeutic effect on your life. When you get your ESA letter, you can ensure they can stay by your side in your home and when you travel on airplanes.

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