In tough economic times, it becomes necessary to lower our daily expenses, and we are always on the lookout for another avenue for cost cutting. Pet health care may quickly become an area of the budget where funds are tight, and cuts must be made. Thankfully, there are several things you can do to help reduce your cats 'health care costs, without sacrificing your cats' overall health and well-being.
Prevention, Prevention, Prevention
Vet bills can be extraordinarily expensive, and no cat owner wants to be in the position of not being able to afford the veterinary care necessary to treat or save the life of a approved cat. While unforeseen illnesses and accidents will always happen, by making prevention the cornerstone of your cats' health care program, you can greatly reduce your vet bills on routine health care, and avoid most diseases.
A preventive program includes changing to a healthy natural diet and supplementing it with a compliment of soil-based probiotics, pet lipids, digestive enzymes and super food supplements. This is the same program health conscious people follow.
Avoid the Temptation- Do not Skip the Annual Exam
The anticipation of bad news scares people away from annual exams. And yet, a veterinary exam is vital to access the overall health of your cat / dog. Chronic disease, can be greatly minimized, or even completely avoided by early detection.
If you want to make sure you are in for no surprises come time for your cat's annual exam, make a point of learning how to keep your pet healthy in the first place. Then, when you take your pet in for a checkup, it will get a glowing bill of health.
How Often Should You Vaccinate?
While cat vaccinations have traditionally been given on an annual basis, new research has shown that the antibodies created in response to vaccinating often lasts several years. If you have a senior cat, or a cat that is indoor-only, and is never exposed to other cats, talk to your vet about stopping vaccinations altogether; This is healthy for your cat, and easier on your pocketbook.
Fecal Screening and Parasite Control- Cats that go outdoors should be screened annually for common internal parasites that can be acquainted from drinking standing water and from hunting and eating wild animals. Parasite infections can cause serious and even life threatening cases of vomiting and diarrhea. By identifying and treating internal parasites before they become a problem, you can avoid expensive vet visits.
Treating your cat for external parasites (fleas, ticks, etc) monthly can help to prevent some parasite infestation, as well as to avoid skin problems related to flea bite allergies, and prevent tick borne illness; all problems which require veterinary attention to treat. Be aware that many "cheaper" pet-store and supermarket varieties of flea treatments can cause serious and potentially deadly reactions and sudden illnesses in cats.
Blood work especially in older cats, routine blood work in the form of the complete blood count (CBC) and chemistry analysis is vital in ensuring that your cat is healthy. Hyperthyroidism, diabetes and kidney failure are three diseases that can be life threatening if left undiagnosed, and cats rarely show signs of illness until these diseases have progressed into very serious problems. Routine blood work can detect these and many other diseases before clinical signs appear, allowing your cat to be treated before serious damage to the body can occur.
Other Money-Saving Vet Tips
If your cat currently requires medication, you may be able to save money by getting a prescription to get your pets meds online. Take care to do your homework, and select a reputable on-line pharmacy though- out of the country pharmacies have been sold selling medicines that are fake, or contain incorrect or impure amounts of medication in them.
But you can avoid most medications by adopting a proven preventive and restorative program. Most diseases can be reversed!
Dental care is a vital part of keeping your cat healthy, and at sometimes, dental cleansings under anesthesia will be an unavoidable necessity. However, you can minimize the number of dental cleansings your cat will need in his or her lifetime by providing excellent dental home-care.
Daily Brushing Brushing your cats' teeth daily is the single best thing you can do to keep his or her teeth healthy, and avoid frequent professional teeth cleanings. Cat toothbrushes are available at your vet or pet store, or a human toothbrush will do, but be sure to use toothpaste made specifically for pets. Brush the teeth daily, making sure you get the outsides of the teeth in the very back in the mouth, which often have the most accumulation of gingivitis and tartar. While your cat may be skeptical of what you are doing at first, most cats quickly become accustomed to the practice and become cooperative for the procedure.
Dental Chews or Bones?
There are several brands of chews available that help to reduce gingivitis, and even help remove tartar from the teeth. While daily brushing is the best way to keep your cats teeth in good health, raw meat diets are a great prevention method. Raw bones are soft, good for your cat, and act like a cleaning agent.
Better Health Through Better Food
If times are tight, it may seem tempting to abandon a quality diet and switch to manufactured pet foods- canned or dry. Despite supermarkets, and big box stores like Wal-Mart sell prepackaged cat foods at cheaper prices than making prepared meals made with real meat, fish, fowl, and lamb, be wary. Prepackaged foods are inferior; they are mostly fillers and meat by-products (the parts of the animal unfit for human consumption, such as chicken beaks and feathers. to its lack of quality content.
During the pet-food recall of 2007, pre-packaged pet foods found themselves at the center of the problem. Melamine was used to boost the perceived protein content of kibble. While the foods on the shelves today are currently considered safe, the best way to avoid potential food problems, and to keep your cat healthy (and by that extension, saving on vet bills) is to make sure your cat's food is made from quality pure meat sources. You also need to give them proper supplements and soil-based probiotics to optimize their digestive systems.
There is no denying that veterinary care is expensive, and there is no crystal ball for knowing when your cat is going to experience a health crisis, though most can be prevented.
Pet Health Insurance has been around for almost 20 years, but recently it has started to receive more mainstream popularity. Depending on your policy, insurance may help pay the bills if your cat is seriously ill or injured, or simply cover routine health care.
It is important to point out that unlike human health insurance, most Pet Insurance works on a reimbursement system- meaning that if your cat becomes seriously ill and requires surgery or hospitalization, you will still have to pay out of pocket all charges associated with the veterinary treatments, and then file a claim with the insurance company to be reimbursed.
The best pet insurance is to start your cat on a prevention program today. When you factor in the cost of insurance and just 2 vet visits per year, the additional cost of a proper prevention program is negligible.
The Bottom Line
Cat health care on a budget is possible, and best implemented by learning what is the best food for your cat, avoiding commercial pre-packaged pet foods, and eliminating annual vaccines.
By doing this and giving your cat supplements that can not be found in any food, you can prevent most cat health problems. Spending more upfront for better food and proper supplements will minimize your vet bills in the long term, while keeping your cat happy and healthy for years to come.