In the first part of this article we’ll talk about what to look for in a veterinarian, and your own personal MD. We need doctors who listen, who take notes, who do not condescend to you, who do not roll eyes or huff and puff, and who truly care.
In part two we’ll give you actual scripted dialogue to help you articulate your thoughts, ideas, and concerns, and to bring up possibly touchy subjects.
This is particularly helpful when you want the doctor to explore alternative or uncommon methods to treat your cats or yourself, particularly if it’s something you discovered online. Doctors often cringe when we say “I read about blah-blah-blah online.”
We’ll help you approach your doctors with intelligence and a firm hand, while remaining respectful. It’s a tricky juggling act, but it can be done with great results for everyone including a doctor who could learn a new trick, from you!
Check List So You Can Evaluate Any Vet or Doctor:
- Is this person a really good listener, who makes eye contact with you, seems present, not bored or annoyed? Let’s you speak and say what you want to say without interruption. Does this person save questions for when you are finished?
- Ask the doctor if they stay current on professional bulletins, newsletters. Does the doctor go to conferences? If so, which ones, and how often?
- Ask the doctor what advanced training they have taken, or what interesting fields they have studied beyond their university training. Ask if the doctor has considered modalities that are not taught in colleges.
- Does the doctor confer with colleagues via Skype or email for tough cases?
- Does this doctor seem rushed for time and make you feel there isn’t ample time for you to speak? Have your concerns been addressed and questions answered?
- Did the doctor take notes, either handwritten in your file or typed into the computer?
- Is their equipment state-of-the-art and replaced every few years? (This is important, we know of a vet clinic which used a very old X-ray machine that had belonged to a podiatrist who retired.)
- Will they let you see “behind the scenes” for a glimpse at treatment, surgery and kennel areas. Be on the lookout for icky smells and cleanliness. Are these areas tidy and quiet?
- Does this doctor volunteer time helping those in need? We know one veterinarian who plans vacations around going to exotic places performing surgeries on orangutans and big cats.
- You may not be a stand-up comic, but if you said something funny or light hearted did this person show some degree of a sense of humor?
- Are the nurses and front desk staff friendly, intelligent sounding, compassionate. Do they also listen to you without giving you’re The Bum’s Rush?
- Does this doctor have a cell phone or email for after hours emergencies? That’s not mandatory, and of course the doctor needs personal down-time, but it sure is nice to be able to reach someone.
Part Two will be actual dialogue or a script that you can use when bringing up something touchy or something which might make the doctor feel challenged or threatened. In particular if you want to discuss alternative treatments and therapies, ideas which might be new to the doctor. Or worse, that the doctor thinks is weird. Diplomacy works wonders and it’s helpful to have a guide so you can find the words when you might feel intimidated.
We often get emails from people who say: “My vet is really great. I wish I could find an MD as wonderful of my vet!” Cat Faeries is always here to help your cat AND you. Your cat faerie recently stuck gold here when she found her new MD from this list. You can search by state for doctors who are hip to diet + health which is hard to find: http://lowcarbdoctors.blogspot.com
From time to time your vet will recommend that your cat be fed baby food for a period of time. Usually the cat has been sick and is vulnerable to toxins and stresses to the body.
Gerber is using GMO ingredients, and ingredients doused with the herbicide Roundup. If these ingredients harm babies they are likely to harm our cats.
Our sources tell us that Beechnut is not using GMO’s or ingredients which have had Roundup (or similar) applied to them. At this time Beechnut would be the ideal choice for any cat who is sick or being fussy.
One of the many reasons to avoid feeding cats GMO food is that these modified foods have shown to compromise kidneys. I don’t think we need to point out that renal failure is a common occurrence in cats. It’s something we cat lovers try to prevent. GMO’s also harm the liver.
Note: Both brands removed onion powder from their foods a long time ago in response to mothers protesting that if it’s bad for cats, it would be bad for babies.
CALL Gerber and give them an earful. Available 24/7: 800-284-9488
Here is a really good article about GMO’s and why they are so bad:
I’m so not fond of housecleaning that I can successfully talk myself out of it nearly every time! And vacuuming? Ugh! The noise offends my delicate nerves and ears, and worse, it scares my cats and rabbits. What better reasons could I possibly have to postpone vacuuming for when the dust bunnies grow into tumbleweeds? My hatred of fleas!
After reading an article (linked below) about how effective a quick vacuuming around the house is at killing fleas in any stage of their development I’ve changed my ways. When I learned that for 96% of yucky fleas who get sucked up by the vacuum cleaner it’s “a one way trip.”
Over the years I had read, as I’m sure you had too, that we should put a flea collar in the vacuum cleaner bag. And, that we need to throw out or otherwise destroy the vacuum bag after each use because it was assumed the fleas were still alive and would escape with vengeance in their evil little minds. All of this misinformation gave us more work to do, gave us more to worry about, and fortunately none of it was ever necessary.
From the article…
“Six tests of vacuuming the adult fleas yielded an average of 96 percent of fleas killed; three tests of vacuumed pupae and one test of vacuumed larvae (in their third stage of development) resulted in 100 percent killed.”
Read the entire article here: http://researchnews.osu.edu/archive/needfleas.htm
We cringe every time we hear that another cat has lost a home because of bad and incorrect warnings from doctors directed at pregnant women.
We finally found a really good article that clears the air about cats, toxoplasmosis and pregnant or nursing women.
Far too many obstetricians attempting to sound smart have given women bad and very wrong advice: “Get rid of your cat to protect your child.”
If your cat stays inside and has never eaten a rodent the chances of your cat carrying this parasite are remote. Concerned about your cat? Have the cat tested!
From the article we’ve linked to below:
Question: Do I have to give up my cat if I’m pregnant or planning on becoming pregnant?
Answer: No. You should follow these helpful tips to reduce your risk of environmental exposure to Toxoplasma.
- Avoid changing cat litter if possible. If no one else can perform the task, wear disposable gloves and wash your hands with soap and warm water afterwards.
- Ensure that the cat litter box is changed daily. The Toxoplasma parasite does not become infectious until 1 to 5 days after it is shed in a cat’s feces.
- Feed your cat commercial dry or canned food, not raw or undercooked meats.
- Keep cats indoors.
- Avoid stray cats, especially kittens. Do not get a new cat while you are pregnant.
- Keep outdoor sandboxes covered.
- Wear gloves when gardening and during contact with soil or sand because it might be contaminated with cat feces that contain Toxoplasma. Wash hands with soap and warm water after gardening or contact with soil or sand.
Read the entire article: http://www.cdc.gov/parasites/toxoplasmosis/gen_info/pregnant.html
The ASPCA has a good page about Toxoplasmosis and cats. Here’s something they say:
If you suspect your cat is carrying the parasite that causes toxoplasmosis, it’s time to get him tested by your veterinarian. If he tests positive, it means he has been exposed to the disease but is unlikely to be shedding oocysts after an initial two-week period. If he tests negative, it means he has not been exposed and could still become infected and shed oocysts — but again only for two weeks.
Read more from the ASPCA: http://www.aspca.org/pet-care/cat-care/toxoplasmosis
From a new mother’s forum, moms and a vet student speak:
When Dr. Cheryl Schwartz wanted to learn about veterinary acupuncture she found that a book on the subject did not exist – even in China where acupuncture originated. She turned to the text books for human doctors, and took courses in human acupuncture knowing she could transfer what she learned for people to animals. After years of treating patients with 4 feet and a tail she wrote her book “Four Paws, Five Directions, Traditional Chinese Medicine for Cats and Dogs” which is now a text book in China.
Here is a Cat Faeries exclusive Q and A with Dr. Cheryl Schwartz DVM:
1) I know that for my own diabetes (type 2) the ideal diet is very low carb, moderate protein, and high fat. It’s worked wonders. Would you say that a similar diet for cats who have diabetes or for people who don’t want their cat to get diabetes is a good idea? And what about for cats with kidney failure? It seems to me that both ways of feeding a cat is ideal.
Dr. Schwartz: Great ideas and questions! Low carb, moderate protein and high fat are beneficial for cats with diabetes and kidney failure
2) I’m eating a lot of organ meats (also known as offal). In particular, lamb sweetbreads*. Which by the way, my cats love (recipe to follow). How do you feel about organ meats vs muscle meat for cats with diabetes or kidney failure?
Dr Schwartz: I prefer small amounts of organ meat mixed with muscle meat, because higher amounts seem to create constipation and stagnation in cats.
* Cat Faeries Note: See below for two recipies for lamb sweetbreads – one for cats, one for people.
3) My MD has me on 70 grams of protein a day and I’m surprised that I’m liking eating less protein and more fat. What might you recommend for an average sized cat of about 11 pounds? What ratio of meat to fat to vegetable do you like?
Dr. Schwartz: I don’t usually break it down between fat and protein. I use more TCM therapy. I recommend the fatty meats like lamb, chicken, beef. Some cats with diabetes do well on stewed or boiled pork loin or butt. It is important to make sure the cat does not also have pancreatitis where fat metabolism/absorption can create more inflammation, so each cat seems to be unique. Ratio between meat and vegetables would be 2/3 meat to 1/3 veggies, including some sweet potato.
4) I no longer cook my own meats at a high heat because the high heat creates “advanced glycation” which happens inside the body when charred, grilled, or fried meat is consumed. I understand that this means it turns to sugar when it’s eaten and this is one of the reason diabetes is has become practically an epidemic for people, and also our cats and dogs. I steam, stew, boil, simmer, or poach my meats now and eat them pretty rare. Would you recommend those techniques for a cat’s meat? Do you have anything to say about advanced glycation and how to prevent it?
Dr Schwartz: High heat is present in dry food and it does increase the sugar content. I recommend stewing or poaching, or hot pot as best ways to prepare. If the cat can tolerate and like it, I would recommend raw food.
5) There has been a lot of talk lately about resistant starch and safe starches for people – basically steamed potatoes and white rice, severed with something acidic (like lemon juice), fat and served cold. For people it can be healing to the gut and it gives people some carbs which do not jack their blood sugar. Any value in this theory for cats?
Dr. Schwartz: I like steamed sweet potato or pumpkin for cats.
6) Are there safe carbs for a cat? Any safe grains?
Dr. Schwartz: It depends on the cat. I really like the sweet potato, pumpkin. Another alternative is mashed cooked lentils or garbanzo beans with cooked white rice. Adding a small piece of pickle* is sometimes tolerated by some cats. Either the cat likes it or not.
* Cat Faeries Note: Coming up in another newsletter, how to properly lacto ferment vegetables suitable for you and your cats.
7) Which fats are good for cats? For people ideal fats are saturated and those include: coconut oil, MCT oil, lard, grass fed butter.
Dr Schwartz: Cat Faeries fish oil mainly. Grass fed butter*, olive oil, small amounts coconut oil.
8) Which flower essences help cats with either or both conditions?
Dr. Schwartz: Kidney Kitty is good. It would also be helpful for diabetes cats
9) You are big on color therapy. Would you recommend shining a colored light on a cat?
Dr Schwartz: For the kidneys use blue light. Shine the light around the kidney area in lumbar vertebrae. For diabetes use yellow or green light and shine it at the end of the ribs (Thoracic V) and beginning of the lumbar as well as Spleen 6.
10) Any other therapies that a person might employ?
Dr. Schwartz: Other great modalities might be sound therapy with tuning forks.
11) What acupressure points are good for diabetic cats and cats with some form of renal failure?
For renal failure
(Photos from “Four Paws, Five Directions, Traditional Chinese Medicine for Cats and Dogs” used with permission of Dr. Cheryl Schwartz)
Your Cat Faeries’ Lamb Sweetbreads Recipie
Lamb sweetbreads are the pancreas and thymus of young sheep and they are one of the most nutrient dense foods there is. You only want to buy them from organic/pastured sources. To find them in your state: www.eatwild.com
- Soak a pound or so of sweet breads in cold water for two hours
- You might rinse them a few times during their soak
- Strain in a colander in the sink
- You want to pull off the big chunky fat pieces – the reason is that this fat isn’t delicious, it can be bitter, and the tough texture clashes with the dumpling like texture of the sweet breads
- Try to remove some of the membrane without tearing or compromising the shape of the sweet breads
- Cut them into uniform sizes so that they cook evenly. About 1 and a half inch pieces.
- Par boil in gently boiling water for 5 minutes and drain
IF SERVING TO CATS – STOP HERE! The seasonings which are good and healthful to us are not good for cats (onion especially)
Continue on only for people…
- Melt a lot of butter in a pan
- Add some white wine and stir vigorously to make a slight reduction
- Seasonings can include salt and pepper, a pinch of cumin powder, onion powder (organic and delicious onion powder can be bought at Azure Farms online)
- Add the sweet breads
- Simmer for 20 to 25 minutes. Interestingly, they do not dry out, yet if they are undercooked the texture isn’t very nice.
At this point you can remove them and do a thicker white wine and butter deduction sauce by adding more of both, and stirring vigorously
- You could even put some heavy cream in at this point or a bit of soft goat cheese
- Put the sweetbreads back in the pan so the flavors marry with the sauce
- Some people fry up the fat bits and have them separately
- Leftovers are so good that they are even good cold!
- You might experiment with adding cooked sausage and mushrooms