Keeping a journal about your animal’s health challenges, dietary and behavioral observations will help you communicate better with your animal’s health care providers.
KEYS PARTS OF A JOURNAL
- Beginning: Where you got the animal and when. Any history you could glean. Situation she came from. How he reacted when first with you.
- For each illness record anything the veterinarian tells you and shows you. Be specific about how things looked, not just the diagnosis. (“Gingivitis”, says the veterinarian. “Why do you say that?” you ask. You see the red line above 4 of the teeth, the pus coming out behind one tooth, etc.)
- Ask yourself and others in the family what could have caused this illness – are emotional things happening in the family, has the animal just been to the groomer, or vaccinated? Did you just get another animal?
- Record every current symptom observed by you and your family and your veterinarian, in numerical order.
- Record and date every treatment and if the animal resisted the treatment, loved it or could care less.
- Observe and record each symptom you originally listed, and add any new ones to the list and continue to track them all.
- When recovered from this current problem, schedule times for you to review the symptom list periodically to see if they are slowly returning.
- Always put the most emphasis on the energy, happiness, interactions, appetite and overall how she is doing.
- Wonderful behaviors and traits
- For every symptom you list, think of something wonderful your animal does and record that. “She coos as she kisses my face.” “He can leap tall buildings (well big chairs) in a single leap.” “I sense her compassion for my problems.”
- So you will have two lists, one of ill problems, and one of funny, touching, actions, smells, tastes, feelings and more good things.
- Remember that our thoughts create our reality so focusing merely on the ill parts of our animals (or ourselves) may create more of that. Notice the “illnesses”, focus on the positive about your animals and yourselves.
- Physical exam
- If your animal is a puppy or kitten, do a physical exam once a week until 4 or 5 months old, then shift to monthly exams. At one year, start doing the checks every 6 months or as often as you wish. When the animal has been ill, do them weekly, and then taper off as they regain health. When they seem to age, do them more frequently again.
- Have your veterinarian show you how to look in the eyes, ears, mouth, etc.
If they will not, do it yourself anyway or look for another veterinarian. You will notice, after a time, whatever is important to see. Then “yes” record your observations.
- Once a year, or more often if needed, have a veterinarian do a physical to
see if there is anything you are missing.
- Review the signs of health sheet. Is your animal showing any of these hints of
beginning ill health?
- What kind of a notebook is best? The best is my “Healthy Animal’s Journal“. Or you may choose calendars, spiral notebooks, 3 ring binders, or computers.