Why knowing your pets medical history is important

Why A Health Hx is important for your pet:

Pet care has changed tremendously even in my lifetime. Both what used to be called barn cats and the concept of dogs living outdoors in doghouses in cold climates with very little care from their human owners are notions that have practically disappeared from our collective vocabulary. For better or worse-(and I personally believe it to be better)-pets today are treated much more like human beings. Just as there are health insurance policies for humans, pet healthcare insurance can also be purchased. Regular appointments for annual physicals are made for both people and their pets.

More people are beginning to put their own medical history down on paper or as a file on their computer. This is particularly valuable if you are rushed to a hospital emergency room. Though I am a nurse, I have to confess it was a psychologist I work with who first advised me on the importance of writing down, and keeping current, such information. She keeps a file on each of her elderly parents containing a complete medical and surgical history as well as all medications they are taking. This saves a tremendous amount of time and confusion if they are rushed to the hospital for any reason, or even if they are to see a different physician. The same is true for your pet. Knowing your pet’s medical history is obviously necessary in order for you to understand the pet’s special needs and often times, the reason for his or her behavior.

Any injuries or medical conditions that your pet has should be listed in this report. Though your dog, cat or hamster can end up being rushed to a veterinary emergency treatment center, there is another possibility for this information being needed. In case of a disaster such as a hurricane (as in Hurricane Katrina, when abandoned and lost pets were a major problem), the more information you are able to provide regarding your pet, the better the chance that humane volunteers will be better able to help. If information can be entered in a microchip and that microchip implanted under the skin of your pet, it is even more helpful.

A pet medical record might look something like this:

Name: Blackie (responds to his name, is very affectionate and playful, even with strangers)

Breed: Labrador Retriever

Age: 6 years old

Medical Conditions: Arthritis and dysplasia of both hips

Surgical Procedures:

Neutered at age one year

Surgical removal of (benign) fatty tumors at age five

Complete record of immunizations: (date of most recent)






Bordetela (kennel cough)



Rimadyl 100 mgm chewable tablet daily for his arthritic pain.

This information, either kept on your computer and printed out as needed, or entered onto a microchip and carried around by your pet, could make life much easier for both of you in an emergency.

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