In response to a post from a couple of weeks ago, barbccl mentioned using a pill identifier website to check a friend’s cat’s methimazole refill when the pills looked different than they had previously. I’d never heard of a pill identifier website, so decided to check one out.

First, I went down to the stash of veterinary drugs that I keep in my basement and pulled out 10 random bottles of pills. I entered the codes imprinted on the tablets and capsules into the website’s search box and found that it worked very well for the human meds I had on hand — cephalexin, prednisone, doxycycline, tramadol, etc. However, when I tried to verify drugs manufactured specifically for the veterinary marked — Deramaxx and Baytril, for example — the website failed to recognize them.

So I think sites like these can certainly help in some cases, but not all.

While we’re on the subject of helpful resources, I want to pass on a great tip I learned from another vet who practices here in Fort Collins, Colorado. A friend’s cat was recently attacked by a dog that was visiting his house. The cat’s hind leg was broken and had to be pinned. As the veterinary surgeon was going over discharge instructions with the owner, he mentioned that the cat’s activity level should be curtailed as she healed. The cat in question, however, is deaf and gets very agitated when she cannot see what is going on in the house around her. Putting her in a small room behind a closed door was out of the question.

Had I been the vet in this scenario, I think I would have been more or less stumped. Maybe we could have come up with some way of blocking off a doorway with stacked baby gates or keeping the cat in a large crate, but those ideas all involve purchasing products that my friend didn’t have on hand and wouldn’t want after his cat was better.

This vet had a much more elegant solution — a small tent. I absolutely love this idea and can’t wait to trot it out the next time I need to recommend restricted activity for a cat or even a smallish dog. I picture the cat resting on a comfy bed watching the world go by through the mesh walls of the tent (keep the rainfly off for maximum visibility), with a litter box tucked in one corner and food and water in another. The whole set up can be moved between parts of the house if need be, and family members can join the recuperating pet inside for some TLC. Genius!

Do any of you have any equally elegant pet care tips that you’ve learned over the years? Please share!

Dr. Jennifer Coates

Image: aJ Gazmen / via Flickr