VETERINARY CARE OF YOUR FOSTER DOG
You are probably already familiar with some common canine ailments. Try to become familiar as well with ailments often suffered by dogs coming from shelters or other stressful environments. Such information may be found in Resources. Even with such knowledge, however, there will be times when veterinary attention is either clearly required or highly advisable. Get a Foster Dog Health Record and keep a running list of medical treatments given, including routine vaccinations and preventatives.
Choice of Veterinarian. Because of the wide geographical area served by BRBCR, the group does not keep a list of veterinarians approved to treat our foster dogs. You may use your own vet, but we ask that you see if the vet will give a discount for care of the foster dog, to help keep our costs down (see Sample Letter to Veterinarian). Feel free to ask the group if they know any vets in your area that already offer us discounts. Be sure to take copies of any medical records you have to your first appointment.
Vaccinations and Routine Tests. All dogs should receive routine vaccinations, including Rabies, Bordetella, Corona, and DHLPP (which stands for Distemper, Hepatitis, Leptospirosis, Parainfluenza, and Parvovirus), as well as an initial worming, before being placed in foster homes. Check the medical records arriving with the dog to see if these have all in fact been given, and if not, arrange for them as soon as possible.
Also, the dog should have had a recent heartworm test. Start the dog on heartworm preventative and on flea and tick preventative. However, be conservative about obtaining discretionary care such as vaccination for Lyme disease or microchipping. While such measures are desirable, we need to balance their benefits with their costs.
Spay/Neuter. If not already altered, the foster dog will need to be scheduled for a spay or neuter. There are a number of low-cost spay/neuter clinics in the area served by BRBCR and ideally one of these will be used.
Emergencies. Because few veterinary clinics are open around the clock, you should identify the closest emergency facility in your area and keep this information on hand. In an emergency, seek veterinary care immediately. The dog’s health and safety are the first priority for BRBCR.
Other Medical Issues. Your foster dog may incur an injury or develop an illness that does not require emergency care but still needs veterinary attention. Some medical conditions, such as urinary tract infections and foreign bodies in the eye, are commonly diagnosed and easily treated. The foster parent may proceed on his or her own initiative to obtain examination and treatment for such common ailments.
However, any condition that will require lengthy treatment, or any kind of surgery, must be authorized by BRBCR in advance. Contact any member of the Board of Directors for authorization, and be prepared to provide specific information about the condition, the proposed treatment, and the costs, as well as any rehabilitation that may be needed.
Charges. Reimbursement for vet care is discussed below under Expenses. If you anticipate a large bill, contact the BRBCR Treasurer, who may be able to authorize the charge using the BRBCR credit card.