What is Medical Boarding for Dogs and Cats?

posted in: .. By Mia 3

Medical Boarding is Required for Special Needs Pets and Sick or Ill AnimalsSome owners try to bring their pets to a typical kennel or cattery, only to find that they cannot accommodate the animal’s needs and medical boarding is required.

If your pet has special needs, is chronically ill or requires other special care, you may need to utilize a medical boarding facility. Most vet clinics provide medical boarding, though the cost is often two or three times more expensive than typical boarding or kenneling.

Medical boarding is typically required for:

  • pets who need IV fluids on a daily basis;
  • pets who use a wheelchair;
  • pets who require hand-feeding;
  • chronically-ill pets;
  • a pet who is sick with a contagious illness;
  • dogs with extreme separation anxiety (these pets may need to be medicated during their stay); and
  • pets who are aggressive with strangers, especially pets who exhibit fear aggression.

Medical boarding, though expensive, is a good option for pets who are medically fragile and it can provide peace of mind for the owner. Medical boarding is often recommended if a pet owner needs to travel and their animal was recently sick or the pet is still in the process of recovering from an illness, operation or similar.

Most medical boarding facilities are veterinary clinics, though some high-end catteries and kennels do offer specialty boarding services. It’s important to ask whether the facility is staffed around the clock. Medically fragile pets and disabled animals may require 24-hour care and/or monitoring. For instance, a dog with paralysis may not make it through the night without having a bathroom accident and since the animal cannot walk, she’ll be forced to sit in her own urine or feces. Therefore, 24-7 staffing is a necessity for many special needs animals. This is an important consideration when selecting a medical boarding facility.

In addition, pet owners should ask about the facility’s medical care policy. The pet owner will be asked to sign a form that authorizes the staff to administer certain medications, to perform certain procedures and so forth. It’s important that you provide consent for any and all procedures that may be required for your pet, particularly if you’re out of contact during your travels (e.g., your cell phone probably won’t work on a cruise ship and you won’t be easy to contact when you’re outside your room.) Some facilities will also allow you to appoint a family member or friend as an authorized decision-maker in the event that an emergency arises.

For more pet care tips, visit the PetLvr archives.

Photo Source: Vee Bee on Sxc.hu

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Mia Carter is a professional journalist and animal lover. Her furry family members include 6 dogs and 12 cats. She is also a feral cat colony caretaker. Carter specializes in pet training and special needs pet care. All of her animals have special needs such as paralysis, blindness, deafness and FIV, just to name a few. She also serves as a pet foster parent and she actively rehabilitates and rescues local strays and feral kittens.

3 Responses

  1. Cathy F
    | Reply

    I never new about What is Medical Boarding for Dogs and Cats? Now I know to ask and make sure they have 24/7 staffing on hand. That is very important for you dog or cat that needs medical needs through out the night and day. You are right about leaving another contact person that has permission to handle any emergency in case you are out of reach. We all love our pets and want what is best for them.

  2. perpetualpetmemorials
    | Reply

    Can you tell me if the small square metal (similar to chicken wire) stacked 2-3 high is the “typical” kennels used for medical boarding? I ave always been concerned about my pet having to walk on those uncomfortable metal bars.

    • Mia Carter
      | Reply

      Thanks for your question!
      Stainless steel kennels are standard in virtually every veterinary clinic, animal shelters, grooming facilities, etc. The reason: they’re sturdy and easy to disinfect.

      But, these kennels have flat, solid bottoms. The sides are also solid, but the front panel is made of metal bars.

      You’re absolutely correct — your pet should never be kept in a kennel with a wire bottom or bars on the floor; this would be painful on their feet. Not only this, but “stacked” kennels would be problematic in that urine, feces and body fluids could fall through the floor of the top kennel and onto the pet below. In short, this is something that I would expect to see in a puppy farm or another unethical, substandard breeding facility or another abusive/neglectful situation. If you ever observe something like this, I would report it to the authorities immediately. Veterinary clinics are subject to inspections and they do need to meet certain standards; I would not expect to see this in a veterinary clinic.

      These kennels — with wire tops, bottoms and sides — would never be used in a [reputable] veterinary clinic, especially since the kennels are used to home animals who are sick, injured, etc. You can’t allow pets to have direct contact through the kennel bars; this would result in the spread of illness and tremendous stress — the last thing you want when you’re trying to recover from surgery or a serious illness, as is the case for many pets in those kennels!

      I do know that there are some stainless steel kennels with small vent-like slits in the floor panel. There is a tray that slides in below the floor panel to catch fluids; it’s a system designed to drain away liquids like urine. But the slits are very narrow and widely spaced, so they would not be uncomfortable for your pet. Pets should never, ever be kept in a kennel with a wire floor, especially if the kennels are “stacked.” This is abuse and it’s criminal.

      And, of course, your pet will be provided with a bed (or towels/blankets), even if they’re in medical boarding. You can typically bring your own bed, blankets, towels, etc. just as you would with a normal kennel facility.

      Of course, if you ever have concerns about something you’re seeing in a veterinary clinic (or elsewhere — a grooming facility, breeder, kennel, pet store, shelter, zoo, etc.) don’t be afraid to ask questions. If you feel like you’ve seen something that’s dangerous or harmful to the animals, don’t hesitate to report it to the authorities for investigation! Most state-run humane societies have a law enforcement division (for instance, in Massachusetts, there’s the MSPCA law enforcement division.) Or you can contact the police department in your area; they can always investigate or refer it to an animal-specific law enforcement team.

      I hope that answers your question! Don’t hesitate to let me know if you have any further questions!
      Mia Carter
      Pet Writer, PetLvr.com

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