Hello, I’m April Darnell, one of the four Licensed Veterinary Technicians at Ruckersville Animal Hospital. One of my passions includes felines and their well-being and my goal is to make your cat’s trip to the vet an easier and less stressful experience for all involved.
A couple of at-home ways to decrease stress is to leave their travel crate in plain view and make it part of their living space. You can easily turn it into a resting area by placing a bed on top or inside of it, and it can also be utilized as the feeding or treat station. This way you can use the food or treats to make them want to go inside the crate on a normal basis. If your feline friends are used to eating within the crate, then encouraging them to enter it for a trip to the vet will be an easier experience and they will be less likely to be afraid of being placed within the crate.
In my opinion, the best type of travel crate is one that snaps together. This makes taking it apart easier when necessary and they won't need to "pulled" or “dumped” out upon arrival as this always makes for a bad start to a visit. By placing a nice, soft blanket into the crate they will feel that they have a safe space. You can also cover the crate with a blanket or towel while transporting them, so they don’t see the world bouncing around as they are carried and moved while in the crate.
Finally, there are certain supplements or medications which can be used to help the entire process run more smoothly. Feliway is a comforting pheromone, and it can be used to make travel less stressful. This can be purchased as a spray which can be applied into the crate prior to placing your cat inside. You can also spray it within your vehicle to make the entire environment more comforting.
Another option for cats that are especially fractious, is oral Gabapentin, which can be obtained from a pharmacy or through Ruckersville Animal Hospital. This prescription medication is typically mixed into the food the evening prior to and the morning of a veterinary visit and not only does it greatly decrease the amount of stress the cat feels, but it can make the entire experience a breeze and will make it easier for veterinary staff to handle your cat as gently as possible with minimal required restraint.
Here at Ruckersville Animal Hospital, we strive in making every visit as stress-free as possible, especially during our current curbside restrictions so please feel free and call or email us if you would like to discuss more ideas or ways to make bringing your cat to the vet as streamlined as possible.
Happy Holidays from all of us at Ruckersville Animal Hospital! Here at Ruckersville Animal Hospital, we are starting off the new year with a lot of exciting changes! While we are all still adjusting to the ever changing climate of the country and constantly evolving COVID-19 restrictions, we want to take a moment to thank all of our wonderful clients for their understanding and courtesy provided to our doctors and staff. Curbside care is not ideal and we understand not being able to be with your pets during their veterinary visits can be stressful, but our primary concern besides providing your pet's the top-notch veterinary care, is to ensure the safety of our staff and all of you. We continue to ask all our clients to ensure they are wearing a mask when interacting with our staff face-to-face, and please make sure your kitties are in carriers and your pups are leashed. Your cooperation is key in being as efficient as possible during this difficult time. Having said that, we would like to introduce our newest Associate Veterinarian, Dr. Caroline "Lina" Godine! You read that right, starting in January, we will have three Dr. Godines on staff here at RAH! Dr. Lina is the only daughter of Drs. Chip and Caroline, she graduated from the Virginia-Maryland College of Veterinary Medicine in 2019 and spent the last year working at a small animal practice in Tennessee. Dr. Lina is passionate about promoting the human-animal bond and strives to wed the science of medicine and surgery to the art of empathy and compassion for each of her patients. She is a member of the American Veterinary Medicine Association, the Virginia Veterinary Medical Association, and the Christian Veterinary Mission. In her spare time, Dr. Lina enjoys playing in local sports leagues, going for a hike, baking a treat for friends to enjoy, playing a tune on her keyboard, participating in service trips through CVM, and visiting her family. We are excited to have Dr. Lina join the RAH family and look forward to watching her grow as a Veterinarian! We would also like to welcome some new team members to the RAH family. Skylar Colvin, our newest veterinary assistant, and Megan Roach, our newest Client Services Representative. Skylar is a recent graduate of Eastern Mennonite University with a BA in Environmental Science and Biology and enjoys hiking and spending time with her pup. She also works most weekends at Bald Top Brewing Company. Megan enjoys swimming, singing, reading and spending time with her husband, son, and pups. Finally, we would like to inform all of you that we have a brand-new hospital website! We have spent the last few months creating a new site full of the most up-to-date information about our hospital, as well as updated staff pictures, bios, medical information and more! We are happy to continue to offer online prescription and appointment requests, as well as direct access to our online pharmacy, your personal "Petly" account and a new blog created by a different member of our staff monthly.