Speaking for Spot: Be the Advocate Your Dog Needs to Live a Happy, Healthy, Longer Life

Speaking for Spot: Be the Advocate Your Dog Needs to Live a Happy, Healthy, Longer Life

4.9 13
by Nancy Kay
     
 

"Kay provides an insider's guide to navigating the potentially overwhelming, confusing, and expensive world of veterinary medicine . . . the consummate guide to how to be your best friend's medical advocate!"  —Animal Radio

"Could save you thousands of dollars and give you the tools to prevent the heartache that comes with making uninformed or

Overview

"Kay provides an insider's guide to navigating the potentially overwhelming, confusing, and expensive world of veterinary medicine . . . the consummate guide to how to be your best friend's medical advocate!"  —Animal Radio

"Could save you thousands of dollars and give you the tools to prevent the heartache that comes with making uninformed or rushed decisions about your dog's health care."  —Linda Tellington-Jones, animal behaviorist and author, Getting in TTouch with Your Dog; Getting in TTouch with Your Puppy; and Unleash Your Dog's Potential

"Dogs deserve to have good books written about them . . . and this is one."  —Desmond Morris, author, The Naked Ape, Dogwatching, and Dogs: The Ultimate Dictionary of over 1,000 Breeds

"This is the book I wish I had when dogs first entered my life. . . . It's the other best friend you need when making routine veterinary decisions for your dog or potentially heart-breaking ones."  —Amy Tan, author, The Joy Luck Club and The Kitchen God's Wife

"A must-have book for each and every one of you; in fact, order two—one for home and one to keep in your car or in your workplace."  —Jan Rowley, editor, The Cavalier Wag, newsletter for the Bay Area Cavalier King Charles Spaniel Club

"I love Nancy's thoughtful and compassionate voice, and couldn't agree more with her encouragement to all of us to be active advocates for our pets' veterinary care."  —Patricia McConnell, world-renowned certified applied animal behaviorist

"If a dog owner could have only one book for health information, this is it. This is an excellent book at a reasonable price. I highly recommend it."  —Susan M. Cotter, DVM Diplomate American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine, in the Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association

Dr. Nancy Kay has one wish for today’s tail-wagging population—that attached by a leash to every dog is a motivated and effective human advocate.

She admits motivation is the easy part, as most people really want to provide their dogs with the best health care. But making good medical decisions for your dog can be difficult and challenging.

As a dog lover you are confronted with health-care decision-making on many levels: Which veterinarian is the right one for me and my dog? Which vaccinations does my dog need? Is it time to get a second opinion? Where do I get one? How much is this going to cost? Is there a more economical option? Is this medication necessary? Is my dog ready to say goodbye? Am I ready to let him go?

And then there are the myriad symptoms your pup might experience— the lumps and limps and sneezes and appetite changes that make you wonder:

Is that normal? Should I take my dog to the vet immediately? Should I wait and see if he’s better tomorrow?

When dealing with these questions, you may feel alone and ill-prepared, desperate for a knowledgeable source to gently explain what your options really are, and how to determine which best serves the needs of your canine and human families. Luckily, you’ve come to the right place!

In Speaking for Spot, Dr. Kay provides an insider’s guide to navigating the overwhelming, confusing, and expensive world of veterinary medicine with a warmth, candor, and humor cultivated over 20-plus years of working with canine patients and their human companions. She explains the vet’s point of view, and how to initiate and nurture a healthy relationship with a vet and her staff. She leads a guided tour through a modern veterinary land comprised of high-tech scanning devices, advanced surgery, physical rehabilitation, and more—the kinds of amazing medical procedures you expect to find in a human hospital, but may not have known were available for your four-legged friends.

Dr. Kay helps you come to grips with a cancer diagnosis, and explains the tough choices that are bound to follow. Plus, you’ll find an alphabetical listing of the most common symptoms experienced by dogs and the questions your vet is sure to ask when you report them—not to mention hundreds of prevalent diseases and related points you should be certain to clarify before leaving your vet’s office with a treatment plan in hand.

The result is everything you need to know in one fabulous, fully illustrated book. You will not find a more thorough, in-depth guide to ensuring high-quality treatment for your dog.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"An engaging, compelling, and truly indispensable book . . . the perfect guide that will make a tremendous difference for dogs and for the people who love them."  —THE BARK magazine

"At last! An accurate, thorough health book."  —The Whole Dog Journal

"We finally have a book that makes sense of it all! With experience, warmth, wit, and candor, Dr. Nancy Kay provides an authentic, user-friendly guide for making all types of health care choices for your dog."  —Marty Becker, DVM, resident veterinarian on Good Morning America, nationally syndicated newspaper columnist, and cofounder of petconnection.com

"In previewing Speaking for Spot I found myself wishing that Dr. Kay’s book had been available when I was in practice, and read by the clients who chose me to be their pet’s veterinarian."  —John W. Albers, DVM, executive director, American Animal Hospital Association

"Dr. Nancy Kay offers guides to selecting the right veterinarian, when to ask for a second opinion and tips on choosing the right treatment option. Much of the information can pertain to cats, too."  —New York Daily News

"Tremendous practical value to dog lovers and should be mandatory reading for veterinarians."  — Kevin T. Fitzgerald, PhD, DVM, DABVP, Animal Planet’s Emergency Vets and E.R. Vets: The Interns

"A guide for pet owners struggling to understand the world of veterinary care."  —Dog Fancy

Featured on National Public Radio's highly acclaimed show, Fresh Air with Terry Gross.  —www.freshair.npr.org

The Whole Dog Journal
At last! An accurate, thorough health book.
New York Daily News
Dr. Nancy Kay offers guides to selecting the right veterinarian, when to ask for a second opinion and tips on choosing the right treatment option. Much of the information can pertain to cats, too.
THE BARK magazine
An engaging, compelling, and truly indispensable book . . . the perfect guide that will make a tremendous difference for dogs and for the people who love them."

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781570764059
Publisher:
Trafalgar Square
Publication date:
10/01/2008
Pages:
384
Product dimensions:
8.46(w) x 6.94(h) x 1.10(d)

Related Subjects

Read an Excerpt


SPEAKING FOR SPOT

Be the Advocate Your Dog Needs to Live a Happy, Healthy, Longer Life



By NANCY KAY
Trafalgar Square Books
Copyright © 2008

Nancy Kay
All right reserved.



ISBN: 978-1-57076-405-9



Chapter One Medical Advocacy 101

You've now found yourself totally enamored of a hairy, four-legged creature and will want to do the very best possible job you can to care for him. You feed him high quality food, and provide him with regular exercise and plenty of play time. You even let him sleep on the bed! That's the easy part. The hard part comes when you need to make significant medical decisions that will impact your dog's health. You may not have thought much about it at the time, but when you accepted your dog as part of the family you agreed to take care of him both in sickness and in health. You "signed" an unwritten contract, whereby you accepted "power of attorney" to act for your dog and be willing and able to make medical decisions on his behalf.

Your role now becomes much more than caretaker and friend. In exchange for that wagging tail and unconditional love, you now become your best friend's medical advocate. Maintaining your dog's health means gathering information, making important choices, dealing with illness, and potentially tackling the question of euthanasia. Welcome to the toughest part of sharing your life with a dog.

Consider the example of Riley, a 12-year-old German Shepherd mix who is cared for and adored by the Johnson family. Riley is the family exercise partner, newspaper retriever, nanny, bedmate, and comic relief in his busy household. He's also in charge of training the newest family member named Bubba, a 10-week-old Shepherd puppy. But recently, the normally ravenous Riley has been leaving some food in his bowl, tiring on his walks, and vomiting. The family veterinarian has determined from some blood tests that Riley has kidney failure. She's recommended that Riley be hospitalized for round-the-clock intravenous fluid therapy as well as an abdominal ultrasound examination, specialized blood tests, and a possible kidney biopsy to determine the cause. Although the outlook is bleak, it certainly isn't hopeless. The cost for all this is estimated at $3,000 to $5,000.

On first hearing the news, the Johnsons are devastated and confused. They had no idea Riley was so sick. They ask if they had brought him to the clinic sooner, could all of this have been avoided? The three Johnson children have never known life without their beloved pet. How will they respond to this news? Who will model civilized "doggie" behavior for Bubba? The Johnsons aren't sure the recommended care will be affordable. They don't want to throw in the towel too early, nor do they want Riley to suffer. Should they get a second opinion? Is it reasonable to proceed with the recommended diagnostic tests and treatment with a 12-year-old dog?

The veterinarian asks if they have any questions. Questions? The Johnsons don't even know where to start. They want to do what's best for Riley. The problem is they aren't exactly sure what that is. They feel incapacitated by their lack of medical knowledge and their emotional turmoil.

I suspect that some of you are reading this book because you have a "Riley" of your very own and are perhaps experiencing many of the Johnsons' struggles and emotions. If this is the case, now is the perfect time to learn how to effectively "speak" for your dog.

Why Your Dog Needs a Medical Advocate

Gone are the days when you simply followed your vet's orders and asked few, if any questions. The vet is now a member of your dog's health-care team, and you get to be the team captain! Your job description has evolved from receiving and following doctor's orders to processing and making decisions. This is no easy task given the volume of information and number of diagnostic and treatment choices available today. Consider the fact that in the human field, medical knowledge doubles approximately every seven years. I suspect that this is true in veterinary medicine as well. Many positive changes in the veterinary profession such as ultrasound, advanced surgical procedures, cancer treatments (the list goes on and on) have created even greater need for people to act as their dog's medical advocate. There are far more choices than ever before.

In addition to the family vet (the veterinary version of our primary care physician), people now have access to a barrage of specialists, including internists, cardiologists, neurologists, dermatologists, ophthalmologists, radiologists, surgeons, nutritionists, and dentists. Other veterinarians specialize in alternative, or complementary, medicine that encompasses acupuncture, chiropractic, homeopathy, and herb therapy. And, certified veterinary rehabilitation specialists can profoundly and positively impact recovery time and comfort level for dogs suffering from arthritis or recovering from back or joint surgery.

Veterinary technology is also keeping pace with its human counterpart (see chapter 5, p. 77, for details). MRI and CT scanners are now options as are 24-hour veterinary critical care facilities. Dialysis is available for the dog with kidney failure. Chemotherapy and radiation therapy have turned many canine cancers from a death sentence into a treatable disease. Advances in veterinary health care are allowing dogs to live longer lives, so it makes sense that veterinarians are recognizing and treating far more age-related disorders such as kidney failure, heart disease, arthritis, and cancer. Vaccinations are available to prevent 13 different canine diseases. Hundreds of prescription diets exist for dogs with diabetes, kidney, liver, gastrointestinal, heart, skin, and joint diseases. It seems there are more Web sites on dog health issues than there are dogs. Whew! No wonder your dog needs a medical advocate!

What are the chances that you'll never be called upon to act for your dog in a medical situation? Probably the same as winning the lottery. I'd love to be more reassuring, but the fact is, after almost three decades as a practicing veterinarian, I know only a handful of dogs who maintained a lifetime of completely good health and vigor right up to the moment of gently and painlessly passing away in their sleep. Sooner or later, almost every dog becomes sick, and for the majority of people, emotional attachment just about guarantees difficult, sometimes gut-wrenching medical decisions will need to be made down the line.

Why the Advocate Needs to Be You

Now you know why your dog needs an advocate, but why must it be you? Why not pass this responsibility on to your veterinarian, or your girlfriend who is a nurse, or your first cousin who happens to be a pediatrician? After all, their medical backgrounds seem to give them a clear advantage.

What you may not realize is that you are the most qualified of all because absolutely, positively no one knows your dog better than you do. You are acutely familiar with the nuances of his daily routine and behavior. You are the one who has the best idea what his soulful expression is meant to convey. Deep down you know better than any veterinarian, medical doctor, nurse, well-intentioned relative, boyfriend, girlfriend, or busybody neighbor what will most likely cause your dog to wag his tail in triumph. You are also the one who knows whether or not your buddy likely wants to "keep fighting the good fight" when the going gets tough.

By all means, solicit opinions from experts and people you trust, but, for your dog's sake, be certain that final decisions come from your own mind-and heart. The person who is willing to step up to the plate when it comes time to make medical-care choices is far more likely to walk away with peace of mind than one who has deferred to others' opinions. And, even when the outcome is poor, the active participant derives comfort from knowing she had nothing but the best of intentions for her beloved dog. She can take solace in knowing she put forth her best effort to make informed decisions. When the decision-making responsibility is relinquished and things don't turn out well, it's very easy to feel you have abandoned your best buddy during his time of greatest need. And, when death is the outcome, it can be extremely difficult-and sometimes impossible-for anyone who "bowed out" to move past his or her grief.

Advocacy Starts Early

Consider the following scenario-one I can assure you every small animal veterinarian has endured. It's time for a puppy's first examination. When the vet enters the room, she encounters an incredibly cute, wiggly, waggly fluff ball and his adoring, newfound humans, who are beaming with pleasure. The vet listens to the pup's heart with a stethoscope and detects a heart murmur, darn it. Maybe she heard incorrectly, so she listens again. Yup, it's there for sure, and it's a loud one. One test leads to another until the birth defect has been clearly defined. It's a heart anomaly that will, with certainty, result in a profoundly shortened lifespan. Smiles turn to tears and heartache.

Before You Fall in Love

Your primary goal is a healthy dog, so doesn't it make sense, if possible, to start out with a dog you know is healthy? Don't fool yourself into believing that, like a new appliance, you'll simply be able to return the new dog if problems are discovered. Please don't be tempted by breeders and adoption agencies who guarantee a replacement pup if yours is discovered to have flaws. They'll make good on their promise, but you'll be hard-pressed to relinquish the new love of your life. Trust me when I tell you that it typically takes no more than four minutes and 23 seconds for the average person to fall hopelessly in love with a dog. And four minutes and 22 seconds just isn't enough time to make sure all the necessary medical checkups have been performed-or if they have, to study the results! Do yourself a favor and protect yourself from a broken heart by getting the information you need before-not after-you adopt or purchase a new dog.

Whether you are adopting from a shelter or purchasing a dog from a breeder, make sure that a veterinarian has evaluated your prospective pup, before you meet him! Then make the effort to learn what it is the veterinarian discovered. Don't be seduced by the classified ad that says, "vet-checked" because this says nothing about the veterinarian's actual findings. Try to speak directly with the veterinarian who performed the exam, or at least read through the official medical record. You want to be sure beforehand that the little guy now chewing on your shoelace doesn't have a cleft palate, heart murmur, hernia, or any other congenital health issue.

I realize that it's not always possible to have a dog "vetted" in advance of adoption. If you find yourself in this situation, it's best to schedule an exam with a veterinarian as soon as you can-preferably on your way home from picking up your new pup.

Special Considerations for the Purebred Pup

Let me begin by saying that I strongly encourage you to find the next love of your life at a pet shelter or a breed rescue service that finds homes for displaced purebred adult dogs. (In addition, I recommend you work with a shelter or breed rescue organization that performs an extensive behavior evaluation on each dog so you have a better chance of finding just the right match.) I recognize, however, that for some a specific breed fits the bill best, a puppy rather than an adult is desired, and a particular breeder is the source that has been recommended by friends, family, or other dog lovers. If this is the case, there are important details to consider before making a puppy purchase.

Here is a situation that every veterinarian can relate to. A one-year-old Labrador Retriever has just started training for his career as a field trial dog. Just a week into the training program, the pup comes up stiff and sore with pain in both front legs. X-rays show that he has an elbow abnormality commonly inherited in Labs. Surgery will be required, and there is significant potential that he will have lifelong arthritis in both elbow joints. His future as a field trial dog has just unraveled. The client is disappointed because the pup's dam and sire (parents) had both been officially certified and found to be free of elbow disease. A little bit of retrospective research, however, reveals that several of the dog's aunts and uncles had unfavorable elbow screenings.

If you plan to share your life with a purebred dog, before you so much as peek at a puppy, learn as much as you possibly can about potential breed-specific inherited medical issues. The more you know, the more likely you are to choose a puppy free of, and unlikely to develop, such inherited health issues. A word of warning: don't dare rely on the proverbial, "None of my dogs have ever had that problem."

A conscientious breeder will offer forth official paperwork rather than verbal reassurances. Study the documents to find out if the parents have been officially and favorably screened for the appropriate breed-related diseases. Don't stop there. Take the time to get the same information about the dam's and sire's littermates (all those aunts and uncles). More and more, we are learning the best way to ensure a puppy will be free of inherited diseases is by looking for squeaky-clean health screening results for all his aunts and uncles in addition to his parents. What if the dam and sire each had 10 littermates? This means that you are going to be looking at a lot of paperwork!

A dog can be officially certified free of specific inherited diseases in a number of ways. First, you need to do some homework to figure out which are the most appropriate screening tests for the breed you are investigating (see below). For example, auscultation of the heart (listening with a stethoscope) may be all that is needed to screen for an inherited heart defect in one breed of dog. In another breed, an ultrasound evaluation of the heart may be the test of choice. How are you to know which screening certification to be satisfied with? Here are some steps to help you figure it out:

(1) Research which diseases are common or potentially inherited in the breed you fancy. Potential sources of information include your veterinarian, reputable breeders, the breed association, the American Kennel Club, inherited disease registries, and reference materials found online or in current publications.

(2) Find out which screening tests are considered most reliable to check for such diseases and which family members should be screened for them (puppy, dam, sire, aunts, uncles). You can get this information by talking with the experts. Begin with your own veterinarian as well as those who specialize in the health issue of concern. Compare what they have to say with reputable representatives from the breed association (not just the person trying to sell you a puppy).

Let's take Newfoundlands, for example. This breed is predisposed to subaortic stenosis, an inherited heart defect. Learn which heart-screening test is best-listening to the heart with a stethoscope or performing an echocardiogram-by talking with your veterinarian and a board certified veterinary cardiologist, or if that is difficult, a knowledgeable "Newfie" nerd or two. With other breeds, a bone disease might be of concern, so ask for advice from a board certified veterinary surgeon; for eye disease, a board certified ophthalmologist. See chapter 5 for help finding veterinarians who specialize in different diseases. (3) Learn how to interpret test results. For example, when it comes to hip screening, the Orthopedic Foundation for Animals (OFA) and the University of Pennsylvania Hip Improvement Program (PennHIP) are the bodies that evaluate X-rays to determine the presence and severity of hip disease. You'll want to know what test result or "ranking" is acceptable (this varies from breed to breed). What about the puppy with three of 18 aunts and uncles with "poor" hip ratings? Rely on the same expert you consulted in Step 2 for guidance.

(4) Ask the breeder to provide you with all the paperwork (certificates documenting the results of official examinations) you need to evaluate in order to do the best possible job landing yourself a healthy puppy.

(Continues...)




Excerpted from SPEAKING FOR SPOT by NANCY KAY Copyright © 2008 by Nancy Kay. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

What People are saying about this

Marty Becker
We finally have a book that makes sense of it all! With experience, warmth, wit, and candor, Dr. Nancy Kay provides an authentic, user-friendly guide for making all types of health care choices for your dog. (Marty Becker, DVM, resident veterinarian on Good Morning America, nationally syndicated newspaper columnist, and cofounder of petconnection)
Linda Tellington-Jones
Could save you thousands of dollars and give you the tools to prevent the heartache that comes with making uninformed or rushed decisions about your dog's health care. (Linda Tellington-Jones, animal behaviorist and author, Getting in TTouch with Your Dog; Getting in TTouch with Your Puppy; and Unleash Your Dog's Potential)
Kevin T. Fitzgerald
Tremendous practical value to dog lovers and should be mandatory reading for veterinarians. (Kevin T. Fitzgerald, PhD, DVM, DABVP; Animal Planet's Emergency Vets and E.R. Vets: The Interns)
John W. Albers
In previewing Speaking for Spot I found myself wishing that Dr. Kay's book had been available when I was in practice, and read by the clients who chose me to be their pet's veterinarian. (John W. Albers, DVM, executive director, American Animal Hospital Association)
Jan Rowley
A must-have book for each and every one of you; in fact, order two-one for home and one to keep in your car or in your workplace. (Jan Rowley, editor, The Cavalier Wag, newsletter for the Bay Area Cavalier King Charles Spaniel Club)
Desmond Morris
Dogs deserve to have good books written about them-and this is one. (Desmond Morris, author, The Naked Ape, Dogwatching, and Dogs: The Ultimate Guide)
Patricia McConnell
I love Nancy's thoughtful and compassionate voice, and couldn't agree more with her encouragement to all of us to be active advocates for our pets' veterinary care. (Patricia McConnell, world-renowned certified applied animal behaviorist)
Amy Tan
This is the book I wish I had when dogs first entered my life. . . . It's the other best friend you need when making routine veterinary decisions for your dog or potentially heart-breaking ones. (Amy Tan, author, The Joy Luck Club and The Kitchen God's Wife)

Meet the Author

DR. NANCY KAY wanted to become a veterinarian for just about as long as she can remember. Her veterinary degree is from Cornell College of Veterinary Medicine, and she completed her residency training in small animal internal medicine at the University of California—Davis Veterinary School.

Dr. Kay is a board certified specialist in the American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine and published in several professional journals and textbooks. She lectures professionally to regional and national audiences, and one of her favorite lecture topics is communication between veterinarians and their clients. Since the release of her book, Speaking for Spot: Be the Advocate Your Dog Needs to Live a Happy, Healthy, Longer Life, Dr. Kay has lectured extensively and written numerous magazine articles on the topic of medical advocacy. She was a featured guest on the popular National Public Radio show, Fresh Air with Terry Gross.

Dr. Kay is a staff internist at VCA Animal Care Center, a 24 hour emergency/specialty care center in Rohnert Park, California. As a way of providing emotional support for people with sick four-legged family members, Dr. Kay founded and helps facilitate the VCA Animal Care Center Client Support Group. She also facilitates client communication rounds for VCA Animal Care Center employees.

Dr. Kay was selected by the American Animal Hospital Association to receive the 2009 Hill’s Animal Welfare and Humane Ethics Award. This award is given annually to a veterinarian or non-veterinarian who has advanced animal welfare through extraordinary service or by furthering humane principles, education, and understanding.

Dr. Kay’s personal life revolves around her husband (also a veterinarian), her three children (none of whom aspire to be veterinarians) and their menagerie of dogs, cats, birds, horses, and goats. When she’s not writing, she spends her spare moments in the garden or riding along the beach atop her favorite horse. Dr. Kay and her family reside in Sebastopol, California. www.speakingforspot.com

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Speaking for Spot: Be the Advocate Your Dog Needs to Live a Happy, Healthy, Longer Life 4.9 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 13 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
MP-NYC More than 1 year ago
Everyone who has a dog should definitely have this book. It's great to read through, cover to cover, & also effective as a valuable reference during specific health challenges. Dr. Kay is thorough but her compassion & "bedside manner" shine through. It feels as if she is speaking directly with you and you know you have her support. I'm becoming certified as a Tellington TTouch practitioner for companion animals, and I will definitely be recommending this book to my clients.
JaneMiller51460 More than 1 year ago
I am indebted to Nancy for writing this helpful, compelling, articulate book that addresses how to navigate through the obstacles one may face when trying to deal with their dog's healthcare. As the author of 'Healing Companions:Ordinary Dogs and Their Extraordinary Power To Transform Lives' I have included her book in my resource section and recommend that all of my clients read it. Dr. Kay's book empowers my clients to advocate and stand up for their psychiatric service dog's healthcare. A must read for all animal lovers. I highly recommend her book. Thanks so much for writing this fabulous book. All the best, Jane Miller, LISW, CDBC
luvgoldens More than 1 year ago
Shortly after I heard an interview on NPR with this author, I had to make life and death decisions about my beloved golden retriever. I bought the book for the chapter on end of life decisions, and I did find that discussion extremely helpful. But I discovered that the book is a great resource for pet owners who want to know how to keep their dogs healthy and happy every day.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Lab.Top More than 1 year ago
So many "Spots" and their people will benefit from Dr. Kay's book. It is extremely informative. But just as important, it is absolutely "user-friendly" -- always a good quality in a "how-to" book but even more so when the person holding the book may be using it as a reference while facing heart-wrenching decisions about her dog. Dr. Kay's collection of vignettes about special dogs in her life, some her own and some her patients, grabbed me right away. Those dogs, with names like Breezy, Missy, Andrew, Vinnie, Sweet Pea, Cori and Boomer, gave a face to the facts and protocols outlined in the book. Having lost four too many dogs to cancer myself, I was drawn right away to the section on "cancer lingo." Referring to all the terminology as "lingo" makes it seem a little less scary. And recently when my own chocolate Lab had a seizure, this was the book I ran to for education. Thank goodness it was already on my bookshelf! Thank you, Dr. Kay for writing a book that makes me feel like you are right there holding my hand and patting my dog on the head. One last thing -- I finally understand how pet insurance works after reading "Speaking for Spot."
Ashvet More than 1 year ago
As an emergency veterinarian, I am thrilled that a sensitive, sensible, and clear resource ("Speaking for Spot" by Dr. Nancy Kay) has been written specifically for dog loving families. Sometimes when folks show up at an emergency veterinary clinic, they are faced with overwhelming emotional and financial decisions. I can't always spend the time an owner needs in consult as I am also attending to their beloved pet.
But now that we¿ve ordered more copies of "Speaking for Spot" for the clinic waiting room, clients will be able to use this wonderful book right when they need it the most. Many thanks to Dr. Kay for helping my clients and patients in such a meaningful way!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
There are many difficult decisions that pet owners have to make throughout the lives of their animals. Because of this, Speaking for Spot should be on the "must have" list for every dog owner. Dr. Kay helps you make decisions from how to buy a puppy to what is an appropriate vaccination schedule.

This book will be very helpful in starting conversations with your own veterinarian. As I read the book I found myself wishing that Dr. Kay lived closer to me as I would love to have a vet that I felt was so
compassionate for her patients and clients . I feel that there is something for everyoneto learn from Speaking For Spot.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Guest More than 1 year ago
There's a new paw on the shelf in the dog book world - Dr. Nancy Kay's Speaking for Spot. Dr. Kay's mission in writing the book is to teach dog owners how to be effective advocates for their four-legged friends as they traverse the world of both routine and emergency veterinary care with their pet, and she does this extremely well. Speaking for Spot covers the entire spectrum of caring for our pets with topics that include finding the right veterinarian, the vaccination debate, questions to ask the vet and questions the vet will ask us, understanding surgery and other options, explanation of the myriad of diagnostic tests and new technology currently available to our pets, knowing when to see a specialist, financial concerns, whether or not to purchase pet health insurance and how to go about selecting a carrier, dealing with a cancer diagnosis and ending with a very compassionate and thought provoking discussion on the end of life process and euthanasia. As I read the book I found it addresses so many of the questions and issues that I, and I'm sure many dog owners, struggle with in seeking veterinary care. There are many books available on dog health care. Some are more like veterinary textbooks of medicine, good as a reference when we need to look up something specific. Others focus on a single disease or a few related areas of dog health care 'e.g., reproduction and neonatal care'. While all these books have their places, I don't think that you will find a more thorough, understandable and go-to-it-often reference than Speaking for Spot. It isn't often that I read a book, and want to tell the world about it - but this is definitely one in that category. It is that useful, that good!
Guest More than 1 year ago
I have had dogs all my life, and every time there has been a medical issue, I have felt it an awesome responsibility with emotion often coming in the way of my clearest thinking! Finding Dr. Kay's book was invaluable for me -- she has provided the dog lover with detailed questions to ask the vet for each type of problem you might encounter. Her intelligent, compassionate approach makes it easier to navigate the veterinary world, very comforting when you're responsible for making decisions that will affect your dog's life, health, and well being. I know it is one of the few books that will remain on my main reference shelf for years and that I'll look to again and again.