Norwegian Forest Cat HCM DNA Research Project

 

How to Organize an HCM Screening Clinic

Written by: Melissa Alexander / Into Wishin NFC, USA

 

To have your cat privately screened for HCM is generally quite expensive.  Here in Massachusetts, cardiologists at Tufts University generally charge approximately $600 per cat.  That is a great deal of money to pay for each of my cats to be screened each year.   Regardless, I was determined to have my cats screened, and I felt it would be best to use a board-certified cardiologist rather than the radiologist that occasionally visits my veterinarianís office.   I decided to organize a clinic in order to have my cats screened at a reduced rate and to also offer this opportunity to other breeders and pet owners in the area.  I started the search for a list of board-certified cardiologists in my area.  Here's a link that you may find useful in accomplishing that task: cardiologists 

You should begin by making calls to the cardiologists in your area to ask if they would be interested in screening cats for HCM at a clinic.  Some cardiologists will have a location suitable for the clinic and some may not.   In the latter case, you will need to find a suitable location to hold your clinic.  

Some things to consider when looking for a location

Is there a local cat show that will allow you to conduct a clinic?  If so, think about the show hall.  Is there a quiet area where cats will feel comfortable and unafraid?  Clinics also require privacy during screenings, and the vet must be able to dim the lights to allow him/her to read the ultrasound screen.  Often a room at a show/hotel all-in-one show is available.  If there is show that meets these requirements, contact the show manager to discuss the possibility of holding a clinic at his/her show.  

Also consider inquiring at local pet stores or grooming facility about holding a clinic there.  Often they may have a room you can use, even if it is a training room or grooming room.  Again, as long as it is quiet and the lights can be turned down, it will work just fine.

Finally, ask your vet if he/she would be willing to allow you to hold a clinic in their office.  Most vets are more than happy to accommodate you if they have the room.  My vet was very excited about the possibility of a clinic at the office because some of his clients have cats with heart issues, and it was a great opportunity to give them access to lower-cost screenings.  In that case, your vet could also help you to fill up the cardiologistís schedule to make the most of his/her time.

In all of these scenarios, be sure to plan an area for people to wait comfortably and out of the way with their cats for their appointment. 

Planning and Organizing

Be sure to ask the cardiologist what hours they would like and work around whatever breaks they may need to take.   Then, confirm that timeline with the point of contact at the location where you will hold the clinic to make sure it works for them.  Once you find a cardiologist and a place to hold your clinic, start to advertise your time slots.   Post the clinic details to cat mailing lists and also send the info to www.nfchcm.com and  www.winterfyre.com for posting.  Be sure to include the following details:

HCM clinic for cats!!

 

When: MM/DD/YYYY

Where: Especially for Pets, Medway Commons (Rt 109) Medway, MA 02053

Hours: 9:00am - 4:00 pm

 

Cost: $125 per cat due prior to appointment

 

Screening will be done by Dr. Nancy Morris DVM Diplomate American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine - Cardiology

 

Contact: Melissa Alexander email: melissa@iwcats phone: 508.415.9406 for an appointment. 

 

Keep a spreadsheet containing the details and contact information of the attendees.  Typically, screenings are scheduled for every 20 minutes, but do check with the cardiologist to find out how much time he/she needs with each cat and schedule breaks for lunch and any other requirements necessary.

Here's a sample of data that should be collected:

Time

Name of Cat

Breed

Registration #

Sex

Owner

Paid

9:00 - 9:20

Into Wishin Fluffy

NFC

SBT 010199 012

Spay

Melissa Alexander

$125 due

9:20 - 9:40

Into Wishin Buffy

NFC

SBT 020299 022

Female

Melissa Alexander

$125 due

9:40 - 10:00

ABC Cattery Smokey

RD

SBT 030399 033

Male

Mary Smith

$125 PD

10:00 - 10:20

 

 

 

 

 

 

10:20 - 10:40

 

 

 

 

 

 

10:40 - 11:00

 

 

 

 

 

 

11:00 - 11:20

 

 

 

 

 

 

11:20 - 11:40

 

 

 

 

 

 

11:40 - 12:00

 

 

 

 

 

 

12:00 - 12:40

Lunch

12:40 - 1:00

 

 

 

 

 

 

Collect the money well in advance of the clinic, typically one month prior.  Be specific as to when funds are expected to be sent and what will happen if you do not receive the money.  Cash the checks so you can give the cardiologist one lump sum.  You want to do your best to fill up the clinic for the cardiologist; consider keeping a waiting list in case you have cancellations or people who do not pay by the deadline.

As the organizer of the clinic, you should plan to stay all day.  Keep things moving at a good pace, be available to the cardiologist if they need supplies or assistance, and also make sure the people attending have the privacy and time they need with the cardiologist. 

What the owner of the cat can expect

Some cardiologists will ask the owner to weigh the cat prior to the appointment.   Also, some cardiologists may prefer to shave a small area of fur on the catís chest prior to the ultrasound.  Typically, the owner is allowed to stay with the cat and is encouraged to pet and talk to the cat in order to keep him/her calm.  The cardiologist needs the cat to be as still as possible during the screening.   A typical screening lasts approximately 15 minutes.

The cardiologist may give you a written evaluation of the screening immediately, or he/she may mail you the documentation later.  It may be helpful to bring along a blank copy of the standardized HCM form.  If your cat is having a repeat screening, remember to bring all previous screening documentation should the cardiologist see something of concern while screening your cat.  Potential concerns may be avoided if the cardiologist has previous screening results for comparison.

I hope that you have found this document to be helpful!  If you have any questions or suggestions please do not hesitate to contact me at melissa@iwcats.com

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