Dr. Justine Lee, emergency veterinary expert and board-certified specialist, guides you through the ins and outs of responsible pet ownership. You will be armed with the tools and knowledge that you will need for providing your household pets with proper nutrition and care; avoiding common pet maladies; and creating a healthy, happy environment.
Veterinary School for Everyone: Caring for Cats and Dogs
Dr. Justine Lee is a board-certified veterinary specialist in emergency critical care and toxicology. She earned her bachelor’s degree in Animal Sciences from Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University and her doctor of veterinary medicine degree from Cornell University. She completed her advanced internship training at Angell Animal Medical Center in Boston, followed by her fellowship and residency in emergency and critical care at the University of Pennsylvania.
Dr. Lee is the CEO and cofounder of VETgirl, a subscription-based podcast and webinar service offering RACE-approved online veterinary continuing education. She has served on the faculty at the University of Minnesota and as the head of an animal poison control center. She has appeared on radio and television to promote preventative medicine, animal health, and the overall well-being of pets. She lectures throughout the world on emergency critical care.
Dr. Lee is the coeditor of several veterinary textbooks and has authored more than 40 peer-reviewed, scientific veterinary articles. She is also the author of It’s a Dog’s Life … but It’s Your Carpet and It’s a Cat’s World … You Just Live in It.
01: Picking a Pet for a Lifetime
Dr. Justine Lee kicks off her course by discussing the most popular pets: cats and dogs. You will gain helpful insights such as what sort of time and financial investments you will need to make, a typical lifespan, and what sort of environment you should provide for the most common pet breeds. Arming you with the basics of what to expect when you get a cat or dog (or both) allows you to make an educated decision about whether pet ownership—and what kind of pet—is right for you.
02: Introducing New Pets to Your Family
First impressions with animals can have a lasting impact and can make or break future relationships. Whether you’re bringing your first pet home or introducing a new pet to a household full of other animals and/or children, the best way to positively integrate a new animal is to be prepared—whether it’s dog to dog, dog to cat, cat to cat, or pet to children. Packed with valuable tips to help you set your household and new pets up for success, Dr. Lee also includes advice for what to do if the new pet just doesn’t mesh.
03: Essentials of Raising a Pet
Now that Dr. Lee has helped you successfully pick a pet and introduce it to your household, she moves on to the next step in conscientious pet ownership: pet care. Covering topics such as training and exercise (yes, even for cats), creating an enriching environment, health care, and more, you’ll gain a toolbox of tips and techniques that will help you feel both prepared and empowered to take on the responsibility of owning a pet.
04: Finding the Right Vet for Your Pet
Dr. Lee emphasizes that one of the best things you can do for your pet is to find a veterinarian you like and trust. This lesson focuses on what to look for, questions to consider, and ways you can, well, vet your vet. She also provides invaluable tips to help get an anxious animal to the clinic with less stress, and how to (and why you always should) advocate for your pet when talking to the veterinarian.
05: Vaccinating Pets against Disease
Vaccines are a source of controversy, and it’s no different with pet vaccines. Depending on what type of pet you plan to have, some vaccines are required, while some are just regionally recommended. For example, many dog care facilities and dog parks require a minimum of rabies, Bordetella, and parvovirus vaccinations. Dr. Lee provides a realistic look at the pros (and less common, the cons) of the most common vaccines, as well as how often to get them, potential reactions and side-effects, and why different types of pets may have different vaccine needs.
06: Protecting Pets from Parasites
Fleas. Ticks. Worms. Our beloved pets happen to be magnets for some really gross organisms. Dr. Lee educates you about the risks of parasites, as well as the best ways to avoid them. While not all pests are fatally dangerous, no one wants to deal with a flea infestation. Many pet owners operate under the misconception that preventatives are not necessary in the colder months, or if you have indoor cats. Dr. Lee provides a factual overview of why this isn’t true and the best way to get ahead of a parasite invasion.
07: Spaying and Neutering Pets
When it comes to your pet’s reproductive organs, there’s A LOT to know about—the more informed you are about the facts, the easier it is to make the right decision for you and your pet. Dr. Lee covers the pros and cons of spaying and neutering, the effects on your pet’s health and behavior, and the best age for the procedure. Get an in-depth education on the “birds and the bees” of cats and dogs.
08: Caring for Cats
There are more cat owners in America than dog owners. This is probably because cats are relatively low maintenance and self-sufficient. However, they require more care than most people realize. In this lesson, Dr. Lee covers some important aspects of keeping your feline family member healthy and happy, including important tests and preventative care, the pros and cons of indoor versus outdoor cats, and three very important—often unknown—tips for being a responsible cat owner.
09: Litter Boxes and Cat Hygiene
Dr. Lee provides the scoop on dealing with cat poop in this lesson about litter box etiquette. While it seems like a subject that wouldn’t require an entire lesson, there are a lot of misconceptions and myths about litter boxes—from the kind of box you get and how many you need, to the type of litter you choose, to the frequency of cleaning. If you are a cat owner, knowing the right way to deal with a litter box can help you to prevent urinary problems, accidents, and even highly serious medical conditions.
10: How to Train Your Dog
Dog training is more than just shake, roll over, and other fun tricks. It is essential to help keep your dog and everyone else safe. It also helps build a bond between you and your pup. Dr. Lee outlines the most important behaviors to train, the difference between basic obedience and trick training, and common training mistakes. Additionally, she provides tips for crate and leash training, as well as helpful hints for grooming.
11: Diet and Nutrition for Dogs and Cats
These days, our pets have almost as many culinary choices as we do. Raw food, high-protein, organic, grain-free… it can be overwhelming, not to mention costly. Dr. Lee introduces you to the basic nutritional needs of your dogs and cats, when you might need to look into special diets—such as allergies or intolerance—and provides excellent tips on what to feed and what to look out for. She also helps you determine the proper amount of food to give your pet based on size and activity because obesity in our pets often lead to very serious and expensive health problems later in life.
12: Tips for Better Pet Budgeting
Pets can be shockingly expensive. Food, toys, training, supplies, preventive care, and emergencies—it all adds up. Dr. Lee devotes an entire lesson to breaking down the various costs you might incur as a pet owner. She breaks down the benefit of making investments in pet care early, instead of paying for the ramifications of not doing so, later. Knowing what to expect and what you will potentially face can help you prepare and make better-informed decisions for your pet.
13: Common Maladies in Cats and Dogs
Learn about the top 10 most common medical problems for cats and dogs, as well as what you can do to potentially avoid them. Dr. Lee covers everything from dental disease to diarrhea. She also busts common myths about home remedies, such as using coconut oil for skin issues. Getting ahead of the most common maladies can help save you money and prevent your pet from experiencing discomfort.
14: Diabetes and Endocrine Disorders
Endocrine disorders are some of the most common and serious diseases our pets can have. Luckily, the majority of endocrine diseases are treatable, if you know what to look for and catch it early. You’ll learn how to recognize the signs of and the treatments for thyroid problems, diabetes mellitus, Cushing’s disease, and Addison’s disease.
15: Preventative Care for Your Pet
A little preventative care early in your pet’s life can save a lot of pain, suffering, and money down the road. Dr. Lee reviews the most effective steps you can take to get ahead of diseases and other health issues, including vaccines, setting up a safe environment, appropriate feeding and weight maintenance, and more. See how proper care, nutrition, and screening for your pets can help them live longer, more comfortable lives.
16: The Veterinary Emergency Room
Dr. Lee opens this lesson by outlining how simple things like leash walking your dog, keeping your cat inside, crate training your dog, pet-proofing your house, and getting your pet neutered or spayed can prevent all kinds of problems. But if you find yourself in need of a emergency vet visit, she provides you with the tools you need to ask the right questions, make educated decisions, and advocate for your pet.
17: Most Common Pet Emergencies
Get an in-depth look at the top 10 reasons your pet might end up in the animal ER and find out what you can do to avoid them, what you can do at home, and when you should definitely seek professional help. One of the most common mistakes pet owners make is waiting too long to seek veterinary attention. Understanding when that visit is necessary is lifesaving (and definitely wallet-saving) information.
18: Treating Poisoned Pets
A simple houseplant. A prescription bottle left on the counter. A nightly pill put by the bed stand. That sugarless pack of gum in your backpack or purse. All of these pose poisoning dangers to dogs and cats. Pet poisoning is so common that Dr. Lee devotes an entire lecture to what may cause poisoning, how you can avoid it, and what to do if your pet ingests something poisonous.
19: Most Common Pet Toxins
Get an overview of the top 10 poisons that dogs and cats get into—including chocolate, pain killers, garden products, and lilies; how they affect your pet; and what specific treatment they may require. Dr. Lee will also cover which plants you should avoid having in or around your house. The prognosis for poisoning cases in veterinary medicine is good to excellent, but the odds go up the sooner the vet knows what the problem might be, so being aware of what your pet may have gotten into can be lifesaving.
20: Cancer in Cats and Dogs
Cancer is one of the top causes of death for geriatric dogs and cats, with an estimated 1 in 4 dogs developing tumors at some point in their life. Dr. Lee takes you through common cancers such as hemangiosarcoma, lymphoma, osteosarcoma, and squamous cell carcinoma. She takes you through the process of getting a diagnosis, getting treatments, and what the potential costs might be.
21: How to Care for an Aging Pet
Dr. Lee introduces you to some of the common medical problems seen in our geriatric dogs and cats that might result in their demise. A geriatric pet means that they are in the last 10% of their estimated life—which can be a hard for both you and your pet. By understanding conditions such as osteoarthritis, decreased sensory and cognitive function, and skin masses, you will be better prepared to deal with them if these medical conditions become an issue.
22: Common Zoonotic Diseases
It’s sad when a pet gets sick, but even worse when a pet gets its owner sick. Dr. Lee dives into the diseases that pets can pass on to humans such as ringworm, rabies, leptospirosis, parasites, protozoal infections, bacterial infections, and even the plague. Some of these less common zoonotic diseases can be fatal. While they are not common, there is a possible risk of transmission to you and your human family. But by knowing how to keep your dog and cat healthy and on appropriate preventive medicine, the risk is low.
23: Pet Euthanasia and End-of-Life Care
Learn how vets assess quality of life, and what the signs of pain or a deterioration in quality of life looks like in dogs and cats. Dr. Lee expands on what exactly happens when a pet is euthanized, including logistics that a lot of people are too shy to ask about until the end. She’ll also provide some contingencies many pet owners are not familiar with such as animal living wills.
24: So You Want to Be a Vet
What does it take to become a veterinarian or veterinary technician? How much schooling is involved? Is it the same amount of training as being a human medical doctor? Dr. Lee answers these questions and more as she provides a realistic and grounded look at the schooling, experience, and time and financial investment you should expect if you are interested in becoming a veterinarian or vet tech, or entering a related field.