Clancy Aussie Doodles

We are a Family Breeder of Multi-Generation Authentic Australian Labradoodles

Communicating with Your Veterinarian

on April 13, 2012
Communicating With Your VeterinarianDr. Johnson with SukiPhoto © Jenna Stregowski

Your dog is an important part of your family, and keeping him healthy is essential. Routine veterinary care is a basic need of your dog. Your veterinarian is your other family doctor, so find one you can trust and visit regularly. Above all, your must be able to effectively communicate with your veterinarian. Establish a mutually positive relationship with your veterinarian so you can comfortably discuss your dog’s health.
  Follow these basic rules to keep communication flowing freely.

Do:

  • Contact your veterinarian if you notice changes in your pet’s physical appearance or behavior. Be honest and specific.
  • Make a list of general issues to discuss with your veterinarian prior to the appointment. If something is on your mind, talk to your veterinarian, no matter how small it may seem.
  • Take notes or ask for instructions on paper when discussing your dog’s health with your veterinarian. If you have trouble understanding something, ask for clarification.
  • Discuss financial concerns up front. Be frank about your limits and request an estimate of costs. Ask your veterinarian to keep you updated about changes from the original estimate.
  • Comply with your veterinarian’s recommendations. If you feel you cannot follow your veterinarian’s instructions, discuss this during your appointment.
  • Call if you are running late for an appointment. If you cannot keep your appointment, call to cancel as soon as you find out. Some offices even charge a cancellation fee if less than 24 hours notice is given.
  • Ask for a second opinion if desired. This does not mean you are disloyal. Your veterinarian is a professional who should be happy to give you a referral and provide another veterinarian with your dog’s medical records.
  • Express your concerns to your current veterinarian if you become uncomfortable or dissatisfied. Before changing to another veterinarian, try to resolve the issues. Seek another veterinarian (either in the same office or at another practice) if your concerns are not properly addressed or conflicts cannot be resolved.
  • Respect your veterinarian’s time and be gracious to the veterinary staff and other pet owners. Expect the same in return.

Don’t:

  • Wait several days, weeks or months to report changes in your dog’s appearance or behavior.
  • Show up without an appointment and demand to be seen immediately unless it is truly an emergency situation.
  • Stop or adjust medications because your dog is not responding the way you expect. Instead, call your veterinarian to discuss it.
  • Disregard special instructions such as follow-up exams, exercise  restriction, or diet requirements. If you have concerns, discuss them during the appointment.
  • Refuse to pay the bill. If you have financial concerns, they should be discussed in advance. Always ask for an estimate before consenting to procedures, but remember that some cases can generate unexpected costs. If you have questions about your bill, ask for an appointment to discuss your concerns.
  • Visit multiple veterinarians without letting them know about one another. Ideally, your dog will have one primary care veterinarian. Some dogs may require a specialist or other general veterinarian for specific needs. Be sure that each veterinarian has records of your dog’s visits to other veterinarians. If you wish to change veterinarians, obtain your dog’s medical records and find one new primary veterinarian.
  • Talk on your cell phone while you are at your veterinarian’s office. Text messages or e-mails should only be sent while you are waiting to be seen, never while you are speaking to the veterinarian or a staff member.
  • Attempt to diagnose your dog’s condition or dictate treatment to your veterinarian. Though you may obtain a wealth of knowledge from other pet owners and the Web, remember that your veterinarian has completed eight or more years of schooling and is licensed to practice veterinary medicine. If you have special concerns or requests, discuss them freely, then respect your veterinarian’s educated opinion. If you still doubt your veterinarian’s competency, you may need to find a new veterinarian.
  • Have an emotional outburst or display of anger in the lobby. Your veterinarian understands that having a sick dog is very stressful, but your behavior can be disruptive to other pet owners and staff members. If you are emotional, ask for a few moments in the exam room on your own. If you are angry about something, calm yourself down, and then discuss the matter with your veterinarian or a manager.

If you adhere to these guidelines, you can be confident that you are providing the best possible care for your dog while maintaining a solid understanding of your dog’s health.

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