Maybe your New Year’s resolution for your pet is to find a new veterinarian or take your pet to the veterinarian for the first time. Just remember that all veterinary hospitals and veterinarian are not the same and it is important for you to find one that matches your ideal of customer service, quality and philosophy. If you have more of a holistic bent, then look for a veterinarian who practices integrative medicine. That said it can be intimidating to visit the veterinarian for the first time for both you and your pet. It always helps to know what to ask, what to do and where to start. Here are some tips for getting the most out of your vet visit.
When scheduling your appointment be sure to tell the receptionist what you are coming for and if your pet has a certain symptom. Most veterinary offices will schedule longer appointments for sick pets or attempt to get sick animals in earlier in the day to get problems dealt with as quickly as possible. If it is your first visit at a new hospital, the receptionist will likely want to request records from your other vet. This is a normal procedure and is very necessary to provide good continuing care for your pet. Please arrive on time as your veterinarian will appreciate it and this helps to keep the schedule running smoothly. Most veterinarians will try to stay on time but emergencies happen. Remember if your pet had the emergency you would want to be seen first.
Keep a diary of what your pet is doing, and make a list of questions before you come for your appointment. This ensures you remember what to ask.
Know what type of food your pet eats. Bring the bag with you or the recipe if that is easier.
Bring a stool sample. All vets are fascinated by poop–it tells us a lot about our patients!
Bring a list of medications your pet is taking including herbals and supplements-bring in the bottles.
Turn off your cell phone. It is difficult to examine an animal if the owner is engaged in a phone conversation.
If you are gaining a lot of information from the internet, watch the sources you use. Not all information is good and reliable. I am always happy to discuss information and its sources with my clients, but many diseases have similar symptoms. That is why you need veterinary advice. I once had a client who was convinced her dog had a condition only seen in Africa. Since we live in Canada and the dog had never been to Africa, it was unlikely.
And finally, you know your dog or cat better than anyone else. If you think he is sick, he probably is. If you do not like the opinion you get from one vet, ask for another opinion.
After all, it is for the good of your pet!