Online vet, Dr. Laci, discusses the 10 things you should do at your veterinary clinic
In an ideal world, everyone would get the same treatment, but as we all know, we don’t live in an ideal world, and as humans, our emotions often have a way of influencing us, even as professionals. The following list is composed to not only help you have a successful visit to the vet, but also to help cultivate a relationship that is beneficial to your pet.
10. Do call before you show up. If you just show up as a walk-in, you will likely have quite a wait ahead of you. Even if you have a sick dog, sick cat, or sick pet and are in your car driving there, calling ahead is courteous and helps us better prepare and rearrange our schedule if necessary.
9. If your veterinarian offers you to take a peek in the “back” or wants to show you something under the microscope, go ahead! Unless you are squeamish or get sick easily, this is a great way to form a bond with your veterinarian and get on his/her list of interactive (read: good) clients. We really appreciate this; all too often we are talking in front of detached owners that are texting. Plus you will likely learn something interesting, and feel more comfortable seeing where your pet is kept when you aren’t there.
8. Do ask a technician or assistant about fees. It is completely
acceptable to ask about charges before you grant your permission to proceed. Just know, it is usually the vet that has to make up a treatment plan, so you may not be able to talk money until the vet has done a physical exam and talked with you about the reason for your visit. Please don’t try to bargain with the staff, but we do understand that not every client can afford to the Cadillac of treatments. Still it is our job to offer it.
7. Do read up, or Google up before or after your appointment. The Internet is a wonderful resource for clients (so is VetLIVE, wink wink) to educate themselves. Wait for the moment in the appointment when the vet asks for any questions or concerns; this is it! Just remember, there are lots of sites out there that offer false information; ask your vet for a site he/she recommends.
6. Do show up on time. If you show up 15 minutes late, then have to fill out 10 minutes worth of paperwork, you have missed your appointment. Even if your veterinarian still sees you, they will likely be a little annoyed. We are only human, and showing up latest sends a message of disrespect. I love it when clients show up a few minutes early. If I have the extra time to spend with them, I gladly will!
5. Do make sure you understand the take-home instructions. Whether it is listening to signs of potential vaccine reactions or understanding how to clean and medicate your dog’s ears safely and effectively, the time and treatments we do in the hospital are essentially meaningless if you are unable to successfully follow up at home. If you are unsure about something, ask the vet.
4. Do NOT be embarrassed to ask if a less expensive medication or prescription is available. Many animal prescriptions are available as human generics for nominal fees (around $4/month). Many pharmacies (such as megastores like Target and WalMart) don’t even charge for them, especially during flu season when they can lure you into the store in hopes that you spend money on throat lozenges and DayQuil. By the way, your veterinarian is legally obligated to provide with you a prescription to purchase the medication elsewhere. They do have the right to charge you a small prescription writing and record-keeping fee, just so ya know.
3. Do be present. I would think this is a given (cheers to you if you are in this category), but so many clients just drop off their ill pet with the front desk staff, and then I can’t even reach them on the phones to try and get information from them. Even better yet, be present not only in the physical sense, but pay attention!
This is your chance to communicate with your veterinarian and be your pet’s advocate. Give your vet as much information about your pet’s illness, symptoms, and progression. If you don’t tell me these things (and honestly), I am more likely to miss the clues that will guide me to the right diagnosis. If you are not sure if something is important, still ask the vet
2. Do make sure you have a veterinarian you click with and can grow to trust. If you don’t like your vet, why are you a paying client?
1. If you have found a veterinarian that you like and are satisfied with, let your vet know! Nothing says thank you like a basket full of home-made or store bought treats, a cheese pizza to share with the staff, or a handwritten thank you note to them, or even better, to their boss! (Most vets are too modest to share glowing client thank you notes with their boss.)
Follow these tips and you will soon make your way up to our “Preferred Clients” list , and watch your relationship blossom! Everyone likes to be appreciated after all.
Cheers to educated owners!