Veterinarian Visit Your First Meeting With A Brand New

Gemma | July 4th, 2002
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Veterinarian Visit Your First Meeting With A Brand New Veterinarian

When calling to set-up a meeting with a brand new veterinarian, let him know right away that you have a new dog and that you would like to meet with the vet and his staff. Inform the receptionist that you would like to get to know his practice before they examine your dog. Do not apologize or feel bad for this type of visit. The receptionist knows that you deserve the right to get acquainted with the vet before you decide to give them your money for the caring of your dog.

You could say something like Hi, I have a new dog and I am calling to make an appointment for a visit. Right now I’m in the process of selecting a veterinarian and I would like to know if I could see the office and get more information about the doctor and his practice.

Your First Appointment

When you meet the veterinarian for the first time, make sure to ask your questions in a friendly, non-interrogating manner. Do not cross-examine as though you are waiting to hear the wrong answer. Doing so will make the vet feel very uncomfortable and defensive. It is unlikely that you will get a good description of his or her character, and the doctor is definitely not going to appreciate getting cross-examined!

Bring Your Checkbook

Be ready to take out your checkbook on your first office visit. Although you are not there for a check-up with your dog, this is still a meeting between you, the vet, and your dog. It is, therefore, reasonable for you to pay for the time that it will take for him or her to get to know both you and your pet. In return, the vet should give you his or her undivided attention, answer all of your questions, and be able to provide you with all of the necessary information about his practice.

Once you get to your first appointment with a veter that you have chosen, you do not have to feel obligated to stay with him or her if you did not feel comfortable with the initial visit.

Veterinarian – Deciding If The Veterinarian Is Right For You

Gemma | July 2nd, 2002
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Veterinarian – Deciding If The Veterinarian Is Right For You And Your Dog

On the day of your dog’s veterinarian appointment, get there about 10 or 15 minutes early to make sure that you have enough time to fill out all the paperwork that needs to be filled out before the examination. When you are done filling out the paperwork, look around the reception area. Record your observations and compare them to the results of your other appointments.

Look around the office. Is it a comfortable place to wait? Is it clean? Does it have a pleasant smell? Is the receptionist friendly and polite? See if you can get a good look at the overall environment of the office. Are things running smoothly or are they chaotic? Although there are certain days when the office is hectic and the staff seem to be running back and forth, they should still maintain an organized and friendly working atmosphere.

Pay attention to the period of time it takes for you to see the vet. You should not have to wait an hour, or even 45 minutes, especially if you have an appointment. A normal wait time should be between 5 and 20 minutes. If you have been waiting for more than 20 minutes, you have the right to ask the receptionist how much longer it will take for you to be seen and if this is always the average waiting time for an appointment. Ask in a polite manner and you should get a polite response. Continue with your observation, noting down specific details in the office that can influence your decision.

When it’s time for you to see the vet, pay attention to his demeanor and how he reacts and responds to your questions. Consider the following:

1. See if the vet takes the time to introduce herself to you and your dog, or if she seems to be in a hurry to finish the appointment.

2. Does she seem to be eager to answer all of your questions, or does she look irritated or displeased by them?

3. Does she give information about her practice?

4. Is she enthusiastic about her work, or does she look bored or uninterested?

5. Observe how she reacts toward your dog. Is she gentle and patient? Does she seem to be a real dog-lover and someone who could connect with your dog?

6. Observe how your dog reacts towards the vet. Does your dog seem comfortable around her?

Veterinarian 3 Tips To Help You Find The Best

Gemma | June 30th, 2002
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Veterinarian 3 Tips To Help You Find The Best Veterinarian

Since you do not have much time to spend researching for the ideal veterinarian once you have your dog, it is a good idea to do your search ahead of time, before you bring the puppy home. But before you reach over for your phone book, check out for other resources and find out what you can get through the grapevine.

First, see if your breeder can recommend you to his or her vet. Also ask for recommendations from other dog owners that you can trust. You can learn a lot from their experiences, but use your own judgment because their opinions are going to be subjective and may not necessarily be accurate.

If you do not know anyone who owns a dog, your next bet is to go to the Yellow Pages or go to the Internet and look for vets in your area. Below are 3 factors to consider when choosing the right vet.

1. Is the vet close to your home? Try to find an office as close to your home as possible, preferably within a 10 minute driving distance. It’s very important to know that help is just a few miles away, especially during an emergency.

2. If your dog is suffering from a specific type of health problem, such as cancer or some kind of behavioral problem, look for a vet who specializes in that type of field.

3. Similar to human health care, veterinary care is either done in a small practice (where you are able to see the same vet on every visit throughout your dog’s life), or a large practice (where you get to see the first available vet on duty). In a small practice, your vet will be able to get to know your pet on a more personal level. This will help him with his diagnosis and keep track of your dog’s health better in the long run.

On the other hand, it may be more practical to choose a vet that belongs to a large practice because it is quicker to get an appointment in an office where there are more doctors available. This is crucial, especially during an emergency.

Bad Veterinarians & Good Ones: How To Use Your Power

Gemma | June 28th, 2002
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Bad Veterinarians & Good Ones: How To Use Your Power In Finding The Right Vet (5)

There is no such thing as getting the perfect estimate from a veterinarian in terms of what it will cost to fix a medical problem. Although these doctors try to give estimates, the likelihood of the outcome equaling the price of the guesswork is slim-to-none.

If you want those types of estimates and warranties, toasters make a nice alternative to pets, and they don’t need walking in the winter! Seriously though, if you have concerns about the treatment or procedure going above the estimate, talk about it with your veterinarian:

What if my dog needs a second transfusion?
In your experience, Doctor, how many blood tests are required per year?
Is there a less expensive way to get this done?

These questions are all part of the informed consent process. At the core of the matter, and central to the idea of a good veterinarian/client relationship, is the concept of informed consent.

Patient advocates on the human side of medicine like to remind us, wisely, that informed consent is not intended to protect the practitioner. It is a process wherein your veterinarian informs you of the risks, benefits and consequences of treatment; tells you about alternative treatments; lets you know when there are practitioners better qualified to treat your dog; and answers questions that you might not have enough information or presence of mind to ask.

Informed consent is for the client/patient, not the practitioner. It is not, as a veterinarian’s lawyer may have indicated, a document primarily used to cover his posterior in th event a case heads south.

Do Your Homework

You can’t be a partner with your veterinarian if you don’t know anything about veterinary medicine. If a person you cared for had cancer, you would most likely research treatments, survival times and how the disease affects the body. Whether the individual has two legs or four, the response should be the same. Your dog is your family, remember that.

Information can be acquired from numerous sources. Your veterinarian is the first (remember that you did your research in choosing your current vet, and you trust this person). Then there’s your library, bookstore and medical publications, if you are so inclined.

There is also, of course, the Internet. But be warned – besides being a good forum for quality information, the Internet is also a good forum for any quack who wants to publish medical advise that they know nothing about. So keep this in mind when you are researching your veterinary medicine information online.

Bad Veterinarians & Good Ones: How To Use Your Power

Gemma | June 26th, 2002
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Bad Veterinarians & Good Ones: How To Use Your Power In Finding The Right Vet (4)

Veterinarians care only about the money, right? Sure they have to, but you’d be surprised at how they really feel. Money matters have a lot to do with feelings and ego. In general, vets don’t want to talk about money, though if you want to work effectively with your vet, having the dollar discussion may be inevitable.

The unfortunate truth is that veterinary medicine is expensive. But it is not overpriced. Expensive means numerous dollars are required, while overpriced is a label that requires placing a value judgement on something that is essentially a value-free, market-determined issue.

If you think that your veterinarian is overpriced, don’t punish him or your pet with resentment. Take the market solution and look for a new vet instead.

Because most people, veterinarians included, don’t want to talk about money, increasingly doctors discuss only medical matters and let practice managers or others in the office deal with the issue of money and costs. Most veterinarians feel the same way about the issue: They feel bad when clients cannot afford what needs to be done to fix the pet in question.

And although most vets prefer not to talk about money, I am not sure that a blanket policy of avoiding money talk is feasible, or wise, for the doctors. Unless there is no shortage of money, it is impossible to make medical decisions without putting a price tag on them.

What is important, especially now that compensation schemes particularly in large and corporate practices are often production-based, is that veterinarians disclose their financial interest in the case.

It has been well established that doctors are often unable to completely divorce their financial interests from their medical recommendations. This is not because doctors are evil, this is because they are human. Skepticism is always a healthy thing, especially when it is about oneself. Veterinarians should make a practice of questioning their motivations, and welcome the help they can get from their clients.

As the person paying the bill, it’s your responsibility to ask for an estimate. Be aware, however, that an estimate is a dual-edged sword. On the one hand, it tells you what to expect. On the other hand, dogs like any other biological system have a way of defying the odds on occasion.

Your veterinarian’s goal is not to have the treatment come in at exactly the price on the estimate (though that would be pleasant); rather to use the precise treatment necessary to ensure that your dog is fixed up and is out of harm’s way with whatever disease, ailment, or problem that is happening at the time.

Bad Veterinarians & Good Ones: How To Use Your Power

Gemma | June 23rd, 2002
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Bad Veterinarians & Good Ones: How To Use Your Power In Finding The Right Vet (3)

You may have heard that finding the best veterinarian means you may have to work a little. I’m not talking about hard work, rather, I mean putting in a little effort to get to know the doctor and to start asking the right questions, both for the vet and yourself.

You can, of course, pick the closest veterinarian that has an office in your area, do whatever he or she tells you to do after taking your dog or puppy for visits, and just hope for the best (which is the case with most dog owners who fail to realize the importance of changing their roles with the typical doctor/patient expectations).

Part of this partnership-building process requires you to be clear about what matters most to you. Let’s look at a hypothetical self-analysis, which might go something like this (ask yourself the following questions):

1) Is my dog an important companion and an essential part of my life, or does he occupy a different role (wedged somewhere in between raising the children, working hard to pay the mortgage, and the other animals that are running around the house)?

2) Do I have a negative opinion about annual vaccinations for my dog, that they are a waste of time and money? Do I feel the same about yearly heartworm testing? Veterinarians differ in their degree of belief regarding matters of necessary and appropriate care be sure that your own beliefs and your veterinarian’s are in perfect harmony.

3) Do I need lots of time with my veterinarian? Does the clinic have 15-minute appointments or 20-minute appointments? Will I be able to see the same vet each time I bring my pet in?Does the office staff schedule the veterinarian to spend all of that time with me, or will a technician conduct the bulk of the visit?

(Cultivating a relationship with a good technician is a great idea. Technicians can be better communicators and educators than veterinarians, and clients are more often comfortable voicing their concerns to the technician than the veterinarian.

4) If and when I have an old or infirm dog, will I feel that any suggestion to diagnose or treat is guilt-inducing pressure to do so? What do I consider heroic medicine, and how do I feel about it?

All of these questions are designed to help you really start thinking about what you need to consider when forming a relationship with the right veterinarian. They are just guides, and more can be added to the list, but all are important so that you can better understand how to communicate with your vet while at the same time helping the vet communicate better with you as well.

Bad Veterinarians & Good Ones: How To Use Your Power

Gemma | June 22nd, 2002
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Bad Veterinarians & Good Ones: How To Use Your Power In Finding The Right Vet (2)

Knowing your vet, trusting him or her, and having a deeper knowledge from their point of view and work ethic can really make taking your dog to the doctor more meaningful (and hopefully more often for the check-ups that so desperately go undone for pets most homes today because there is a lack of trust on the dog owner’s part).

To help you better understand the core of most licensed veterinarians out there, take a look at the following ideas. For starters, there is a good chance that your veterinarian feels exactly the following in their practice:

1) Cares about your animals, cares about you whether for the sake of your dog, you or the business wants to see successful outcomes, healthy pets and satisfied clients. The only way business can be continued and clients be made happy is for the well-being of everyone involved.

2) Worries about getting sued, or being brought before the state regulatory board. This worry is disproportionate to the actual chance that this will happen, but that doesn’t change your veterinarian’s awareness of the possibility, which may make some vets better doctors, and in other cases, more paranoid and less willing to take chances.

3) Feels that he or she doesn’t have an income commensurate with the amount of time and education that it took to become a veterinarian. And paradoxically, it is also true that many (although certainly far from all) veterinarians suspect they charge too much, and feel guilty about it.

4) Fails at mind reading. In other words, the doctor has no way of knowing any information, feelings, or opinions you may have on an issue unless voiced. And without your willingness to share, a relationship can fail to bond, which may have negative repercussions for your dog down the road.

5) Harbors a zero tolerance for mistakes (and most likely, you do too). And guess what? All doctors make mistakes.

Your veterinarian tries to do his or her best under the circumstances that present themselves, but what must be kept in mind (by both parties) is that it is your dog. If that concept is too difficult for your veterinarian, find a new one. And on the flip-side, if you can look deep inside your own attitude, perhaps you are not giving your vet enough trust, communication and open-mindedness.

Bad Veterinarians & Good Ones: How To Use Your Power

Gemma | June 20th, 2002
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Bad Veterinarians & Good Ones: How To Use Your Power In Finding The Right Vet (1)

There is only one person responsible for your dog’s health: You. And a major part of this responsibility is getting the appropriate veterinary care and attention, which can only be accomplished by forming an honest, open relationship with the vet of your choice.

However most dog owners (of which you may also be guilty of doing) only look to the veterinarian as a solution to a health problem, never for prevention. But your responsibility is to take things one step further and understand your vet’s role with your role, and to form a successful relationship.

What Then Is The Veterinarian’s Job?

It is to be your partner, to assist you in keeping your dog as healthy as possible for as long as possible. And your job is to remind the veterinarian of what you need and to be the best partner you can.

Ideally, you and your veterinarian will see to it that you are educated, that you seek assistance when and where needed, that you help your dog be a good patient, and that you are given all the information you need to make wise decisions. In the end, however, the final responsibility rests with you, and you have the more difficult task.

Keep in mind that this is a change from the way doctors, be they physicians or veterinarians, have traditionally viewed their role. The old ways had veterinarians stand on authority, but a pedestal is a very narrow base on which to build a partnership.

What veterinary schools should now be most interested in teaching their future veterinarians is in actually teaching us dog owners, the real caretakers, to do the best with what we have in order to achieve the goal of maximum health for our companion animals.

There are still a lot of doctors who, despite being kind and sympathetic people, believe that what they think about your dog is more important than what you think. These sage are relics of the old model, one in which doctors reigned supreme. However, led by human medicine, things are changing.

Clients are increasingly less accepting of that old model, and veterinarians can come along willingly or be dragged into the new world. It is in both parties’ interests that the change goes smoothly. As in any relationship, being understanding and sympathetic of the other party’s strengths and failings enhances the possibility of forging and maintaining a strong relationship.