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GETTING MORE OUT OF THE OFFICE VISIT

Dr. Don DucorDr. Donald Ducor

As a practicing small animal veterinarian I encounter many different situations with my clients in the exam room.  I try, as most veterinarians do, to make each visit informative for the owner with the ultimate goal of providing the pet with the best care possible.  Of course each veterinarian develops his or her own style balancing the role as doctor/advocate for the pet on one hand, and provider of professional services/problem solver for the pet owner on the other.  My best moments are when I can resolve these two roles to achieve a win-win.  The interaction between the pet owner and the veterinarian is a dynamic which involves many aspects.  Many barriers can impede the process but I would like to offer a few ideas from my perspective as the pet’s doctor to make the office visit more valuable.  Foremost we need to ensure good communication.

This begins with a good attitude.  It is understandable when an owner is upset that their pet is sick or hurt but I have sometimes seen this translate to anger misdirected at the staff or myself.  Experienced handling will usually calm the anxiety as we show empathy and also offer help. 

Minimize Distractions and Turn the Cell Phone OFF

Next, it is very helpful to minimize unnecessary distractions.  If possible leave the kids at home.  Also, turn off the cell phone when the appointment begins. 

Be Prepared to Explain Problems and Changes To Your Veterinarian

Accurate and descriptive answers to questions regarding the history of the problem can only be provided by the pet owner or caretaker since our patients are not bilingual in English even if they understand some key words (i.e. cookie).  Be prepared with answers to when the symptoms were first noticed, any behavior changes and other pertinent information.  There should be discussion and agreement between family members before the office visit to avoid conflicting information being given.

The Best Medical Advise Comes From Your Veterinarians

Consider the source of the information.  Veterinarians are trained and then accumulate vast experience over their careers.  In the past pet owners have often gone to friends, breeders, and others outside of the veterinary field for advice regarding their pet’s health.  Now many people are researching on their own using the internet.  Regardless of the source of information it must first be accurate, second it must be relevant, and third it must be understood and interpreted properly.  There is a substantial risk of doing harm if any of these criteria are not met.  Ultimately your pet relies on your decision on where to go for help.

 

Dr. Don Ducor practices in Farmington, CT. To go to his site click on the link. www.farmingtonanimalhosp.com

August 25, 2010