How to Communicate with Your Veterinarian

February 25, 2016

communicate with vet kristinBy Langley Cornwell

Most people like to find a family physician who listens to what they have to say and treats them like a person rather than just another file or number. This is because it makes it easier for us to relate our medical problems to the physician, but also because we know that a doctor who is familiar with our life situation and medical history is going to notice when something isn’t quite right.

The same applies when it comes to your pet, and if you find a vet who treats your dog or cat like a beloved member of your family, that’s a vet you’ll probably want to stay with. But what if you are searching for a new vet? Maybe you moved, your current vet retired, or you’re just not happy with the medical care you’re getting for your pets. Here are some tips and communication methods you can utilize in order to give a vet a full rundown of your dog’s medical history and information.

Keep Records

It’s always a good idea to keep medical records on hand, whether they are your own or your pets. In the case of your pet, it may not be easy or timely to get a copy of the medical records because the chance that one vet is linked to another is very slim. And there are instances where your pet’s medical issues are resolved at home. Make sure you maintain your own records on the following topics.

• Birthday and lineage; whatever you know (if anything) about your pet’s mother and father.
• Any issues that occurred during the birthing process.
• Vaccination records, including types of shots, amount administered, and dates of administration, as well as any adverse reactions to the shots.
• Illnesses, including dates, treatments and in some cases, suspected culprits such as allergic reactions to specific foods, etc.
• Emergency treatments. This might include things like seizures and broken bones.

Prepping the Vet

communicate with vet quinnWhenever there is a deviation from the norm, it’s important for the person treating the deviation to know exactly what the norm is. For example, if your dog is a breed that is typically hyper, but your dog is normally very mellow, it’s important for your vet to know this so that the deviation from the normal state of the breed can be noted as a personality trait and not part of the illness.

Your vet also needs to know a few minor details that can help him or her diagnose a current problem. A few examples include:

• Changes in surroundings, such as a recent move.
• Alterations to living environment such as new carpeting or a new sofa.
• Changes in diet, such as a switching from a grocery store brand to a premium pet food like CANIDAE.
• Even switching from city water to well water is worth noting.

Naturally, you will want to inform the vet of the current issue that compelled you to seek medical attention in the first place, but you might also want to take things a step further and really think about when the issues or changes began. It’s helpful to know your pet well; pay attention to her likes and dislikes, everyday behavior and normal energy levels. When there is any variation, think like a detective. Taking detailed notes will help you remember and convey pertinent information to your vet.

Above all, don’t be afraid to ask your vet all the questions you need to in order to understand the issue at hand. Don’t feel rushed or nervous. It helps to write down your questions and concerns before your scheduled visit so that you don’t forget anything.

We all want our best friends to live long, healthy, vital lives. Before leaving the vet’s office, be sure you know exactly what needs to be done to provide adequate care for your pet at home.

Top photo by Kristin Shoemaker/Flickr
Bottom photo by Quinn Dombrowski/Flickr

Read more articles by Langley Cornwell

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