Every animal needs to go to the vet on occasion, and at a minimum this will generally be at least once a year, in order to have your perform an annual health check on your pet and administer their booster vaccinations. Going to the vet can be stressful for some animals such as cats, but for many pet owners a trip to the vet can be interesting and informative and something that we actually quite enjoy, assuming that our pet is ok and we are not worried about a particular health problem.
Visiting the clinic also gives you a valuable opportunity to learn and ask questions about your pet and their care, and this is something that you should make full use of, because you are after all paying for the service, and this is an important part of it.
However, there are a few things that you should make sure that you don’t do when you take your pet to the vet, for various different reasons. While the clinic staff may not actually pull you up on some of these mistakes in many cases, ensuring that you avoid making them will make your visit better for everyone, including yourself, your pet and your vet!
In this article, we will look at five things that you should never do when you take your pet to the vet-and why. Read on to learn more.
Aside from dogs, virtually every other pet that is taken to your average small animal clinic is likely to be taken in a cage or carrier, including cats, rabbits, birds, reptiles and much more. When you get into the consult room with the door firmly closed your pet will of course need to come out of the cage-but never be tempted to take your pet out of their cage before you get into the consult room and your vet asks you to.
This may seem obvious to many people whose pets are apt to be stressed or otherwise unhappy whilst at the clinic, but if your pet is calm and not phased and you are bored while waiting or your pet doesn’t like being cooped up, some clients will consider taking their pet out of their cage while waiting.
The reasons why this is a poor idea (and why the clinic staff might ask you not to) are multiple-including the potential for the pet to get away from you and be on the loose in the clinic or worse, get out through the open door when someone else comes in.
Additionally, the presence of your pet will have an effect on other pets that are waiting too, which might make life harder for their owners-and the clinic staff as well.
When you are booking a routine appointment for your pet, you will generally be able to schedule it at a time that suits you-and so ensure that you book a slot that you know you will be able to be on time for, and leave plenty of time afterwards in case the vet is running late.
Showing up late for your appointment should be avoided at all costs, and you should always keep your vet informed if you are running late, as missed appointments or owners that do not come when they say they will can mess up the whole clinic, and impact on other people’s appointments too.
However at the same time, it is important to accept that your vet might not call you in precisely on the dot of your appointment, and that on some occasions you might have to wait for some time if an emergency situation has arisen or the routine examination of another pet flagged up a serious problem.
While this is frustrating and it is reasonable to expect the clinic staff to keep you informed, remember that on another occasion, it could be your pet that needs emergency help, and you would expect others to be patient.
There is always an element of uncertainty in terms of how pets will react when in the clinic-in some cases, generally calm and quiet animals will go crazy while others that are often a bit feisty or difficult will be shocked into compliance! That said, if you know that your pet may be a problem in any way-such as if your dog can be snappy or has nipped a vet before, or if your cat is apt to go loopy as soon as they come out of the cage-warn your vet first.
Vets are adept at handling challenging pets, and they won’t judge you or think badly of you if you know that there might be an issue and forewarn them. However, every single week, vets and veterinary nurses get bitten, scratched or hurt in ways that could have been entirely avoidable if the pet’s owner had spoken up first. “He’s never done that before!” Holds little water, and veterinary staff can tell when you’re trotting out a practiced line!
It is much better to warn your vet to be on the safe side and have an uneventful appointment than it is to cause stress and potential injury to both your pet and the clinic staff by leaving the staff to take their chances with a pet that may be a problem.
It is important to be completely honest with your vet about everything pertaining to your pet’s health, condition and the reason for visiting, and every little detail that you can think of may be important.
However, vets often find themselves playing pet detective to try to get to the bottom of what is wrong because pet owners are not providing the full story or all of the detail that they have, and so it is important to avoid this.
The reasons behind why this happens can be variable-for instance, if a vet asks about “any other symptoms” when a dog has a cough, it would be natural for a pet owner to think that something such as a recent worm infestation that has been cleared is not relevant and so, worthy of mention. But vets can make connections and interpret symptoms when given the whole picture that laypersons cannot-such as the connection between worms, coughing and heart problems, to name just one.
Additionally, if you have decided to take the “wait and see” approach in terms of booking your appointment and this has not paid off, your vet is not going to fall for it if you tell them that your pet just suddenly appeared home like that, and they will know that the issue has been building for some time.
For pets that have ongoing or chronic health conditions that are stable but require regular medication your vet will often issue these to you on a repeat for a set period of time, without the need for you to take the pet along for an exam every time.
When it comes to preventative medications too such as flea and worming treatments, vets will usually happily prescribe these without needing to see the pet every time to pets that they have seen within the last year.
However, outside of these two situations, veterinarians are highly unlikely to prescribe medications (and may be ethically or even legally prevented from doing so) to a pet without examining them-for instance, if your cat comes in with a cut from a fight, you can’t just pop into the vets and ask them to sell you some antibiotics.
Veterinary medicine is about more than the medicine alone-it is about the knowledge and experience of the vet, their ability to identify symptoms and devise an appropriate course of action, and all of the other intangibles that clinicians pick up during their many years of training and on the job experience.
Thinking that you know what your pet needs or using Google to decide upon a course of action is not just disrespectful of your vet, but also likely to compromise your pet’s health-if a vet were to comply-which is why clinics will not prescribe meds without an examination, and why you should not ask them to!