My daughter is writing a blog post relating to being a good client so I thought I’d put my two cents here. There are several things you can do to improve the experience you have when taking your loved one to the vet. In this post I am going to go over some common gear grinding things that can occur at the veterinary office and how to prevent them.
The Office Hours. Be very familiar with your clinic’s hours. Some clinics have rotating staff so that they have fresh staff no matter the hour. Others do not. So realize that if you rush in just before lunch time or closing you are dealing with people who are hungry and/ or have somewhere to be such as picking up a kid. If you just got home from work and your vet closes in 20 minutes and your pet is sick by all means call or go in. Just be very polite and ask if there is somewhere they would like to send you. They will probably be grateful and bend over backward to help you. Then if you have to go see someone like me at an emergency clinic you can also grab a copy of your medical records.
The Owner. We legally have to have the owner bring the pet in and OK treatment. If it’s just a stray you feed in order for us to treat it you will have to take financial responsibility. Oh and a big source of frustration to vet offices is having five different people calling wanting updates on a particular pet. Please pick one person in the family to be the communicator. It will really help the patient care.
The Estimate. We legally should give you an estimate. It allows you to sign for and OK the procedures we want to do. Please do not be offended. Blame the lawyers. Also it protects the veterinarian from getting attacked by the staff or the medical board if someone were to complain he or she was not offering some test or another that someone else thought was standard.
The Bill. Once again related to the estimate. Be upfront with the doctor. If you only have $250 to spend let them know. The worst feeling is running blood tests and x-rays then finding out there is no more money to treat the pet. I have a saying, “X-rays are not therapeutic.”
The Specialist. If you are interested in going to a specialist, be very upfront. We can decide what is best for you and your pet more quickly. For example I will sometimes wait to have specialists do the x-rays sometimes as they may have a certain view they wish and I don’t want you to be double charged.
The Office Visit. The office visit charge is simply to have a physical exam. If you only have that there is not a lot we can do for the pet. Medications will cost at least something. I qualify this by saying that if the pet is not too sick an office visit may help head things off at the pass. But realize the longer you wait and the sicker your pet is, the more effort it will take to right things. I always hate the 6 pm Sunday to 8 pm Sunday slot at emergency. Frequently the pets brought in at that time have been sick all weekend and the owners are now wanting it fixed in an hour so they don’t miss work. This is super frustrating.
Last but not least. Keep a copy of your pet’s records. In particular, the blood tests and medications your pet has been on. You can even now get CD’s of your pet’s x-rays. This can save untold trouble and expense.