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Old 07-29-2013, 03:30 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Reasonable Expectations for Veterinary Care

In light of past and recent tragic events that have occured at the vet's office. Here are some tips for new pet owners choosing a vet for the first time, or to any pet owner for starting that healty dialogue with your vet.

Reasonable Expectations for Veterinary Care

1. Get a current copy of your record after every visit.
In most states you are entitled to a copy of the vet record. Your petís record is part of what you are paying for. An accurate record tells the story of your petís medical life. Even if you cannot interpret a lab report, another vet may be able to if you were to seek a second opinion.


2. Get a second opinion.
Be wary of a vet that would discourage you from seeking a second opinion. Even if your Vet is saying everything is fine, a second set of eyes doesnít hurt anything. Also think carefully about a second opinion from a Vet of your Vetís choosing (like his partner). It should be someone that you seek independently.


3. Be careful about the Vet that removes your pet from your sight during examinations.
You should be allowed to stay with your pet during routine procedures. Be wary of the vet that consistently takes your dog ďto the backĒ for procedures that could easily be performed in full view such as injections, temp taking etc. Ask yourself, would you allow your pediatrician to do this to your child?


4. Make sure your vet uses written consent forms for surgery, anesthesia, lab work, and other tests and procedures.
As a pet owner you are entitled to informed consent. Meaning that all risks, benefits and alternatives should have been explained to you in advance.


5. Find out what provisions are made for pets requiring overnight stays.
If your dog is sick enough to require hospitalization or has just undergone a major surgical procedure, how will he or she be cared for overnight and on weekends? What if your dog manages to slip out of his elizabethen collar and chews open his surgical incision while hospitalized and left alone for 8 to 12 hours at a time. It is perfectly reasonable for you to expect that your hospitalized family member receive round-the-clock care. There are a few different ways this can happen. While a 24-hour hospital staffed with a veterinarian is ideal, this simply does not exist in all communities here are some other viable options:
a. A veterinarian comes into the clinic multiple times during the night and on weekends to check on the hospitalized patients (some vets prefer to take their patientís home with them to help make monitoring and supervision more convenient).
b. A skilled veterinary nurse (technician) comes into the clinic multiple times during the night and on weekends to check on the hospitalized patients and has access to contacting the vet should the need arise.
c. Your pet comes home with you, but only after you receive thorough monitoring instructions along with a way to reach your vet should questions or concerns arise. As scary as this might sound, this remains a better option than leaving your best little buddy left completely unsupervised overnight. Just imagine how you would feel lying in a hospital bed, hooked up to intravenous fluids, and no one entering your room to check on you for twelve long hours!

6. Make sure your Vet has a valid license
Sounds crazy, but some vets are practicing with lapsed or expired licenses, or practicing in a state that they donít have a license to practice in.

7. Look for a notification in the Vets office of where to file a complaint with the State.
In most states this is a requirement. It should be posted in an area that is easily seen by the public. If it isnít posted, take note. The vet may have a disciplinary record that should be checked with the state.

8. Listen with your instincts.
If you donít get a good feel from a vet visit, or that they are not being totally open with you pay attention. Pay attention to significant behavioral changes in your pet. Donít get distracted by other superficial aspects such as how nice the office looks, or how cheap the prices are.

Choosing a vet based on lowest pricing, by the way. can be a fatal mistake. Be warned. By focusing on your pets and your instincts first, you can go a long way to avoiding harm coming to your pet.

9. Never assume anything.
Ask any and every question that comes to your mind. No matter how small and insignificant it may seem. A good vet should be willing to engage in dialogue with you and listen to your concerns even though you are a lay person.
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Old 07-29-2013, 03:38 PM   #2 (permalink)
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I like this list allot! its a good check list to keep on hand! Thanks for posting this!
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Old 07-29-2013, 03:40 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pammy4501 View Post
In light of past and recent tragic events that have occured at the vet's office. Here are some tips for new pet owners choosing a vet for the first time, or to any pet owner for starting that healty dialogue with your vet.

Reasonable Expectations for Veterinary Care

1. Get a current copy of your record after every visit.
In most states you are entitled to a copy of the vet record. Your petís record is part of what you are paying for. An accurate record tells the story of your petís medical life. Even if you cannot interpret a lab report, another vet may be able to if you were to seek a second opinion.


2. Get a second opinion.
Be wary of a vet that would discourage you from seeking a second opinion. Even if your Vet is saying everything is fine, a second set of eyes doesnít hurt anything. Also think carefully about a second opinion from a Vet of your Vetís choosing (like his partner). It should be someone that you seek independently.


3. Be careful about the Vet that removes your pet from your sight during examinations.
You should be allowed to stay with your pet during routine procedures. Be wary of the vet that consistently takes your dog ďto the backĒ for procedures that could easily be performed in full view such as injections, temp taking etc. Ask yourself, would you allow your pediatrician to do this to your child?


4. Make sure your vet uses written consent forms for surgery, anesthesia, lab work, and other tests and procedures.
As a pet owner you are entitled to informed consent. Meaning that all risks, benefits and alternatives should have been explained to you in advance.


5. Find out what provisions are made for pets requiring overnight stays.
If your dog is sick enough to require hospitalization or has just undergone a major surgical procedure, how will he or she be cared for overnight and on weekends? What if your dog manages to slip out of his elizabethen collar and chews open his surgical incision while hospitalized and left alone for 8 to 12 hours at a time. It is perfectly reasonable for you to expect that your hospitalized family member receive round-the-clock care. There are a few different ways this can happen. While a 24-hour hospital staffed with a veterinarian is ideal, this simply does not exist in all communities here are some other viable options:
a. A veterinarian comes into the clinic multiple times during the night and on weekends to check on the hospitalized patients (some vets prefer to take their patientís home with them to help make monitoring and supervision more convenient).
b. A skilled veterinary nurse (technician) comes into the clinic multiple times during the night and on weekends to check on the hospitalized patients and has access to contacting the vet should the need arise.
c. Your pet comes home with you, but only after you receive thorough monitoring instructions along with a way to reach your vet should questions or concerns arise. As scary as this might sound, this remains a better option than leaving your best little buddy left completely unsupervised overnight. Just imagine how you would feel lying in a hospital bed, hooked up to intravenous fluids, and no one entering your room to check on you for twelve long hours!

6. Make sure your Vet has a valid license
Sounds crazy, but some vets are practicing with lapsed or expired licenses, or practicing in a state that they donít have a license to practice in.

7. Look for a notification in the Vets office of where to file a complaint with the State.
In most states this is a requirement. It should be posted in an area that is easily seen by the public. If it isnít posted, take note. The vet may have a disciplinary record that should be checked with the state.

8. Listen with your instincts.
If you donít get a good feel from a vet visit, or that they are not being totally open with you pay attention. Pay attention to significant behavioral changes in your pet. Donít get distracted by other superficial aspects such as how nice the office looks, or how cheap the prices are.

Choosing a vet based on lowest pricing, by the way. can be a fatal mistake. Be warned. By focusing on your pets and your instincts first, you can go a long way to avoiding harm coming to your pet.

9. Never assume anything.
Ask any and every question that comes to your mind. No matter how small and insignificant it may seem. A good vet should be willing to engage in dialogue with you and listen to your concerns even though you are a lay person.
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Old 07-29-2013, 03:57 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Very good post!!!! I feel very fortunate to have found two wonderful vets. I!ve taken my last group of dogs to the same practice that my present dogs go to. If they don't have an answer for you they'll find it or they'll refer you to another . They always explain everything to me in detail. They are very loving kind and very through! I always tell them that I wish that they were 'people" doctors, I!d be their patient. I couldn't imagine taking mine anywhere else!
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Old 07-29-2013, 03:59 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Great post, Pam! Thank you so much for putting this together.

Could we sticky this, please?


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Old 07-29-2013, 04:13 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Thanks Pam for the great reminders. I know I always assumed that pets that were hospitalized had someone checking on them throughout the night.
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Old 07-29-2013, 04:21 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Pam, I've been thinking of posting something like this too. I'm shocked and saddend by several recent events. Just be forewarned...if you take a proactive role in your fluffs healthcare, ask questions, seek alternative options, 2nd opinions, etc... you will be labeled a 'special client'. So get some thicker skin now. I'm still working on my thicker skin. And what finally helped was when I spoke to the vet we had been seeing previously whose vet tech did something so wrong in how she handled Jett, who had a sudden behavior change that went from loving all people (strangers) and dogs to being very fearful. His was related to vision impairment. (That seems to have actually improved! But that's another story and a thread of it's own.) And they were very much aware of this. And this tech had taken some behavioral courses and was considered their 'behavior expert'. However she had not taken any continuing ed courses in over 10 years and was really not using what she had learned. When I told this vet about it, he immediately defended the tech telling me what she did was absolutely correct. Which told me he has had zilch education in animal behavior. (Most vets don't since very few vet schools have an Animal Behavior Science Dept.) The last straw was when another vet in the practice gave Callie the absolute worst antibiotic and unneccesary pain meds for her breed and her size. She is now dealing with symptoms of antibiotic induced leaky gut. But I'm hopeful with nutriceuticals we will be able to level out her body and she will not have any further issues. When I called to inform them I was transferring to another vet clinic this vet wanted to talk to me. He again tried to tell me what was done to both Jett and Callie was correct. Thankfully I had had my information from credible sources to back me up. And when he heard my information and sources, he all of a sudden decided it was ok to let me out of our health care plan I had taken out 6 months ago. Without the early cancellation fee I might add.

I'm not anti vet or anti traditional medicine at all. There is a time and place for prescription drugs. But in human medicine, we have specialists. And up until recently (and still it's really only available in larger cities), vets had to be the cardiologist, the dentist, the ophthalmologist, the orthopedic surgeon, the dermatologist, etc... And to make matters worse, they have to know everything about dogs, cats, birds, reptiles, horses, etc... Then within all those different species, each breed presents it's own unique special needs and genetic health issues. So I'm really not placing blame on vets for not being able to truly know everything. It's not humanly possible imho. But I do blame those vets that have the arrogant nature that no one dare question them. And if a vet is ever again that way I will not hesitate to stand my ground and seek a 2nd opinion. And I think I'm past the point of letting that bother me...finally!
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Old 07-29-2013, 05:24 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Grear thread, Pam and responses. i'm very lucky with my vet but i also come in "armed" with great info and questions I've learned here. Let us forget the importance of pre-op bloodwork and asking that non-electric heating pads are used after surgey -also lessons we've learned here.


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Old 07-29-2013, 05:30 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Quote:
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Great post, Pam! Thank you so much for putting this together.

Could we sticky this, please?


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Old 07-29-2013, 05:34 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Good post, thanks Pam.
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