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Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Secondary Pet Caretakers

We live in a busy society, and many people work when the can and as much as they can to make ends meet. Or maybe some people just find it hard to work their pet into their hectic schedule. In any case, it's not uncommon for someone other than the primary caretaker to bring a pet in for a veterinary visit. This might be spouse, child, grandparent, friend, or anyone else besides the person who normally cares for that pet. All of that is understandable, because at least the pet is coming in. The problem is that this secondary caretaker often doesn't really know what's going on with the pet.

With well pets we will generally ask people if they have enough heartworm prevention or flea and tick prevention. We may also ask about any health problems, what kind of food is being fed, and so on. If the primary caretaker isn't there the answer is often "I'm not sure" or "My wife normally keeps track of that".

The situation is worse if the secondary caretaker is bringing the pet in for health problems. Unfortunately, they often don't know the details of the history at the level that would be very helpful. This usually results in cell phone calls that will hopefully reach the other person. But it can be frustrating to try and diagnose a problem when we don't have all of the information. It's like trying to figure out a mystery image on a jigsaw puzzle without having all of the pieces.

So I would ask anyone taking a pet in to get all of the details. Even if it's not your pet or someone else in the family normally does most of the care, your vet will want to know what's going on. Do yourself, your vet, and your pet a favor and try to get all of the information before going in.