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Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Clueless Helpers

Everyone in the veterinary field knows the following scenario.  A client comes in with their pet and you start asking them questions.  Maybe they're coming in for vaccines, or maybe they're coming in with a sick pet.  As soon as you talk to them they respond with "I don't know.  My husband/wife/significant other just told me to bring him in.  He/she keeps up with everything."

Really?  First, if you're the person sending someone else in with the pet, make sure they know everything there is to know as well as you do yourself.  We're going to ask questions about how long the problem is going on, what symptoms you're noticing, how often it's happened before, or even something really hard like "when did he last have his vaccines"  or "is she on heartworm prevention."  You might be surprised how many times the answer to any of these questions is a blank stare.  It's fine if you have someone else be the caretaker and bring the pet in, but please make sure they're well informed.  If they don't know answers to crucial questions it can prevent us from making the right diagnosis.

If you're the person bringing the pet in, make sure you get all of the information you can!  Be aware that YOU are the one we're going to be asking the questions to, so be ready to answer them.

This is all about communication between people.  For whatever reason, too many spouses/relatives/friends/etc seem to assume that the person they designate to transport the pet knows the situation well enough, and the reality is that this is rarely the case.  If possible, the person noticing the problem or keeping the records should be the one bringing the pet to the vet.  If that can't be done, please let your helper be well informed.  It will make the vet's job easier and will improve the quality of care for the pet.

Yes, this happened to me today!  Again!  For the umpteenmillionth time in my 14 years of practice!  Communication, folks.  It's not that hard.

4 comments:

  1. My favorite variation of this...drop off the minor child who does know the problem well but then cannot approve an estimate. Act huffy and annoyed when we call to 1 have you approve estimate and 2 pick up your kid. Oh, and then take an hour to do either. Bonus points for pulling this stunt as a walk in and/or an hour before closing

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  2. yep and on top of this the poor vet has to give instructions on how to help the pet regain its health, how to take the meds and when etc (even though this will be on the pack) - thankfully many animals don't have owners who are clueless BUT God help those who do.

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  3. And then they call the owner on their cell phone and either relay between you and the owner or hand you their germy phone to talk to the owner yourself.

    Oh and then when you are done you can hear them discussing how you prescribed the wrong med or charged too much.

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  4. And if you ran out of thyroid med a while ago but your wife just sent you in with the dog because "the dog needs bloodwork", PLEASE tell your vet the dog hasn't gotten her med BEFORE they run the bloodwork!

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