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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.