Comunicating With Your Vet

Tips for Communicating with Your Veterinarian in the Office


When you’re in the office with your veterinarian having your pet examined, you’ll need to communicate effectively to make sure that you know how to care for your pet once you get home. Here are some tips:

Write down your questions beforehand. When you’re in middle of a visit with your veterinarian, its easy to get distracted and forget which questions you wanted to ask. Writing them down beforehand will help you remember and stay on track. –Ask for clarification, if necessary. If you have questions that come up during the examination or something your veterinarian says to you is unclear, say so. Ask for a clearer explanation. –Help your veterinarian by providing as much information as possible. Especially if your pet is ill, even small changes in his behavior or routine may be important. The more information you are able to offer your veterinarian, the more likely that she will be able to successfully help your pet. Make notes about your pets activities if you need help remembering. –Ask your veterinarian to put home instructions in writing. This can help serve as a reminder to the discussion you had in your veterinarians office and can help guide you in your efforts to care for your pet at home. For most veterinary practices, this is standard practice. –Turn your cell phone off and stay focused. This is one of my biggest pet peeves. When you are speaking with your veterinarian or her staff, your cell phone should not interrupt the conversation. If you need to use the cell phone to communicate with another family member about your pet, that’s acceptable. But interrupting your conversation with your veterinarian to talk to your spouse about what you’re planning to prepare for dinner is not appropriate. (And yes, that really happened!)

Tips for Communicating with Your Veterinarian When You Are Not in the Office

Whether it be to have a question answered, to update your veterinarian on your pets progress or to discuss an unexpected development in your pets care, occasionally you will need to communicate with your veterinarian when you are not actually visiting her office. Here are some tips to make that communication easier:

Find out what forms of communication your veterinarian is willing to use. Some veterinarians prefer to communicate via telephone, others offer email or instant messaging as a form of communication. –Indicate your communication preference. Tell your veterinarian and her staff how you prefer to be contacted. Be sure to provide valid contact information. For instance, if you leave a phone number with your veterinarian’s front office staff and are expecting a call back from the veterinarian, be sure you are available at that phone number. –Respect your veterinarian’s time. Be understanding if she is not able to take your phone call or contact you immediately. She may be dealing with an emergency situation or be otherwise engaged with another pet. Give her time to respond to your request. It is fine to ask how long the expected wait will be. –If your pet is having an emergency, do not wait to be contacted by your veterinarian before seeking proper care. If you are able to reach your veterinarian’s staff, ask for their advice. If your veterinarian is on hand but simply unavailable to talk immediately, they may simply advise you to bring your pet to the hospital. However, if you cannot reach your veterinarian’s office, seek care through an emergency facility if necessary. Do not send an email or post on Facebook in the middle of the night and wait for your veterinarian to return your message before you look elsewhere for help. Its best to find out before the fact how your veterinarian handles after-hours emergencies.

Of course, many of the same tips about communicating in the office extend to communicating from outside of the office as well. For instance, if you’re not clear about something, ask for clarification or additional explanation.

This article is posted with the permission of the Pet Health Care Gazette