Guest Blog: Make That Vet Consultation Count
Make That Vet Consultation Really Count
I couldn’t be more delighted; I’ve been asked to do a monthly blog for those good people at Nature’s Menu.
At last, an opportunity to open my nutritional brain to allow thoughts to fly. But more importantly, to get ideas back from you, the Nature’s Menu blog reader, on what I’ve written and what I should tackle in coming months. Can’t wait to do the food Foxtrot, the nutritional Nutcracker and the protein Polka with you, dear reader.
‘Age brings wisdom’, they say. I’m not so sure about that in my case, but it has taught me to carry a notebook to jot ideas as they woosh through my head. Some of the ideas I’m going to think about this year will cover:
- Best treats for minimal nutritional insult, maximum attention from dog
- Long term studies on feeding dogs and what they tell us
- An introduction to the Raw Feeding Veterinary Society and what we do and want to achieve
- Problems changing cats onto raw
- Thoughts on vitamin B12 and why so many dogs need it at some point in their lifetime
- New thoughts on thyroid disease in dogs
- Holism and the part food plays in it
But this is just my pondering. What are you interested in? What do you not understand? What do you want me to research for you? Let me know. Let’s get on it!
The first thing I’m like to get off my chest is this: how to get the most out of every visit to the vets. Here’s a list of essential tips that I think could dramatically improve your experience:
- If you see a different vet every time you visit, choose the vet you get on with best and see them. Every time. When they say, ‘come and see us again in X days,’ ask them if, rather than coming back in X days, you could see them in X days when they are on duty that day. This ensures continuity, great communication and simplification of the disease management process. It’s a really simple trick, but simultaneously aids vets and pet owners.
- If your animal has a complex case taking several medications and needing observations daily e.g. IBD, epilepsy, urinary crystals or skin disease, consider a spreadsheet which contains date, meds, observations and notes, for example. If you take a copy with you when you visit, then all parties are, literally, reading from the same sheet. Particularly good if you’re seeing a specialist, as well as your regular vet, or if my first suggestion, above, is difficult and you have to see different vets each time.
- Most vet practices book you for 10-15 minute consultations. If you really think this will be too short a time to go through your notes/worries/issues, then book a double appointment. The vet will be happy to have more time to spend with you without cramming lots into a single appointment and you will be more likely to feel you’ve had your money’s worth unrushed.
- Make a list of questions to ask and take notes of the answers. A consultation can be a nerve wracking event and it’s difficult to think of everything in the short time you’re in the consultation room. Be kind to yourself. Make it simple. Make a list.
- If your vet says something you’re unsure of, ask them to repeat. If they say something and you don’t see the reasoning, don’t be scared to ask the golden question - ‘Why?’
If you have any more tremendous tips you use when you go to the vet, then please feel free to put them in the comments below. I’m sure we can, together, create an Essential Survival List for visiting the vet.
Dr. Nick Thompson BSc (Hons) Path Sci., BVM&S, VetMFHom, MRCVS.
Vet of the Year nominee 2009 & 2015.