Ever wish vet visits were easier? Now, more than ever, especially with curbside service and social distancing, it can feel like communicating with the vet team is a challenge. We often don’t have the benefit of face to face conversations, and when we do, we can barely read facial expressions beneath a mask. Even though vet appointments tend to be the same length, they can feel more rushed because of the need for multiple curbside phone calls or a hurry to sanitize exam rooms between patients and clients.
My husband and I recently took Taco for his annual checkup. Even with a curbside service and a socially distanced appointment, we were in and out in 10 minutes. 10 minutes for a full physical exam, bloodwork, and three vaccinations; it was fantastic! We looked at each other afterwards and asked, “How did we manage that?” Granted, being veterinary professionals, we are well-prepared for these visits. That just happens to be the secret, and now I’m going to share the secret with you.
The key to a smooth vet visit is to “Know before you go, and ask when you arrive.”
Before the vet visit
- Know what wellness and preventive care services your pet is due for. If you are not sure, check your prior medical records, login to your pet portal, or call the vet office and ask.
- Find out how much each of these services cost so you can budget for the visit. Most vet offices are able to share standard-item fees with you over the phone.
Complete the Q&A
Your vet is going to perform a thorough nose to tail exam, but this exam only takes place one day of the year! On top of that, your pet may be a little nervous at the vet, which may lead to an increased heart rate and tense belly. It is helpful for the vet to know how your pet is feeling on a regular basis in a normal environment.
- How has your pet been feeling? Do you have any health or behavior concerns?
- Has there been any recent coughing or sneezing, vomiting or diarrhea?
- How is your pet’s appetite and energy level?
- How are your pet’s drinking and urination habits?
- Have you noticed any new lumps or bumps? Where are they, when did you notice them, and have they changed?
- Has anything changed with your pet’s health since the last visit?
- What brand of food do you feed your pet? How much? How often?
- Does your pet take any medications, supplements, or other over-the-counter products? Know the exact names, doses, and frequency.
- Does your pet have a social lifestyle – goes to the groomer, dog park, or day care?
- Does your pet spend time outside – on walks, playing, hiking in the woods, swimming?
- Do you have other pets at home?
- If your female pet is not spayed, last heat cycle
Ask when you arrive
- What should I do today to keep my pet healthy?
- How is my pet’s dental health?
- How is my pet’s weight and body condition?
- Is the food and amount I am feeding good for my pet?
- Do you suggest I change any of my pet’s medications or supplements?
- Are there any tests I should do to help detect diseases early?
I hope you enjoyed these suggestions to help you prep for the vet. If you have any comments or suggestions, please share!