Whenever a client moves away and wants advice on finding another vet, I always tell them to pick one and schedule a benign procedure (like a nail trim). This way you get to enter the practice under controlled conditions to see how the practice staff interacts with you and your pet. It is much better to enter a practice and observe the staff under your control than on an emergency or sick visit when you and your pet are under stress. Now if you do the same thing with us, this is what you can expect…
1) The receptionist scheduling the visit will want to make sure that your pet is vaccinated for rabies. All you need is proof of the vaccine when you sign in or allow us to call your previous vet for proof. The rabies vaccine is a legal issue as well as protection for my staff.
2) The technician who will do the nail trim will bring you into one of our rooms. You may be asked if your dog or cat does not like it's feet being touched or if it is scared to be picked up. We always do the nail trim in the room with the owner unless you prefer not to be present. If so, please tell us. If you are scheduled for a nail trim, you will not see the doctor but you will get some idea of what our practice is like.
3) The receptionist that is checking you out will ask if you require anything else and may ask you how your pet did.
And that is the end of your visit. Hopefully it was relatively painless for you and your pet. And we hope that after meeting us, we can call you a new client! Now, if the first time we meet is under less than ideal circumstances, (your pet is ill), we understand that it will be stressful for you and your pet. The receptionist will ask for a lot more information than just your rabies certificate. We want as much information as possible to fill in the gaps of your pet's life before you met us. The technician will ask some more questions more pertinent to your pet's current condition and may want to collect a stool sample, urine sample or take a temperature prior to the doctor coming into the room. The doctor should introduce herself (excuse us if we don't, sometimes we forget that people don't know who we are) and ask even MORE questions while examining your pet. Between the questions and the exam, we usually get to the bottom of your pet's illness. Sometimes, however, we'll need more information and ask to do some more tests.
Please tell us if you don't understand something. We want you to be an active participant in the healing process of your pet. If we need to do radiographs (X-Rays), we will show them to you and explain them in detail. If we need to do bloodwork, we will try to get the results as soon as possible. We have an in-house lab but some tests are required to be sent off to an outside lab. We will review in-house test results with you or call you with the outside lab results as soon as we get them (usually within 48 hours).
In some cases, we will recommend that you see a specialist. These are veterinarians that have gone through more rigorous training in specific areas (like oncology or neurology). These specialists are all people that we have known for years and have trusted with our own animals. We would never send a client to someone that we wouldn't go to ourselves. We understand that sometimes finances get in the way of our best intentions. Please let the doctor know if there are financial issues. Sometimes we will try to work around certain tests and procedures if it is at all possible. Our goal is for you to have a happy, healthy pet but to also have enough money to feed yourself and that pet!
At the end of your visit, we will provide you with a "Pet Report Card". We know that coming is not only stressful for your pet but also for you and we may throw a lot of information at you very quickly. The "Pet Report Card" is a written summary of our physical exam findings and all the things we discuss during your visit. It gives you something you can refer back to in the comfort of your own home to refresh your memory or to explain to your spouse what was discussed.