"Top Ten Tips on Communicating with Your Vet"
1. Try to pick a "quiet"
appointment time. Early mornings, mid-evenings and Saturdays are often hectic
times in vet clinics: appointment slots are fully booked, emergencies are coming
in, in-patients are being treated and there may be less staff to cover the work.
If it fits your schedule, consider a mid-morning or early afternoon appointment.
For routine work like annual health-checks, vaccinations or chronic skin problems,
mid-week days are often calmer than Mondays and Fridays, which will often allow
you more quality time with your vet.
(adapted from a publication by Peter Wedderburn in the Telegraph.co.uk website)
2. When you attend an appointment have a list ready for your vet, and go through
this with the vet briefly at the start of the consult. It's easier for vets
to address a number of problems or questions if they know everything that's
concerning you at the beginning.
3. When booking an appointment, please mention how many animals you are taking
with you to the clinic. Squeezing two animals with complex problems into a fifteen
minute consultation doesn't work well: there's less time for each patient, and
it's not as easy for the vet to concentrate fully on each one. Veterinary receptionists
are trained to allow an adequate stretch of time for each case, so they can
schedule a suitable appointment time for you.
4. If possible, don't bring your children with you. Even the best-behaved youngsters
can distract you from what the vet is saying. This is particularly important
if your pet is a nervous patient - it's practically impossible to listen well
whilst consoling a terrified terrier and keeping that three-year-old out of
the bin. Having said that, routine and non-complex consultations can be a good
learning experience for children, and we certainly aim to be a child-friendly
5. Use a notebook to jot down information, or ask the vet to write down key
points for you. There are also ready-made advice sheets available for certain
common or complex conditions.
6. It can be difficult to bring up the topic of money, but it's important to
do so. There's often more than one way of doing things, and vets may be able
to tailor treatment to fit your budget. Don't be afraid to ask your vet for
an estimate of costs. Our computerised practice management system can generally
draw up a ball-park figure at the touch of a few buttons.
7. Feel free to say, "I'm not sure I understand that". We are quite
happy to rephrase information or use another approach - such as diagrams or
models - to explain complicated or technical information.
8. Be honest. It's human nature to tell someone what you think they want to
hear, and a veterinary check-up is no different. So don't be afraid to admit
that a few tablets from the last treatment course ended up in the bin, or that
it is impossible to enforce a strict diet in your home, or that your pet actually
stopped eating 4 days ago already. Vets understand how difficult it can be to
give treatments, or even to notice certain problems. Bending the truth just
leads the vet along the wrong diagnostic path, and can be really detrimental
to your pet's wellbeing.
9. Get to know the clinic's veterinary nurse and receptionists. They can often
give you practical - and free - advice about everything from flea and worm treatments,
to behaviour and grooming.
10. And finally
smile! A smile is one of the most powerful non-verbal
tools that we have. It makes it easier for people to listen thoroughly to each
other. A smile sets the scene for good communication.
Margate Vet Hospital
with your Vet