10 Things All Veterinary Technicians Wish You Wouldn't Do
A must read for dedicated pet owners.
Most pet owners only see veterinary interactions from one view, the view of the pet owner. I have been a veterinary technician for five years and I have seen veterinary interactions from the view of the tech and the owner. There are several things done by the pet owner that SHOULD be avoided at all costs. These things are not just to benefit the technician and veterinarian, but to allow for the entire visit for the patient, owner, and staff to be smooth and effective.
There are MANY things that an owner can do to hinder the veterinary visit for their furry friend, but here is my list of the top 10 most annoying things that an owner often does at the veterinary visit.
1. Having Your Dog Unleashed or Your Cat Uncaged
When you and your pet walk into the clinic, it is now the responsibility of the veterinarian and his or her staff to ensure that you and your pet remain safe at all times. While you may know that your dog is friendly and will listen to your commands off leash, there may be another dog in the clinic that is canine aggressive or even human aggressive. Please, leash your dog at ALL times. A lot of cat owners also think that their cat is "safer" in their arms and would prefer to skip the carrier. This could not be farther from the truth! Cats are easily stressed and do much better in a darkened cage. So, please, for the safety of your animal, keep them leashed and caged at all times in the clinic unless directed otherwise.
2. Sending Someone Other Than the Owner to the Appointment
When the owner is too busy to come to the actual veterinary appointment, there is often information that is lost on the owner. The veterinary staff tries their best to convey, to whoever is at the appointment, all of the necessary information. Have you ever played telephone when you were little? It is very easy for information to be misconstrued from one person to the next.
3. Talking over the Veterinary Technician or Veterinarian
The veterinary staff does the best they can to communicate with the pet owner in a language that everyone can understand. If you, as the pet owner, are constantly talking over the veterinary staff, you will miss the pertinent information and be unable to care for your pet in the best way possible. With all due respect, shut up and listen.
4. Using "Dr. Google" to Argue with Our Education
We understand that you as a worried pet owner has already looked online to match your animal's symptoms with some type of problem or disease that was diagnosed by Dr. Google. We, as educated professionals, can assure you that the information we are telling to you is 100x more helpful and accurate than whatever you and Dr. Google came up with for "Fluffy". Please allow for our 100k worth of education to guide you in caring for your pet.
5. Not Listening the First Time
A lot of clients will get wrapped up in the panic or excitement from whatever is going on with their animal. The owner will be so wrapped up that they will fail to listen the first time the veterinarian or staff goes over the pertinent information, including medications. The owner will then go home, with invalid information, and either give their pets the wrong care, or call the office back with questions that were easily answered in your appointment.
6. Waiting to See If It Will "Get Better"
This is my personal pet peeve. Pet owners will either be too busy to make it in for an appointment when their pet clearly needs one, or they will simply wait to see if their pet's problem will get "better" on its own. I have seen WAY too many cases where if the owner would have brought the animal in even one week prior, the problem could have been easily managed and their pet could have been saved. If you notice a problem with your pet, MAKE AN APPOINTMENT. The 50 dollar exam fee will be much cheaper than the 1500 dollar emergency bill later.
7. Not Complying with the Medication Duration
Animals, like humans, are often prescribed antibiotics. Animals, like humans, often do not receive the entire prescription of antibiotics. Often pet owners will stop their pet's medication when they see a positive change. This is NOT a healthy way to medicate your pet. They can become antibiotic resistant or the positive change can mask the underlying problems until it becomes worse from lack of medication.
8. Talking Too Much
A patient history is vital to ensuring that your pet gets the medical attention that they need. To obtain a medical history, the veterinary staff will ask you specific questions to get the information that they need to proceed medically. A lot of times, owners will over talk and give way more information than what is necessary and it can hinder the actual information needed. Your pet would be much better off if you, as a pet owner, would give only answers to the questions that are asked.
9. Not Using Flea/Heartworm Prevention
The most ANNOYING phrase that a pet owner can say to veterinary staff is, "My pet doesn't go outside so I don't have them on flea or heart worm prevention." Please, PLEASE, do not think that your pet is ever safe from fleas or heart worm simply because they are inside animals. Have you ever been bitten by a mosquito in your house? I know I have. Every 30 days, your animal should be receiving something to protect them from parasites.
10. Underestimating the Estimate
Whenever your pet is going to undergo a surgical procedure or any in-patient procedure, an estimate will be given to you for you to sign. It is absolutely exhausting when the procedure is performed and the final bill is at the higher end of the estimate and the pet owner is unhappy. First of all, things happen that are often out of the veterinary staff's control, that can complicate the procedure to make things cost more. Second of all, YOU SIGNED THE INITIAL ESTIMATE. You, as a pet owner, knew that there was a low end and high end to the estimate. Please, do not be shocked when we remain within the estimate, but on the higher end.