23 Jul The Importance of a Pet Owner-Veterinarian Relationship
Your cat is off his food and obviously doesn’t feel well. Your dog pulls out of your hand, runs toward the road, and is sideswiped by a car, possibly sustaining several broken bones. Your horse doesn’t come up to the barn when you call and you find him in the pasture with several deep cuts that obviously need stitches.
In each of these situations, animal owners typically react in one of two ways. One, they have their regular vet on speed dial or a magnet hanging on their refrigerator with easy-to-see contact information. They call the vet who has previously treated their pet, an emergency appointment is scheduled, and their animal is tended to within hours. Or two, the pet owner frantically goes to Google trying to find a veterinarian in their area who might be able to attend their pet immediately.
In addition to annual exams to monitor health and prevent disease, veterinarians are prepared to treat the injuries and accidents that we cannot predict. A veterinarian who has previously treated your pet – even with routine vaccinations, heartworm preventative, or dental cleanings – has records of what is ‘normal’ for your pet, and any medications they may require.
Today, with technology and “Dr. Google” at our fingertips, it can be tempting to cut corners and let the internet diagnose the problem. However, an incorrect guess can mean a pet grows sicker with delayed treatment. A well-meaning person responding to a “My dog is sick” post on Facebook cannot offer informed advice, let alone diagnose an illness. A telemedicine app designed to connect you with veterinary assistance gives no assurances that the person you talk with is, in fact, a veterinarian or whether they are in the United States. Even a veterinarian reading social media posts can only advise that a pet owner take their animal to a local veterinary clinic as soon as possible. Ethically, a veterinarian can’t diagnose an animal they haven’t examined, nor is it generally possible to even offer an informed opinion based on vague symptoms.
When you own animals, emergencies and illness will happen – it’s not a matter of “if” but “when.” Having a pre-existing relationship with a veterinarian is incredibly important for these moments that we cannot plan.
Do you have a story about how your veterinarian helped your pet in a time of need? Share with us so that we can feature them.