Your Trip to the Vet
by Dr. Karen Halligan
GETTING THE MOST OUT OF A VISIT TO YOUR VETERINARIAN
Providing your veterinarian with information is crucial in helping her diagnose and keep your pet as healthy as possible. The following information is to help you get the most out of your pet’s visit.

BEFORE THE VISIT, PREPARE A CASE HISTORY OF YOUR PET FOR YOUR VET
Bring any paper work you have that pertains to your pet. This includes other vet records, vaccinations history or any journals you have kept.
Bring samples if possible. Even if the pet is not having any problems and you are there just for a check up, bring a fresh fecal sample. If your pet is ill, it is imperative that you bring a sample of the stool and/or any vomiting that is occurring.
Bring a list detailing their diet and any medications your pet is taking.
Make a list of any abnormal changes in your pet’s behavior, including when the changes first started, the duration and frequency of the behavior.
Inform your vet of any changes in the household that may be affecting your pet’s stress level, such as a house mate moving out, change of schedule that keeps you away from the house longer than before, a new pet, baby, etc.
WHAT QUESTIONS SHOULD I ASK THE VET?
Ask your vet ANYTHING that is of concern to you, possibly including:

Is my pet clinically overweight?
Is my pet’s current diet appropriate for its age, weight and activity level?
Discuss any abnormal behavioral change. Is this behavior abnormal, and does it signify any underlying medical problem?
Should my pet get a blood test?
Should I be brushing my pet’s teeth?
Do I need to consult a specialist?
DURING THE VISIT
Remember to ask questions and ask your vet to explain something you don’t understand.
Make sure you understand all of the medications that may be prescribed and try to find out why they are being given.
Make sure your pet has its weight and temp taken and recorded.
Ask your vet to write down the diagnosis.
Have your vet check ANY lumps or bumps that your pet might have.
Have your vet show you and go over any x-rays or blood work results that are performed.
Have someone go over an estimate prior to any diagnostics being performed.
Have your vet go over any abnormal physical exam findings with you.
AFTER THE VISIT
Call the office and discuss any questions you forgot to ask.
Make sure you do any recommended follow-ups and/or treatments.
Keep in touch with your vet, and let her know if any new problems arise.
DO MINI CHECK UPS AT HOME in between your regular vet visits. Once a month, slowly run your hand over your pet’s entire body, checking for any abnormalities that should be reported to a vet. Check their eyes, teeth, skin and coat to make sure they are healthy and comfortable. If you notice dry flakes on your pet, notify your vet. Most of the time this can be helped by regular baths and adding a little flax seed oil or olive oil to their diet. The fatty acids help to maintain a lustrous coat.
Remember that your pets depend on you to stay healthy. This should include a yearly trip to your vet so problems can be detected early and managed effectively, allowing your pet to live a long and happy life!

Behavior and Training Department

If you would like more information on training or have a behavior question you can email the Behavior and Training Department at training@spcaLA.com or call the Behavior Helpline at (888) 772-2521, ext 260.