Making The Most Of Your Visit To Your Veterinarian

If it is time to take your pet to the veterinarian for a wellness check or your sweet furry friend seems to be ill, advance preparation for the office visit can make a big difference. It is essential that the person bringing in the pet have a written list of all medications your pet takes, whether or not your vet prescribed them. This allows the vet to double check drugs and dosages. Remember to also note which medications need to be refilled. This can not only save you a trip back to the office to get your medications, but also ensure that other pharmacies have a current prescription if you choose to purchase your medications online.

This written list should also include all over the counter supplements, treatments and drugs, as some of these remedies can have serious interactions with prescription medications. It will also be helpful for your vet to know the brand and “flavor” of all food and treats. If you pet goes to a boarding or day care center, bring a written list of any vaccines or medications requirements by they require.

When arriving at your veterinarian’s office, make sure that your mailing and email addresses, and all phone numbers are correct in their records. This information can be vital with a lost or injured pet. If your dog or cat is microchipped, be sure to tell the vet staff so that the microchip number can be properly recorded in all computer systems. And lastly, make sure your pet is safely contained in an appropriately sized carrier or with a safe, tight collar and a non-retractable leash.

If your pet is sick or hurt, the person bringing the animal to the office will need the same above written lists with all drugs and supplements, noting any recent changes in the medication regime. He or she will also need to know about any recent food changes – even within the same brand of food. If the pet is ill, your vet will need a description and timeline of all symptoms, such as when they started, how severe they are (especially with diarrhea or vomiting) and how long the problems have existed. Taking pictures or videos on a mobile device of odd behaviors can be particularly helpful, especially with coughing, unusual sounds, or seizures.

All of this information will help your veterinarian put together a complete history, which is so important for treatment and diagnosis. Don’t forget to call before your appointment to see what else might expedite your visit, such as a urine sample if your pet is drinking or urinating more than usual, or a stool sample if diarrhea or vomiting is a problem!

Originally published September 2016 in the Huntersville Herald.

Dr. Kay Wahl is a veterinarian and certified veterinary acupuncturist with LakeCross Veterinary in Huntersville. The vets in the big yellow house have been treating pets like family for 20 years. For more information, call 704-948-6300.