Your First Visit To A Veterinarian’s Office
After many years of meeting with new patients, especially those who are coming to me from another practice, I believe there are some preset expectations for your first visit to a Veterinarian’s office that may not be getting met. Above all, friendliness, courtesy, and timeliness must be evident, and appear effortless. The staff and doctor should be putting you and your pet ahead of all else. It is my job to be acutely aware of these expectations, and to strive to fulfill them.
An Appointment At Kahala Pet Hospital
I want to address my process, from the moment a patient and owner enter my consulting room.
- I will know the sex, name and age of the patient before the owners enter the room
- If I am even a few minutes late, due to unexpected patient needs, I will always apologize for the delay.
- When I have not met the family before, I introduce myself to all family members present.
- After encouraging the family members to take a seat, I turn my attention to the patient. I will talk to, and attempt to pet, the patient. I will comment on his or her appearance.
- Next, I will explain what is going to take place during the basic examination. I always carry out the same general examination, regardless of the reason for the visit.
- My attending nurse/technician will place the pet on the examination table. I am happy to have the owner place their pet on the table, if they prefer, but then to take a seat and relax.
- I tell the owner I am going to spend a moment getting to know their pet, by continuing to pet and speak quietly – offering reassuring comments.
- Only after this approach do we discuss why the family has come to see me.
Getting To The Root Of The Problem
By now, there is generally a palpable lifting of apprehension by the family members, and communication becomes easier and more relaxed. I continue to explain to the family what I’m doing and what my thoughts are as I move through the exam. I assure them that we will zero into the problem and the reason for their visit. A frequent comment I make is that solving a problem requires that we define the problem. This may require additional tests including, stool/urine samples, or blood tests. We always draw blood samples in the consulting room, with the owners present – unless they prefer not to be. In this manner, I can demonstrate to the family, my patience, and competency as well as the pet’s comfort.