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Does My Veterinarian Really Need to Know?

March 1, 2017

If only pets could talk…

We’ve all been there. The daunting list of questions your veterinarian wants to know may seem like a waste of time but, since your pet does not communicate verbally in our language, your veterinarian must take on a detective type role.

Your pet’s diet and daily habits gives your veterinarian clues to what diagnostic option will be the most beneficial in determining the cause of a specific symptom. Have you recently changed your pet’s food or the type of treats they eat? Did those big puppy eyes and adorable turn of the head convince you that a table scrap or two wouldn’t hurt? As an example, vomiting and/or diarrhea can be caused by a variety of reasons and knowing if your pet recently helped themselves to the tantalizing contents of the waste basket or if their favorite chew toy recently disappeared will have an effect on the course of action your veterinarian will take.

Have you recently adopted your pet, had your pet at the park, taken your pet to a groomer or boarding facility, or does your pet travel with you? Such information is very helpful in understanding the different stresses (good and not-so-good) that your pet may encounter. While many pets love a good romp in the park or trip in the car, some do not enjoy such activities or they may be exposed to an illness from another animal. The stress that the pet may experience in those instances can sometimes instigate problems of their own.

Has something changed in your pet’s environment? Are you using a different cleaner or recently had the yard sprayed? Does your pet have a new bed? Informing your veterinarian of the small details of your pet’s surroundings can provide the “missing link” to that mysterious rash or the sudden onset of behavioral changes. Are you giving your pet any supplements or over-the-counter medications? Some prescription medications should not be given with certain over-the-counter medications/supplements so it is important to let your veterinarian know what your pet is given, even if it is just a vitamin.

Dogs and cats are often very good at “hiding” symptoms that something is wrong so sometimes just the fact that something seems “a little off” is an indication that your pet requires a trip to their veterinarian. Does your pet seem grumpy or anxious, have their toileting habits changed? Subtle changes are often important clues for your veterinarian to help guide them in a direction to help you determine if something is going on with your pet.

Until pets can talk, be your pet’s voice and make sure their veterinarian is aware of all the details in your pet’s life, even the ones that may not seem important.

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