How to Get the Most out of Your Sick Dog's Vet Visit


Visiting the veterinarian with your dog, especially if she is sick or injured, can be a little stressful sometimes. You may be worried about your dog, concerned about finances, and distracted by a nervous or potentially suffering dog.

Still, it's essential that you leave your veterinarian's office understanding everything that the doctor has said and feeling comfortable with any decisions you've made. Here are some questions to ask your veterinarian at various steps in the conversation to ensure you get the best grasp of what is going on and have all the information you need to make good choices.


What Is the Next Step?

Once your veterinarian has had a chance to listen to the history of what's going on with your dog and examine her, he or she will tell you what the findings are and present you with diagnostic and treatment options. As things move along, there may be multiple stages of information gathering. At each stage, you will need to be made aware of the options for the next steps.

Ask your veterinarian about the next step at any point that you feel unsure of what's going on. Taking a moment out to be sure you know what's coming next can help you feel more confident and calm.

How Will This Information Be Used?


There are many diagnostics that can be done, but in some situations, some of them provide information that won't necessarily change the course of treatment. It's important that, as your veterinarian is explaining potential diagnostic tests to you, you understand how the results of each one will be used. It will then be your decision whether to pursue each test for the useful information or treatment changes that it might deliver.


What Are the Other Options?

In most situations, there are multiple diagnostic and treatment options for your dog. If you are presented with a set of options that you feel are above your financial constraints or which you are simply unsure of, be sure to ask for alternatives. Medicine is not a "one size fits all" practice, and a good diagnostic and treatment plan will be tailored to meet the needs of you, your family as a whole, and your dog.

What Are the Pros and Cons of Each Option?


Be sure you thoroughly understand each diagnostic or treatment option that your veterinarian presents to you, including its potential benefits, risks, and drawbacks. It will be easier for you to make confident decisions when you understand these things completely.

What Do You Recommend?

Most veterinarians want to deliver the best care they can that fits your budget and has the best chance of leading to a positive outcome. However, they are also not usually pushy but prefer to present information and allow you to make your own decisions. Asking your veterinarian specifically what he or she recommends you do at each stage can allow you to more clearly see the best path through multiple options. Of course, you still might not choose the exact recommended course, but this question does provide good information to help in your decision making.

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