How You Know It’s Time to Find a New Vet

4. Your veterinarian has made a significant error while working with your pet. A botched surgery, a missed diagnosis or a medical prescription error are examples that should cause consternation. Yes, mistakes happen, but they warrant some face time with your veterinarian to receive an explanation and determine if you will be staying or taking your business elsewhere. If a mistake happens, your veterinarian should communicate with you about it promptly and proactively.

5. You or your pet simply don’t feel comfortable with your vet. Does your normally delightful dog or cuddly kitty transform into a Cujo or Leo the Lion the minute your vet walks into the exam room? Do you feel uneasy asking questions and openly discussing your worries or concerns? Pay attention to your observations and gut feelings. If it doesn’t feel right, it probably isn’t right.

Your Exit Strategy

If you are planning to leave a veterinarian you’ve been with for years, chances are you’re concerned about how to do so gracefully, without hurting his or her feelings. In response to this concern, let me quote my favorite line from the movie Moonstruck: “Snap out of it!” After all, what’s more important, your pet’s health and your own peace of mind or your veterinarian’s feelings?

To expedite a smooth transition, obtain a copy of all of your pet’s medical records, including doctor’s notes, laboratory test results, imaging studies (ultrasound, X-rays), and vaccination history. Simply ask the reception staff to provide this for you. This should be a no-hassle process as you are legally entitled to all you are requesting. If asked why you are moving on, I encourage you to provide an honest, constructive response.

As the captain of your pet’s health-care team, it is your responsibility to determine who your teammates will be. Choose them wisely and remind yourself that the opportunity to care for you and your pet is a privilege that should be well deserved.

Read more Vetstreet articles by Dr. Nancy Kay:

Why the Term 'Pet Owner' Just Doesn’t Work for Me

How Videotaping Your Pet for Your Vet Can Help Get the Right Diagnosis
When to Say Yes to a Diagnostic Test


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