Important Information To Take To Your Pet’s Veterinarian Visit
By Rachele Baker, DVM – As a veterinarian, I see a lot of pet parents bringing their pets in for their first veterinarian visit either because they just adopted this pet or because they are looking for a new veterinarian. Before I examine each pet, I ask pet parents for information about their pets such as vaccination history and information about any medications that their pet may be taking. However, many times they do not have this information. A staff member will then call the previous veterinary hospital (or the animal shelter) to try to obtain the necessary information. Unfortunately, the previous veterinary hospital (or the animal shelter) is often too busy to provide the information right away.
We all have many demands on our time so just getting your pet to the veterinarian in the first place may be a challenge. The important thing to remember is to try to provide your new veterinarian with as much information as possible about your pet so that he or she can develop the best possible treatment plan for your pet.
In order to make your pet’s first visit to a veterinarian go as smoothly as possible, be sure to take copies of your pet’s medical records with you. You can get these from your previous veterinarian or from your pet’s online medical records portal on your previous veterinarian’s website (if your previous veterinarian provided that service). You can also ask your previous veterinarian to fax, email, or mail your pet’s medical records to your new veterinarian in advance of your visit. If you do this, make sure to give your previous veterinarian plenty of advance notice and follow up with your new veterinarian to make sure that they receive the records from your previous veterinarian.
I have developed the following checklist to help you collect the information that your new veterinarian will need.
What To Take To Your Pet’s First Veterinarian Visit
- Your pet’s date of birth, breed, and sex (spayed, neutered, or intact);
- Brand name and flavor of your pet’s current diet and amount fed;
- Name of any additional treats or people food fed;
- Name of any medications or supplements that your pet is currently taking (including flea control and heartworm prevention) and dosage information.
Copies of your pet’s medical records including:
- Information about any medical conditions such as heart disease, allergies, vaccine reactions, etc.;
- Copies of blood tests and urinalyses;
- Dates and names of any vaccinations given;
- Dates any dewormings performed and products used;
- Dates of any heartworm tests, fecal (stool) tests, or FeLV/FIV tests performed and results of those tests;
- CDs of any digital x-rays that have been taken (or x-ray films if x-rays taken were not digital);
- Copies of reports from any special procedures performed such as ultrasounds or MRIs;
- Copies of any biopsy reports;
- Surgery reports for any surgeries performed;
- Medical records from any Emergency Veterinary Hospitals or Specialty Hospitals visited.
What To Take To The Veterinarian Visit If Your Pet Has Diarrhea
If you are taking your pet to a veterinarian because your pet has diarrhea, it is always a good idea to take a fresh stool sample so it can be tested for intestinal parasites (worms). Many veterinarians routinely perform fecal (stool) tests on all puppies and kittens as well.
What To Take To The Veterinarian Visit If Your Pet Ate Something Potentially Toxic
If you are taking your pet to a veterinarian for an emergency situation such as toxin ingestion, it is very important to provide the veterinarian with as much information as possible about the toxin. If your pet ingested a toxic substance such as rat poison, take the product package or container to the veterinarian. If your pet ate a portion of a potentially toxic plant, take a photo of the plant and/or take a portion of the plant. If your pet ingested human medications, take the prescription bottles. If your pet ingested chocolate, take the product package. In the case of toxin ingestion, it is vital for your veterinarian to know exactly what substance was consumed.
If you are sending your pet to the veterinarian with a friend or relative, remember to give your friend or relative all of the information discussed in this post so that they can provide it to the veterinarian.