Important Information To Take To Your Pet’s Veterinarian Visit
By Rachele Baker, DVM – I see a lot of pet parents and their pets at the veterinary hospitals where I work. Before I examine each pet, I ask pet parents for relevant background information about their pets. However, it is not uncommon for pet parents to not have the background information needed to enable me to prepare the best possible treatment plan or vaccination schedule for their pet. At that point, a veterinary receptionist will call the previous veterinary hospital or animal shelter to try to obtain the necessary information while the pet parents wait. However, oftentimes the previous veterinary hospital or animal shelter is too busy to fax the information right away.
We all have many demands on our time so just getting a pet to the veterinarian in the first place may be a challenge. The important thing to remember is to provide your veterinarian with as much relevant information as possible so that your pet can receive the best possible care.
In order to make your pet’s veterinarian visit go as efficiently and smoothly as possible, I have developed a handy checklist of information to take to the veterinary hospital when taking your puppy, kitten, or adult pet to a veterinarian for the first time. You can use this checklist as a guide to help you prepare for your pet’s veterinarian visit.
Puppy, Kitten, or Adult Pet’s First Visit To A Veterinarian
[ ] Have secure collars and leashes on puppies and adult dogs at all times. Transport kittens and adult cats in secure cat carriers.
[ ] Pet’s date of birth, breed (if known), sex (spayed, neutered, intact).
[ ] Brand name and specific flavor of pet’s current diet and amount fed.
[ ] Specific name(s) of any additional treats or people food fed.
[ ] Take a fresh stool sample so that it can be tested for intestinal parasites (worms). Refrigerate it if appointment is not for several hours;
[ ] Hard copy of pet’s medical records including:
[ ] Name(s) and date(s) of any vaccinations given;
[ ] Name(s) of any dewormers used and date(s) of any dewormings performed;
[ ] Date(s) of any fecal tests performed (and results of those tests);
[ ] Date(s) of any FeLV/FIV tests performed on kittens and cats (and results of those tests);
[ ] Date(s) of any heartworm tests performed (and results of those tests);
[ ] Name of any flea control products applied (or given orally) and date(s) given;
[ ] Name of any medications given (including heartworm prevention) and date(s) given;
[ ] Name(s) of any medications that pet is currently on, strength of medication, and dosage information (may be easiest just to take the prescription bottles with you to the appointment);
[ ] Name(s) of any supplements, vitamins, or water additives used and dosage information (may be easiest just to take the bottles with you to the appointment);
[ ] Date of any neuter or spay performed and location where performed (Neuter or Spay Certificate if available);
[ ] Brand name of any microchip implanted, date implanted, and microchip number;
[ ] Complete hard copy of medical records from previous veterinarian(s) about any medical conditions such as diabetes, heart disease, allergies, vaccine reactions, etc.;
[ ] Hard copies of any previous blood tests or urinalyses.
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). We routinely perform fecal tests on all puppies and kittens as well.
If you are taking your pet to the veterinarian for an emergency situation such as toxin ingestion, take as much information as possible about the toxin to the veterinary hospital. For example:
[ ] If your pet ingested a toxic substance such as rat poison, take the original package material to the veterinarian.
[ ] If your pet ate a portion of a potentially toxic plant, and you do not positively know the full name of the plant, take a photo of the plant and/or some leaves and flowers from the plant to the veterinarian.
[ ] If your pet ingested potentially toxic human medications, take the prescription bottles to the veterinarian.
[ ] If your pet ingested chocolate, take the original package material to the veterinarian.
If you are sending your pet to the veterinarian with a friend or relative, please make sure to provide your friend or relative with the relevant information outlined above to take to the veterinary visit.
One of the challenges of being a veterinarian is that our patients cannot verbally communicate with us. So we rely on pet parents to provide us with the background information we need. We use this background information together with the results of our physical examinations and any diagnostics performed to develop treatment plans for your pets and provide them with the best possible care throughout their lives.
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