Updated: Aug 16, 2019
We know when you come see us, your focus is on your pet and their well-being. So, you might miss some of the things that are happening while we’re chatting with you about what’s going on. Let’s walk through a visit at the clinic, so you can see “behind the scenes” what’s happening while we’re helping your fur baby.
First, you check in at the front desk with our Receptionist. They mark you as checked in on our appointment calendar, and that prints your pet’s “travel sheet” for the visit. This stays with the staff the whole time your pet is with us. It has all you and your pet’s basic information on it: your name, address, phone number, your pet’s name, age, breed, sex. If you’re bringing a dog to see us, the Receptionist will ask you to weigh your dog, and record that on the travel sheet. Then, they take the sheet to the back, and let the Veterinary Technicians know you’re here.
Next, you are greeted by a Veterinary Technician and taken to an exam room. This part is very similar to your own doctor visits, where they will ask questions about the reason for your visit, as well as other important medical information. It’s necessary for the Technician to record things like vaccine history, medications, with their strength and frequency, history of illnesses or surgeries, etc. Even if we have those things on record, the Technician will verify all that information with you each time you come in. The Technician will also take your pet’s vitals, or “TPR”, which stands for Temperature, Pulse and Respiration. This saves time for the doctor so they can focus on the physical exam.
After the Technician gathers all the information, it’s time for the Doctor to see your pet. They will ask more questions about the reason for your visit and go over all the concerns you have. What most people don’t realize is that while you’re talking, the Doctor is doing their exam! By looking in their ears, looking in their mouth, feeling their neck, abdomen, legs, they are getting valuable information about your pet’s condition. An exception to this would be if your pet is too nervous to let the Doctor get too close, or if they don’t like certain body parts touched.
The doctor will then leave the room and write down their treatment plan for the Technician. At this time, the Technician will create an estimate so you can see all the recommendations and what each item will cost. In some cases, the Doctor will recommend diagnostics, such as blood work, x-rays, or ultrasound. In these instances, we usually find pets to be most comfortable if we take them away from you into our treatment area. This can be the hardest part for pet parents! We understand your bond and your concern for your pet, and we feel the same concern. In most cases, pets are much easier to work on when they are not with their worried owners. Don’t worry, though – Technicians are notorious for giving lots of love, hugs and kisses while they perform diagnostics on your pets.
Once the Technician performs the diagnostics, the Doctor must review the results. The amount of time it takes for results to come back varies based on what test is being done. Blood work can take some time, whereas x-rays are instant. Delays can be caused when there are multiple pets who all need diagnostics at the same time. Sometimes there’s a line for the x-ray machine or ultrasound.
After the Doctor reviews the results, they will go over results with you. They will also be ready to finalize a treatment plan. You may already have an idea of what the Doctor thinks is going on and wants to do.
Once you approve of the plan, we fill your pet’s medications and you’re almost done! You’ll be directed back to the front desk, where you can check out and make any follow up appointments that might be needed. We will bring your pet back to you, go over the medications and/or recommendations with you, answer any questions you have, and give your pet a little extra love for the road.
So that’s it – a vet visit demystified! We know that when your pet isn’t feeling good, it’s impossible to not worry. Our hope is that by walking you through what goes on during an average visit, your understanding of the process helps calm your worries. Every single person who works at Alta Vista Veterinary Hospital truly cares about helping your pet live a long, healthy life. We’re here for you when you need us, and we have lots of love to give your pets.