Do You Trust Your Veterinarian?

Do You Trust Your Veterinarian?

by Michael
(London, UK)

by Butte-Silver Bow Public Library (Flickr)

by Butte-Silver Bow Public Library (Flickr)

Yes, do you trust your veterinarian? If you don't you will feel vulnerable when you make that vet trip. The venerable Dr. Jon who owns and runs the website, PetPlace.com says that if you trust your vet you will no longer feel vulnerable and he is right of course.

I find going to the vet stressful. I become anxious - why? Well firstly, I feel for my cat and the upset that the whole thing will cause him or her. And, yes, I am unsure how the whole thing is going to pan out. How good or bad is my cat's health? What will the vet find? And how much will the whole thing cost?

Most of us know one thing. It will cost more than we want it to, unless we are lucky. The uncertainty of the outcome in respect of health and cost make me anxious.

Why can't we trust our veterinarian automatically? Because if we don't know him or her really well we don't know if they are going to add on a few little bits of extra but unnecessary work. I have become cynical because it is very common in modern life to encounter all manner of "professional" people who try to milk us, the customer, for all they can.

I am thinking of, surveyors, financial advisers, dentists and vets. Now, not all vets want to rip us off, far from it. But the general drift over the past few decades has been towards the vet seeking greater profitability from his or her practice. Profit can become the first priority and when that happens the vet becomes a bad vet.

How, then can we trust our vet? We don't know what treatment our cat needs so how can we measure performance and thereby develop trust?

We can only do it through guesswork and over time. The best way is to get to know our vet and our cat and to also have some knowledge about cat health problems. The latter really helps as it makes us an informed customer better able to instruct a vet and protect our cat from unnecessary treatments. Clearly our knowledge must be used wisely as it will of necessity be limited.

The other day I took Timmy, a stray cat, to the vet (again) for an abscess he got in a fight. I walked in and said, "he has an abscess could you clean it and give him antibiotics".

The vet looked at me (thinking arrogant customer..!) and checked Timmy and agreed that he had an abscess. Mind you this was not complicated.

It isn't always that easy but a degree of instruction to the vet rather than feeling vulnerable and accepting everything the vet says as gospel is probably wise.

Dr. Jon says that the answer to feeling vulnerable when going to the vet is to take out pet health insurance. This, Dr. Jon, is not the answer at a fundamental level but it is an answer at a superficial level.

Insurance takes away the feeling of vulnerability concerning the vet's bill. But as the vet knows that you have insurance he or she will be inclined to do unnecessary work. This is not good for the cat. It also encourages poor vet practice and it gradually forces up insurance premiums. And to compound the problem the customer often ends up paying a lot of the bill anyway as the insurance companies find ways to avoid paying. Insurance drives things in the wrong direction.

Pet health insurance is a two edged sword - there is a good and bad side.

Do You Trust Your Veterinarian? I don't. But I try and politely place some checks on him or her to gentle test him. This can include simple and polite questions.

After a while I might get to know how good and honest he is. Only then can I trust him completely. Until then my motto is, "instruct your vet".

Do You Trust Your Veterinarian? -- Associated pages:

Vet Prices are too high

The cat is the veterinarian's client

Original Flickr image -image in public domain. Published here under a creative commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works license.

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Do You Trust Your Veterinarian? to Cat Health Problems

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Do You Trust Your Veterinarian?

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May 12, 2010 Thanks, Finn
by: Gail (Boston, MA USA)

Thank you, Finn, for the kind words. Information is power when it comes to trusting one's vet and, unfortunately, not all vets share as much as they should.

To be fair, sometimes vets may think they are doing their client a favor by sparing them the details of an animal's condition; however, that is the reality of caring for a furkid - you take the good with the bad. I'd rather know the details and given the chance to do my own research prior to a major decision rather than having my feelings spared.

I've included the link to Dr. W's website for your perusal. It's pretty informative and gives a point of reference for future dialogue. Enjoy.


May 11, 2010 Think of Gail's vet
by: Finn Frode, Denmark

Hi Gail. I was very happy to read your comment - to me your vet sounds like a good vet and a nice person too.
Much has been said here on PoC about greedy, declawing American vets and sometimes the whole profession has been described as if they were all like that - and of course many are not.
Being accused of something you are not guilty of is painful, so to all, please reserve your harsh words for the bad ones and avoid describing this whole group as a general mass.
Just think of Gail's vet and you'll know they are as different as all other groups of people.

Finn Frode avatar


May 10, 2010 Our Vet is trustworthy....thankfully
by: Gail (Boston, MA USA)

Our Dr. is very trustworthy...his legions of clients, the cats, tell us so...

I met Dr. W upon reference of a neighbor who understood why I fired the last one. Although a senior, on a fixed income and caring for several cats, this lady insists the vet see each and every one of them. Over the years, the good doctor has treated, at nominal cost - even sometimes free - for this lady. He's had his staff make house calls, which they willingly do, when she needed assistance. He taught her how to give the cats meds, so she could do it herself at home to save on visits and when the time came to say 'goodbye' to a loved one, has even made a house call.

Sadie adores him. While chatting, Dr. W told me that he would prefer the parent have all the info, good or bad, in order to make an informed decision. He goes over costs beforehand and has left it up to the parent to decide a course of action, even encouraging 2nd opinions.

He freely gives out literature, refuses to declaw/devocalize and stands with us demanding the law catch up. He decided on private practice rather than a big clinic so he could control costs, educate people and get to know his clientele on a personal level. His adoring felines heartily approve.

I'd say we got really lucky finding Dr. W. I wish everyone could find someone like him, honest but no-nonsense and won't hesitate to chastise humans for whatever.


May 09, 2010 We thought our vet WAS competent
by: Ruth

Finn our vet was perfectly competent so we thought but as the head of the practice she was difficult to get an appointment with and we had no reason not to trust the other vets.However when our cat was in their hospital with breathing difficulties 3 times she apparently saw her, we found out later, but it wasn't until we actually saw her in person that she became involved in our case.
We did ask questions and for information,each time we took our cat back,we were told it was difficult to diagnose and therefore to treat,we had no reason then to doubt that.
Had we known they really had no idea what was wrong and that there was a chest specialist quite near to our home we'd have asked to be refered.
The vet we trusted and saw at last,kept our cat all day and sent her home dying ! Only then did she refer us to the specialist, she died in the car that evening on the way to see him.
When I asked if we'd been refered earier would it have saved her life,she replied that cats chest troubles are very difficult to treat.So in effect,we had no satisfactory answer from her.
I urge anyone now if you don't get a diagnosis and treatment fairly quickly,to ask to see a specialist,because if you don't, it could be too late !


May 09, 2010 Trust, but check
by: Finn Frode, Denmark

I trust my vet. Why should I bring my cat to her, if I didn't trust her skills? So far she has been perfectly competent and not tried to pull anything unneeded over our (or rather the cats') heads.
But my trust is based on keeping myself informed at all times. By reading before we go, by asking questions when we're there and by more reading when we're back. Trust, but check... 😉

Finn Frode avatar


May 08, 2010 No I don't
by: Ruth

This is awful for me to say but no I do not trust our vets ! When I was working for vets I had every faith in most of them as in those days it was about doing the best for the pet, not about making money.
As our old trusted vets retired or died and I retired myself, we were eventually left with one single vet we knew and trusted.
Sadly she let us down and one of our much loved cats died because she hadn't refered us to a specialist in time.
We left that practice and registered at another,which is a huge practice with many vets and nurses we don't really know at all, even though we've been with them 3 years now.
So I'm like you Michael and it upsets me deeply if one of our boyz has to go there for any reason. Once you've lost a cat to an incompetent vet it's impossible to fully trust another vet.
I don't believe in Pet Insurance either, in these days of money making being so important you couldn't be sure if your pet really did need all the treatment recommended.
I'd rather be ill myself than one of our cats be ill..... and we don't trust doctors either after losing loved ones to their incompetence.
Who CAN we trust these days ????
It's frightening !

Kattaddorra signature Ruth



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