Do You Trust Your Veterinarian?
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:
Original Flickr image -image in public domain. Published here under a creative commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works license.