Asking the right questions once you’re there can make a world of difference and help you catch health issues early on. Here are 7 very important questions you should ask your vet next time you see him:
If you are keeping my pet overnight, is someone with him to observe him?
If your pet has surgery during the day, the vet might recommend that he stays at the clinic overnight to rest. Who stays there with him is a key piece of information you should always talk to your vet about. “If there is no one at the clinic overnight, you might want to take the pet home so there is someone to observe it,” says Dr. Gretchen Norton, DVM, who was in private practice for 12 years before moving on to work in animal shelter medicine.
For emergency surgeries and pets that may need to be on medications or IV fluids overnight, Norton says your veterinarian may recommend transfer to an emergency clinic that has overnight care if their hospital does not. “Owners should ask about what kind of overnight care the clinic recommends,” Norton says.
Do you recommend pet insurance?
Pet insurance is now widely available in most states—although their benefits and coverage varies. “Some policies cover breed related problems, others only cover accidents or illnesses.” explains Norton. “Just like human insurance policies, if the pet has a disease or an accident, it is too late to buy insurance to cover that problem.”
Whether pet insurance can benefit your dog or not depends on many factors, including your dog’s age, breed, and past health history, so it’s important that you ask questions. For example, Norton says Labrador Retrievers are known for eating first, then deciding if it was edible later. “They often eat things such as balls, socks or corncobs that can block the intestines and require surgery to remove,” Norton explains. “In this case, you would want a policy that covers surgery to remove foreign bodies.”
How often do you recommend my pet be given vaccines?
Long gone are the days when yearly vaccination was a given. Today, more and more vets are given vaccines based on risk assessment and lifestyle of the pet, so your veterinarian will make a personal recommendation for your pet. “You can also ask if they do titer testing to assess the current level of protection,” says Norton. If the results show your pet is still protected after a year and a half, you might not need to vaccinate him again. Common vaccines that may not be recommended based on your pets lifestyle and location? Lyme disease, Rattlesnake venom, and Bordetella, according to Norton.
The one exception to this is the rabies vaccine, which, by law, must be given by a veterinarian. “There are both one and three years vaccines available and your veterinarian will advise you which one is best for your pet,” says Norton.