Things You Should Never Do At A Veterinary Clinic

Updated on February 6, 2016

Be Late For Your Appointment

When you are late, other appointments will bypass you so your wait is longer, the staff will be annoyed with you, and your pet won’t get as much of the veterinarian’s time as you were booked for. When you are late, you make a bad name for yourself and compromise your pet’s veterinary care.

Try To Restrain Your Pet Yourself

Nope, not gonna happen - we don’t trust you. We know our coworkers and their restraint and animal handling abilities. We don’t know you. Back off, get out of our way and let us do our job. When you get in the way of our job, it slows down our progress in the appointment, creating tension and stress your pet can feed off of, which scares them and skews our results of laboratory testing.

Follow us into the back when we take your pet into our treatment area without you

We do this for many reasons, including better lighting, more equipment, less noise, and more staff available. Sometimes we are taking your pet out of the exam room for the simple reason of your pet feeding off of your stress. You are stressing your pet out and we need to do our jobs.

Present Us With Internet Research In An Effort To Aid In Your Pet’s Diagnosis

We see these symptoms on a regular basis, treat similar cases all the time, studied all of this in college. We don’t care about what you found online. It’s not that the information is not necessarily valid, it might be in some cases, a particular case, or just completely off track. You are bringing your pet to a veterinary clinic for professional services and an educated diagnosis for your pet is what we will give you. Try to have a little faith in us and if you don’t, find a new veterinarian.

Tell Us What Your Breeder Recommends

Your breeder is not a veterinary professional which means they have no educational basis for the information they provide. A breeder can have ideas of what they think is best for or see in a certain breed, but realize that they only see that breed, so what looks significant to them isn't necessarily significant in the real world. We are educated as to what risks there are to administering or declining certain vaccines or why we recommend spaying and neutering at all, and why at certain ages. Your breeder and your veterinarian are separate and they exist to serve different purposes- please keep us that way.

Allow Your Pet To Interact With Other Pets In The Parking Lot Or Waiting Room

This one I have a lot to say about because it's a huge area of concern. I've seen a dog inflict a bite wound on another leashed dog in a waiting room, calicivirus spread through a cat hospitalization ward, and I've met a woman with a three inch scar up her head from her cat jumping off her face in a veterinary waiting room.

Not all pets are at the veterinary clinic for routine annual exams and vaccines. A lot of them are here because they are sick, injured, or have behavior problems. Have you heard of the H3N2 canine influenza strain that has come to the Madison, WI area from Chicago, IL? How about pseudomonas bacteria that can cause resistant ear infections? Do you know what a leash aggressive dog can do to your little Dachshund's thorax? There are enough health risks out there for your pet as it is, don't increase them by unnecessarily exposing them to additional factors. A veterinary clinic waiting room does not exist as a doggie playground, it's a private waiting area for patients, just like for humans.

As for cats, for most of them a trip to the vet is a huge event in their life. Even if you don't see any stress signs from your cat, we do. Cats can become extremely unpredictable when under stress, so preventing extra stimulation is key.

Finally, they make cat carriers and dog leashes for a reason: Use them!

Try To Tell The Staff How To Handle Your Pet

Chances are, these people actually went to college for this and have plenty more experience at handling any animal than you do. You may think you know your animal, but our restraint techniques exist to keep your pet safe, us safe, and you safe. The risk of us getting injured in a bite or scratch incident are much higher when we have untrained persons attempting to handle the animals we need to work on. Don't forget that we went to school in pursuance of this career because we like animals, we want them to be comfortable and healthy, so we are going to do that in the most caring and efficient way possible.

On that note, don't request medical information on pets that don't belong to you. The information we have in our records is just as confidential as any medical information on your kids, so don't ask us how your neighbor's dog is doing. A medical record is a legal document and if we have any integrity, we can't disclose anything specific to you anyway.

Lie To Us About Parasite Prevention

Fleas and ticks are disgusting, disease-carrying parasites. Think about what that means. Fleas will make nests in your home. They can transmit tapeworms and live in your bed. Ticks can give you and your pets Lyme disease. Unless you want your pet and home to be infested, keep your pets on flea and tick prevention. We all know heartworm prevention is a prescription-only product and you won’t get it from any veterinary friend without a current test on your dog. Heartworm disease is a real, fatal disease that you can prevent. Every excuse is ridiculous, from “my dog doesn’t go outside” (where does he poop?) to “I have a fenced in yard” (are there raccoon-sized mosquitos in your neighborhood?). When you lie about parasite prevention, we know. We can also tell if a flea problem has been long term versus acute, so don't act like you just saw a flea on Fluffy for the first time on Sunday when you really saw it two months ago.

Throw A Fit In The Waiting Room Or Berate Us On The Phone

This is the most significant no-no of being a patron in a veterinary clinic. Our jobs are mentally and emotionally demanding enough without you losing your cool. We have to refrain from expressing our own opinions and values on a daily basis, there are pets we care deeply for and occasionally must be an active party in their death, plus we are all dealing with some eccentric animal lover coworkers. If you are angry enough to yell or swear, think about the caring individuals you are taking it out on and what role that person really has in the problem you are having. There are plenty of good pet owners out there who want our help and will treat us with respect, so if you can't, we are happy to make copies of your pet's medical records so you can find a different staff to argue with.

Veterinary professionals are doing their best to make your pet comfortable and you happy, let us do our jobs and work with us. Remember that we are here because we love your pets too.

This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. It is not meant to substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, or formal and individualized advice from a veterinary medical professional. Animals exhibiting signs and symptoms of distress should be seen by a veterinarian immediately.

Questions & Answers


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        3 years ago

        Perfectly sharp! A lot of truth to this article with a sharp tongue delivering the message- gotta love it!


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