Going to the vets can be a worrying time; whether that is because your pet is sick, or they are nervous in the practice for their general health checks.
This can be made easier for both you and your pet if you have a good trusting rapport with a vet. So, you may want to know if you can specifically ask to see that individual when you come in. The short answer is yes, of course you can ask to see a particular vet who you communicate well with and who knows your pet’s individual character and medical history.
But that would be a very short article, so let us explore a little more about this topic.
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The veterinarian-client-patient-relationship (VCPR) is the essential basis for interaction among veterinary surgeons (and the rest of the veterinary team), their clients, and their patients.
A good, trusting VCPR is critical to providing quality veterinary care and vital to animal welfare by allowing a veterinary surgeon to regularly assess a pet’s entire physical status, family environment, and to regularly communicate with the owner.
You may feel very bonded to a particular practice; where all the team go out of their way to make you and your pet feel as comfortable and at ease as possible. If you find you bond particularly well with an individual in that practice then you can certainly ask to see them when you revisit for appointments. This helps with continuity. And it allows your pet to get used to and trust the team members they grow to know.
Everyone has different communication styles. You may just ‘click’ well with one vet, where you feel comfortable expressing your concerns, worries and communicate your pet’s history well.
However, it is not always possible
Something to take into account is that although the reception team will always try to accommodate your wishes, there may be times when you will have to see another vet. And don’t worry, they are likely to be equally lovely!
There are a number of reasons you might not be able to see your vet. An emergency is one of the main reasons. If your pet needs immediate treatment, it is not appropriate to wait until the vet you want to see is ‘on shift’. In this circumstance the team in the practice will triage your pet; and whoever is free will be taking up your case.
There may also be times when the vet you like to see actually believes that another surgeon is most appropriate to talk to.
As an example, within a team there are often people who have furthered their knowledge, training or qualification in certain aspects of veterinary medicine. If your pet needs treatment or surgery and another surgeon has much more training and interest in this area, the vet you normally see may ask for a referral or second opinion from someone else to help manage the case. Everyone has their strengths, and it is often best to play to those strengths when managing a tricky case.
Another possibility is that your times just don’t match up! Vets are people too, they need breaks, they take holidays, they have friends, families, children, other hobbies and a life outside the practice.
As such their shifts may not match your busy schedule. In this case, you may regularly find yourself struggling to attend the practice at the same time the vet you like is working. If this is the case you will likely see another team member. They will probably be equally as kind and compassionate with your pet.
They are busy
A fairly likely reason that you might not be able to see the vet you like is because they are already busy seeing other patients. In the UK, typically vets have around 1000 active clients per vet on their books. The vet you usually see may be in surgery; dealing with an unstable medical case; working up other patients; consulting and triaging more ‘priority’ cases.
The short answer is YES. Of course, you can ask to see a particular vet. We understand that with our different characters and communication styles we get on with some people better than others. We both have the same motives, a happy and healthy pet. So if we can accommodate the request then we will. But please don’t be too disappointed if we can’t make it happen. And especially don’t delay treatment just because you can’t see the vet you like. The other team members will be more than happy to help.