Can We Meet Your Needs?
Are We Compatible?
Much has been written about selecting a veterinarian and veterinary facility. Twenty plus years ago, I believed a pet owner should choose a single clinic and always see the veterinarian there. Over the years, a number of factors have led me to change that position:
- Private Practice Specialists: One major development in veterinary medicine has been the expansion of private practice specialist services outside the veterinary schools. With the explosion of knowledge and technology applied to pets, no veterinarian can hope to be knowledgeble and skilled in all kinds of pets, their diseases and surgical techniques.
- Cost of Equipment: Also, the cost of equipment and the skilled application of its technology make it necessary for veterinarians to select the services offered in-house.
- Economy: Still another development is the economic reality of veterinary fees increasing to keep pace with pet owner demand for more sophisticated diagnostic services and medical-surgical care. Added to these is the financial state of many families that force difficult choices, with pet care often getting last priority.
First-Opinion Provider/Medical Home
Most of us are familiar with the sometimes fragmented human medical care system, where each body part seems to have its own specialist and integration of whole patient care may seem lacking. I don’t think most veterinarians welcome that sort of system. However, there is the concept of “first-opinion-provider” or “medical home.” The role of this doctor is to:
- Assemble the complete patient medical picture
- Lay the groundwork for health by addressing preventive care
- Provide initial investigation of medical and surgical needs
- Discuss diagnostic and treatment options
- Make a plan for next steps;
Sometimes those next steps will be taken by the same doctor. Other times, referral to another local doctor, a regional specialist or teaching hospital may be the best choice.
The role of first-opinion-provider is where I see myself and East Albany Animal Clinic.
Annual Health Review
Let’s start with your pet’s annual check up, which I like to call the Annual Health Review. Here it is important for me to know what past illness, injury and preventive care your pet has received. If your pet is not already a patient at East Albany Animal Clinic, medical records from other clinics are critical for me to form recommendations for your pet…
Pet Medical Records
The old questions “How much are yearly shots?” and “What does my pet need?” cannot be answered without the pet’s history and physical exam. Then the needed services can be listed and prioritized into a plan.
Some pet owners keep good records including invoices, copies of vaccination records and medical tests. This is a great idea especially if you have used more than one clinic. It is also valuable to make notes of any changes or concerns including diet/appetite, activity level and urine/bowel habits. Knowing what medications your pet takes is very important.
Become a Pet Partner
In the end, your pet will be best served by becoming a partner with a veterinarian you trust to understand you and your pet and who communicates with you in a way that allows customized care for your special situation.