How to talk to your vet about tough subjects, part one of two

In the first part of this article we’ll talk about what to look for in a veterinarian, and your own personal MD. We need doctors who listen, who take notes, who do not condescend to you, who do not roll eyes or huff and puff, and who truly care.

In part two we’ll give you actual scripted dialogue to help you articulate your thoughts, ideas, and concerns, and to bring up possibly touchy subjects.

This is particularly helpful when you want the doctor to explore alternative or uncommon methods to treat your cats or yourself, particularly if it’s something you discovered online. Doctors often cringe when we say “I read about blah-blah-blah online.”

We’ll help you approach your doctors with intelligence and a firm hand, while remaining respectful. It’s a tricky juggling act, but it can be done with great results for everyone including a doctor who could learn a new trick, from you!

Check List So You Can Evaluate Any Vet or Doctor:

  • Is this person a really good listener, who makes eye contact with you, seems present, not bored or annoyed? Let’s you speak and say what you want to say without interruption. Does this person save questions for when you are finished?
  • Ask the doctor if they stay current on professional bulletins, newsletters. Does the doctor go to conferences? If so, which ones, and how often?
  • Ask the doctor what advanced training they have taken, or what interesting fields they have studied beyond their university training. Ask if the doctor has considered modalities that are not taught in colleges.
  • Does the doctor confer with colleagues via Skype or email for tough cases?
  • Does this doctor seem rushed for time and make you feel there isn’t ample time for you to speak? Have your concerns been addressed and questions answered?
  • Did the doctor take notes, either handwritten in your file or typed into the computer?
  • Is their equipment state-of-the-art and replaced every few years? (This is important, we know of a vet clinic which used a very old X-ray machine that had belonged to a podiatrist who retired.)
  • Will they let you see “behind the scenes” for a glimpse at treatment, surgery and kennel areas. Be on the lookout for icky smells and cleanliness. Are these areas tidy and quiet?
  • Does this doctor volunteer time helping those in need? We know one veterinarian who plans vacations around going to exotic places performing surgeries on orangutans and big cats.
  • You may not be a stand-up comic, but if you said something funny or light hearted did this person show some degree of a sense of humor?
  • Are the nurses and front desk staff friendly, intelligent sounding, compassionate. Do they also listen to you without giving you’re The Bum’s Rush?
  • Does this doctor have a cell phone or email for after hours emergencies? That’s not mandatory, and of course the doctor needs personal down-time, but it sure is nice to be able to reach someone.

Part Two will be actual dialogue or a script that you can use when bringing up something touchy or something which might make the doctor feel challenged or threatened. In particular if you want to discuss alternative treatments and therapies, ideas which might be new to the doctor. Or worse, that the doctor thinks is weird. Diplomacy works wonders and it’s helpful to have a guide so you can find the words when you might feel intimidated.

We often get emails from people who say: “My vet is really great. I wish I could find an MD as wonderful of my vet!” Cat Faeries is always here to help your cat AND you. Your cat faerie recently stuck gold here when she found her new MD from this list. You can search by state for doctors who are hip to diet + health which is hard to find: http://lowcarbdoctors.blogspot.com

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