What to Expect From Your First Vet Visit

Choosing a Veterinarian for your pet can be a daunting task.

puppy vaccinesWhen selecting a veterinarian, you’re doing more than searching for a medical expert. You’re looking for someone to meet your needs and those of your pet, a doctor who has people as well as animal skills. We encourage pet owners to research different clinics in Saskatoon and read each Veterinarian’s bios as displayed on their clinic website.

Learn about each clinic’s operating hours and emergency services. Will you have to take time off work to get your pet into the vet or do they take appointments outside of the regular 9-5 work day?

One of the best ways to find a good veterinarian is to ask people who have the same approach to pet care as you. Start with a recommendation from a friend, neighbor, animal shelter worker, dog trainer, groomer, boarding kennel employee or pet sitter.

When you are looking for a veterinary clinic you should expect excellent service and superior care for your pet. We at Acadia Veterinary Clinic in Saskatoon have assembled an expert team of veterinary professionals to bring you the best possible healthcare for your pet. Our clinic has a state of the art veterinary facility which is clean, comfortable, and efficient. Our team members are passionate about animals and their well being.

The Exam
When you’ve chosen your Veterinarian and made your first appointment, it is a great idea to write a list of the questions you have about your pet’s health. Even those of us with the best of memories can forget important questions when it comes time for your pet’s appointment. If you are bringing your pet in with a specific concern, take some time to prepare a timeline of when the symptoms started and what the changes have been. Jot down any information that you think is relevant to this issue – have you tried any treatments or at-home remedies? Have there been any changes to your pet’s diet, environment, lifestyle? Take note of your pet’s elimination habits as well as their eating and drinking habits – has your pet been drinking more water than usual? Less water than usual? Have they been straining to urinate? Your Veterinarian will most likely ask these questions so it’s important to think about them ahead of time. The more information you can provide your Vet the easier it will be for them to get an idea of what’s affecting your pet. If your pet is coming in for a routine health check you can always ask your Vet any questions you have about their health and wellbeing.

Once a year you should take your pet in for a check-up. Why? A yearly checkup is the best way to keep your pet as healthy as possible. It is also much easier to prevent disease than to treat it. When problems that are caught at their earliest stage your pet has a greater chance for a full recovery. Diseases caught earlier on are typically easier and less costly to treat.

You notice every little thing your pet does – but did you know that dogs and cats have evolved to hide illness? Showing weakness makes an animal – and their pack – vulnerable, so our best friends do everything they can to keep a stiff upper lip. Your vet can find problems your pet hides – another reason why annual checkups are so important!
Remember: Pets age faster than we do, so missing even one yearly checkup can be like us not visiting a doctor for over five years!

Your pet’s physical exam will take anywhere from 15-45 minutes. At your pet’s exam, the veterinarian will check your pet from head to tail, answer any questions you may have about your pet’s health, vaccinate and prescribe medication if necessary.

IImages shared from: www.healthypetcheckup.org

What to Bring
Bring in any medical history you have of your pet when you come to our clinic for your pet’s appointment. It’s best to keep a journal of your pet’s health throughout his or her life, including changes in behavior. If you have any sort of health record for your pet, share it with our team. This can be vaccination certificates, prescription histories, health certificates, adoption papers, microchip registration documents and copies of your pet’s medical records from previous veterinary clinics. Give us any details you think will be important for your veterinarian to know about the health of your pet (past illnesses, allergies, past surgeries, injuries, vaccinations, etc). If you don’t have any documentation, that’s ok! Our veterinarians can still work with whatever information you can share with them.

To obtain your pet’s medical records from a previous veterinary clinic simply contact the clinic with written consent (email, fax or letter dropped off in person) requesting your pet’s records to be released to Acadia Veterinary Clinic. 

All patients must be brought into the clinic on a secure leash or in a carrier. When you enter our clinic’s waiting space there may be other clients and patients waiting for their appointment with the veterinarian. Please be respectful and keep your pet close to you at all times. Do not let your pet mingle with other patients unless you have spoken with their owner first. We say this in concern for the health and safety of all our patients. Many patients in the waiting room will be painful or injured and may not be interested in meeting another animal in their current state. Likewise, if your pet is injured or ill, s/he may not take too kindly to other animals approaching and sniffing him/her.

If you have a multi-pet household with pets who are closely bonded, bringing a friend or two along can be comforting. You are welcome to bring other pets along for your pet’s appointment as long you have notified our receptionist so that we can prepare the appropriate size exam room for you and your pets.

vet officeBringing along your pet’s favorite blanket or another bedding item that smells like home can be very reassuring for your pet. We do not, however, recommend bringing toys to the clinic for the same reason we discourage owners to bring their pet’s toys to the dog park. Animals are less likely to want to share their toys with strangers in a new environment. Your pet may also want to protect their toy which may cause them unnecessary stress. The only time we recommend bringing along your pet’s toys is if they will be spending the day with us for surgery. (To read more about surgery preparation click here)

While our exam rooms are stocked with treats for your pets, you are welcome to bring along some of their favorites from home to make them feel more comfortable during their visit.

Stool & Urine Samples
If your pet is a senior (7 years or older) we recommend bringing along a urine sample. A urine analysis can tell your veterinarian a lot about the health of your pet. (Read more about urinalysis here) Urine can tell your veterinarian if your pet is developing a kidney or bladder infection, cancer or kidney disease, and treat it before the condition worsens. The presence of large quantities of crystals in the urine can be indicative of bladder stones which may require surgery or a change of diet. Thanks to our in-house laboratory, your pet’s urinalysis results will be back within 15-30 minutes.

Urine samples must be collected in a clean, secure container and must not be left at room temperature for any longer than 10 minutes. Keep your pet’s urine sample in the fridge until you are able it bring it in to us. Samples that are not kept refrigerated and samples older than 3 hours will spoil resulting in false-positive presence of bacteria as well as other skewed results.

When collecting urine samples for feline patients we can send you with a product called NoSorb, a non-absorbent litter, along with a clean syringe to collect the urine. If you are having any difficulties obtaining a urine sample from your pet please give us a call. If you cannot collect your pet’s urine sample within 3 hours of their appointment you are welcome to drop off the sample at an earlier date.

If your pet is coming to see the veterinarian for abnormal bowel movements, bringing along a fresh stool sample for the vet to examine can be helpful. As with urine, fecal samples must be collected in a clean container or bag to avoid cross contamination and must be refrigerated for up to 3 hours to prevent spoilage.

Referrals
In some circumstances, our veterinarians will refer you to a specialist who has advanced expertise and training in areas such as oncology or ophthalmology. When we refer you to another veterinarian we are not turning you away, but rather connecting you with a professional who can give your pet the specialized care required to diagnose, manage or treat a condition that is beyond general veterinary practice.

Questions?
Contact us by phone, email or come visit us today! If you would like to schedule an appointment, please call us at 306-477-1222, send us an email (acadiavetclinic@sasktel.net), drop by in person or request an appointment through our website and we will find a time that is convenient for you.

 

The Canadian Veterinary Medical Association has arranged a list of things to keep in mind and steps for preparing both yourself and your pet for a trip to the vet. This document can be viewed by clicking here.

http://www.humanesociety.org/animals/resources/tips/choosing_a_veterinarian.html