Useful Tips

Going to the veterinarian: debunking myths


Going to the veterinarian is associated with anxiety and anxiety not only for you, but also for your dog. How to make a visit to the clinic without stress and leave you and your pet unpleasant memories?

Take care of the calm road

Serious problems can arise already on the way to the clinic. To travel to the veterinarian’s office without excesses:

  • Be sure to walk the dog before hiking.
  • Do not feed your pet before visiting a doctor.
  • If the veterinary clinic is within walking distance, walk the intended path in advance - it is best to take a few walks so that the route to the clinic becomes familiar to your pet.
  • For miniature dogs, use a carrier - this will provide comfort during the trip, as well as protect the pet from large animals, both on the street and in the clinic itself.
  • Put a collar, a short leash and a muzzle on your pet - in most large veterinary institutions, it must be on the dog that you brought to the reception.

To minimize your stay in the clinic, make an appointment in advance. This is especially true when your pet needs a comprehensive veterinary diagnosis: the doctor will need to calculate the time of admission in advance in order to complete all the necessary manipulations. In addition, thanks to the appointment, you yourself will save a lot of time, and your pet will not have time to tire of waiting.

In the doctor’s office

Directly to the examination by a veterinarian, you also need to be well prepared. With you you need to have:

  • Veterinary passport (certificate) - always take it for an appointment, even if your dog for some reason has not been routinely vaccinated.
  • Drugs that have already treated your pet - you can rewrite their names, but it is better to bring the medicine itself, or their packaging and instructions.
  • Medical papers - all prescriptions, certificates, recommendations and test results, opinions of veterinarians and so on written out during previous examinations.
  • Video recordings - if your dog has had seizures or inappropriate behavior, take them to the camera - after watching the video, the doctor will more accurately determine what happened to your pet.

If your pet still shows fear and anxiety in the clinic, in no case do not scold him or punish him so as not to aggravate these fears. Try to calm him down and be sure to be near during the reception at the veterinarian - when your pet sees that he has behind him a reliable rear in the form of a master, he will be more comfortable with what is happening. After completing the examination, give the dog a treat or give her a light massage so that in the future a visit to the doctor is associated only with positive emotions.

- Human doctors have specializations, and we know when to go to the urologist, and when to the laura. And with a pet always go to the same doctor - therapist? On the forums you can often meet the questions “advise a nephrologist for a cat”, “advise a cardiologist for a dog”.

- As they say, "God forbid you live in an era of change" © Confucius. However, it is precisely in this era of change regarding the specialization of veterinarians that we now live.

Most veterinarians working in the territory of the post-USSR do not have specialization. In their diplomas is the name of the profession "veterinarian."

Svetlana Ogneva, veterinarian. In 1999 she graduated from MGAVMiB, until 2010 she worked in various clinics in Moscow. The last place of Russian work is the Chance-Bio Clinic, Moscow. Currently lives and works in Varna, Bulgaria.

In this case, each veterinarian can, at his own discretion, take specialization courses (some of them give a lot of knowledge to the doctor, some, alas, not very clear classification of such courses is not possible in principle) or even specialize at a foreign veterinary university and receive a document on specialization, valid in the country of receipt or, for example, in the European Union.

But. in Russia, the “crust” received outside of it cannot be authenticated officially. That is, purely legally, each of us is still just a veterinarian who passed all disciplines during his education. And who, at his own discretion, can choose his own specialization and raise his level in it.

In this case, of course, there are many veterinarians who have become successful in their chosen specialization, and they are advised on the forum, for example, as a nephrologist for a cat.

But it is worthwhile to be aware that this nephrologist grew out of an ordinary veterinarian through self-education and working experience, and to focus in Russian conditions not on the “crust”, but on the recommendations of the patients cured by him.

To go to the doctor in case of a pet’s disease or for a routine check is not a therapist, but, more precisely, a general veterinarian.

In many countries, specialization in veterinary medicine has already fully taken place, where you can clearly go to an appointment, for example, to a veterinary nephrologist or veterinary endocrinologist. A copy of the specialization document will hang on the wall near the office.

- In what cases can I call a veterinarian at home, and when is it better to go to the clinic?

- In principle, the most important thing is not the place of care, but the quality, so the question is, rather, which doctor to go to and what doctor to call home.

Purely technically, almost everything can be done at home, except for tomography. You can turn part of the apartment into a “field” operating room, bring a cardiomonitor, X-ray and ultrasound into it, and operate. You can take almost all the tests and even part of them done on the spot.

In the clinic, on the contrary, not everything can be done if you don’t know in advance what equipment is in it and whether everything you need is in working condition — there are almost no clinics where exactly “everything” would be.

Therefore, the question is very general, each case is individual.

In my opinion, planned manipulations like vaccinations, chipping, examination of newborns and planned treatment of elderly patients are best done at home, because newborns and very elderly ones are difficult and harmful to transport to the clinic, and they are also more dangerous than infections.

It is better to go to the clinic with an acute condition and with a life threat, rather than wait at home, because the clinic definitely has a doctor, and it’s unknown how long the called specialist will go to you, plus the time that the owner and the pet would spend on calls and arrangements spend on the road.

For a long consultation of a chronically ill patient, when the owner has a lot of questions, and the tests are done and treatment is already underway, it makes sense to call a doctor home. There he will have much more time for inspection and answers to numerous questions.

There will also be time to teach the owner how to do some procedures. In the clinic, consultation for an hour or a half is rarely possible, because in the corridor a waiting line is waiting.

- Is it possible to somehow recognize an unscrupulous doctor on call? How to protect yourself and your pet from a charlatan?

- Unfortunately, it is impossible in any way if the specialist does not have recommendations that are significant for the patient’s host. The same applies to the doctor leading the clinic. If we are about the situation in Russia. Unfortunately, neither a cash register or receipt, nor a copy of a diploma, nor politeness or something like that give any guarantees.

You can “punch” a specific doctor on the Internet, but there is a specific point. For any doctor who has been working in the profession for more than a year and has been working actively, there are both positive and negative reviews. This is normal. Rather, it should be alerted if all the reviews are the same and positive. Or if the Internet does not know that name at all.

The most important rule is this. It is not the clinic that treats, the doctor treats. For economic and psychological reasons, many of us are changing jobs.

It often happens that good specialists start working in a new clinic or in a new call-up veterinary service, it is untwisted, and after that the team, for example, is divided, some of the doctors leave, yesterday's assistants take their place. This is not always bad, not at all! Just the same phone does not mean the same doctors.

- For beginners who have never been to a veterinarian, tell us how the correct appointment with a veterinarian should take place?

- A simple non-urgent appointment should begin with an examination of the animal, which occurs simultaneously with the survey of the owner. Sometimes at first the card is partially filled, most often in the computer, and after that there is an inspection, sometimes, in my opinion, more often - first the animal is put on the table and examined, starting from the head and ending with the tail, asking questions along the way, and the assistant fills the card.

For most small pets, the only option for examination is examination on the table, it is with such an examination that the doctor can qualitatively examine and feel the whole animal.

In case of aggression or fear, the dog should be muzzled and the cat owner and doctor's assistant can keep the cat (this is usually more difficult). A calm, non-fearing animal is examined without additional safety measures, but the doctor decides this moment, it’s okay if he asks to keep his new patient.

On the floor, sometimes you have to examine very large dogs in serious condition - there is simply no way to put them on the table.

After installation on the table, the veterinarian assesses the general condition of his patient - how he stands, how he holds his neck and head, is too stressed or relaxed.

Upon examination, starting from the head, the veterinarian assesses the condition of the eyes (pupils, sclera, are there any discharge), ears (in the absence of complaints about the ears, this is not an otoscopy at once, it is just an examination with the help of hands and eyes).

The owner, at the request of the doctor, opens his mouth to the patient so that he can examine the mucous membranes, tongue and teeth. If there are no complaints about the mouth and teeth, and everything looks good there, the doctor will not necessarily use any tools to examine the oral cavity.

When completing an examination of the head area, the veterinarian must probe the mandibular lymph nodes.

Further, the doctor, as it were, strokes his patient, proceeding to the examination and palpation. The direction remains the same - from head to tail, and from top to bottom. When examining the chest, there may be auscultation (listening) of the heart and lungs. A quick inspection may not include this if there are no specific complaints. The axillary region is also palpable - normally there is nothing there, but with some diseases axillary lymph nodes can be palpated.

Upon examination and palpation (palpation) of the abdominal cavity, the veterinarian acts with two hands, carefully washing his patient's stomach. This part ends with palpation of the lymph nodes in the groin.

In females, a study of the abdomen ends with palpation of the mammary glands for lumps. This is a very important part of the examination, even quick.

At about this stage of the examination, the temperature can be measured; a thermometer pre-smeared with petroleum jelly is introduced into the rectum.

At about the same stage, the condition of the paraanal glands located on the sides of the anus is usually checked.

Sometimes thermometry is performed immediately, at the very beginning - if an infection or inflammatory process is suspected. But if there is no such suspicion, it is better to let the animal get used to the examination, and not start with an unpleasant procedure.

At the end of the inspection, the limbs are ironed and inspected. Symmetrical limbs usually slip with two hands from top to bottom. Then the paw pads and claws are examined.

Last of all, run a hand along the tail, if the situation and the animal allow this.

After examination from the animal, on the same or on another table, take tests and / or do the procedure.

The entire examination, as a rule, the doctor talks, voicing what he does and what he finds, can ask the owner questions. Only at the moments of listening the veterinarian needs silence.

After examination, analyzes (if they were needed) and procedures, the animal is removed from the table, the owner sits down with his pet in his arms or on a leash closer to the doctor’s table. The veterinarian writes or prints appointments, can ask new questions and voice what he writes. It would be nice to have time to read the prescription sheet before leaving the clinic, so as not to get confused in the medicines at home.

At the end of the appointment, it is worth asking when it will be needed and in this case a second appointment. This is often written at the bottom of the assignment sheet, but it does not hurt to clarify the point once again.

If the doctor is more or less suitable for the patient’s owner, at the end of the appointment it makes sense to take his phone or email for direct communication. Most doctors give their coordinates.

It should be borne in mind that if you came to the clinic with bleeding from the paw, then the team of veterinarians will most likely deal with the treatment of the wounded paw right away and are unlikely to measure the temperature of the pet. General examination will be very short, the main focus will be on injury. Equating such an appeal to medical examination and therapeutic reception is not worth it.

- What upsets you the most and, on the contrary, makes you happy in your profession?

- The most difficult moments are euthanasia of critically ill patients. In vain they think that the veterinarian gets used to it, nobody can get used to it. Meanwhile, after euthanasia and a conversation with the owner, you should continue taking it, and it’s good if you have at least two or three minutes to switch from one situation to another.

And the most joyful moments, except in time and precisely made curable diagnoses, are, of course, childbirth and cesarean. The case when one animal is brought to the clinic, and a whole nest is taken. For the sake of the moments of the beginning of a new life, you can forgive everything for your profession, and you get the strength to continue to work.