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Video:Veterinarian Second Opinion

with Franny Syufy

Veterinarians provide necessary service for your pets' continued health However, you may at times feel the need for a veterinarian's second opinion.See Transcript

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Transcript:Veterinarian Second Opinion

Working as a partner with your veterinarian is the best way to ensure continued good health of your cats. However, you may at times feel the need for a second opinion. Here are some questions you should answer before seeking a second opinion:

The Veterinarian Should Be Fully Capable of Providing Care

  • Does my vet exhibit a thorough knowledge of my cat's disease? Not every vet will be expert in every feline disease. However, most vets will consult with an expert when indicated.
  • Is the vet capable of performing more than basic medical procedures in office or does the vet refer you to a hospital for everything besides vaccination? A veterinary clinic should be able to draw blood, do preliminary tests, take blood pressure, test fecal smears, administer IV fluids; and perform routine surgeries, such as spay, neuter, and insertion of feeding tubes. Most clinics have x-ray machines and the ability to perform sonograms.

Veterinarians Should Provide a Comfortable Bedside Manner

  • Is your vet quick to return phone calls or see you on short notice? While good veterinarians are very busy, most of them will take the time to return phone calls at least on the same day.
  • Did my vet explain my cat's condition, describe alternate treatments, cost of treatment and expected prognosis? You need to know all the facts - the vet should explain the costs and reasons for lab reports and specialized tests.
  • Is my vet frank about chances for cure, the comfort quotient of your cat, or long-term survival? If the cat is suffering and prolonging care would do nothing to alleviate his pain, euthanasia might be the kindest option.
  • Did my vet reply to all my questions, or ignore them? If your vet brushes of your questions, it could be because he/she is very busy, or simply doesn't know the answer. You may need to insist on answers or ask for an appointment for a time when he or she can discuss your concerns.

Notice How Your Cat's Health Progresses Under the Vet's Care

  • Has my cat's condition deteriorated rapidly under my vet's care? Several feline diseases can cause rapid deterioration toward the end. If you are satisfied that your vet is doing the best under the circumstances, your next decision is one of euthanasia. Otherwise, you may want a second opinion.
A negative answer to one or two of these questions should not be a deal breaker. However, if you see a pattern developing which indicates your cat may not be receiving optimum care for his condition, and communications with your veterinarian seem to be breaking down, it may very well be time to seek a second opinion.

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