|Photo via Austin Pet First Aid|
I'm talking about questions like "why does my dog need a heartworm test once a year?" or "why does my pet need an exam for vaccinations?" Every veterinary hospital is different, but many of the basic policies I'm talking about here are pretty fluent throughout the country.
Some people may not like or agree with some of the policies mentioned here which is fine. Other pet parents are totally cool with their veterinary hospital's policies. I am just explaining the reasoning behind them to help pet parents understand them a little better.
Why does my pet need an exam for vaccines?
Many people just want to come in, get some shots, and then be on their merry way. It's understandable. But, many veterinary hospitals require an examination before vaccinating a pet. In Texas, it is a law that a veterinarian must examine the pet before administering a rabies vaccination.
|Photo via Lindsey Turner|
Besides trying to be a law-abiding veterinarian, your pet's doctor just wants to make sure that your pet is healthy enough to receive vaccinations. Does your pet even need all of the vaccines you want? This is something you should discuss with your veterinarian before vaccinating. Talking with your veterinarian is part of the exam. If your vet finds that your pet has a more pressing health problem, they may opt to take care of that first before going on with vaccinations. Veterinarians don't typically like to vaccinate sick animals.
Why does my pet need an exam for euthanasia?
Some veterinary hospitals will charge an exam fee along with a euthanasia fee. Especially if the pet is a new patient that has never been seen at the hospital before. If the pet is an established patient and his health condition is well-known by his doctors, they may feel that an exam fee is not necessary.
The pet's life is at stake and no vet wants to put down a pet just because the owners don't want him anymore. It's horrible, but people do walk into hospitals asking for this more than you might think. They usually leave upset when they are told that their pet can't be put to sleep "just because". Exams for new patients before euthanasia are important to make sure that the right decision is being made for the pet.
Why does my pet need an exam for a prescription or refill?
For people who don't understand this policy, I ask you - would you call your doctor and ask for a refill of pain medication that you received 3 years ago for a hurt back? If you did, it's likely the doctor would not prescribe this medicine to you without seeing you again for the current problem.
|Photo via Tom Baugis|
Depending on your pet's situation and condition, they may need an exam more or less frequently. Where I worked, the maximum amount of time the doctor would go without seeing a patient for an exam and refill a prescription was one year. Again, this just depends on the pet's history, situation, and medical condition.
Why does my dog need a heartworm test once a year?
You can't buy heartworm prevention for your dog without a prescription. And in order to get a prescription, your dog needs to have a heartworm test performed first. As mentioned above, doctors like to see their patients on at least a yearly basis.
It's not likely that your own doctor would continue prescribing a medication for you for more than a year without some sort of re-evaluation. The same goes for our pets. There are repercussions to giving a dog with heartworms heartworm prevention. In short, it's not good for them. This is why they are tested once a year.
There are probably a number of other veterinary hospital rules and policies that I failed to include on this list, but these are some of the more common questions that pet parents ask. If you have a question I didn't answer here, please feel free to ask in the comments!