Vet hopping / shopping

The locomoting vet (aka me!) is on the move again. Back in Perth this time, locuming for the clinic I worked for prior to the move back to Singapore.

What seems to be consistent across countries is that of vet or clinic hopping. Clients move from clinic to clinic whenever it suits their schedule. There is of course the exception of an emergency, where an animal requires immediate medical attention.

I would approximate an average of 30-50% of clients that we see (both in Singapore and Australia), that do not patronise a regular clinic. Perhaps it does not matter much to these clients which vet they see as all they want is to address the issue at hand.

However this is not done without consequences. The new clinic that they see do not have in possession the medical history of the patient in front of them. And the truth is that majority of clients… really do not know much detail of their pet’s medical conditions or the medications they are on (with the exception of a small proportion of owners who are super on the ball with this).

This leads to a waste of financial resources on the clients end- having to repeat blood tests, radiographs, consultation fees, diagnostic fees and also less efficient medical care provided by the veterinarian. Vets have to at times.. infer/ guess what exactly the client is trying to refer to, or assume that the animal’s organ function is within normal limits as client’s are unwilling to repeat tests (as they do not possess the results of previous tests performed).
All in all, a less than ideal consultation/ service rendered to the patient.
This is of course different if clients are seeking a second opinion (as they often do the possess medical records from their previous clinic).

Don’t get me wrong, this post is not to say that clients should not have free choice in changing clinics. As ultimately, the most important thing is that the animal problems are attended to.
An unhappy client SHOULD of course seek another practitioner should they feel that their pet’s condition is not adequately treated by their local veterinarian.

I wrote this piece really, to alert owners on the usefulness of having possession of their pet’s history as this WILL allow their new veterinarian to better provide medical advice. This is especially so if their pet has a chronic or ongoing condition that requires continued care/ work-up.
And .. also, be fair to your new vets. They/ we do not possess a crystal ball that allows us to know exactly what was done, diagnosed, given to your animal previously.



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