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Top Tips for Getting the Most Out of a Visit to the Vet

Friday February 5th 2016

A sad fact of owning any kind of animal is that at some point our beloved pets will get sick or have an accident and require TLC from a veterinary professional.

Whether it’s caused by a nasty bug or a run-in with another animal, visiting the vet can be a daunting experience for your pet – not to mention a stressful time for you.

And those unexpected healthcare bills can take their toll on your wallet too, especially without pet insurance which is there to help you cover the costs of medication and treatment.

Luckily there’s plenty you can do to make sure your trip to the vet goes as smoothly as possible, from giving your animal quick check-ups yourself to understanding any diagnosis you’re given…

Before you go

Do your homework and prepare for the appointment, so you can receive the advice you need. Try to build up the best picture possible of your animal’s problem, including information on symptoms, such as when they developed and when they got worse. If your pet’s been involved in an accident – perhaps they’ve swallowed something they shouldn’t have – try to identify the cause, as this could affect the final treatment.

• As every pet owner knows, travelling with an animal under any circumstances can be a challenge. But when your pet’s sick, it can be even worse. Try and improve this by making things as comfortable as possible. Put your animal’s favourite toy in the carrier and have some treats on hand to distract them if things get dicey.

• While experts usually advise going to the same vet where possible, there are times when you’ll want to try somewhere new. If it’s your first time visiting a new surgery, make sure you’ve got a clear picture of your pet’s medical history to help the vet fill in any blanks. That doesn’t mean carting around records of every single health problem they’ve ever had, but at least bring the contact information for your previous vet, just in case there’s anything the new one needs to discuss.

While you’re there

• Remember that the final responsibility for nursing your poorly pet lies with you. You may have to administer the medicine or apply creams and lotions. With that in mind, don’t be afraid to ask questions to make sure you understand all the important information. And don’t be afraid to take notes, either. There’s nothing worse than getting back home, only to discover you’ve forgotten something essential.

• When deciding on a treatment your vet may need to rely as much on your knowledge of your animal, as their own training and expertise. The best solution to your pet’s health problems will be one that fits in with their lifestyle and temperament. Think about factors like whether they prefer tablets or injections, and if you can get home to give them their medicine in several doses over the course of a day.

• Also bear in mind that there’s nothing wrong with asking for a second opinion if you think it’s necessary. In fact, it’s better to be open about this so the two vets can communicate with one another over your animal’s care. And for minor problems that may not require a prescription, seeing a veterinary nurse can sometimes be a better – and cheaper – option.

When you get home

• As the old saying goes, prevention is better than the cure, and in this case that means making only the best lifestyle choices for your pet. Giving your furry friend a diet of cheap grub and leaving them to pile on the pounds without encouraging them to exercise is unlikely to do their health any favours. Instead, ensure they lead an active life, and get all the different foods they need to stay on top form. These short-term decisions will all add up in the long run.

• While the vet’s surgery should always be your first port of call, there’s nothing wrong with carrying out simple health checks on your pet at home. Checking ears, eyes, mouth and skin will help you spot health problems before they get out of control. Plus, by getting to know what’s “normal” for your animal, you’ll have more information to hand if things go wrong.

This article was written on behalf of helpucover. helpucover is a trading style of Pinnacle Insurance plc, an insurance company who offers pet insurance.