16 Nov Why it’s ok to see multiple vets at the same clinic
It’s a new world and the veterinary clinic has responded
With the changing world, the family veterinary clinic has also changed, almost in every way for the better
At Southern Cross, we think it’s important, however, for your pet’s doctor to be familiar with their history and past conditions, it just makes good medical sense, and also saves you having to repeat yourself when asked about what their diet is, or medical history is for example. While we’re all creatures of habit and ideally we would like to develop a great relationship with and see only one vet for the future, we really encourage our SCV family members to have a relationship with 2-3 vets at our clinic. There are a few really sensible reasons for this.
Long opening hours
Dual incomes have become the norm in most Australian families, working hours are longer and so most veterinary clinics have responded with agility and have adjusted opening hours. Some of the ways include:
· 7 days a week is common so families can access care on the weekends
· Open all public holidays is also common
· Longer evening hours to accommodate people who work until 5pm or later and need a vet at, say, 7pm
· Open all day – yes some vets used to be closed for the middle of the day for ‘surgery’ or a long lunch break.
This translates to an 80 hour work week which means that it’s virtually impossible to guarantee to see the same vet each time… our vets are humans too and it’s impossible to work 80 hours a week!
Sharing is caring – and we love sharing expertise to offer truly ‘personalised medicine’
Apart from being able to see your preferred doctor at a convenient time for you, it makes for better medicine too. We all have different conditions and areas that we’re interested in and we love sharing expertise and internally discussing pretty much every case as a team.
Even with the difficulties of COVID-19, this commitment to our families is unchanged, we have virtual rounds to discuss tricky cases and we always pick up something from each other. This learning from each other means that we sometimes come up with lifesaving or life-extending solution that otherwise we might have not considered. For example, Dr Jordan is our rabbit guru, while Dr Stephen loves complicated internal medical issues and Dr Viktoria is our surgery nerd. So when surgery is required to treat a complicated medical issue on a rabbit, these three guys work together and the results can be miraculous.
This collegiate approach is also made possible thanks to our patient management software being cloud-based meaning we can look up our patients from wherever we are in the world and don’t need to rely on physically being there to give advice to each other. When one vet makes notes about your best friend, its synchronised instantly, meaning if your second vet sees your pet a few weeks later, they can refer right away to the notes left by the previous vet. We also mark each case with a ‘vet in charge’ so there’s always one main doctor overseeing the case – think of them as the captain of a plane.
Having individual vets with areas of skill that cover the broad range of areas of veterinary medicine, means that sometimes one of our vets will say ‘hey, I think Dr X should take over this case, as he does a lot more of that particular surgery than I do, but don’t worry, I’ll still be contacting you and available to chat about it any time’.
So when you’re having a visit with your preferred vet, you’re indirectly getting our collective experience.
It’s vitally important to get on with your vet and be able to like their personality and bedside manner as we think trust is crucial to having a good vet-family relationship. There will be times when you’re stressed, your pet may be very sick, and the options on ‘what to do next’ might be confronting and very scary. Having trust in your chosen vet makes navigating a complicated and anxious time, but more reassuring.
Take home message
Having an established relationship with 2-3 vets at the clinic means you can get the best care for your pet while not having to awkwardly start a new connection with someone you’ve just met. We each love introducing ourselves to new families, so set up a ‘happy visit’ online and get to know all our vets.