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News - Rubrieke
Thursday, 07 December 2017 08:10
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Dr Liesel van der Merwe is a small animal medicine specialist. Send her your questions: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

Dr Liesel van der Merwe

I saw an excellent summary of how to behave at the veterinarian called ‘Vetiquette 101' on a website called I have taken some points out and adapted them in this part one of two parts.

Do I need to make an appointment? Yes. Even if it is urgent phone the vet and warn him that you are coming so that he can get things ready. Unlike your GP, your vet works out of a hospital, not a consulting room. In the background there are cases which need anaesthesia, X-rays and surgery.

Most vets have initial morning consulting hours and then operate and perform procedures mid-morning and consult again in the afternoons. Try to make non-urgent appointments for off-peak times. Week days after 4 pm and Saturday mornings are generally the busiest times.

Understand that your vet cannot always be on time. Emergencies always take preference.

Can I bring more than one animal to one appointment? Speak to your vet before you bring along more than one pet, so that he can allocate enough time for the consultation. You will be charged per consultation per pet.  

Who can come with? Just you and your pet will be perfectly fine. Both main caregivers are preferred if there is a complicated diagnosis or treatment to explain. Sometimes you might need someone's help, which is fine, but children and friends just clutter up the already busy reception. If your children have to come with it is vital that they are under control. Overactive children excite the other waiting pets and there is always a risk of your child getting bitten.

Can someone please help me get my pet out the car? Vet staff is always willing to help any pet owner during a difficult situation. However, animals can become very territorial in the vehicle and it is not fair to expect staff to risk being bitten if you have not attempted to do the basics, such as a lead and collar, and if necessary a muzzle.

I am losing patience with clients who have large uncontrolled, aggressive dogs, and those who are not lead trained. The amount of physical effort and staff manpower required to carry these dogs everywhere they need to go, in my opinion, should require an extra surcharge on any boarding or hospitalisation costs.

If this drama in the car park is a regular occurrence you can speak to your vet and organise anxiolytic or sedatives to use before you load up your dog. This reduces stress and may allow the animal to become more manageable instead of making each visit more stressful and unpleasant due to bad memories.

During emergencies pet owners are often not equipped with leashes or pet carriers – we understand this. You are welcome to rush in, call out to reception and we will all rush out to help with trolleys or stretchers.

Waiting area: This is where it can get very crowded, emotions are high and the wait could be long. Please report your pet to reception and say if it is an emergency. The vets will be notified and you will be taken care of as soon as they can. Be insistent if you are worried. If very busy, the receptionist may forget to check with the vet or the vet may be knee deep in another emergency and forget. No vet wants a patient to die in the waiting room while waiting in the queue.

Please have all cats in carriers. I am constantly amazed at how many people walk into a veterinary clinic just carrying their cat. What if a large dog lunges at the cat? You cannot assume the other clients’ pets (or children) will be under control.

It is not easy to catch a cat. Your cat is also calmer and less stressed if in a confined dark space. Cover the carrier with a towel if your cat is stressed.

Unless you have a slip collar, make sure your dog’s collar is not too loose. They can slip out of their collars when anxious or boisterous and cause chaos in the waiting room. Do not allow your dog to go up to other dogs to sniff without first checking with the other owner if this is okay.

Have a happy and safe Christmas. Make sure you check with your vet for advice on firecracker safety.


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