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Advocating for your Pet

Advocating is when you speak on behalf of someone else. You are saying for them what they can not say for themselves. Since you know your pet better than anyone else, you are responsible for expressing what you feel is in your pet's best interests. 
Below are some tips that may helping you to communicate with your veterinarian better, or find a new vet altogether.

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Be upfront.

Let your veterinarian know what your expectations are and what sort of help or service can expected from them. Make sure that they fully understand your do's and don'ts in order that they can respect your wishes.  Establishing a set of rules upfront can help prevent misunderstandings in the future.

Know your pet.

Do you have a pedigreed cat or dog?  If so, be sure to research the breed to find out if it is genetically predisposed to any particular illnesses or physical defects down the line.  Acquire a good, comprehensive book on how to care for your cat, dog, or other pet, and intimately familiarize yourself with it.  Learn what is normally expected, physiologically and behaviorally, for your type or breed of pet, and what isn't.

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Be specific.

Sometimes it can be difficult for veterinarians to make diagnoses because they're unable to ask the patient directly where it hurts, as cats have yet to evolve to speak English.  It is in your pet's best interest to explain your pet's symptoms as specific as you can, any seemingly minor detail could help your vet diagnose your cat's condition.

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Keep records.

You should always keep a copy of your pet's medical records, especially as you change veterinarians. By law, a veterinarian must provide you with copies of your pet's medical records upon request. Keep a journal of your pet's behaviors and dates of when specific reactions occur. Jot down any questions you may think of so that you will be prepared to consult your veterinarian during your next visit. Vet offices will usually send you the records in pdf format, which you can save on your preferred cloud storage, so it's readily accessible & shareable when you need it.

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Ask questions.

Sometimes, a veterinarian is so knowledgeable in their field that they can forget that some pet owners need more clarification. If you're unsure of anything, always ask. There are no stupid questions. If a veterinarian's response is still too technical, consider bringing a friend along who can help you to further clarify any concerns you may have.

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Get a second opinion.

Go at your own pace, don't let anyone rush you into a decision you aren't ready to make. If you don't have full confidence in your vet's decision or explanation, get a second opinion if time permits. If it doesn't you may want to do additional research until you are comfortable with your decision.

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Just remember that it's okay to seek out a second opinion from another veterinarian. You do not owe your current veterinarian any kind of explanation. If something doesn't feel right, look for a veterinarian that works better for you. You want to ensure that you do the right thing for you but mostly your pet's well-being. 

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