Making Suggestions At Vets...

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Critter

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Several times over the last couple of months I've been pondering what-ifs with regards vet visits, and a recent thread has got me thinking again...
How should we handle it if we don't agree with our vets?
For example if we learn on here that a certain med works really well in comparison to another, but they prescribe the lesser of the two, or if we read the signs and symptoms of an illness but the vet is dismissive.
I guess the simple answer is to change vet, but it's not always that easy.
I would hate to argue with a vet's diagnosis or prescription - afterall they really do know so much more than I about animal health issues, and I would hate to sound like I was trying to say "I know best", but how would you suggest to your vet that you would like to try this or that, without sounding like a know-it-all?
And I do appreciate too that just because we have read of similar symptoms on a forum it doesn't mean it automatically applies to your own pig, so perhaps what the vets says really is right in your pig's case, and I know you should show a level of trust in what your vet says - and yet many of us have gone away wondering if the treatment given is not quite appropriate, and wished they (the vet) had done something else.

I was pondering this too when I took Snowball to the vet, but as it turned out I happened to be happy with what the vet did and confident in her abilities, so I didn't feel in that position of mistrust, but it's something I think about, as it seems to happen a lot with vets!

How do you make a suggestion to a highly trained professional without it sounding like you don't respect his/her advice?

This may look like a contrived thread but I promise you it's general and aimed at everyone and no-one :)
The amount of times I've read of advise to ask the vet for this or that, and it's great advice, but what if the vet doesn't agree? It's an awkward one I think.
 

Kerrie74

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I don't know to be honest, I think I'd feel awkward as I find it hard to speak to people anyway. What I tend to do in regards to vets is write it in a note for them and they will either write on the note for me or explain to my son. So I've just written what Wiebke has said about Jericho having a possible UTI and then wrote down the meds she's suggested, both the metacam and Septrin (I hope I got that right lol), I explained that it apparently works better with UTI's, so I'm hoping that the vet goes along with it! Otherwise I think my son will be questioning the vet.
 

DoragonHinansho

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Well; when we had that battle with Cookie trying to keep her alive...I did want to question the vet about the surgery and what was best for her. Thinking back on it now...it would have been kinder to put her to sleep before she lost all the weight and putting her in for surgery.

I do find it hard to even make appointments because of the anxiety disorder and social anxiety disorders: much more so when questioning someone. But when I was with Cookie....I wasn't really worried about it. I just wanted to know that we were doing all we could for her and I just wanted to make sure the method of treatment we tried with her was the best way; and I was mostly concerned with her welfare...I mean, it didn't matter in the end because we lost her; but I wanted to make sure that what we did was everything we could do without causing her to suffer...you know?
 

Chief Guinea Pig

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I feel awkward to when suggesting things towards a vet. I had to do this when we were looking at a guinea pig boarding, I had to out it in a polite way.

Maybe you could say 'this and this was suggested on a guinea pig forum, and I agree that this problem/medicine is right for my pig, what do you think about this?'
 

biscandmatt

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i think i'd approach it like .. 'i've heard that such and such is good, is that true' ... so it's like asking for their advice and makes it sound like you are interested in learning as much as you can. even say you like to learn and you read alot online and wondered which info was correct etc.

i think most good vets like if you take an interest and i find they are more than happy to answer questions. my vet gives me alot of explanation and info because he knows i worry and get anxious, so you could even approach it that way... say you worry about things and could they explain in detail for you.

i'm another who writes everything down and hands it over to the vet because i get really nervous talking to people. then he can read it through, i know i haven't missed anything out, and he can then ask me anything else he wants to know :)
 

Wiebke

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I always pose any suggestions as questions, but I have managed to build up a basis of trust with my local (general) vets over the years. They have got online access to a small animals specialist and have become more open to suggestions since then.

They now know that I won't suggest anything silly, but that on the other hand I will also respect their knowledge and listen if they explain to me why they prefer another method. If we disagree, I usually do it their way first and then, if it is not coming right, we are doing it my way. They have learned a thing or two from me that way. If it is a matter of life and death or an emergency, I propose to sign a form that I am taking all responsibility for any non-standard treatment that I am specifically requesting - it is usually something that I know has worked for other piggies on the forum.

I take any guinea pigs that need to see a specialist to a non-local specialist if that is possible, especially for any operations on older or frail piggies - bascially all the tricky cases that my local vet admittedly is not keen to see on his own examination table, so he doesn't feel slighted.

However, building up a working platform of mutual respect takes time.
 

Flutterby

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Both the cavy vets at my practice are very approachable and are open to discussing treatment options, which is very good! I understand the awkwardness and agree that building up a good relationship with your vet is essential :)
 

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That makes sense, all of it from everyone.
I like my old vet - my first vet - I really do, but I don't think he was great when it came to diagnosing piggy ailments.
Also when Shadow was stuck in a loop of Baytril with her UTI after many months and many rounds of this I went to a different vet, thinking that perhaps a different vet would try something - well - different. She had Shadow's medical notes but she just prescribed more Baytril. I didn't know any different and assumed that because two vets had done the same thing, perhaps it really way the right way to go.

I've read so much since, and I know there's other options... so when Snowball became ill I had running conversations with myself on the ay to the third vet (one of the forum recommended), thinking that I need to ask about this, and have they considered she may have that, and if it's her heart she may need diuretics, but couldn't figure a way of phrasing it without sounding insulting in some way.
As it turned out she seemed very much savvy and in the know, and as I say I was very happy with her examinations, her explanations and her treatment plan. But it's good to know a few of your tips, just in case I'm ever having doubts... :) The first two vets, although good in their own way, have made me lose confidence if that makes sense?
 

Flutterby

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I think the thing is, if you don't know yourself, then how are you supposed to know if the vet is right or not? We trust a vet to know their stuff, but many only know the basics of vet school and what they have been taught. Unless they have a special and invested interest in a certain type of animal then they go by the books of basic care i.e if it's a small animal, prescribe baytril etc.
 

helen105281

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My regular vets are great too and are open to anything I suggest, though it is mainly the 2 owners of the practice, the younger newer vets don't know me as well. They have also rung me up occasionally to ask what I think about something.
 

Sar

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I've been thinking of this over the last couple of days.

I always feel awkward suggesting or querying things to people who are more qualified than me in a subject, doctors, nurses and now the vets. I just assume that they know what's best & I know little compared to them (in terms of the vets I've been a pig mummy for only 29 weeks).

Think I will start writing down any suggestions I have and asking them as questions. I may also start making notes while in with the vet, so I can clarify / ask more questions whilst there. Then I guess if I have to see a different vet, I can take the notes with me and have it as a reminder of what the vet said and aslo use them myself to research.
 

funnehmare

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I used to feel funny questioning advice but I have since built a good relationship with my vet and she is very open and receptive to anything I ask. Mutual exchange of knowledge and experience can never be a bad thing! :) I think it's mostly the way you go about it really, initially I would pose everything as a question, asking more explanation. Now I just say if I don't agree but as I said I have a very good working relationship with my vet.
 
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