We wanted to highlight several questions you should always feel free to ask your veterinarian — and might inspire other inquiries. So, please ask away! We’re here to help maximize the health, happiness, comfort and longevity of your pet.

1. Why is my pet being taken to the back room?
During an office visit, it is not uncommon for pets to exit the examination room and be taken “to the back.” But why does this happen?

The short answer is for your pet’s safety. The long answer is that we have a team of professional veterinary technicians who are specifically trained to calm and reassure your pet during routine procedures — such as providing injections, obtaining fecal samples, taking x-rays or trimming nails. While many pet owners believe they can best calm their pet, their presence often makes their pets more sensitive or nervous as their reactions to procedures are directly “channeled” to the pet. Furthermore, few pet owners have been taught the most current techniques to minimize stress and injury which often involves quickly embracing and conducting the necessary procedures.

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Rest assured that when your pet is out of your sight, it’s for their best interest. They will return to the examination room experiencing less stress and they will be glad to see you!

2. What procedure will be performed?
When you bring your pet to Kirkwood Animal Hospital, we always encourage you to ask questions. No question is too inconsequential and there is no limit to the number of questions you can ask. After all, our collective concern is your pet’s health.

When a treatment or procedure is recommended, you might want to consider asking the following questions:

  • Can you describe the treatment or procedure? This enables you to understand exactly what will be performed — and how. Knowing the approach can provide a sense of comfort and allow you to raise any additional or latent concerns.
  • How long is the treatment or procedure? Knowing the duration will help understand when you can call to check up on your pet, or when you might expect to see improvement.
  • Is anesthesia involved? Just like with humans, the use of anesthesia should be minimized and only used to ensure pet comfort and the safe conduct of a procedure.
  • How long is the recovery? This will enable you to understand the timing of any activity restrictions and what special actions may be required from you.

A dialog and free flow of information will help make for the best possible outcome for your pet. If you’re unsure about anything (ever), please ask.

3. What are the risks?
Every treatment and non-treatment has risks, and we use our professional training and experience to evaluate all courses of action. As we are trained to conduct these analyses in real-time as we examine your pet, we encourage you to ask questions. Consider the following example table:

Activity Non-Treatment Treatment
Vaccinations Pet becomes afflicted with an ailment that may result in a serious health condition. Pet has an adverse reaction to the vaccination.
Nail Clipping Pet cannot comfortably walk and may develop lower extremity joint sensitivities. Nails cut too short producing momentary bleeding.
Surgery Pet suffers from conditions that may impact their comfort, quality of life or longevity. Post-surgery bleeding from the agitation/tearing of stitches or infection from licking.

Our objective is to recommend a course of action that minimizes the health risks for your pet and maximizes their wellness, comfort and longevity.

4. What alternatives might exist?
Today, modern medicine advances quickly for both humans and pets. These advancements, which can include non-traditional methods, may offer alternatives that were not previously available or embraced by the veterinary community. As medical professionals, we will share and help you understand the tradeoffs among different treatment approaches — highlighting the advantages and disadvantages of each.

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Importantly, if you have heard or read about potential alternatives to a treatment or procedure, we encourage you to ask questions. We can share the scientific basis for any claims and help you separate truth from fiction — easing your comfort and maximizing the best possible outcome for your pet.

5. How much will it cost?

If your veterinarian is recommending a medicine, treatment or procedure that is new to you, we encourage you to inquire about cost before you leave the examination room. It’s best to discuss costs and potential alternative medical treatment with your veterinarian rather than our front-desk staff.

We make every possible effort to provide first-rate treatment at the lowest possible price for you and your pet. And while medicines purchased via the Internet often appear to be more affordable (excluding taxes and shipping), they may not possess the same medical efficacy or active ingredients. We always recommend the lowest price medicines for your pet’s particular situation.

And we understand that a procedure that cannot be conducted given its cost or limited insurance coverage will not help your pet. So, please always ask your veterinarian about costs so an effective treatment can be developed for your pet.

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We believe an engaged and inquisitive pet owner is a happy pet owner. So, ask as many questions as you like!