What to Bring to a Veterinary Specialist Appointment
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What to Bring to a Veterinary Specialist Appointment

by Christine Swanson, DVM, DACVIM (Oncology)
Sep 2, 2022

I was referred to a Veterinary Specialist, how do I prepare?

As your pet’s primary caregiver, it is important to make sure that they stay happy and healthy. When it comes to ensuring the health of your pet, your veterinarian is a key component and, if your pet has specific medical conditions, your primary vet may refer you to a veterinary specialist (in-person or virtual) for treatment. During your preparation for a visit to a veterinary specialist, there are certain items that you should make a note to bring to ensure a smooth appointment.

Have some questions ready

Creating a list of questions that you may have or would like answered about your pet’s medical status/condition is very helpful when you first visit a veterinary specialist. If you are able to write down these questions before the appointment, the veterinary specialist will be able to run through your list prior to the end of the visit and you can make sure that you are equipped with the necessary information to ensure your pet’s proper care.

Have your pet’s records

It is important to bring a list of the medications including the dose, frequency and how many you have (or just bring the bottles). If you have records of previous referral reports (including ultrasound/x-ray/echocardiogram reports, bloodwork, or biopsy results), it can be beneficial to have those as well. In certain situations, the specialty veterinarian will let the owner know which medications to bring prior to their appointment.

While it is helpful to have vaccination records on file, a veterinary specialist would not always find it necessary. It is most helpful to provide medical records for the specialist to review in order to identify other underlying disease processes such as environmental/food allergies, arthritis, thyroid disease, etc. that pet owners can forget to mention.

Do some research

Understanding your pet’s disease process and overall health conditions will be helpful for you to understand what may be happening with your pet and the basic terms that may be discussed during the appointment. However, if you are unsure of what is happening or your primary care veterinarian does not have much knowledge of the disease, the visit with a specialist can be a good time to learn more about it.

Choose your pet’s primary guardian

It is important for the primary caregiver of the pet to be the one bringing them to the appointment. If a relative who is unaware of the pet’s day-to-day health condition brings the pet to the visit, it can be very difficult to get a full picture of the pet’s medical history. It is also difficult for someone who is not the pet’s primary caregiver to make decisions, such as what tests to complete or what path of treatment to pursue. If the pet’s owner cannot be present at the appointment themselves, they should have the person that brings the animal make the specialty team aware beforehand. If possible, the owner should try to make themselves available by phone during the visit.

To learn more about what to expect during a veterinary specialty visit, click here.

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