But it only took you a minute………..

We don’t often get complaints at our clinic but when we do I like to blog about them.  (Mainly to relieve my blood pressure!)

Todays was a client refusing to pay a consultation fee for a follow-up check because,

“I was only in the room two minutes and the vet ‘ardly looked at ‘im”.

Big. Deep. Breath.

Luckily we have receptionists sent from vetty heaven and they gave him short shrift.

However, had I had the chance during my heaving evening surgery I would have said;

‘Yes, your follow up consultation was a short one but during the time you were in the room I examined your dogs mouth (no significant tartar, no fractures or masses present), his mucous membranes (nice and pink, he’s probably not anemic and his blood is flowing well), I looked into his eyes and ears (no redness, soreness or discharges), I checked his lymph nodes to ensure they weren’t enlarged, I listened to his chest (no heart murmurs, the rhythm is regular and the lung fields are clear) and I ran my hands over his body, (no obvious lumps or bumps).  I also, because the original complaint was a nasty Kennel Cough infection, listened carefully to his throat and palpated his windpipe to ensure the irritation has subsided.

In addition, you had zero control over your vastly over-weight Labrador, so I managed all this while he jumped up and down and very nearly knocked me over, thankfully in a friendly fashion.

However, because my examination was complete within a few minutes, you think I did ‘nothing’.   You have also conveniently ignored that I spent several minutes explaining the benefits of a diet and a halti but, to be honest, I could tell you weren’t listening.

The irony of course is, had I injected this dog or sent him home with medication, both completely unnecessary, this chap would have probably paid his (larger) bill without a murmur.

During a consultation I have 10 minutes to listen my clients concerns, examine the pet, formulate a diagnosis, decide and explain my treatment plan, give any injections and then write it all up.  It is a challenge but to be honest, it’s one of the reasons why I love my job so much; every consultation is a different little mystery and to solve it I get to use all my skills.  From examination techniques and communication (with people and pets!) to problem solving and animal handling.

Sometimes it may seem like I haven’t spent much time with the pet themselves but I always complete a thorough check over which, coupled with my 10 years of practice and 5 years of detailed training, means I can make my decisions quickly and well.

Or let me put it another way; It only takes a minute to tie off a bleeding artery or diagnose diabetes or, less seriously but no less usefully, empty a dogs anal glands, but would you think these aren’t important or worth paying for?

It ‘only takes a minute’ to take a blood sample or express blocked anal glands, so are these skills also not worth paying for?

A vet’s skills lie not just in examining pets and finding abnormalities. We are also great at observing animals and noticing problems (I watch my patients right from the minute I call their owners in), asking questions, listening to the answers, choosing tests and interpreting the results to make a diagnosis.

Ultimately I, and my colleagues across the world, use our knowledge, experience & expertise on every pet we see and whether this takes just a few minutes in a consult room or several hours in surgery, trust me, it is worth every penny.

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