Okay, I’ll admit it right from the start: this article is definitely the least catchy of this site!
And yet, it is crucial to the understanding of a veterinarian’s work with his patient, while having the full cooperation of the client/pet owner. In short, read the following carefully!
So as we’ve said, this relationship is the very foundation of the veterinarian’s work.
At this point, you look at me and think, why is this so important?
Because it is what allows for informed decisions to be made about a patient’s condition (is he or she sick or healthy), the need for tests to be done (or not), and the diagnosis/prognosis of potential illness.
As you can easily understand, if the animal in question is healthy, all this is easier. If he is sick, he needs care and it is especially in these situations that the relationship becomes paramount.
The ultimate goal is to give your pet the best possible chance to have a long life without major problems.
Here are the conditions that must be met in order to have a valid veterinarian-client-patient relationship (excerpt from the OMVQ website): the veterinarian can demonstrate that all of the following elements are met :
- When the veterinarian has sufficient knowledge of the animal(s), their condition and living conditions (location, management, feeding);
- When the veterinarian has sufficient knowledge of the prevalence or frequency of disease conditions in the herd;
- When the veterinarian is satisfied that the owner or custodian of the animals is competent to follow the veterinarian’s instructions;
- When the client agrees to faithfully follow the veterinarian’s instructions;
- When the veterinarian is willing to follow up;
- When the veterinarian is able to provide emergency veterinary service within a reasonable time frame if applicable to the type of husbandry and practice involved;
- And there is an atmosphere of trust between the veterinarian and the client.
I have always found this last point to be particularly important, because if mutual trust is not present then there cannot be sufficient collaboration to achieve the desired goal.
With all this, I believe you can now understand the difficulty of offering such a service at a distance or virtually.
In conclusion, remember that in case of a problem, the veterinarian who can best advise you is the one who already knows your animal directly…
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Francis Lagacé has been a member of the Ordre des médecins vétérinaires du Québec since 2004. He practiced for 16 years in several veterinary clinics across Canada. He treated animals of all types, mainly cats, dogs and exotic animals (rabbits, rodents, ferrets, birds, reptiles). Since 2020 he has been working in the field of veterinary pharmacovigilance. You can find him on LinkedIn.