What Is Reasonable For You To Expect From Your Veterinarian?

I do hope that by now you all have your own copy of Speaking for Spot: Be the Advocate Your Dog Needs to Live a Happy, Healthy, Longer Life by Dr. Nancy Kay. Truly.

I deem this one to be the single most important dog book you will ever read.

You can take my word for it, or you can learn things the hard way, as we did. I do not recommend the latter.

I have an excuse - the book wasn't written yet when we would have needed it the most.

Would I have read it if it was? Doubtfully. Because I too believed that nothing bad was ever going to happen to my dog.

Sadly, bad things do happen to good dogs. Will you be prepared?

Do you know how to find a good veterinarian? Do you know how to make decisions about your dog's vaccinations? Do you know what symptoms you should pay attention to? Do you know how to be a medical advocate for your dog should they get sick?

If your answer to any of these questions is no, then go and get the book.

Faced with Jasmine's medical disasters I had to learn a lot of things very quickly. One thing I also learned in the process, though, was that were I better educated from the beginning, some of these medical disasters likely could have been avoided to start out with!

What is reasonable for you to expect from your veterinarian?

Image Useless Humor
Did you ever return from a hairdresser with a disastrous haircut? Did you ever get burned by a mechanic? Who do you blame?

The truth is, my friend,  that the only one you have to blame is yourself. Either you chose them poorly, or you had false expectations, or you didn't express your expectations clearly. Your hair will grow back, and your car can be fixed or replaced. Poor decisions about your dog's health and treatment can't always be undone.

You only want what's best for your dog. But do you know what that is and how to achieve it?

If you've read Speaking for Spot: Be the Advocate Your Dog Needs to Live a Happy, Healthy, Longer Life you know how to look for a great veterinarian. How do you know if you found one? And how do you bring out the best in them?

We had veterinarians in the past, who we thought was good.

It wasn't until things got serious that we realized that they were not good enough.

Your Dog's Best Health: A Dozen Reasonable Things to Expect from Your Vet will teach you what you should be able to expect from yours.

Should you be able to expect your veterinarian to discuss things with you, rather than just do stuff and present you with a bill? Did your vet ever just give a prescription for some medications without explaining what they're for and what the potential side effects might be? Did your vet ever decide on a treatment of their choice without presenting you with all the options? Did your vet ever just vaccinate your dog for whatever they felt like without talking to you about it first?

Do you think such things don't happen? Do you think they should?

Is it reasonable for you to expect your veterinarian to give you a referral for a second opinion or specialized care? Is it reasonable to expect round-the-clock care for your hospitalized dog? Is it reasonable to expect your vet to provide you with a written cost estimate?

Do you think it's important to know what you should be able to reasonably expect?

Don't you think you should find out?

It's your dog's health,

Dr. Nancy Kay graduated from Cornell University’s College of Veterinary Medicine. Since the release of her book, Speaking for Spot: Be the Advocate Your Dog Needs to Live a Happy, Healthy, Longer Life, Dr. Kay has lectured and written extensively about medical advocacy. She was a guest on the National Public Radio show, Fresh Air with Terry Gross. Dr. Kay is a specialist in small animal internal medicine. She was selected by the American Animal Hospital Association to receive the 2009 Animal Welfare and Humane Ethics Award. In 2011 Dr. Kay received the American Veterinary Medical Association’s Leo Bustad Companion Animal Veterinarian of the Year Award, given to an individual whose work exemplifies and promotes the human-animal bond.

Check out her Spot Speaks blog or her Facebook page.

Related articles:
Speaking For Spot: The Single Most Important Dog Book You Will Ever Read 
Veterinarians Are People First 
A Small Practice Does Not A Lesser Veterinarian Make
Emailing With Your Vet And The Miracle Of Web-based Medical Records
A Word On Second Opinions
Finding Dr. Wonderful And Your Mutt's Mayo Clinic: Getting Started
Even The Best Veterinarian Can Make A Mistake 
Making Tough Medical Decisions For Your Dog
It's Your Dog's Health
Does Your Vet Listen To You?
Help! My Dog Is Purple!
Veterinary Drive-Thru: Coming Soon To A Veterinary Hospital Near You!


  1. Hi Y'all,

    Been there, suffered that. Warning, even once great vets can expand their practice and suddenly become more "money oriented".

    Y'all come by now,
    Hawk aka BrownDog

  2. Hi Hawk, so good to hear from you again! True, people can change with change of circumstances. That's not to say I don't understand that vets also need to make living. But patient care should not suffer.

  3. Unfortunately there are vets out there who have lost their passion (or worse, never had it to begin with) which is why it is so important for pet owners to do their homework so they can ask the right questions and get the answers they need.

    1. Yeah, no kidding! :-( A degree does not a great vet make.


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