Saturday, January 21, 2012

another peeve

"Can we just bring him in, and you can look at him real quick, and then let me know if he needs an exam?"

No. Either make an appointment and come in for the exam, or don't. I am happy to advise over the phone to an extent, eg: one episode of vomiting in an otherwise normal appearing young adult labrador retriever, probably ok to wait before coming in for exam; vomiting q 2 hrs x 48 hrs in a 12 year old cat with a history of FeLV, not ok to wait before coming in for exam. But, you can't come in to have me LOOK AT HIM to decide if you want an exam. Me looking at him = doing an exam.

Just wanted to clear that up due to a disturbing series of phone calls and drop-ins I've handled lately.


  1. Each time we see a pet we have to record the information. Although some vets do this poorly, many of us are very thorough. We record the information you give us, the exam findings, a diagnosis or possible diagnosis, a prognosis and recommendations.
    For each time we see your pet we are putting our licenses on the line.
    Ironically even if we don't see your pet our license may be on the line just from the phone call. We actually log into the medical record each time you call for similar situations and do not come in.
    We need to charge for this service. It's what we do.

  2. I'll sometimes do a "quick check" at no charge for a post-op surgery patient if the owner has concerns about the incision. Most of the time there's nothing wrong, but it still gets recorded in the medical record. Anything beyond that, or for random drop-ins; yeah, if I look at your pet and give you a recommendation, that's what we call an exam, and we do charge for that service.

  3. @akdvm666 me too! I do a lot of free rechecks for my own peace of mind or for the owner's peace of mind. But, if the client calls me on the phone, and asks me for permission to come in "just to see if he needs an exam," that is what drives me crazy. I'm not talking about a client with an ongoing problem that I've asked to follow up with me if they have additional concerns. I'm talking about the client whose pet I haven't seen in 18 months, who calls and says "well, he isn't himself, but I don't know if he really needs AN EXAM... maybe I could just swing by and you could take a look at him real quick and let me know if he needs one?"

  4. My point being it's not about the money per se - it's about, what exactly do people think that "an exam" is, other than "taking a look at him to see if he needs anything else or is ok as-is?" Isn't that what an exam is? And I can either do a quickie visual exam to make sure, you know, he's not falling over or having any major obvious problems, or I can do a full and complete physical exam to look for all kinds of minutiae, but either way, i'm examining the pet.

  5. I agree it's not about the money when we recommend an exam. I also no charge post op rechecks if there is any question about a surgery site except if there is a problem the owner caused or allowed to happen. It is part of the level of service I provide my clients.
    If it's not a post op thing then who knows.

  6. I am a vet assistant and have been at my job for 7 years. We have clients all the time ask us to "just check the ears" their pet doesn't need a full exam, just the ears checked. I politely tell them that that is considered an exam & it needs to be a full exam in order to get the full picture on what's going on. Then we are only after their money of course ;)

    1. indeed serene! why don't you (receptionist) or assistant XYZ just look at this rash & tell me what you think. He doesn't need to see the vet or anything.... just have a look & tell me what you think! -.-