Saturday, November 17, 2012

One lunch special to go please.

They are crawling out of the woodwork today.

My RBB just told me one of our clients phoned and needed to speak to me. Apparently this client was completely irate that when her husband picked up her dog after boarding, the dog was not sent home with a package of our house diet so that she could transition him back to his regular food slowly. No amount of explaining that this was not standard procedure seemed to calm the client down, and the client was apparently insisting on a prescription for the house diet, which the client could take with her elsewhere, because heaven forbid she ever give us one red cent ever again.

I did pick up the phone and call this client, but unfortunately (can you feel the sarcasm??) got voicemail. I left the following message:

Hi, this is Dr. VBB calling about Fluffy. I got a message that you wanted a prescription for our kennel diet. Unfortunately, I can't write a prescription for anything for Fluffy without examining him. We do feed Food X here at VBB Hospital and you are certainly welcome to purchase that from the food vendor of your choice. I wonder if perhaps there was some misunderstanding regarding Fluffy's dietary status, or regarding your request, because no one has ever made this kind of request in the twelve years I've been here at VBB Hospital. Please give me a call back at 1-800-VBB-HOSP if you have additional questions or concerns.

Either the client has no additional questions or concerns, or is not interested in addressing them, or has not gotten the message because we have not heard back.


  1. Not defending the client but I remember not too long ago that veterinarians stressed not changing your pets diet ever without a slow gradual transition with warnings about dire consequences if you didn't. So it seems perfectly reasonable to me that the client would request a prescription for the clinics food or a small amount to transition him back to his normal food. She probably assumed that a diet fed at the clinic required a prescription. So perhaps a little patient education would have transformed an irate client into a happier better educated client.

  2. Or if the client was so concerned about Fluffy's tumtum being on a different food, she could have done what I do whenever we have to board any of our cats: send along the appropriate amount of our preferred food to cover the amount of time being in stir, and voila! No gastric disruption for kittehs.

  3. "We're sorry for the sudden change in Fluffy's diet. To make sure that there aren't any problems with the switch, please remember to examine every one of Fluffy's feces for the next month with a magnifying glass, smell and taste them if necessary, and make detailed notes on any changes you notice. You should also save them in your freezer for the next 6 months. Please remember not to wrap them in anything, as this would interfere with their medical value."

  4. My elderly clients already do that Dr. G, thanks for encouraging them. I urge you to google the "fecal scoring system" developed by Purina to quantify fecal consistency with an easy-to-chart numerical system.