Visiting the vet for the first time?
Before your visit
Bring any health and vaccination records that you have for your pet especially if you adopted your kitten, puppy, rabbit, cat or dog from a rescue centre or a breeder or you are switching to a new veterinary practice after a house move.
Make sure your kitten/cat is in a secure carrier.
If possible take puppies/dogs for a walk before your vet visit to make sure they have answered any calls of nature.
What will your visit to the vet cost?
Most practices will be able to advise you in advance of fixed fees for vaccinations, routine surgeries such as neutering, and consultation fees.
The cost of diagnostics and treatment will depend upon what is recommended for your pet – your vet will be happy to provide an estimate of likely costs once your pet has been assessed.
At the vet surgery
Arrive a good five minutes before your appointment, so that you are in time but not so early that your pet has to sit in the waiting room for a long time.
When you arrive at the vet surgery introduce your pet to the receptionist – a friendly greeting from the receptionist will help make him or her feel welcome and secure.
Have your records to hand in case the receptionist asks for them, and allow a few extra minutes on your first visit for the registration process.
You and your pet will be shown to the waiting room.
Be aware of other pets around you and try and keep your own animal calm avoiding any boisterous behaviour or unwanted contact with other pets.
The veterinary consultation
Whether for vaccination or for a consultation, the vet will perform an appropriate physical examination of your pet.
This is likely to involve checking eyes, ears, teeth; using a stethoscope to check the heart and lungs; and feeling the abdomen.
While the vet examines your pet, they will explain what is happening and ask you questions about their temperament, eating habits and litter box/toilet habits.
Your vet will discuss with you if, following physical examination, further tests are recommended (eg blood, urine or faecal tests)
Diagnosis and treatment
Many veterinary hospitals and most surgeries now have a wide range of equipment on-site, and often offer all the necessary diagnostic tests and treatments in one place.
Sometimes samples are sent to external laboratories for more detailed examination, or If there's a serious problem, your vet might recommend referral to a veterinary specialist who has particular expertise.
If your pet hasn't had any vaccinations, your vet will administer the first course and explain how many weeks are needed between the initial jabs injections, and how regularly booster immunisation will be needed.
If your kitten hasn't been tested for feline immunodeficiency virus (FIV) and feline leukemia (FeLV) your vet may recommend testing.This can often be performed at the surgery.
If your kitten's blood test came back positive for FIV or FeLV, the vet will explain what that means.
Your vet will discuss regular worming and flea treatment for your pet, both of which are very important as often no outward signs of infestation are present.
As your pet’s health care is a partnership with the practice they will provide you with lots of information and advice. Make notes after the consultation if necessary, but if you are unsure about anything or need further clarification just ask the vet, nurse or reception team.
After the consultation make a fuss of your pet and if appropriate, give them a treat as a reward so that they associate a visit to the vet as a pleasant experience.
If necessary pop your pet back in the car before you return to the reception desk to pay and make any further appointments for a second vaccination.
If your pet requires regular medication, please ask for the practice policy on repeat prescriptions – just like your doctor, advance notice will be required.
The receptionist or nurse will be able to help advise you about feeding, socialising, training etc, and keep you up to date with any surgery events or special offers.
Many surgeries offer puppy parties, which are great fun, an excellent way to socialise your puppy and gain advice about care and behaviour.
When you get back home store any medication in a safe place, make a note of any treatment or routine care given such as worming, flea or tick prevention on your Mypetonline diary reminder and most importantly, don’t forget to make a big fuss of your pet for being good – even if he or she wasn’t!