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breaking up with my vet [Jul. 21st, 2012|10:43 am]
Cat Health

cathealth

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I think I'm going to break up with my vet. I don't have a problem with him, he's a good compassionate vet but...

his office manager left/was let go (I'm not sure which really) and the past few months I haven't gotten any notifications for upcoming appointments. On top of this my 20+ cat passed away, I got TWO condolence phone calls from the oncologist who met him once, I got phone calls from my friends who don't even like animals... but nothing from the vet who treated him in his last days. To be honest, I was put off by this.

(I had sent a note to the office that Oscar had passed and the oncologist notified the practice, so they do know my cat died.)

~BUT~
he is a good vet, he has a holistic approach and is very open to alternative medicine. He didn't insist I vaccinate my indoor only senior. He's not the cheapest guy in town but he does good work.

I have three other cats who are healthy ... am I overreacting? I know I'm taking the whole thing very personally... what would you do? there are other vets in the area who have been recommended to me.

*sorry this isn't a cat health question, more like a 'people mental health' post*

what would you do?
PS I used the memorial tag, I didn't know which other one was appropriate
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Comments:
[User Picture]From: sageincave
2012-07-21 11:13 pm (UTC)
Personally I think it is very weird that vets now have to send out condolence cards. I've started getting them in recent years; have clued into the fact that it is just a part of doing business these days. It is not a reflection of the vet's actual attachment to or appreciation of your pet (or yourself).

If you can keep track of needed/upcoming appointments, I'd stick with the vet. If you can't function without the reminders (or don't want to), then find a new vet.

I'm sorry your cat died. I hope you find a vet you are happy with.
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[User Picture]From: squid_ink
2012-07-21 11:22 pm (UTC)
thanks for the input. I do keep track of my cats appointments (it's easier now with only three) - I'm just concerned at what else falls between the cracks now in terms of bloodwork and fecal samples. What I see going on in the front office, is it an indication of whats going on behind the scenes now that the office manager is gone? I know she used to take care of sending out bloodwork and other paperwork having to do with the animals well being.

Usually changes like this are red flags for me... but I do like the vet. He has two practices and I think he's spread a little thin, though.

I'm sorry Oscar died too. Ive always gotten little notes and cards from vets when my animals passed, it actually was quite healing. I even got one for my turtle when he passed from kidney failure. :(
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[User Picture]From: alyssa22
2012-07-22 12:13 am (UTC)
I know how you feel. I had my poor baby in an emergency vet for two days before he was put to sleep and there was nothing from them, but the specialist who only saw him once, hand wrote a card for him. He and the nurse who treated Kasper both wrote in it.

That meant a lot to me..

Maybe you could mention to the vet that since the changeover of office staff you haven't received notifications. Maybe don't mention the condolence card, but the notifications is a big thing that I'm sure a lot of people have picked up on.

I actually have a vet now who comes around to see my cats. It's cheaper and less stressful than a vet visit. If something big happens, then we go in (like being spayed, etc), but otherwise, the visiting vet is good for checkups.
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[User Picture]From: squid_ink
2012-07-23 01:26 am (UTC)
I actually have a vet now who comes around to see my cats. I had made an appointment with a mobile vet to help Oscar 'over the bridge' when the time came... he passed on his own a day before she was supposed to visit.

the woman spent 20 minutes on the phone with me the next day, it was so reassuring. She's also highly recommended.

there is alot to say for vets who make house calls :)
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[User Picture]From: suidae
2012-07-22 12:22 am (UTC)
I would think that if these have been recent changes in the clinic, you could maybe just bring up your concerns on the office management situation? Rather then just up and leave, because it may just be a temporary situation. Sometimes when a management type person leaves or the clinic is understaffed certain things fall through the cracks. It sucks, but they may be breaking in a new person or...they may have taken on a new manager who has a different point of view on how to run a clinic and feels those things aren't necessary. Either way I'm sure that the hospital owner would like to know that you appreciated the way things used to be handled and might take that into consideration.

Also, one thing to consider is that you like this vet a lot (or that's how it sounds at least). Personally, I would stick with a vet that I liked even if I didn't get appointment reminders. It can be really tough finding the right vet and as long as the hospital staff is competent enough to answer my questions when I have them, keep my pets healthy, etc... I would overlook certain things like reminders. And...as for the condolence cards, I'm sorta split on that. I don't think I'd like to receive one just because it would be another reminder of the loss, which I don't like to dwell on. That might just be me though. We used to do it at the clinic I work for, but we stopped sending them unless there was a personal tie between client/kitty/clinic. This was just a decision we made because certain clients seemed to appreciate it while other's didn't have such a close attachment to their pets.

Also I'm sorry about your baby. It's always tough losing them, especially after so much time together.
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[User Picture]From: squid_ink
2012-07-23 02:06 am (UTC)
thanks for the input... I'm just concerned that the lack of reminders for the appointments may be a symptom of a bigger problem.

and thank you for the kind words. Losing a friend at any age is hard... but Oscar was with me for so long, it's a tough one

:(
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[User Picture]From: naughty_fairy
2012-07-22 02:58 am (UTC)
If it were me? I would change vets. Why.. mostly because our cat is the only "child" we will have and I tend to go from sane, super organized I got this shit covered person to crazy OMG I can't deal with this whenever he is sick (which happened a lot last year) and without the vet I have now I would have had a much harder time.

Beyond doing her "job" and doing it well - she has the best "cat-side manner" with both animals and people. She just makes a bad situation better - can't really explain it. She called me after each visit to the specialist (another vet), even after that vet had called me, to make sure I understood them, if I had any other questions etc. She even called in the middle of a 2 weeks period when nothing was to happen just to see how I was doing. She has an email address you can email anytime with any question and she or the tech will answer it within a few hours no matter what day or time. She doesn't even charge for it. She makes EVERY appointment go for half an hour, even if it's a follow up and everyone ends up just playing with kitty for 20 mins of the time (and her charge is on par with other vets in the area for a standard appointment). I guess what I would say is if it were your or your child's pcp would you be still seeing them? If we have to change states again I will be so upset to loose her :( As for condolence cards - I think it's a given that they are sent out (I know I'm going on about mine again but she sent a friend one recently and then one came from Cornell (I think) saying a donation had been made by her in her cats name. Maybe they don't mean much to some people but I think those that it does outweighs those who are "meh" about it.

At the end of the day if you feel a bit off about the place now, you could always try somewhere else and go back if that didn't work out. It's not like they would turn you away..

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[User Picture]From: squid_ink
2012-07-23 02:04 am (UTC)
thanks... this is good advice. "cat side manner" is so important and you have to feel confident with any medical professional in the practice, from the vet to the tech (and the doctor to the nurse to the nurses aide)

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[User Picture]From: mejane_83
2012-07-22 06:26 pm (UTC)
I'm not trying to be rude but I hope you do realize that the vet has LOTS of other patients. I'm sure his office manager was the one who took care of all of that stuff and he probably doesn't have time to do that.

When the office gets short, there are cuts that have to be made and reminder calls/cards are the first to go. I'm sure once he gets a new office manager, that kind of stuff will come back.

I also agree with another poster who said that you should keep track of your own appointments.
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[User Picture]From: squid_ink
2012-07-23 01:23 am (UTC)
I'm not trying to be rude but no.. that's exactly how you're trying to be, and you've succeeded

the vet has a new office manager... all these little mixups make me wonder what else is getting screwed up behind the scenes.

I do keep track of my cats appointments TYVM.

I'm glad you're willing to settle for substandard service at a medical office but frankly... I'm not.



Edited at 2012-07-23 02:34 am (UTC)
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[User Picture]From: mejane_83
2012-07-23 11:44 pm (UTC)
You didn't say it was the norm, you said it was ever since the office manager was let go.

I don't care what you do, honestly.

I'm just trying to give you the perspective that you seem to be missing.
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[User Picture]From: squid_ink
2012-07-24 12:09 am (UTC)
I'm just trying to give you the perspective that you seem to be missing.

You have such a nice way of putting things... well thank you for your 'concern'

I think I can do without the attitude and your 'perspective' next time.
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[User Picture]From: denisia
2012-07-23 03:29 am (UTC)
I'm another who thinks that bedside manner is extremely important. If I'm not comfortable talking to the vet, or the overall office environment is rude, indifferent, etc. it's an immediate signal to me to go elsewhere. When I adopted my current kittens, the rescue that I adopted from used a veterinary practice where the office staff was nasty, rude and hostile, not to mention inefficient. The vet did some good work, and gave the rescue a discount (which I imagine is why they kept using him), but I figured that if he didn't respect his patients enough to have an office manager who treated them with basic courtesy, it said something about him.

I know what you mean about the condolence cards. I think that they matter. When my Chewie died a few years ago, both vets who treated him signed a card with personal messages to me. The one who was not present when he was PTS also called me to express her condolences on the phone. The office manager didn't do that; THEY did. It really meant a lot.

I think it's important to trust your instincts on this, too. If your gut is telling you that you should get your cats to another vet, maybe it's a good idea to make a change.
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[User Picture]From: squid_ink
2012-07-23 12:14 pm (UTC)
thanks.. you're right, my gut it saying 'its time for a change'. I learned over the weekend that this vet (who has two practices) hired two vets at different times over the past year to assist him and dismissed them both. He's got too much on his plate and something will give at some point

The first thing to slip may be a competent office manager.. or who knows? maybe sloppy paperwork or mistakes in notes in records or treatment.

I would not want this for myself and I sure don't want it for my cats.

I'll go with my gut... thanks again!
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