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Questions for your Vet : Things to consider asking to help improve your experience and treatment.

Now straight out of the blocks,  I accept that’s a bold statement to make.

However, let me also be totally honest that this is in a spirit of collaboration with our Vets, to improve communication, customer and patient experience and with the goal of leaving both parties more satisfied. And of course to improve the treatment of your dog.

I guess whilst I am being totally transparent,  this set of questions is at least inspired by some questions I agreed with my parents for each time they go to the Doctor. The key part being, and this is the most essential part of it all  “Engage in dialogue”.

Your Vet is human. And importantly,  a human who is sufficiently in love with animals to spend a huge part of their life training to treat them. All humans have opinions, passions, are prone to error and learning. They also, if they are the ones you want to be around, respond to questions and are able to explain their point of view.

So let’s dive straight in.

Number One: Raw

My million dollar question for any Vet is “What are your thoughts on Raw feeding?”.

Why? Firstly, it is immensely revealing in many ways.  Even my pet free parents have read about Raw Feeding. So if your Vet is up to date with current science, thought and public opinion, he or she will have exactly that, an opinion. If they are totally oblivious to such a growing movement of positive change, how will they be up to speed on other areas of Veterinary improvement?

This doesn’t mean that they have to agree with you. What it does mean is that any decently progressive person working in the animal arena should be aware, informed and be able to articulate their thoughts on this topic. 1996 science was great in 1996. The game has moved on. Ask yourself : What was your mobile phone like in 1996?

1996 is when I graduated from University. Pretty much most things I learnt there have changed, been disproved, been improved, or simply been left behind.

The next part of this is really listen to how they explain their opinion. If Raw is instantly dismissed as a fad or simply as “dangerous”, is your gut instinct  “this person is really informed?” or “are they are just reacting to scaremongers without knowing the facts.”

The world is full of opinion. What you are really trying to ascertain from this Number One question is, “Am I going to be supported in my chosen course of pet care, by someone who understands what I am trying to achieve and can help me fulfil this?”

You need someone to partner you in the treatment for your dog. A partnership is a two-way agreement. Not a one-way transmission, from either side.

Number Two : Do you know what causes this? Is it Diet related?

Yes, let me hold up my hand, that’s 2 questions. Always trying to give you more for less. My human practice is all about the “Functional Medicine Approach”. This normally leaves people feeling baffled, so let me explain in one sentence.

The functional approach looks for the root cause of illness rather than simply treating the symptom.

More decoratively put, “Functional Medicine sees illness as a weed in the garden of your health and seeks to remove it by the root”.

Yes, it looks to make the symptom better whilst it deals with the underlying cause. Everyone should be allowed to feel better whilst they get better.

To do this you need to know what the cause is. Or at least have a strong suspicion. And to change this you need to know how to positively impact it.

Very rarely is something “merely genetic”. That is a bit of a cover-up “I don’t know so I am going to blame genes”. There are dogs with genetic predispositions. That is, some that are more likely to get certain illnesses than others. However, and this is crucial, it doesn’t mean that they will.

The latest research strongly suggests that all autoimmune disease is a combination of “Genetic predisposition” + “Leaky gut” + “stress load” (for example parasites, food intolerance, chemicals etc).

So we can influence at least two-thirds of that equation.

So let’s find out what causes whatever sickness your dog may have and influence the parts we can.

Number Three: What are the alternatives?

I love this question. Really, I do. We all fall into a pattern of repeating the same action because we believe it works. It is very fulfilling to sit down from time to time and “brainstorm” your current strategy.

Vets also fall into exactly the same patterns. Worms? This injection. Itchy skin? this cream. But we all know there are several approaches to dealing with the same problem.

Rather than simply repeating what has been done before when it comes to either your or your dog’s health I always recommend getting a quick view on what the alternatives are.

Rarely does anyone buy the first house they see or marry the first person they meet? Same story with something as important as injecting chemicals into you or your pet’s body, having anything surgical or anything else “serious”.

It could well be that the first course of action is the best course. However employ the carpenters and the carpet fitters mantra. “measure twice, cut once”

Number Four: Can I think about it? 

Clearly, this is one for non-emergencies only. When you take a moment to listen to that gut instinct of yours, and if you feel any butterflies, perturbations or generally are not quite sure. It might even be that you are overwhelmed with information and need to process it. Take a few moments to reflect or better still, sleep on it.

Its great to be able to discuss with friends, fellow pet owners, people you share this forum with. All of whom may provide an angle, an insight or some snippet of information you have missed.

This returns to my recurring message that together we are stronger and we all help each other to grow. Whether that is each other, our vets or quite simply and ideally,  all of us.

As ever, please give your feedback, feel free to add and improve and never hesitate to message us. We are here to support and partner you in your dog’s health.

Wishing you well!


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