Being referred to a specialist by your regular vet

Posted by Phineas Gray on March, 2015

If you’re like most animal lovers in New York, you probably consider your dog or cat to be a part of the family. As such, you want him to receive the best possible medical care when he needs it most. In many cases, a general care veterinarian can take care of the routine health checks and medications but if your furry friend needs specialized or emergency care, are you ready for it? Seeing a specialist can be nerve wracking, especially if you have never taken your pet to one before. If your general veterinarian recommends you take your dog or cat to a specialized vet, you might be uneasy or worried. The goal is to keep your pet healthy and happy, and if your general care vet cannot provide the attention he needs, a specialist can.

The first trip to a specialist

Veterinarians can specialize in a wide range of medical fields including cardiology, emergency trauma, oncology or dermatology among others. They have a professional knowledge of the general care of the animal, as your regular vet does, but have spent quite a bit of extra time in college to focus on certain areas of care, which your regular vet has not. When you arrive at the specialist’s office, be sure he or she has received the complete set of records on your pet from your regular vet. If you were referred here by your vet, your pet’s records were probably faxed in advance. Once the specialist has your pet’s records, discuss the goal of your visit. Does your pet have a disease you want cured? Are you looking for palliative care? Is there a chronic pain that needs therapeutic treatment or medications? Once you and the specialist have agreed on the goal, treatment can begin.

Follow-up care and questions

Be sure you are aware who your pet will be visiting for follow-up care. Will you be returning to the specialist, or can any follow-ups be done with your regular vet? Specialists may not be local and could be a few hours’ drive away, so be aware of any additional future trips that may be required for your pet. Most importantly, ask questions! Specialists love what they do and have spent years training to be the best they can be to help the animals they love. If you are unsure about your options for treatment, don’t be afraid to ask about the alternatives.