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First Vet Visit: What Do I Need to Know?

You just got your new pet. Congratulations! You're all excited and now thinking about making your first vet visit with your new pet. What are some things you need to bring with you? And what should you expect?

Paperwork = Medical records

Prior to receiving your pet, please ask your breeder, rescue, or individual for medical records which should contain vaccines and all prior medical ailments (especially if the pet is older). If the breeder, rescue, or individual does not have the records on hand, that is a RED FLAG. Ask them to obtain it so you have tangible records prior to bringing your puppy or kitty home. This is to safeguard YOU as a new pet owner. Veterinarians rely heavily on prior medical records to help decide which vaccines need to be boostered, and what medical ailments to look out for and/or continue to help care for. If there are no vaccine records, veterinarians have to assume that the pet did not receive any and would have to start the vaccine series over. If the pet has a prior medical condition, it may mean having to re-run tests prior to prescription of medications which would be at your expense. So make sure to bring ALL medial records with you at the time of your appointment!

Thorough consultation

For your first vet visit, veterinarians will be asking lots of questions such as the following:

  • how long have you had the pet for?
  • how is your pet behaving in the new environment?
  • what is your pet’s diet, and how much/how often are you feeding your pet?
  • what are some questions or concerns you have regarding your pet and/or pet care?
The above is a very short list of common questions that you will be asked. Based on your responses, there may be appropriate follow up questions as well. It is very helpful to think about any questions or concerns in advance prior to the vet visit and possibly write them down so you won’t forget. There is no such thing as a silly question! Also understand that at your first vet visit, the vet may not be able to go through all your questions in one sitting, especially if it is a 15-30 min appointment. If you have it written down, they can look through the questions and prioritize the most important ones to address first. If they're unable to get through all of them, they'll always provide reliable resources that will answer any questions you have leftover. Also, talking about reliable resources, there is a wealth of information out there. However, there is also a lot of misinformation. Here are some reliable sources you can use to read up on pet health and care:

Money

It sounds obvious, but as much as pets are a lifelong emotional and mental commitment, they are an additional financial expense too. The first year of raising a puppy or kitten is amongst the most expensive. Pending the age, you may be seeing your vet almost on a monthly basis for the first 2-3 months to get all the puppy and/or kitten shots covered, and subsequently, to get your pet spayed or castrated. In addition to buying food on a monthly basis, it is also important to keep your pet current on heartworm, flea, and tick prevention. Without factoring in possible illnesses or emergencies, we are already looking at a couple hundred dollars. As a mom to 5 furry companions myself, I know far too well how expensive it quickly adds up. Don’t get me wrong, I am not discouraging pet ownership! There is no price tag on the companionship and loyalty our pets bring us. However, reality is that we, as pet owners, need to understand pets need medical attention too and we need to be prepared for that. This is where pet insurance or having a savings account for your pet comes in handy!

 

Well, I hope that the above helped shed some light in preparing you for your first vet visit. Becoming the owner of a new pet is very rewarding and just by reading this article, you have already taken the first steps towards proper care for them.

 

About the Author:

Dr. Zonram Liao D.V.M.Dr. Rahim was born and raised in the tropical island of Singapore, and made her way to Iowa State to pursue veterinary medicine in 2011. She is a proud Cyclone and graduated with a Bachelor of Animal Science degree in 2014. Given her passion to make a difference in under served communities, she chose to attend Ross University School of Veterinary Medicine and earned her doctorate in 2018. She believes in going above and beyond for the betterment of the community she is in and has received 10 leadership awards in Iowa State and 4 leadership awards in Ross University. Dr. Rahim is excited and honored that she is entrusted with helping elevate the standards of healthcare and alleviating suffering of the pet population. When not at work, Dr. Rahim enjoys going camping, hiking and being actively involved with pet rescue. She has rescued, fostered and found homes for over a hundred cats and dogs to date.

1 thoughts onFirst Vet Visit: What Do I Need to Know?

  1. avatar Bryce LLoyd says:

    Good luck Fifa. Karma misses you.
    -Bryce

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