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Discussion Starter #1
So I called my vet's office about 3-4 weeks ago to discuss changes in Marge's behavior. He called back that night, we spoke for maybe 3 minutes and he told me to call him back in a couple of weeks.

I called this afternoon around 3:30, spoke to the receptionist. I explained to her that the doctor had told me to update him about Marge, so I was wondering if he could give me a call.

She seemed hesitant to comply, saying.. "Well, how is she?"

I guess if I said "she's fine" it really wouldn't have warranted him calling back, but I found the question a little rude. No offense, but I don't want to talk to YOU, I want to talk to the vet.

So I explained to her that she's better, but I still had some questions for him.

She said she'd give a message.. but here it is, 9 PM at night and I haven't heard anything.

I know emergencies happen, things come up, I understand that.. but this isn't the first time that one of my calls have gone unanswered.

I'm not a pain in the butt with my vet, I am more than happy to take my pets in for appointments when it is warranted, but I am slightly annoyed with how they treat phone calls.

I know the second I suggest hip X-rays for agility he's going to tell me they aren't necessary.. I've brought up getting blood work done numerous times, he doesn't think it's necessary.. I don't know if I need to be more forward with what I want or what.. he really is a nice guy.

/end rant
 

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Personally, I wouldn't be happy with a vet that I had to push into doing what I wanted. Extra blood work, x-rays, etc. aren't going to hurt your dog so if you feel they are necessary and want them done (and many WOULD agree with getting such things done before sports) then there shouldn't be any debate over it. I'm sure he's just trying to save you from going through a bunch of extra procedures, but Marge is your dog. Ultimately it's your decision whether or not something is needed.

Same goes for the phone convo. Regardless of how it was handled, if you aren't happy (and this is a repeated annoyance) then I'd likely be looking for a new vet.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Well, he did wind up calling back the following morning. I spoke to him about hip x-rays, and although he said that he doesn't think she needs them, I told him that I will likely get them done if/when she starts competing.
 

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It drives me nuts about my vet too...they can be so rude on the phone but so nice in person. I've never understood it.

When I called to make Eddie's vet appointment awhile back, I said that he needed his rabies shot, a general wellness exam and some blood work. The receptionist asked me what was wrong with him. I replied that nothing was wrong with him that I knew of...then she preceded to argue with me about getting the blood work done. She didn't think it was necessary. I wanted to tell her, "Hey, its my 90 bucks your getting for it, be glad your getting it and not another vets office". And I also wanted to tell the nasty receptionist that just because a dog SEEMS healthy doesn't mean they ARE healthy...and that can be evidenced by the seizure Eddie had the day before his appointment. The receptionists at my vets office can really be jerks...luckily I like my vet as he's perfectly nice and capable...but he needs to hire new staff.
 

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Had the same experience with rude receptionist & great vet. It was hard getting through to him through the wall of resistance coming from the front desk. Love, love the office we go to now, though. Can't say enough about the techs & the vet. And I really like how the vet shows so much respect for her staff & vice versa. It's nice to see.
 

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Well, he did wind up calling back the following morning. I spoke to him about hip x-rays, and although he said that he doesn't think she needs them, I told him that I will likely get them done if/when she starts competing.
Have you looked into his experience doing hips X-rays for structural integrity evaluation? It's not really like regular medical diagnostic X-rays...there's kind of an art to it. I ended up going to a performance specialist (who didn't cost any more than my vet would have btw) even though I absolutely adore my current vet because it is an irregular procedure...and not one I wanted to have to re-do.

As to whether you change vets...well that's up to you :). Only you know whether he's capable of giving your pets the quality of health care you are looking for.
 

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I can relate to this. There are two vets at the clinic I work at. One very rarely calls owners herself. She'd much rather have me or one of the other techs call (or a receptionist). This isn't a big deal when it's something really easy we're checking up on or just a minor progress report, but when people have serious questions the vet really should do that themselves yah know?

The other doc calls everyone back himself which is really nice. But he's pretty much the opposite of her anyway. People love him because he comes in and sits on the floor with the dogs...usually on his lap :)
 

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A view from the other side:
I was head receptionist at an animal hospital for 8 years. We had good vets and great clients. But the number of people who would call and want to speak with the doctors before making an appt was absolutely ridiculous. The vet techs and assts. came in at 730 am to start feeding, walking, set up etc. The vets came in at eight and went straight to treatments of in hospital patients. Then one vet went into surgery from 9 til noon and the other saw clients from 10 til 1. Both then took lunch and did more treatments/post op/updated files and made phone calls related to in hospital animals (to their owners for updates). They both went back into appts from 3 til 630 pm. Then they did final treatments, released in hospital animals to their owners, made more phone calls, had staff meetings and went home. The other staff stayed on for hospital cleaning/maintenance, feeding and walking and then also went home.

Not much time there for a lot of calls. Guess who got crap for giving messages to call clients that did not have an animal sick in the hospital or wasn't a post op question? The front office staff. We were EXPECTED to deal with any and all phone calls (aside from emergencies or something we were not trained to handle). If it was something we were unsure of we were expected to find time to ask the vet and then WE were to call the client back. Our job was to be the gatekeeper so the work in the back could get done as efficiently as possible..the animals in the hospital itself were the priority.

Now..just so ya know...we also were all trained to answer most basic health questions, determine what was an emergency, not to question clients who had requested additional wellness testing and to provide the best service we could by assigning appt times and emergency times as appropriately as possible.

Any receptionist who cannot clearly answer MOST questions, determine the extent of an emergency or will not say "I don't know, but I will find out for you" and then CALL YOU BACK is not doing their job. It goes both ways.

To be honest, Marge's mum...I encouraged my clients to speak to the doctors as much as possible when they were there or to arrange a callback time so the best use of time on both sides was used. If you have concerns about the front office staff at the vet you MUST speak to the boss about it. They cannot fix what they are not aware is happening and many vets just don't have time to check on their receptionists. If any of my understaff were rude, dismissive or would not book an appt for requested health testing they would be getting a talking to and likely would not be around for long.
 

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Discussion Starter #11 (Edited)
I have spoken to the front office people many times about simple things like food, allergies, shedding issues, etc. I have no problem with that, and for those things there is no need at all to speak with the vet. But if I call with a concern and the vet tells me to call him back in a couple of weeks, AND on top of that I still have some questions (regarding possible medications), I, frankly, don't want to speak to the front desk.

I am always more than happy to make an appointment.. I have asked both the vet and the front desk on numerous occasions whether something warranted an appointment, and they've told me no.

So I definitely understand the need for calls to be filtered, but I'm not a pest with my calls, and I just kind of feel like if one vet can't make himself available to assist me, there are dozens of other practices who can that I can go out and choose from.

Have you looked into his experience doing hips X-rays for structural integrity evaluation? It's not really like regular medical diagnostic X-rays...there's kind of an art to it. I ended up going to a performance specialist (who didn't cost any more than my vet would have btw) even though I absolutely adore my current vet because it is an irregular procedure...and not one I wanted to have to re-do.
Yeah.. this is something I need to look into more. I've thought about it, but since we're still a ways away from getting them done, haven't looked into it *that* much, I'll admit.
 

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I have very good vets. If I ask about a procedure and they think it is not necessary, not only do they tell me why, they tell me where to find out more on that why. They will do it, but they want me to understand that often things are not definative and will mostly not give a clear answer but will cost money (sometimes a lot of money to do).

Like I said, if I say, "Hang the money and press on!" they will. they just warn me ahead of time. :)

An interesting aside on Hip Xrays.. on performance (agility) dogs.. is that there are dogs out there competing well and that are pain free that have bad xrays and other dogs out there that can hardly seem to move that have better XRays. My vet would still do them, but he would do them with that statement.. (you can see I have had this discussion).

I will also say that if I ask my vets to call me, they do. I have known them for over 25 years. They have 24 hour service because they have a large animal practice.

They have also told me that I am not the "usual" client either (have assisted on E Surgery on my own dogs and cats and, when I had them, the cows). I read extensively and often have diagnosed my animal's illness or problem b4 bringing them in. Three of the vets there are gifted surgeons.

I am very lucky!!
 

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Miss Mutt,
My apologies...my previous post was not meant to be defensive..which I realize in hindsight it may have sounded so..and it certainly wasn't mean to imply that you cannot speak to your vet..he asked you to call. The recept. should have checked with him, gotten an idea of when he could call you and then let you know. I simply was trying to give an idea of the goings on beyond the walls in the hospital to give a better understanding of why sometimes the phonecalls do not get returned right away or why clients don't always get to speak with the vet personally.

If you are not comfortable with your vet's service then it is your prerogative to look for one you like better. When the vet's I worked for split their practice I didn't hesitate to choose one over the other for my pets. I liked both men, but one IMO was simply a better vet, a better communicator with people and a very nice, no bs kind of guy.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Oh don't worry Cracker, I know it must be really hard for the front office to balance between the necessary things and the (for lack of a better word) unnecessary things. Perhaps I initially overreacted in that I thought he was going to call me back the same night and wound up calling the following day. I was purely drawing on past experience there - I thought he either would have called me back already or he wasn't going to call at all. Guess I was wrong!
 
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