By: Jason Palm, D.V.M.
The veterinary-client-patient relationship is the most important aspect of your pet’s medical care. Your pets are family members and your veterinarian has the responsibility of providing high quality veterinary care. He or she must also communicate effectively with you, understand your pet’s medical history, and be available to counsel you during difficult times. All of these factors come into play when you are establishing trust with your veterinarian.
Orlando is a thriving metropolis with a relatively transient population. But within the city are communities with families who have lived here for many generations. And if you look hard enough, you can find veterianarians who have served generations of families within communities for many years. Unfortunately, this breed of veterinarian is vanishing. The profession has shifted and now is made up largely of specialists, who do serve a vital role, and corporate veterinary practices which, at times, serve up “fast food medicine.” In my opinion, it is important to find a veterinarian who will be there for the life of your pet, through the good times and bad.
Many veterinarians who own small businesses, such as myself, do not commit a large part of the budget towards advertising. We rely on word of mouth as the most important way to attract new clients. Many people who are new in town go straight to the internet to find a new veterinarian. While you can gain insight into a practice online, you won’t get the same perspective as you would through the advice of a close friend or family member. Since trust is such a large part of your own VCPR, it makes sense to consider a veterinarian who has gained the trust of your family and friends.
Some would say that human medicine has been negatively affected over the years by the decentralization of care, meaning there is no single professional source on which you can rely for information and advice regarding your own medical care. Even though there are many wonderful general practitioners out there doing their jobs extremely well, one could argue that the current system involving health insurance, politics, giant pharmaceutical companies, etc. has made it harder for doctors to practice effectively. I worry that the same thing may be happening in veterinary medicine. The VCPR is the foundation of good medical care for your pet. You can still find a veterinarian who will serve all of your needs. A good VCPR allows you to have peace of mind, in that you benefit from a patient advocate who has been professionally trained. And you will sleep better at night knowing that there is someone there for you and your family members.