Just Ask Dr. South !

Ask questions...

Everyday, people take their beloved pets to the veterinarian. Everyday, routine, specialized, or emergency services are provided to these pets. And everyday, the client will leave the veterinarian without any clue as to what services have been performed and why.

Veterinarians are scientists by profession and, as such, take many, many, and many scientific and technical classes. After 7 or 8 years of schooling, this leaks in to the veterinary brain as normal and rote. Veterinarians, though, are also, by and large, a compassionate group who strive to provide the best care for your pets. As the veterinarian wants to help they will sometimes run through explaining what tests and treatment are necessary as if the client knows what all this technical jargon means. And, more times than not, this is not the case.

This is the time and opportunity for the client to say, “Whoa, whoa, whoa...let's slow down doctor and start over”. Realize that it is OK to ask questions. We no longer live in an era where asking the doctor questions is “not done”. Obviously, the society-at-large has taken political correctness to the extreme, but this area does require a bit of a paradigm shift. Whenever any health professional is discussing a diagnostic or treatment plan regarding your health or the health of another family member (furry ones included), stop and ask questions if anything is unclear. If the health care professional is reasonable and compassionate, they will address any questions or concerns you may have. You would never leave your own medical doctor's office not knowing exactly what tests and treatments were being provided for you or your human family member. Take the same approach with your furry family member, as well.

As a veterinarian, I am as “guilty” as anyone with making my discussions with clients about their pets very complete, but very technical at times. From the veterinarian's point of view, though, if the client does not ask questions, we will think that they are following us completely. Ask questions. What is this test for and why do you think it is necessary for my pet's care? Why do you think radiographs and an ultrasound are required to assess my pet's condition? Why are you recommending surgery instead of a medical alternative for my pet's problem? Why should I do lab work today for this problem when we just did lab work 6 months ago and everything was normal?

The veterinarian wants, ultimately, what is the best care for your pet. They will certainly explain everything that they feel needs to be done. Sometimes, what you may think is excessive is actually necessary to provide optimal care for your pet. Asking the questions will help for you to understand the thinking behind your veterinarian's recommendations.

Asking questions improves the quality of every veterinary visit. It leads to fewer misunderstanding and bad feelings. It leads to better camaraderie between the client and the veterinarian and, hopefully, to a healthy and happy pet.

Thank you for taking the time to read this and if you want to ask me any questions, I am available from 8:30 am to 5:30 pm, Monday through Friday and Saturday from 8:30 am to 12:30 pm by calling (561) 626-1233 or anytime at mpsvet@att.net or (561) 644-2293.

Town & Country Animal Hospital


8:30 am-5:30 pm


8:30 am-5:30 pm


8:30 am-5:30 pm


8:30 am-5:30 pm


8:30 am-5:30 pm


8:30 am-12:30 pm