1. Have records from your previous veterinarian. We'd like Doctors notes, lab results, x-rays if any and a list of all medications. This is especially important for second opinions.
2. Keep track of how long problem has been going on, how often and what also happens. Also a list of possible toxins they have access to would be helpful. Toxins like antifreeze, fertilizer, insecticides, chocolate, raisins, onions, tylenol, etc.
3. What your dog or cat eats: brand name, table scraps, treats, etc. We'd also like to know how much Fifi eats. Some pet foods have more calories than others. Quincy, a cocker, was hardly eating anything but once we looked at her food we found that the cup of food she was eating contained 3 times as many calories as she needed. Quincy currently weighs 56 pounds. We hope to get her down to her ideal weight of 30# +/- in the next 8 months. Perhaps after that her joints won't ache so much.
4. We'd like really like to know the Date of Birth, Breed (labrador, german shepherd, persian, etc), Sex, if they've been Neutered or Spayed, Date of last vaccinations, if they've completed their puppy/kitten series by six months. If they've had a Rabies vaccination (to do at 12 weeks in Nebraska). Exams only tell us so much. Your pets' history can help us get to the cause of the problem.
5. If you are new, come early so you can fill out paperwork. Your even welcome to stop in a day or two before so Fido can get to meet us without being poked and prodded.
6. Keep your dog on a 4-6 foot leash, your cat in a carrier. The last thing we need is to suture up bite wounds from animal fights.
7. Feel free to take notes. If not, ask for more information. We have a supply of printable documents on the most common problems.
8. Expect to pay for services in full. If you don't have that kind of money, feel free to pre-pay on your account. $20 per month can get a Spay surgery paid for in 6 months. As one tech put it on the messageboards "We are an excellent clinic but a very poor bank."
9. Bring in your new puppy/kitten within a week. We can check for genetic problems like hip dysplasia, heart murmurs, infection (cats are very good at hiding an illness), diseases like feline leukemia that can be passed from mother to kitten through the placenta, and for internal and external parasites (it really isn't fun to bring home a new pet that has fleas and then passes them to all your other pets).
10. Thank your veterinarian and their staff. We appreciate all you do for the creatures of this world. I think maybe you would all understand better what we do if you could spend a day with us like the kids do on career day doing their job shadow.