Does My Pet Really Need All Those Tests?
Whenever I meet a new client who expresses disappointment with their previous veterinarian, I try to take a few minutes to find out what caused them to seek care elsewhere. Perhaps the most common source of frustration is the client’s perception of “too many tests”. A blood test for this, a blood test for that, multiple x-rays, ultrasounds - and those are just the tools of the general practitioner. Board certified specialists routinely order MRI’s and CT scans. A client can spend thousands of dollars before diagnosis and treatment is even discussed.
Every pet is unique, and tests may be recommended for any number of reasons. Sometimes it is a matter of law that dictates the standard of care. Some tests are used to diagnose a condition, while others are used to rule them out. My personal creed with regards to diagnostics is that I never run a test unless I think it might change my treatment plan. I will not run a test out of mere curiosity unless I’m willing to pay for it myself. Occasionally, I will do just that and chalk it up to continuing education. But it’s MY continuing education, and clients should not have to fund that. If you are not convinced a test is needed, ask your vet to explain how said test might change the treatment plan. It is a perfectly fair and reasonable question, and will likely open the lines for more effective communication.
Leah prepares for her CT scan