One of the most important responsibilities of a pet parent is establishing a trusting relationship with a quality health care provider for your dog. Open communication is essential with any veterinarian, but if you feel like your questions are not being addressed, please don’t hesitate to find a new doctor for your furry friend.
Please note, according to the American Veterinary Medical Association, the laws regarding patient veterinary records vary in each state. For a summary of state laws that govern the release of patient veterinary records, visit AVMA online.
When Should I Look for a New Vet for My Dog?
Guardians seek out new vets for a variety of reasons, including a recent move, more competitive prices and services, concerns about a current vet’s quality of care or treatment for a pet’s specific health problem. Before the transition, however, it’s essential to get a complete copy of your dog’s health records for your new veterinarian.
What Items Should Be Included in My Dog’s Health Records?
You’re entitled to a complete copy of your dog’s records, including his medical file, exam and test results and treatment sheets if he’s been hospitalized. When you receive records from your old vet, check for the following pages:
- A thorough medical history, including the outcome of each visit
- A description of all surgeries
- Treatment sheets and daily progress reports for all hospital stays
- A history of prescribed medications, including dose and duration of treatment
- All test results, including blood tests, radiographs and ultrasound exams
How Do I Know if Something’s Missing from My Dog’s Records?
If possible, try to visit your old practice in person and request to see your dog’s original file. Make a note of each page, so when you request future copies—either in person or over the phone—you’ll know exactly what to expect. Most practices will fax or mail a copy of your dog’s records directly to your new vet practice. To avoid confusion, however, it’s smart to confirm the receipt of all materials prior to your first appointment with your new vet.
What If My New Vet Doesn’t Understand Something in My Dog’s Records?
Your new vet should feel free to contact your old vet if he or she has any questions about past treatment methods. If you still have reservations, please call your former vet to clarify any confusion and ensure proper care for your dog.