You and Your Veterinarian

How to make the most of the partnership

By Rebecca Sweat

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CAT FANCY

You and your veterinarian are partners. Together you work toward the same goals: a healthy pet, quick diagnoses and effective medical treatments. Whether you meet your objectives is determined to a great degree by how well you work with the veterinarian and his or her staff. As a pet owner, you can either make or break the partnership with your veterinarian by what you do or don't do.

"A close working relationship between the owner and veterinarian is essential," says Peter Soboroff, DVM, owner of a cat hospital in New York. "Although your veterinarian can help diagnose problems and personally address many of them, much of the important, longer-term work often falls on the shoulders of the client — compliance with medication administration, diet and exercise recommendations, long-term behavioral modification, etc."

Soboroff says the key to a successful partnership with your veterinarian is two-way communication. "Without fluid, clear, and regular communication, much of the pet's treatment plan will be lost or inadequately implemented," he says, adding that if one person does most of the talking, it will result in frustration and could negatively impact the cat's treatment plan.

In a healthy relationship, both parties are learning from each other, he adds. The pet owner becomes more educated in health maintenance and animal diseases, and the veterinarian becomes more accustomed to that particular animal.

Your cat is counting on you and your veterinarian working as a team to take care of health problems when they occur. Here are some specific actions you can take to improve communication and strengthen the partnership with your veterinarian.

**Get the January 2012 issue of CAT FANCY to read the full article or click here to purchase a PDF version.**
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