How To Talk To Your Vet?

Pharmaceutical company has suggestions for better communication between pet owners and their veterinarian.

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As part of a recently launched initiative to improve communications, including disclosure of potential treatment risks, between veterinarians and pet owners, Pfizer Animal Health is emphasizing pet owners responsibilities when it comes to medicating their animals.

The company is also working with veterinarians to teach them to be more open about discussing potential medication risks, including sponsoring day-long workshops with communications experts. These workshops are designed to help veterinarians talk with pet owners, instead of to them.

Conversely, Pfizer recommends pet owners become actively involved in the treatment process by asking veterinarians questions about prescribed medicines, for example, about how to tell if a medication is working and how to react to potential side effects.

Specific questions to ask include:

  • When should my pet receive medication?
  • How many times a day should this prescription be given, and what's the ideal interval?
  • What's the correct dosage to be given each time?
  • Are there any special instructions for giving this medication, for example, with or without food or how to administer?
  • Are there any precautions I should be aware of?
  • How will this medication affect my pet?
  • What changes can I expect to see?
  • What should I do if I don't see any improvement?
  • How can I identify any potential side effects, and what should I do if they occur.

Pfizer has also rewritten information sheets for some of its widely prescribed medications to make them easier to understand. However, the company urges both veterinarians and pet owners not to use these sheets as a substitute for discussing the medications.

Posted: March 17, 2006, 3 p.m. EST

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