Vet Blog

Why Can't a Veterinarian Diagnose My Pet Over the Phone?

October 30, 2017

As a veterinary receptionist, we are constantly asked to give medical advice over the phone or be transferred to a doctor who also insists to give medical advice over the phone.

There are several reasons why this is not what's best for the pet and can sometimes even harm your pet. Often clients get angry for not immediately answering their questions over the phone. Here are a few reasons why asking your veterinarian for medical advice for your pet over the phone is a bad idea for you and your pet.

Besides being unethical and illegal to prescribe medications over the phone. Veterinarians can't accurately diagnose or treat a pet without a physical exam.

A doctor-patient relationship is required in order to prescribe medications legally. If a veterinarian has never seen a patient before, it is illegal to prescribe medication to that pet. The only way for the veterinarian to accurately prescribe medications to a pet is to complete a physical exam on a patient.

Many diseases have the same symptoms but require different treatment.

Coughing, sneezing, vomiting, diarrhea? Those are all different symptoms that could mean different things for different pets. A thorough patient history, a thorough physical exam, and sometimes diagnostics are required in order to know what a patient is sick with and how they should be treated medically. That just cannot be done over the phone.

To determine the cause of the symptoms and ensure the best outcome, doctors need to examine the pet in person and sometimes perform diagnostic testing.

We can't perform X-rays or bloodwork over the phone. Sometimes diagnostics are required to find out what is wrong with a pet. It is important to bring in a patient in person to find out what is wrong.

Treating a pet for the wrong disease will cost more in the end and could be harmful or even deadly to your pet.

If a patient is treated incorrectly by just being treated for symptoms without an accurate diagnosis, this can be dangerous for the patient. A doctor must perform an exam in order to find out what is wrong first otherwise the patient could be treated incorrectly!

When pets are due for vaccines the doctor has to do an exam to make sure your pet is healthy enough to receive the vaccines.

We do not vaccinate sick pets! If your pet has a fever or is not feeling well then the doctor will not be ok with vaccinating that pet. A physical exam is required to find out if your pet is sick or not.

We are not out to try to steal your money when we tell you that your pet has to come in for an exam. I promise you that we only have your pet's best interest in mind when we ask you to bring your pet to us to be seen.

Broadway Veterinary Hospital loves your pet!

Now accepting new clients!

New Client Special - $35 off new client exam fees.