Posted on April 18, 2016
Second Opinions With Specialists: No Obligation Beyond the Consultation
I’m a huge fan of second opinions, whether for ourselves or for our four-legged family members. And, in my mind, no better source for second opinions than doctors who have expanded their education within a particular specialty. In the world of veterinary medicine there’s quite the roster of specialists to choose from including: internists, surgeons, dermatologists, ophthalmologists, cardiologists, neurologists, and the list goes on and on.
Resistance to consulting with a specialist
Why are some people reluctant to consult with a veterinary specialist when there’s clear need for a second opinion? In some cases, it boils down to the hassle factor. It can be time consuming and a bit of a shlep to get to the specialist who may be located in another city or even another state.
Resistance to getting a second opinion from a specialist may also stem from the belief that, once one sets foot inside the specialty hospital, there will be no going back to the family veterinarian. Additionally, whatever happens with the specialist will be uber expensive because of all the testing, procedures, and possibly even surgery. In fact, nothing could be further from the truth. There is absolutely ZERO obligation or commitment to the specialist beyond the consultation.
What can be gained from the consultation alone?
All by itself, a consultation with a specialist has the potential to provide a wealth of benefits including a better understanding of:
– Whether or not you’ve been on the right track in terms of diagnosing and/or treating your pet’s problem.
– The disease your pet has.
– All of the diagnostic options.
– All of the treatment options.
– Why your pet is not improving as expected or getting worse.
– Your pet’s prognosis.
Here’s the bottom line. If your gut is telling you, “Maybe I should get a second opinion,” I strongly encourage you to obtain a consultation with a veterinary specialist. Even if the news about your pet isn’t good, guaranteed you will walk away with greater peace of mind.
Have you ever taken one of your pets to a specialist for a second opinion? If so, did it prove to be helpful?
Nancy Kay, DVM
Diplomate, American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine
Author of Speaking for Spot: Be the Advocate Your Dog Needs to Live a Happy, Healthy, Longer Life
Author of Your Dog’s Best Health: A Dozen Reasonable Things to Expect From Your Vet
Recipient, Leo K. Bustad Companion Animal Veterinarian of the Year Award
Recipient, American Animal Hospital Association Animal Welfare and Humane Ethics Award
Recipient, Dog Writers Association of America Award for Best Blog
Recipient, Eukanuba Canine Health Award
Recipient, AKC Club Publication Excellence Award
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Please visit http://www.speakingforspot.com to read excerpts from Speaking for Spot and Your Dog’s Best Health. There you will also find “Advocacy Aids”- helpful health forms you can download and use for your own dog, and a collection of published articles on advocating for your pet’s health. Speaking for Spot and Your Dog’s Best Health are available at www.speakingforspot.com, Amazon.com, local bookstores, and your favorite online book seller.