Why Your Vet May Take Your Pet to the Back Room for an Exam

Vet exam room
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When I’m not on the road for Good Morning America, on a book tour or speaking at a veterinary conference, I work at one of the two veterinary hospitals not far from our Idaho home. I used to own veterinary hospitals, but after I started working full time in media, I stopped practicing for a few years. I missed it, though, and I was delighted to find two top-notch hospitals (North Idaho Animal Hospital in Sand Point and Lakewood Animal Hospital in Coeur D’Alene) that were happy to have me as a colleague when I have time to practice. I love being back in the trenches!

Why We Leave You in the Waiting Room

Recently, I have been helping both of these hospitals refine their mission statements. At North Idaho Animal Hospital, they developed not only a new mission statement but also a very good motto: “We practice as if you're always right there.”

I was thinking about that the other day when someone asked me why it’s routine for veterinarians to take animals "in the back," without an owner, when we need to treat them. I’m sure you know we’re not hiding anything, but do you know why we practice this way? There are some good — and simple — reasons.

Less stress for you, for your pet — and for us. Your pet may actually be much more difficult (or even dangerous) to handle in your presence, either because he’s trying to protect you or is sensing your concern for him. For many pets, getting away from Mom or Dad and being handled by a confident, experienced, animal-loving veterinary technician means getting the procedure done faster and with less stress for everyone. This is especially true if needles or medical procedures gross you out or make you lightheaded!

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