11 Rules for Texting Your Vet (and Why This Veterinarian Prefers It)

Texting on Cell Phone
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I know it’s considered unconventional, but I’m a big fan of my clients sending me texts — and not just those clients I consider close friends.  

“Dr k i know ur not in tdy but lolas eye isnt bettr chk out this pic!” is a daily occurrence, whether I’m at work or hanging out in my backyard on the weekend.

Though it might seem intrusive, here’s the thing: I prefer it. Not only will I be returning a message ten times faster than I might via more conventional modes of contact, it’s got other pluses, too: The telephone is to social media what snail mail is to email. To me, calls seem sluggish and intrusive by comparison. What can I say? I don’t have the patience for the phone (though my clients still seem to prefer it).

Moreover, putting something in writing makes for a digital paper trail. And somehow it seems more concrete, intelligible, indelible and comfortable for everyone — especially when it comes to legal records.

Think Before You Text

Still, that doesn’t mean that you should ask your veterinarian for her number and text her willy nilly. No way! Here are some simple rules for anyone who wants to text their veterinarian. 

1. Let your vet make the offer. Don’t assume your veterinarian wants you texting her. Wait until she offers. And follow her rules, not just those offered here.

2. A text should never take the place of a veterinary exam. If you have a new health concern about your pet, schedule an exam. Texts are more appropriate if you have questions about an existing condition or treatment.

3. Identify yourself when you text. Your veterinarian probably doesn't have you in her list of contacts — not if it’s the first time (or even the third) that you’ve texted her. Identify yourself and the pet in question. (Example:

Do: “This is Karin Fernandez with Goldie.”

4. Keep it simple (and short). Get to the point. Long messages are usually unnecessary.

Do: “This is Karin Fernandez with Goldie. She’s still vomiting. Should we plan on seeing you in the AM or head over to the ER tonight?”

5. Text only once. Don’t send multiple messages if it’s not necessary.

Do: “This is Karin Fernandez with Goldie. She’s still vomiting. Should we plan on seeing you in the AM or head over to the ER tonite?”

Don’t: “This is Karin Fernandez with Goldie.”

Message 2: “She’s still vomiting.”

Message 3: “Should we plan on seeing you in the AM or head over to the ER tonight?”

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