Why Your Veterinarian May Not Want Kids in the Exam Room

Girl and family at vet

Following a recent bad experience with an unruly, under-supervised child, I decided to take an informal poll of my veterinary friends on Facebook: “How many of you allow kids in the exam room?”

The answer surprised me.

It turns out that, while most of us don’t have a hard and fast policy, plenty of veterinarians don’t want kids anywhere near their exam rooms.

And I can definitely see why, based on the experiences that I've had.

Kids Who've Tested This Veterinarian's Patience

Scenario #1: While a bored parent messages someone on her cellphone, her child takes to opening and closing cabinet doors, riffling through drawers and examining my pockets for their contents. I don’t know enough about child psychology to say for sure, but I was set on my diagnosis nonetheless: dismal parenting skills.

Scenario #2: While his legs dangle from an exam room chair, a super-bored kid gleefully kicks his dog with increasing force. Me: “I’m sure that you don’t want to hurt your dog, right? Why don’t we stop doing that so we can finish up?” Him: “But he likes it!”

Scenario #3: One kid actually took the stethoscope out of my hands, as I was listening to his pet’s heart, and yelled into it. I swear that my hearing has never been the same since. That child truly did have something bad happening in his head, based on how mortified his mother was — and how willing she was to apologize.

Scenario #4: Then there's the kid who won’t stop putting her hands all over her pet — even as he’s being poked, prodded and stressed out to the point of possibly snapping. Most kids will listen when you explain to them why they shouldn’t be touching a pet at that exact moment, but others prefer to challenge authority at their own peril.


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