When and How To Get A Second Veterinary Opinion for Your Dog
If your dog is diagnosed with an uncommon or serious illness, your stress levels will increase and you will want to be absolutely sure that the diagnosis is correct. Your first port of call may be the internet, but Dr Google isn’t always right and you may find yourself becoming more anxious at the results of your internet searches.
Under these circumstances, it’s a much better idea to seek a second opinion from another qualified veterinarian. They can physically examine your dog, look at his test results and come to an independent diagnosis.
A second opinion can also be useful if your vet recommends expensive or invasive treatment. Having your dog examined by a fresh pair of eyes will give you confidence that the suggested treatment will result in the best outcome for your much loved canine companion. By doing this, your decision to invest in that treatment can be validated, or you may decide to choose another way of managing his condition.
If you decide to have your dog examined by another veterinarian, you’ll need your dog’s records. Your vet shouldn’t be offended if you ask for a copy – seeking a second opinion is a common practice and there’s no need to hide your intentions.
Finding another vet to look at your dog won’t be difficult, but you’ll need to find one you are comfortable with. Some people ask their initial vet for recommendations. This may be uncomfortable for you, so ask your friends and family which veterinarian they take their pets to.
If your dog has a complicated condition, it’s nearly always better to get a second opinion from a specialist rather than a standard veterinary clinic. They will have more experience in treating challenging illnesses and may be able to give you a better idea of treatment options and outcomes. Your vet might offer a referral to a specialist without needing to be asked but if not, you’re well within your rights to ask for one. Finding a veterinary specialist to manage a specific disease or ailment can be difficult, so you may need to be prepared to travel further afield. A consultation with a specialist will also be more expensive than what you’d pay to see a general practitioner.
There are some downsides to getting a second opinion. The main one is the cost – you’ll need to pay initial fees as your dog is a new patient at the clinic. Any further tests will also add to your bill. It’s important to remember that there is a very good chance that your first vet’s diagnosis is correct, so be prepared to spend money and not be any further ahead in his treatment.
When your dog needs veterinary care and you need to be absolutely sure that the diagnosis and treatment plan are correct, a second opinion may give you the peace of mind that you seek. It’s a small price to pay to be confident that you’re doing the right thing for your dog.