Choosing a Vet Based on Personality Type

By Dr . Joi Sutton|2016-12-29T16:09:09-05:00Updated: September 4th, 2014|Pet Care, Pet Newsletter|0 Comments
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This week my neighbor told me she was having a psychologist come in to her business to discuss personality types and how staff can better communicate with each other based on personality types. Years ago, when I worked at a veterinary practice that had 17 doctors, we did the same thing. It was fun and helpful. Also this week I had one of my favorite clients come in. She is a true heart and I enjoy the heck out of her and her cats. In fact, one of my vet techs suggested I write an article about her! Rather, I thought “choosing a vet based on personality type” would be a suitable topic for our ADW readers.

I don’t care if my clients are odd or unusual, so long as they care about their furry babies. I have a relatively high tolerance for oddballs. In fact, it usually means I have good stories to tell my friends when we are out to dinner! So long as my clients have a kind heart and sincerely try their best to care for Fluffy, I’ll put up with a little crazy. In fact, over the years I think some of my bosses have specifically scheduled some of their “unusual” clients during my shifts. It’s all good, so long as they care about the pet.

Does a vet’s personality type matter for folks with diabetic pets? Yes!

I tend to form strong bonds and friendships with many of my veterinary clients, especially my clients with diabetic pets. I’m an overly-chatty extrovert. I give my cell phone number out to all my clients so that they can text me after hours if they have an emergency. Long-term care situations (including chronic diseases such as diabetes) can occasionally present with an emergent situation. I’m not saying I’m going to meet my clients after hours. My emergency vet days are long past. There are lots of ER clinics in my area to see Fluffy at dark thirty. These days I rarely even see midnight. Still, provided I’m not asleep (as I prefer to be at night time), I’m pretty darned accessible to my clients. That’s my personality type.

I sometimes get emails from ADW clients who say their veterinarian doesn’t get back to them for days. Veterinarians run the gamut of personality types just as any group of people will. Some vets are shy or non-communicative. Some vets dread calling back clients after the receptionist leaves a note on their desk. Some vets may be better in person than on the phone. Being an animal lover doesn’t necessarily mean your veterinarian is a people person!

Veterinary clinics also affect how quickly a doctor can call a client. Some clinics are slow-paced and allow half hour appointment times. Other vet clinics book patients every 15 minutes – and may even double book doctors on top of that! I’ve worked in both types of clinics. There have been times at hopping clinics that I’ve barely had time to visit the ladies room or scarf down a PB&J sandwich before the day is done.

Does any of this matter to our ADW clients? I think it does. When you run a glucose curve and need to know how to act, you don’t want to wait days for guidance. If your pet has a hypoglycemic event, you will need to chat with your vet regarding immediate treatment. You need a vet who is part of your team! When I get emails from our clients telling me how difficult it is to speak with their doctors I think, “Find a doctor who is accessible to you”. If you are frustrated with delayed call back times, have a heart to heart conversation with your doctor. If that doesn’t work, consider working with a chattier vet at that same practice or even finding a doctor at another practice with better communication skills.

As a sports coach used to say when I was a kid, “If you want to win, you must first show up for the game.”

As always, I enjoy hearing from our readers and clients. You can email me at [email protected]. I get a lot of our article topics from questions by readers.

NOTE: Consult your veterinarian to confirm that my recommendations are applicable for the health needs of your pet.

About the Author: Dr . Joi Sutton

Dr. Joi Sutton is a 1993 graduate from Oregon State University. She has practiced both in emergency medicine and general practice. Dr. Sutton has done extensive international volunteer work though Veterinary Ventures, a nonprofit organization that takes teams of veterinarians to undeveloped countries for humane medical care. She also runs a small animal practice in South Florida. Connect with Dr. Joi on LinkedIn

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