What do you think about getting second opinions?

What do you think about getting second opinions?

Our question this week was:

Dr. Debra,

What you do think about getting second opinions?

Betty R. – Columbus, Ohio


Hi – thanks for your email. I am a total believer in second opinions. I think they are good for you and for your dog. Especially if you have questions or doubts or the problem can use the expertise of a specialist. Many veterinarians are excellent "GP" or general practitioners. It is hard to be the best person in the world for treating every disease. For example, if a dog has a congenital heart problem that could benefit form some advanced procedure with a cardiologist or at the nearest university, I think it is ideal for that dog to see a cardiologist. That is the best thing for the dog and the dog owner. They know their options 100%.

Other reasons to refer:

  • To see a specialist – someone that has advanced training in a particular area or condition that your pet has.
  • For specialized tests not available at your vets office. Some equipment e.g. the MRI or CT is very expensive and not in most veterinarians hospitals. Pets that would benefit from these procedures are often referred to a practice that does have these capabilities.
  • Advanced procedures or surgeries
  • Second opinion when no diagnosis is obvious or a pet is not responding to treatment– again a second person with a different set of experiences and access to different testing capabilities can be beneficial.

    An article that might be helpful to you is What is a Specialist?

    Best of luck!

    Dr. Debra

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