Keeping Your Pet Healthy: Understanding The Veterinary-Client-Patient-Relationship

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Clinic Update: We are now open from Monday to Friday from 8 am – 5pm and closed on weekends and holidays. We are also able to offer full services again, so please contact us for appointments and questions.

The Veterinary-Client-Patient-Relationship (VCPR) is the Professional Practice Standard set by The College of Veterinarians of Ontario (CVO). Veterinarians across the province are required to uphold this standard.

This professional standard, in effect, means that our veterinary practice is required to have a relationship with you, the client, and your pet, before making any recommendations.

The standard explicitly states that “A VCPR must exist before a veterinarian recommends or provides any veterinary services.”

This blog will help you better understand the VCPR and why this standard is important.

What’s expected of veterinary practices

Veterinary practices are expected to establish a Veterinary-Client-Patient-Relationship with every patient they see.

A VCPR exists “When your veterinarian knows your pet well enough to be able to diagnose and treat any medical conditions your animal develops.”

If you are interested in learning more about the specific requirements veterinarians must meet, here are the six parts involved in the Professional Practice Standard:

  1. Establishes a VCPR prior to recommending and/or providing treatment or veterinary services
  2. Understands that a VCPR is established when the veterinarian:
    • Has been retained by the client
    • Has reached an agreement with the client as to the scope of the services to be provided by the veterinarian
    • Has advised the client that services will only be provided in accordance with the standards of practice of the profession
  3. Obtains the client’s informed consent for each service or group of services to be provided
  4. Maintains recent and sufficient knowledge of an animal or group of animals or herd to continue to provide veterinary services
  5. Ensures that the owner(s) is readily available in case of an adverse reaction to a drug or a failure in a regimen of therapy
  6. Provides a client with adequate written notice of the termination of a VCPR, allowing the client a reasonable amount of time in which to arrange for care with another veterinarian

Being denied medication

Establishing a VCPR is important, without it, your pet may be denied medication. Sometimes, people are taken aback by this.

“What do you mean I can’t have that prescription?” they ask. “It’s just for my pet’s diarrhoea.”

There is a very good reason why a pet owner might be denied even the most rudimentary medication:

  1. We’ve never met their pet before
  2. We haven’t seen that pet in over a year

Point to consider: What if your pet is on another medication that you forget to disclose and has a negative reaction to a medication we prescribe without an adequate VCPR?

To continue serving our existing clients, we need to continually be in accordance with what’s outlined in the VCPR. This, among other important reasons, is why regular checkups for your pet is important to its overall health.

How to develop a VCPR

To make sure you never run into a situation where your pet is denied services or medication by a veterinarian, contact our office to book a time for a physical examination for your pet, provide us with your contact information, and when you visit, provide us with your pet’s past records (medical or otherwise).

Establishing a Veterinary-Client-Patient-Relationship for your pet is as important as having a family doctor is for your family. If you have any questions about the VCPR or your pet’s health, we’re here to help.

Contact Woodbine Animal Clinic for more information.

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