Worth the Wait: Behind the Scenes About Wait Time at the Vet

Wait time at the vet may be used to meet new and exciting people.We know that your time is valuable. At Rocklin Ranch Veterinary Hospital, we also know that your pets are your world.

When you visit our hospital, we do our best to get you in as close to your scheduled appointment time as possible. Sometimes, though, life happens and we can run a bit behind. We wanted to take some time to share with you why these delays sometimes happen in an animal hospital, and what you can do to help.

Wait Time at the Vet Explained

Many times when we are running 5-10 minutes behind schedule, we are met with Grumpy Cats. We can assure you, if we are a bit backlogged, it isn’t because we are enjoying an extra long lunch break, rather we are behind because we are helping someone else’s pet.

We are always doing our best to get to you as quickly as possible, but there are some legitimate and unpredictable circumstances that can lead to a delay.

  • Someone else was late. While an extremely late client will be asked to reschedule, a few minutes may be overlooked. That said, our excellent doctors are in high demand and their schedules tightly booked. Even a few minutes can start a delay down the line.
  • A patient needed extra time. Maybe it’s an extremely nervous poodle who required a few extra minutes to calm down and trust us, or an unexpected and painful torn toenail discovered during an ear infection that requires sedation to fix. Taking the time to help these patients can be a set back the schedule, but doing our best to help each pet is our ongoing goal.
  • There was a legitimate veterinary emergency. No one schedules their dog to get hit by a car or their cat to get into a toxic substance requiring emergency care. These cases fly to the top of our to do list no matter when they happen. When a pet’s life is in the balance, we simply can’t afford to wait.
  • Some things can’t be rushed. Perhaps we are having to help a client make end of life decisions for their pet, breaking the news that a patient has cancer, or trying to help guide someone through a difficult decision about how to proceed with diagnostics. These are situations that sometimes take a little longer than we have allowed for in our schedule.

When we realize that we are going to be a bit behind schedule, we do our best to communicate with our other clients what the situation may be. We are always happy to arrange a drop off for your pet or reschedule if necessary. Chances are, though, that if you can grant us a little patience, we can get to helping you and your pet not too far off of your scheduled time.

What You Can Do to Help

No, you can’t make everyone else in the world on time and considerate, but you can do some things to help us help you in a more timely manner. Your fellow veterinary clients will also appreciate your efforts.

  • Show up a few minutes early for your scheduled appointment so that we can get you checked in without delay. This helps our day go more smoothly as well.
  • Bring along any medications your pet is taking as well as a copy of any medical records from other facilities that you may have. Better yet, email them to us ahead of time. This helps us to more clearly identify what your pet needs more quickly.
  • Be sure that the person bringing the pet to the appointment knows the details about what is going on with the animal and is able to make decisions. Much time is wasted playing phone tag with someone who isn’t present but holds the information and decision-making power that we need to proceed.
  • Let us know right away if you have time constraints. Tell us when you schedule your pet’s appointment as well as when you arrive if you need to leave by a specific time so that we can do our best to accommodate your needs.
  • If you have an emergency, if at all possible call us to let us know you are coming. This helps us to not only prepare for your pet’s arrival, but it can also help us to make scheduling adjustments before we get behind.
  • Don’t just show up. Walk-in clients aren’t accounted for in our scheduling and can really throw a wrench in the rest of the day. If you call, chance are that we can suggest a time that will minimize both your wait time and impact on our other scheduled clients.

Lastly, we ask that you please show a little grace when it comes to waiting a few extra minutes in our office. Many days we run right on time, but on the occasions we are not there is usually a very good reason. We hope that with this information that you have a better understanding about what that reason might be.

We promise to give each of our patients our full attention and the care they deserve, even if we walk into the exam room ten minutes later than anticipated. We also promise that if someday you are in the shoes of the client needing some extra time to say goodbye or some support during a difficult decision, we will show you the same care that sometimes delays the schedule. After all, the schedule is important, but it doesn’t dictate the compassion, empathy, and quality of care that we strive to bring to each and every one of our patients.