One of the equipment I similar to to do with regard to any dog physical condition issues is learn as a great deal as I can by doing internet research. This helps me to make better comments of my dogs to account back to the vet. That piece of writing points out that the proprietor and the vet are very much "teammates" in the dog's health care and I have found vets appreciate an educated, aware, owner.
all the tips above are great but i have found that even though your dog may let you examine it at home doesnt mean it will le the vet. my little one is great we can do anything. the vet can do just about anything except for the other week when he was in pain. my loving little dog turned into the dog from hell when the vet tried to get a look even us at home couldnt look. so although you may have the best dog in the world and the vet knows your dog there is always the odd time when the dog will not be happy at all and won't let anyone near it. i have a muzzle for both my dogs that we take along to the vets just incase there is an instance we may need it. also if you live near your vet it is a good idea to take them for a walk through. we walk up to the vets get a biscuit from the receptionist and sit them on thescales (that are in the waiting area) then walk out again. the dog then knows that its not all bad when you go in there.
I really need to add something here. For the sake of your dogs, take all advice with a grain of salt. No matter how much your veterinarian cares about the health and well being of your dog, he is a prisoner of economic reality and is probably paying back student loans and running a business. His health recommendations may not agree with your own philosophy. Consider Rimadyl, a NSAID heavily pushed by Pfizer (they gave all sorts of bonuses for clinics that sold their product). We now know that Rimadyl causes some cartilage degeneration and liver problems in some dogs. Would a natural therapy not be best? Well, maybe, but the clinic will make no profit out of the natural therapy (like massage, hydrotherapy, etc.)
Do not accept what you are told without thinking.
When we have a vet appt coming up, I always pack a bag of things i might need... Paper and pen to take notes, a list of questions I have, a binder that has all of my dog info in it, a couple of toys to keep my dog entertained while waiting, some treats, a dog water bottle, poopy bags, collar and leash... And what ever else I may think of
I try to keep every vet visit as positive as possible! my dogs love going to the vet, but they are Cavaliers, so I don't know if it really counts....
Apart from any accidents, my dogs usually only visit the vet once or twice a year for vaccinations and a check up, meaning that we bring them all together.
One thing that is key for us (and probably other owners of multiple dogs) to have a successful visit is for all dogs to be able to see each other at all times. I've noticed over the years with my dogs that if one is lifted onto the table the others will get very stressed if they can't see their friend. The same thing happens if one has to leave the room.
I know this thread is old, but since it is a sticky I hope it is ok for me to add something here!
I work in a vet clinic in the reception area and one of the things that I see happen ALL the time is people come in with a sick or injured dog in an unplanned visit and they are short of money which is understandable- but before the vet does anything you should mention it if you are short on funds. In a lot of situations there is an ideal treatment and a bare basics kind of treatment and if the vet knows that you are short on funds they can come up with budget friendly options if at all possible! Which is better than coming out at the end of your visit to a bill way bigger than you wanted.
Getting the most out of a veterinary visit is much more involved than meets the eye. It does start with finding a great veterinarian. But being prepared to ask and answer important questions is essential. It is also important to stand up for one's dog.
Does a veterinarian know one's dog better than themselves? That depends. There are things that even the best meaning parent can miss--things that happen gradually rather than acutely. Things that come on slowly are often under the radar. It is important to distinguish between normal and "new normal." A good veterinarian might notice a dog becoming overweight, being in chronic pain or having other chronic, progressive issues simply because they see them infrequently.
On the other hand, they ought to take dog parents' concerns equally seriously. There are many symptoms that are either intermittent or simply won't show up at the clinic because of an increased adrelanine. Limping and other pain behaviors may disappear during the visit.
That's why it's also important to try and film such things.