The veterinary-client-patient-relationship (VCPR) is the essential basis for interaction among veterinarians, their client, and their patients, and is critical to providing quality veterinary care. AAHA defines VCPR to require all of the following:
- The veterinarian has assumed responsibility for making all medical judgements regarding the health of the patient and the need for medical treatment, and the client (owner or caretaker) has agreed to comply with the veterinarian’s instructions.
- The veterinarian has sufficient knowledge of the patient to initiate at least a general or preliminary diagnosis of its medical condition. This means that the veterinarian has examined the patient within the past 12 months, or more recently as dictated by the age or medical condition of the patient.
- The veterinarian is available for ongoing care of the patient or has arranged for emergency coverage or continuing care and treatment of the animal by an appropriate veterinary professional.
- The veterinarian complete and legible medical records, including assessment and treatment plan, in such a way that another veterinarian will be able to proceed with the continuity of care and treatment of that patient.
Why is this important?
- VCPR exists when the veterinarian has a “working understanding” of your pet. Examples:
o What is “healthy” and “normal” for your pet?
o What are the “unusual” signs that may indicate that something is wrong?
o Understanding of each pet’s medical history.
o Are there any drugs that a patient may have an adverse reaction to in the past?
- How is VCPR established and maintained?
o VCPR can only be established when a complete physical exam in done.
o VCPR is maintained by regular annual veterinary visits to monitor health and any changes.
o Without annual physical exams to monitor health, it is illegal and unethical for a veterinarian to dispense or prescribe medications or recommend treatment.
o VCPR cannot be established online or over the phone or social media. Once a physical exam is done, VCPR can be maintained with communication via phone or email with frequent or existing conditions. Remember that this is ALWAYS at the discretion of the doctor.
- Why is VCPR so important?
o It is required, by law, in the State of New Mexico.
o In order for a veterinarian to diagnose or treat you pet, or prescribe or dispense medications, a VCPR must be in effect according to the state’s Veterinary Practice Act.
o It is the best thing for your pet’s health! So many things can change in a short amount of time in an animal’s life.
What does “my” veterinarian offer that an online source or vaccine clinic can’t match? Your veterinarian gets to know you and your pet. This is critical to keeping your pet healthy. A customized preventative health care plan will be made for each pet. At Valley Vet a doctor will always be available on an EMERGENCY basis for your pet.