Your Relationship with Your Client
The Veterinarian-Client-Patient Relationship (VCPR) is the foundation of effective veterinary medicine and animal care.
The relationship is focused on the well-being of the animal, or group of animals, with each of the parties sharing responsibilities and enjoying benefits. The VCPR represents a formal long-term relationship between you as the veterinarian and your client centered around the client’s animal(s).
The VCPR is a conversation, not a consent form.
Effective communication is a central aspect of the successful delivery of veterinary medicine. You need to have sufficient and recent knowledge of the animal(s) to provide diagnosis, medications and treatment plans. You present options, the course and cost of treatment, and the expectations for outcome to help ensure your client fully understands the issues and accepts the advice you provide. As a responsible animal owner, your client has peace of mind when he/she has confidence in your advice and recommendations.
With a strong Veterinarian-Client-Patient Relationship, your client’s animal benefits as the recipient of competent care and appropriate medications and treatment. In order for a veterinarian to prescribe and dispense medications for an animal, you must have sufficient and recent working knowledge of the animal, obtained through an examination. This examination provides you with important information which helps to protect the animal from adverse drug reactions. Details of the findings in the animal’s examination are documented in the medical record which follows the animal throughout his/her life.
Ensure you and your client have a strong relationship - it’s the responsible thing to do!
In an established relationship with your client:
- You, as a veterinarian, know your client and has sufficient and recent working knowledge of the animal
- Your client has confidence in your advice and recommendations
- The animal benefits from competent care and appropriate medication and treatment
What to Expect from Your Client
When a member of the public seeks veterinary services, he or she expects you to provide safe, ethical, quality care from a qualified professional who is licensed with the College of Veterinarians of Ontario.
As you know, every veterinarian practising in Ontario must meet the College's requirements for entry into the profession. The College’s programs and standards support quality and safety in the delivery of veterinary medicine.
As a veterinarian, you are accountable to the College for the quality of care you provide and your professional conduct. Only individuals who are licensed with the College are able to call themselves veterinarians and practise veterinary medicine.
Information to Share with a Client
- Your practice background
- Your clinic's hours and services
- How your client accesses after-hours and emergency care
- How the client should contact you (phone, text, or email) with non-urgent questions
- Individuals involved in your animal health care team
- Areas of special interest in veterinary medicine
- How you will work with the client when establishing an approach to treatment
- How you provide client education
- How you will help the client understand costs of care for the animal, or group of animals
- How you access specialists in situations where a referral may occur