BEST WAYS TO FIND A VET
Whether you just adopted a kitten or you’re moving to a new city, finding a vet who meets your needs is as important as selecting the right family physician. “The quality of the relationship and bond with your veterinarian is pretty important to feeling good about the health care that you’re getting,” says Dr. Darcy Shaw, chair of the department of companion animals at the Atlantic Veterinary College at the University of Prince Edward Island in Charlottetown. Here’s how to sniff out the best vet in the pack
Start searching for a vet as soon as possible. “Don’t wait until it’s an emergency,” says Dr. Kathleen Cavanagh, a veterinarian based in Ridgeville, Ont. Start by asking family, friends, dog walkers and neighbours where they take their pets. “You trust opinions from people that you know,” adds Shaw, so you can start visiting vets with extra confidence if they come recommended.
Visit the premises
Outside: Evaluate a clinic or hospital from the outside in. If the premises, such as location, accessibility or parking, are a concern, consider how the hassle will affect how often you visit the clinic. Survey the parking lot: are there any grassy areas where you can take your dog for a quick stop before or after an appointment? Is the parking lot so busy that you fear getting hit on the way into the hospital? Take out a notepad and keep track of pros and cons, starting with the outside environment. This list will grow as soon as you enter a facility
Inside: Assess the waiting room. Some clinics split their waiting rooms into canine and feline sections so that cats and dogs can’t see one another, which helps create a calmer environment. Note the number of people in the waiting room and ask about wait times, but be aware that a full waiting room could be the sign of multiple emergencies, not necessarily long waiting periods.
What are your qualifications? Choosing the right vet is like interviewing a candidate for any other service. You want to make sure the vet you choose meets your needs and those of your pet. Most vets will be proud to share their accomplishments and any special training they have received
How to Choose a Good Vet
Veterinary care is mandatory in your pet’s life. Whether it’s a cat, a dog, a parrot, rabbit, or an iguana. From the moment a new family member of any species arrives home, we should give them all the conditions they need to live happily beside us. Periodic visits to the vet are one of the key points of any animal’s health.
Each species requires specific care that can include de-worming, vaccinations or only periodic visits as preventative measures to ensure that all is well. Many carers only take their pet to the vet when the animal becomes sick. Don’t make this mistake. Even before adopting an animal you should look for a veterinarian.
Legalization of the clinic
This is undoubtedly point number 1. Unfortunately, there are many ‘fake vets”and clinics that are not legalized. The role of Justice is to detect these cases of fraud but all carers should be aware and conscious that these cases exist and may be closer than you think
Only a veterinary doctor that has had the required training and practice needed can perform medical acts with animals. Don’t take your dog to be vaccinated by the worker of the Pet shop, nor to your neighbor to get “cheap shots”. Cheap ends up being expensive and your animal’s health is priceless!
The question of the location of the clinic or veterinary hospital is relative. Ideally, a clinic near your home is the most indicated to avoid the stress of travelling with the animal and the time it takes to get to the clinic in case of emergency. However, driving a few extra miles may be worth it to receive better services. You will always have to assess the pros and cons.
Tips for Finding the Perfect Veterinarian
Choosing a veterinarian is a difficult but very important decision for the life long health of your pet. Check out these tips to help you find the perfect partner in keeping your best furry friend happy and healthy.
You’ve already had to make a lot of decisions with as a new pet owner – bed or crate? this pink collar or that blue harness? and don’t get me started about the hundreds of different kibbles and dog food out there! But one of the most important decisions as any new pet owner is to find the perfect veterinarian. Your veterinarian will become a life-long partner in the health of your pet so it is important to pick a great one as soon as you can!
Easy to Talk With and get a hold of
The most important thing you want in your veterinarian is someone you can talk to easily. You want someone that is kind, won’t make you feel stupid when you ask any questions, and that you can easily communicate to, and can easily communicate back. Some vets use a lot of medical jargon without realizing it, so make sure you can say “hey I don’t quite understand” and they will explain without making you feel inferior. Your dog’s health is on the line, so make sure you understand everything that is said to you. You should never be afraid to ask questions!
Word of Mouth + Visit
Word of mouth is the best way to find a vet. Ask your friends about who they like and why, check out Yelp reviews and definitely go there yourself to take a look before setting up an appointment. When support staff aren’t busy (and sometimes when they are!) they should be more than happy to answer any questions about the clinic, the general costs, and their policies and thoughts on animal care. They can’t give any medical advice, but the pleasantness of the conversation should be light and they shouldn’t be irritated about chatting with you – you are a potential new client, of course!
Good Support Staff
Although the veterinarian is very important, the support staff is just as important in making a clinic run smoothly and well. The support staff is who you will be meeting when you first arrive, and when you leave. They should be kind, courteous, knowledgable, and most importantly, not afraid to ask the vet! Sure there are times when I am pretty confident in what I know, but if it is something serious, I always ask the vet to double check. Nothing is more embarrassing than having the support staff say one thing, and the vet say another
How To Pick The Best Vet
I once got in a fight with a veterinarian while my dog, Sereno, lay in agony on an exam table. He had “bloated”—his stomach had twisted and filled with air. It was a deadly problem I’d seen many times as a vet tech, and I knew that if we didn’t release some of the air with a stomach tube or get him into surgery pronto, he was going to die
I was on vacation in rural West Virginia and had just driven 45 miles at top speed looking for a vet. This was the first clinic I saw: tiny, with a broken screen door and a hand-painted sign that said veterinarian. Sereno looked like he’d swallowed a beach ball, and when I tapped his stomach, it made the telltale pinging sound of a bloated dog. But the vet suggested a blood test to rule out kidney failure. I asked her to take an X-ray. She did—I saw what looked like unequivocal bloat on the film, but she wasn’t sure.
That’s when I lost it. I’d helped pump countless dogs’ stomachs as a tech—it’s tricky and takes more than one person, but at that point I was desperate. “Can I just have a stomach tube?” I snapped. “I’ll do it myself.”
We argued for several minutes. Finally, she grabbed a stomach tube and a huge syringe filled with a narcotic. She started injecting it, warning me that, given Sereno’s condition, the drugs could kill him. I kinked the tubing of his IV to stop her.
“You don’t need to sedate him,” I said. I’d put stomach tubes in plenty of dogs without drugs. I grabbed his head. “I’ve got him—just do it.” She glared but gave in. Sereno stopped moaning as the air drained from his stomach. But he still needed surgery so he wouldn’t bloat again within a few hours. I paid my bill and drove several hundred miles to a vet school—academic vets are tops in their field, and I didn’t have time to shop around.
Finding a veterinarian
Today’s pets are living longer, healthier lives thanks to the availability of high quality veterinary care, preventive care, and pet owners’ careful monitoring of their animals for early signs of illness. With so much attention being given by owners to their pets’ needs, doesn’t it make sense to carefully select the veterinarian who will become your pet’s health care provider?
When choosing your family’s veterinarian, use the same care and criteria that you would in selecting a physician or dentist. Think about what is important to you. Location, office hours, payment options, and the range of medical services provided are all important considerations. For many pet owners, the most important factor is the friendliness and commitment of doctors and staff. Your goal should be to find the veterinarian who you believe can best meet your pet’s medical needs and with whom you feel comfortable in establishing a long-term veterinarian-client-patient relationship
Ask a friend
Animal-owning friends are generally good sources of information. Ask them why they chose their veterinarian. If you believe their expectations of service are similar to yours, you may want to schedule a visit to the facility to evaluate it for yourself
Breed clubs and special interest groups
If you have a purebred dog or cat, area breed clubs or rescues can be a good source of information. They have often established a strong relationship with a practice that is very familiar with the potential health-related problems for the particular breed. If you have a non-traditional (i.e., not a cat or a dog) pet, special interest groups in your area may be good sources of information about veterinarians who have special interest in and experience with your species of pet.
Your current veterinarian
If you are relocating to another city or state, ask your current veterinarian if he or she can recommend a practice where you will be living. Many times they have colleagues in other towns whose practice policies and services are similar to theirs. Your current veterinarian should also provide copies of your pet’s medical records to the new practice to ensure your pet’s medical history is available to the new staff.