Finding the Right Veterinarian!








Gram and I thought this was a serious enough subject that we are not going to add our two cents worth to it. We are just going to let you read the important facts.

Finding a veterinarian is a fairly simple chore, you pick up the yellow pages, look under the right subject and you will find one.

However, finding the “right veterinarian” for you and your pet may be just a bit more difficult.

A veterinarian is the second closest person to your pet. You feed, brush, love and clean up after your pet, but the vet has the important business of taking care of your pet’s health and well being.

You have to trust your vet’s knowledge about your cat or dog and your pet has to trust him/her as a person. Not all matches are made in heaven and sometimes you have to search for the right one.

The first thing most of us consider is convenience. Is the clinic close by, are the hours compatible with my work hours and do they have emergency service for nights, weekends and holidays?

These are the usual questions we ask ourselves when we are looking for a vet. However, there should be more to it than that.

Other than just picking up the yellow pages you might consider asking friends or neighbors who have pets about their vets and how satisfied they are.

Your breeder or humane society where you got your pet may have some referrals to offer or contacting the American Animal Hospital Association at www.healthypet.com for a list of referrals in your area.

After you have the names of a few vets, you should check them out (you don’t buy a car without driving it first.)

Make a preliminary phone call to set up an appointment. Some things to look for while making that phone call are; was there a continual busy signal, were you put on hold for a long period of time, and were they courteous and did they take time to answer your questions?

If there is not enough staff to answer the phones and they could not take the time to answer your questions, they just might be too busy to pay the proper amount of attention to you and your pet.

If you have made the appointment, once you get there notice how clean it is, how is the staff dressed, are they friendly? Ask for a tour, if they are not busy or schedule one for another time. When they perform sterile surgery, do they use gowns, masks and gloves? This may seem like a silly question, but some vets do not.

Making your first visit one for just a routine checkup will give you a chance to see how the vet and staff relate to your pet. Though most clinics take care of both cats and dogs, some have a preference and it shows in their handling of a pet.

I have cats and when we moved and I needed a new vet, the first one I went to definitely was not a “cat person.” His interest in the questions I was asking regarding the cat in his presence, indicated little interest in the problems I was having. Needless to say, I eliminated him from my list of possible vets.

Communication is a very important factor in choosing a vet. He/she needs to speak to you in language you can understand (vet talk into English.) The vet needs to have a genuine interest in your pet and needs to show patience in handling the pet (especially a cat.)

Then there are the questions on the types of service they offer.

  • What are their hours?
  • If there are several veterinarians working in the office can you see a specific doctor only?
  • Are they open nights and weekends or do they have an alternate service that takes emergency calls?
  • What are their feelings about vaccinations and examinations?
  • What are their typical prices for services rendered?
  • Will they take a payment plan if a serious illness occurs?
  • What are their payment requirements and do they take credit cards?

    Once you have settled in and found a veterinarian to your liking, there are a few other things to think about also.

    Having a pet can really wreck a person’s budget should the unexpected arise. Here are some other ideas to mull over in regard to unexpected pet expenses:

  • Start a savings account as an emergency pet medical fund, putting in at least $10 to $20 a month to cover future bills.
  • If a sudden expense happens call you breed’s national club or humane society to see if there are funds available for pet emergencies.
  • Triple A has a Show Your Card and save program that may make you eligible for a 20% on pet medications at participating pharmacies. Contact your local AAA office.
  • In some instances your vet can apply in your name for assistance with a grant from The American Animal Hospital Association that has a Helping Hands fund for people who cannot afford emergency care for their dogs.
  • There is also a Senior Dog Project website (www.srdogs.com) that has a list of organizations that provide financial assistance to owners for veterinary care.

    It is important that you and your vet can form a relationship not only to make the trip to the vet enjoyable for you, but also to provide your pet with the best of care available.

    Your pet’s life depends on it.


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