How to Choose the Best Vet for Your Petby Craig Sutton • October 31, 2016
Your dog hasn’t been herself lately. She’s losing weight, lacks vitality and refuses to eat. She’s only a year old and you can’t figure out what could be wrong with her. You schedule an emergency appointment with a new veterinarian. The vet’s only solution is making a change to your dog’s diet. You leave the clinic knowing that something is wrong with your pet. You wonder if you should seek another opinion.
Did you choose the right veterinarian? Should you wait until an emergency to consult a veterinarian? What factors should you take into consideration when you look for a pet care physician?
When it comes to checkups, operations, and medical advice, we should seek the best care available for our pets. The closest vet may not necessarily be the best one. Let’s take a look at some ways you can effectively select the best veterinarian.
How Pet Owners Can Effectively Choose a Veterinarian
“When selecting a veterinarian you’re doing more than searching for a medical expert… Driving a few extra miles or paying a bit more may be worth it to get the care you want for your pet.”
- advises HumanSociety.org
In many areas of the U.S., there are a number of pet care clinics but very few of the vets are certified by the American Board of Veterinary Practitioners (ABVP). The ABVP website identified why a pet owner should be interested in a certified specialist, it says
“Your veterinarian made a choice to undergo a long and difficult process of additional studies and examination… This process takes a minimum of three years to complete and the motivation behind it is, very simply, excellence.”
How important are certifications? Are they really necessary?
American Animal Hospital Association physician Dr. Heather Loenser advised:
“About sixty percent of pet owners assume that the veterinary hospital has been accredited or certified by some kind of large organization, and that is not actually the case. Only about 12% - 15% are accredited by the American Animal Hospital Association… That means that hospitals like yours have adhered to a huge number of standards, about 900 of them… and that gives owners a piece of mind that they’re taken care of in the areas of pay management, anesthesia safety, patient care, medical records and they really do a top notch job.”
Other factors to consider
Once we’ve found a certified and accredited clinic, we should use the same type of care and consideration we use when selecting a personal care physician. The HumanSociety.org provided several factors to consider , here are a few:
- The overall condition of the healthcare clinic.
- Take into consideration the number of veterinarians operating at the location.
- The behavior of the staff.
- Are there any emergency services available?
Questions to ask potential vets
WebMD.com advised asking the following questions:
- Is the practice AAHA-accredited?
- How are overnight patients monitored?
- What sort of equipment does the practice use?
- Does the vet refer patients to specialists?
- How are patients evaluated before anesthesia and surgery?
- Does the practice have licensed veterinary technicians on staff?
- What is the protocol for pain management?
Advice from friends and word of mouth regarding veterinarians should be taken into consideration along with some of the helpful information we’ve already provided.
Make an appointment whether your pet needs it or not
After you’ve narrowed down some possible clinics, you may want to schedule a new patient appointment. A Vet featured on animalwellness.com recommends this meeting because it allows the pet owner to gauge the chemistry between the veterinarian and the pet.
These types of appointments also provide your veterinarian with the opportunity to meet your pet — before you have an actual emergency!
How important is location?
When it comes to location, this is important, but it shouldn’t be our only consideration. We need to consider all factors, without sacrificing safety in the event that there is an emergency. Blue Cross for Pets recommends:
“Think about where the practice is located, if it’s near any public transport links or, if you drive, does it have a car park [garage] or is there public parking nearby?”
Take a look at reviews
Even after we’ve taken all of this into consideration, we still can ascertain a great deal based on customer reviews. Take a look at the clinic or veterinarian’s website. What kind of reviews do they have? Any social media? What do other pet owners have to say about them? You can also obtain information from pet kennels, local dog sitters, and pet stores; assisting your decision making.
It may sound like a great deal of work, but putting the right amount of time and effort into selecting our veterinarian will help us and our pet ensure that we enjoy their company for many years to come.
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