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Choosing your Pet's Doctor
What is a licensed Veterinarian
• A veterinarian is a doctor who is licensed to diagnose and administer medical treatment to animals. They specialize in the health management of many types of animals but some Veterinarians choose to specialize and treat a specific species. Animal caregivers selectively choose them and hire them to assist with an animal’s health care needs.
Every Animal should have access to Veterinary Treatment when needed.
• Every animal deserves to receive regular veterinary care from a licensed Veterinarian
• All animals should receive at least one Veterinarian check-up annually.
• If an animal is injured or if it is suspected of being ill, it should be taken to a Veterinarian immediately. Waiting can often result in the difference of life and death.
• It is always a good idea for all pet owners to educate ourselves. We should have at least some basic knowledge regarding our pet’s health care but it is never a good idea to self prescribe meds and medicate any pet.
• Never assume that what you read regarding animal health on the internet, is accurate. While a lot of people who exchange information online are very knowledgeable, nothing replaces a visit to a Veterinarian clinic where your pet can receive a proper health check-up by a professional.
Things to Consider when Choosing which Veterinarian to Hire
(not all Veterinarians are the same)
Pick the Right Vet
• There are many factors to consider before deciding on the right Veterinarian to hire. You ‘ll want to be able to rely on him or her for regular health check ups and emergency veterinary care, to help you maintain your pet’s good health.
• We breed and sell animals and we use several Veterinarians to treat certain species. Not wanting to seem biased and trying to remain neutral, we never recommend a certain Veterinarian. Choosing the right Veterinarian is a personal decision that needs a lot of thought and a bit of effort on behalf of the pet caregiver.
When you are looking for a vet clinic and before you commit to using just anyone, ask friends, relatives, neighbors, local shelters or rescues who they use. Before making your final decision regarding which veterinarian that you would like to hire in exchange for his or her services, call around and speak with the staff at several clinics. Choose who you feel positive about and arrange an introductory clinic visit.
Your Pet Care Philosophies
• When it comes to caring for your pet’s health there are many topics we simply will not agree on. Topics such as euthanasia, cancer care, chronic disease planning and spaying and neutering. If you and your veterinarian do not agree on these philosophies then you are probably better to choose a clinic where the professionals share your philosophies. Your vet should be able to help you make difficult decisions.
• Ask about the costs for routine visits, grooming, boarding, X-rays, etc., up front. Vet bills can add up quick. Therefore, this is a major consideration for many people before getting a pet.
• Ask how they expect payments and if there is a credit line.
Hours of Operation
• Regular hours of operation are important for routine vaccinations and check ups but we all know things don’t only go wrong during business hours. Does this clinic offer emergency care and if so is this done on site or at a different location? What are the after-hours policies and prices? You will want to know in advance because often there could be a huge difference then during regular clinic hours. In an emergency, the distance and the time it takes to get to an emergency clinic could be the difference between life or death for your pet.
• Having a vet close by is the most convenient but it doesn't mean that you will automatically find the clinic of your choice. It may be worth the extra few minutes it takes to get to a more skilled Veterinarian or of the clinic that has extended hours.
• When calling to inquire about making an appointment, observe the attitude of the staff.
• Is the waiting room busy? If so, this can be a good sign! They have likely built a good reputation in the community and that they are respected, well-liked and a professional, hard-working clinic.
• Interaction from the Veterinarian, the Veterinarian Technicians & Veterinarian Assistants; how do they interact with the animals and other people in the clinic.
• Does everyone that works in the clinic seem knowledgeable about the species and do they seem sensitive when interacting with pets?
• Having too much for sale in a clinic is a red flag for me! I am not there to buy a new collar or toy. I am there for the health of my pet. How much of the waiting room is set up as retail space? Is this a retail store or a hospital? Sales versus care? You need to decide.
• Cleanliness! Is the clinic clean? Does it smell clean? Are the staff clean?
• Do the medical devices that are being used look clean and are they in good shape. Do they look like it is time for them to be replaced or are they up to date?
Ask a few questions
• Longevity in the field...When did you graduate?
• Longevity in the clinic... How long have you worked here?
• Are they licensed, do they have a diploma or what is their level of education and do they continue to upgrade their studies?
• What is the level of experience you have working with the species they are treating?
Hold your Veterinarian Accountable
• It is important that your vet makes the right decision and recommends what is right for you and for your pet.
• When in doubt, do not hesitate to get a second opinion from a different Veterinarian.
• If you have your pet’s best interest at heart, ask your veterinarian anything you need to. You certainly do not want to have regrets later.
• If the pet is not suffering needlessly, there will never be a time when you should feel pressured into making a decision regarding your pet’s health.