Pet Health, Finding The Right Veterinarian

Finding the right veterinarian takes practice!
Finding the right veterinarian takes practice! | Source

How Do I Know If My Veterinarian Is Good

I fully admit that I am nothing less than "super-high maintenance" when it comes to the care and health of my dogs and cats (or any of my domestic animals). I demand clear and concise answers to questions that I can understand and easily follow through with, and under any circumstances. I want in-depth treatment that has been tried and true, as well as that new practice which may be the miracle cure my pet needs. I am NOT an easy going pet mom. But, who is? When my furry or feathered critters need shots, neutering, general or emergency care, I want to feel as if they are the only critter my Vet gives a hoot about. And so should you!

The Wrong Veterinarian

Not necessarily a bad vet, but absolutely the wrong vet for me and my critters was what I found after moving to a new location in 2009. I had adopted a new pit/Sheppard crossbreed and it was time for him to be neutered. I asked a new acquaintance where she took her pets for treatment, and then blindly made an appointment. To my surprise, I should have done much more research in locating a veterinarian that was suitable for my personality and beliefs when it came to pet medicine! Because, after that one miserably uncomfortable visit, I will never return to that vet again! Here you will find a few tips that will help you avoid my mistakes when you go looking for a new veterinarian!

5 Tips For Finding A Great Veterinarian

1. Don't ask anyone you know!

So often the theory is, "If my friends like their vet, I will like their vet, too." NOT true! I asked a new friend where they took their pets for medical care, and when I met this Vet, I could not make a connection no matter how hard I tried. Where my friend found a thorough conscientious pet doctor, I found a real air-head who seemed to be spread far too thin for my demands. From greeting to post-op advice, my level of trust in this vet was minimal at best. With this mistake in mind, my recommendation for finding a new vet would be as follows;

What You Think Really Does Matter!

Would you go to a Veterinarian just because a friend said they go to him/her?

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  • Look up vets near you and drop in on them. Don't expect to be invited in like a long lost friend, but they should be eager to answer questions and set up a time for you to come back for a chat.
  • Vets can have a pretty tight schedule, so try not to be too intrusive. Understand they have obligations to pet safety and health. But, by explaining that you are searching for a new doctor, you may earn more of their time.
  • Don't be an pain, but be assertive in your quest.
  • At the very least, they should offer you a price sheet, mission quest, and hopefully something like a flier that tells you a little bit about their hours, type of care, and the facility.

Not Just Along For The Ride!

Not just along for the ride, your pet will want to take a tour of the new vet's facility. This is a good way to see how the staff responds to you AND your pet.
Not just along for the ride, your pet will want to take a tour of the new vet's facility. This is a good way to see how the staff responds to you AND your pet. | Source

2. Ask To Take A Tour Of The Vet Facility

I highly recommend checking out the facility firsthand. The things I look for are:

  • Is there an autoclave (oven for sterilizing tools and equipment), if you don't see one, ask about it.
  • Are there organized areas for particular procedures and exams—i.e., the bathing area is separate from general exam areas.
  • Do cages, crates, and all surfaces look and smell clean and are they free of fur and debris.
  • Does the facility have a specialized room for surgeries where it is brightly lit and every drawer, bottle, package, box and piece of equipment is label clearly. The whole theater should appear to be freakishly organized.

  • No signs of re-used gloves, needles or invasive materials (some vets may reuse needles, tubing, and other non-surgery as well as surgical materials to keep their cost down) This is NOT okay with me. Ask what items are autoclave processed and which are used newly from the packaging. Feel free to even ask who supplies surgical materials to the vet.
  • Is the lobby, waiting room, bathroom and hallway clean.
  • Do the walls, floorboards, or ceiling show any signs of water, mold, or mildew damage.
  • Is there any wiring showing or frayed.
  • Are all of the lights working in all areas of the facility. (Be fair now, every once in a while a light bulb is bound to go out, so this doesn't count unless a myriad of bulbs are burnt out.)
  • Are all staff members friendly and careful when handling the pet patients.

3. When Did A Veterinarian Graduate From Vet School

When I place my pets in the care of a vet, I want him/her to be as experienced as possible, but also up to date on the new practices that are showing promise. To find peace in this area:

  • Find a multiple-vet practice.
  • At least one doctor with long term veteran experience (10 years or more) as well as a new vet that has graduated in the past five years. For my taste, this is the perfect combination. The experienced vet brings calm confidence and loads of knowledge, while the new vet brings fresh ideas and practices. This also shows me that a veteran vet is willing to mentor while possibly discovering the newest medical findings for him/her self.

How Much Do You Know About A Veterinarian's Day?

4. Start With A Small Non-invasive Vet Check

The last thing you want to have to do is find a veterinarian during an emergency! Having time and energy to discover the answers you seek will make for a long confident vet relationship.

  • Before an emergency crops up, make a regular appointment to have your pet checked.
  • During a low-stress check-up you will find the advantage of "interviewing" the veterinarian under stress-free conditions.
  • Feel out the manner in which this vet interacts with you and your pet.
  • Ask about monitors and equipment for use during surgery—heart EKG, heart rate, blood pressure, and oxygen levels should be among the most critical monitoring tools.
  • Ask questions and ask for advice.
  • Inquire about which diagnostics are performed in-house and which are sent out to a lab(s).

5. Overall Pet Treatment Philosophy
A vet who is very friendly and whom you connect with on a personal level, yet fails to "check under the hood" is the vet most of us end up with. This is an easy mistake to make. Sure, you should find your vet to be pleasant enough and one you can interact with comfortably. But, if after you and Dr. Friendly conclude the appointment and no one has a clue whether or not your pet has a temperature, there is a problem brewing! Know that this is a clear indication that you may need to continue your new veterinarian search. I know it is about the connection, but the priority here is your pet. Your perfect vet makes you feel confident in your pet's health, but he/she will also make sure you know how to maintain that health. The right vet for you will go through the practices of;

Beautiful White Teeth, All 42 Of Them!

Now these are healthy teeth and gums! And your vet can only know this by looking at them during every visit!
Now these are healthy teeth and gums! And your vet can only know this by looking at them during every visit! | Source
  • Taking your pet's temperature during every visit.
  • Listening to heart and lungs during each visit.
  • Looking in your pet's ears, eyes, nose, mouth—and all the stuff on the other end—during each visit.
  • Maneuvering his/her hands over your pet from head to tip of tail during any appointment.
  • Your perfect vet will press gently on the soft tissue of the tummy, face and genitalia every time your pet is in his/her care.
  • Communicating with you AND your pet every time he/she meets with you both.

Find A Great Veterinarian

No matter if you are new to an area, or have recently adopted a cute fuzzy face as your own, finding a great vet for your animal should be a priority. By getting ahead of the chase, and well before an emergency lands in your life, research those pet doctors you think might work for you. Get inside their facility before your pet needs treatment. Make sure the facility is clean, safe, meets medical standards, and has all of the procedures you expect to be available. And quite importantly, make sure YOU and YOUR PET really like your pet doctor. Believing in your pet's medical treatment can have healing powers that help your veterinarian keep your fury friends happy, healthy, and alive!

What A Great Vet Check-up! (He should have also taken her temperature, but it's okay, he knows this cat very well!)

More by this Author


Comments for "Finding The Vet For You" 26 comments

Kristen Howe profile image

Kristen Howe 20 months ago from Northeast Ohio

Great tips. I've just found a vet for one of my senior adult cat, two weeks ago, and wished I saw this hub, too. But the free visit and exam coupon helped saved a bit of money. What's your thoughts on low-cost vet clinics? My clinic is part of PetSmart pet store. Voted up for useful!


dogfond 3 years ago

Another great hub! Lots of helpful information. We make sure that our dogs have yearly visits to the vet however when our beagle has had surgery for her cherry eye which was quite expensive I guess, I was not really convinced because we noticed another growth on her eyelids this time both of her eyes. Thanks for sharing.


Amanda Swiderek 3 years ago

Nice hub! The only issue I have is #1- Don't ask a friend. I disagree!

As they say, birds of a feather flock together. I have found over the past 30 years, friends have been the best providers of references for Vets, Dr(s), etc. They share many of the same beliefs and look for the same qualities in a Vet as my family. Plus, what's better than an established track record?


titi6601 profile image

titi6601 3 years ago

My dog hates going to the vet. She already knows the moment we walk through the door that we are at the vet because she digs her head inside my arm.


mary615 profile image

mary615 3 years ago from Florida

I was married to a Veterinarian and helped him in the Clinic. He loved all animals, but there are some vets to prefer to work on a dog rather than a cat. I have to say mine preferred dogs. Some clinics have vets who specialize in felines and I'd suggest that cat owners take them to that vet, cause cats can be a real problem at the Vets.

I voted this Hub UP, and will share.

Congrats on HOTD. Well deserving!


cathylynn99 profile image

cathylynn99 3 years ago from northeastern US

My cat hates to have his temperature taken. If he is not sick, I am happy to have the vet skip this, as most do.


Daisy Mariposa profile image

Daisy Mariposa 3 years ago from Orange County (Southern California)

India,

Congratulations, my friend, on your article being selected Hub of the Day. Well done!

You've covered the topic in a very easy-to-understand manner. Your Hub should be required reading for all pet owners.


RTalloni profile image

RTalloni 3 years ago from the short journey

No surprise that this has won a Hub of the Day award! Congrats on a useful and important post.


teaches12345 profile image

teaches12345 3 years ago

When we had a cat, it took us some time to find a good vet match. We wanted someone who was professional, knowledageble and had a great "bedside" manner. Yes, it's picky, but our cat was very feisty and only this type of vet would understand him. Great post and very informational. Congratulations on the HOD!! Voted up++


pinto2011 profile image

pinto2011 3 years ago from New Delhi, India

I was always nervous caring for my pet and this hub is going to prove it worthiness and help me out.


Kristinmcr profile image

Kristinmcr 3 years ago from Wisconsin

Very informative! I feel fortunate that I currently have a vet I am very pleased with. I have taken pets to vets in the past that I didn't get a good "vibe" from, they didn't last long. A good vet is so important, especially when you have an emergency situation.


Monis Mas profile image

Monis Mas 3 years ago

Congrats on The Hub of the Day! Your article is awesome. Thank you for the tips, it isn't an easy task to find a good vet, I had problems with that. I haven't found one that I like yet. Oh, no, wait, I did - but it was while on vacation, so I will not be back there... Voted up and interesting!


ComfortB profile image

ComfortB 3 years ago from Bonaire, GA, USA

Great tips. Good vets are hard to come by. Voted up and useful, and congrats on the HOTD award.


Aimee 3 years ago

As a veterinarian, from my perspective, the single most important thing you recommended was to schedule a wellness visit BEFORE you have an emergency. It is so important to find a vet with whom you are comfortable and communicate well. It is much easier (for both pet parent and veterinarian) if you have established a relationship prior to the stress of an emergency. Good vets will welcome a get to know you visit as they help build relationships and a good relationship leads to better care for you pet.


heidithorne profile image

heidithorne 3 years ago from Chicago Area

Congrats on the Hub of the Day! As a fellow pet parent, I can totally relate.


SidKemp profile image

SidKemp 3 years ago from Boca Raton, Florida (near Miami and Palm Beach)

An excellent article. Voted up, useful, and interesting. My wife and I recently needed to find a vet for a checkup for our two cats (no emergency). We were careful to check around and did well. But your much more thorough approach is what we would have done, if we'd known to do it!

Thanks so much for helping us to be happy with our vet and keep our cats, dogs, and critters healthy.


leahlefler profile image

leahlefler 3 years ago from Western New York

We are so very lucky to have a wonderful vet. They are AAHA certified and run the pet hospital in town. We had a cat that kept sneezing and it was very odd behavior. Of course, it was a Saturday night and we couldn't get into any vet - we called this vet's number and he met us in the hospital at 11:00pm on a Saturday night. As it turned out, our cat had a grub that was obstructing his airway (laid by a parasitic fly). It was awful, but our cat was treated very well and fully recovered. He now takes care of our Golden Retriever, and we have only had the best care from them. They also rescue wild animals and rehabilitate them - we are very lucky to have such a great vet in a small town.


Thelma Alberts profile image

Thelma Alberts 3 years ago from Germany

Congratulation on the HOTD! This is definitely an award winning hub. Thanks for sharing this. I´ll keep this advice in mind. Have a great day!


rebeccamealey profile image

rebeccamealey 3 years ago from Northeastern Georgia, USA

Great tips. I never thought about investigating a vet's office so thoroughly. What cute photos you took. Congratulations on HOTD too!


Nell Rose profile image

Nell Rose 3 years ago from England

Really important info, there are so many vets that end up just being a money doc, in other words the animals come second. Great hub and voted and shared! nell


fpherj48 profile image

fpherj48 3 years ago from Beautiful Upstate New York

K9....Interesting and quite important info here. Thank you. My fur babies are precious to me and I'm diligent with their health care. I'm very satisfied with my Vets ( a husband & wife team) and their clinic and employees are all super! This is a big comfort to me.......UP+++


CarNoobz profile image

CarNoobz 3 years ago from USA

I've only had one experience with a vet, and it didn't end well for our cat (wasn't the vet's fault, though. She was poisoned). I like these ideas though. I mean, our pets are like part of the family. We wouldn't want our kids to go to a doctor that was rough with them or whatever. So why would our pet's doctor be any different?


randomcreative profile image

randomcreative 3 years ago from Milwaukee, Wisconsin

Choosing a good vet is so important for pet owner peace of mind. We have been fortunate to find good vets in both our current location and previous location, but I feel awful for people who have terrible experiences. No one deserves to go through that with their pets.


Nellieanna profile image

Nellieanna 3 years ago from TEXAS

Valuable information for pet owners, K9. The vet we used for our two cats for all their t 17 healthy years- (deaths caused by poisoned by something in the one motel room to which we ever took them) - was great, but his job with them was easy. They had no illnesses. We merely took them in for annual shots and checkups. He usually asked what we fed them to keep them in such good shape. I can think of nothing worse that a bad vet for one's beloved pets, though.


DrMark1961 profile image

DrMark1961 3 years ago from The Beach of Brazil

I agreed with most of the things you should look for in a walk through (wiring, lights, walls) but if you are told "You cannot go in there" when it comes to the surgical theater, do not be surprised. I would never have let a visitor just pop in and spread her (excuse the phrase!) filth. I would rather lose the customer and keep my theater clean. (Unfortunately this is not even an issue where I live at the moment.)

Also, there is nothing wrong with a one doctor practice. Multiple doctor practices do have a lot of advantages, like you point out.

You sound like a demanding, and good, client. Good job pointing everyting out.

Voted up and shared.


JayeWisdom profile image

JayeWisdom 3 years ago from Deep South, USA

I should have read this article before I got my first dog eight years ago (though it wasn't written then). Perhaps I'd have saved myself and my beloved schnauzer girl a lot of grief. Instead, I picked her up and took her straight to the PetSmart store to buy all the supplies we needed.

Since a chain veterinary clinic was right there in the store--Banfield--and I hadn't done any research (or read the hundreds of complaints on a website devoted to trashing that clinic's practices), we next stopped in there to get my new puppy checked out from head to toes.

Naturally, they saw "sucker" engraved on my forehead and sold me one of their pet "health plans", so I kept taking her there. It took a major reaction to vaccinations two years later that nearly killed her and compromised her immune system to make me look for another vet.

I found a wonderful clinic with four great vets who are knowledgeable, competent and caring. I only wish I'd found them eight years ago.

Great hub.

Voted Up++

Jaye

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