How to find a good vet
It might seem odd, however to me a visit to a pet clinic or an animal hospital is the equivalent of going to see a doctor. It might be a canine/feline version of House, however it is House none-the-less. You go with the premise that the veterinarian in question is good at what she or he does and will be able to give you the correct diagnosis. Unfortunately as the experience has shown that is not always the case. As it is entirely possible to go to a great doctor and a bad one, the same can be applied to vets as well. Through trial and error over the years, our family has been lucky to find a great vet. Now all of my neighborhoods cats and dogs go to the same clinic. Here are some tips on how to find a good veterinarian.
· Ask around
It might seem obvious but it cannot be stressed enough - ask around for recommendations. Ask your friends, neighbors, co-workers, people you might meet at the local doggy park. If you are new to the area, call local kennels, humane society but do not be shy about striking up a conversation when it comes to finding a good vet. Especially if you are a first time pet owner.
· Visit the pet clinic of your choice
This should help you determine a number of things but first and foremost do you actually like the veterinarian that will tend to your pet. While you cannot expect that the vet will be transported with delight at the sight of your pet, he or she should be able to pat the animal in question, look you in the eye and do the job professionally. To me that means my dog will not yelp when he gets a shot or that his claws will not bleed because they have been trimmed too close to the quick. If the veterinarian tends to hurry up the exam you might want to look into a less busy veterinarian practice. Also this will give you an opportunity to examine the pet clinic and the general sanitary conditions.
While some might scoff at this, but do not ignore your hunches - if you feel uncomfortable with a particular vet, find another one. When we first got our dog he was 2 months old and he had to have his shots. We took him to the nearest pet clinic. What a mistake that was. Vet's demeanor put me off big time however not having much experience I did not think much off it. When he gave my dog a shot and little bugger yelped with pain I got agitated but I was told my dog was a ham and he was just showing off. 2 days later dog got a severe case of diarrhea and was vomiting because he was given out-of-date vaccine.
· Look for experts
In case you have a particular breed of a dog or a cat or perhaps you have some other breed of animal, you might want to look up the local experts. This can be done through breeders, specialty stores or Internet.
· Inquire about emergency services
Does this particular pet clinic offer emergency services? If not where is the nearest animal hospital that can tend to your pet in case of an emergency. Write down the information (both the telephone number and the address).
· Prepare a list of questions and ask when you do not understand something
While a lot of information can be found on the Internet do not dismiss first hand experience. Even if your veterinarian is not the best of communicators do not feel shy about asking a few questions. Is it a rare or a common condition? What are the possible treatments? What is the usual outcome after the treatment? By all means look up this information as well; there are plenty of resources to look through nowadays, however it does not hurt to ask.
· Discuss the possible costs
The fact of the matter is veterinarian costs can be pretty high. Also they can vary from practice to practice. Ask about the price for a particular treatment as well as follow up visits. If your pet just needs a general check-up you might want to ask around to find a practice that will be within your budget.