Just like choosing a physician for your child, choosing a veterinarian requires a bit of sniffing around. Different vets have different policies, various theories and approaches, and different styles of treatment. There are holistic vets and veterinarians which are more prone to treating ailments with pharmaceuticals. These factors play a role in how well you and your veterinarian are going to agree regarding treatment for your pet.
Before you ever choose a veterinarian, decide for yourself what type of veterinarian you are seeking. This helps you have an idea of what types of questions to ask and what type of treatment options you are looking for. Many clinics these days now offer 24 hours service, dog rehabilitation clinics, 24 hour nurse staffed hospitals, and even care credit, an third party credit provider that will allow you to finance medical care that is excessively expensive. Other veterinarian clinics offer normal business hours and regular medical care without any extra conveniences. There is usually a price difference between the two for the regular procedures such as vaccinations, deworming, and spaying and neutering. However, don’t discount the big fancy new clinic just because it is big and fancy and new. Not all oversized, come with everything under the sun facilities are over priced. In fact, some are priced lower than the smaller clinics due to their vast clientele.
Finding a Veterinarian
Once you have determined your basic guidelines for choosing a veterinarian it’s time to hit the phones. Hopefully you are finding your perfect vet before you bring home your new best friend, or at the very least, well before there is an emergency. This will naturally give you ample time to change your mind. Calling the receptionist gives you a chance to ask a few basic questions such as the cost of an office visit, their basic treatment guidelines, and most importantly, their method of using sedation and anesthesia.
Without getting overly technical, there are two types of anesthesia that can be used. While there are various names and multiple gases and injections used when using anesthesia, simply asking the vet if they use a deep sleep anesthesia or a lighter sleep anesthesia should answer the basic question. Deep sleep anesthesia is very similar to human anesthesia, requires an I.V. and is harder on the animals. A lighter sleep requires no I.V. and while it still does the same job, is not as threatening to an animal that is weakened from illness or older.
When choosing a veterinarian, you are going to want to feel comfortable enough with the answers to any basic questions you have to make an appointment. If you asked about their payment policies, their holistic practices, their emergency care policies, and anything else that you might be concerned with and you are feeling as though you are on the same page, make an appointment for your pet’s check up.
Just because you take your best bud to the doctor doesn’t mean that you have to keep him with the same doctor. Trust your gut. If something doesn’t feel right to you, it probably isn’t. For starters, is the place clean? Cleanliness at the vet is just as important as cleanliness at your physician’s office. Secondly, how does the staff relate to your animal? With the exception of a surgical procedure, there should never be an instance when your vet asks you to leave the room so they can accomplish a simple procedure such as shots, suture removals, or other basic procedures, nor should they feel they have to take the animal out of the room to do these simple procedures. A vet who can competently handle your little guy won’t need privacy in order to accomplish their goal. Of course, if you bring them a problem child you are going to have to expect them to keep themselves safe.
If you develop a longstanding relationship with your vet you should be able to come to amicable agreements about treatment options. However, if your first visit doesn’t go well, you can either request a different vet in the practice if you are happy with the facility and the support staff or you can start the process all over again and find a different practice altogether. Choosing a veterinarian is really about what makes you comfortable. Veterinarian practices are far from scarce, and your little guy should never need to be traumatized to go see the good doctor. There are enough practices out there that you should be able to find the right veterinarian for you.