Home > General Pet Ownership > Choosing the Right Vet

Choosing the Right Vet

By: Hsin-Yi Cohen BSc, MA, MSt - Updated: 26 Jul 2010 | comments*Discuss
 
Choosing The Right Vet

One of the most important decisions you will make as a pet owner is selecting which veterinarian will be looking after the health of your pet. This choice is based on many factors and even if it may take some time and effort, it is well worth your while to do your homework and fully research your options before you make a decision. Don't be shy - meet and interview the veterinary surgeons in your area and ask questions about his background, specialist area of interest, availability, policy, etc.

In addition, you should be choosing a vet before your new pet arrives as in many cases, it is advisable to stop at the vet for examination and advice before taking your pet home. For example, a new puppy should ideally be examined by the vet within 24 hours of leaving the breeder. Furthermore, selecting a vet beforehand means that you can enjoy your new friend from Day One, secure in the knowledge that you have a good source of veterinary expertise to consult.

Before making up your mind, here are a few things to consider:

Experience and Qualifications

It is vital that the vet you select has experience in the kind of pet you will be getting. Naturally, all vets will be qualified to treat and have some knowledge of a variety of animals; however, personal interest and experience means that all will have certain types that they are more familiar with. Thus, a vet whose main experience is with dogs and cats might not be ideal if you have a pet reptile. Similarly, if you are considering a giant breed dog, a vet who is familiar with the specific problems associated with giant breeds (eg. gastric torsion, cardiac problems, growth problems, special dietary requirements) and ideally has other giant breeds on the clinic client list would be best.

Bedside Manner

No matter how experienced and technically competent he is, an abrupt, uncommunicative or impatient vet is not satisfactory. It is important that you feel comfortable enough with your vet to discuss any concerns you may have and to feel that you are getting the best advice for the situation, otherwise resentment and distrust will hinder your ability to care for your pet.

Location

Convenience to your home is another important factor, particularly in the case of emergencies or if you need to make multiple visits for treatments. Think not only about distance but also accessibility in terms of transport (if you do not have a car), traffic congestion and parking.

Availability

Again, this is very important as you need to be able to consult your vet after-hours, on weekends and on public holidays. Different surgeries will have different office-hours and weekend attendance, as well as different on-call policies for its vets. In some cases, a surgery may be attended by an emergency after-hours service at a different clinic, which may be some distance from your home and this is something that you will need to take into account. In addition, it can be very frustrating to have to wait days for a response from your vet.

Facilities / Services

It is also convenient to select a vet who has services that you might require, such as veterinary dentistry or micro-chipping, as well as possibly a good selection of reputable pet supplies. If you are planning to get a puppy, a veterinary surgery that offers "puppy-parties" or "puppy pre-school" would be ideal as it would not only help socialise your puppy in a safe environment and give you the first step in training your dog but also present the surgery as a positive, welcoming place for your pet which would help enormously in future visits. Many vets also sub-specialise (eg. veterinary cardiologists, dermatologists, radiologists, etc) and it can be handy to know that your chosen vet is particularly knowledgeable in a certain field.

Cost

Sophisticated health care and veterinary services can be very costly. As financial considerations play a role in many decisions, it is certainly worth asking around and comparing prices. While many vaccinations, medications and procedures may have a standard charge, there can be price differences between different surgeries and depending on your situation; it can be beneficial to enquire about costs before selecting your vet.

Even with all these considerations, there may be instances when you would prefer to have a second opinion. When the problem affecting your pet is serious, it is not unusual or impudent to ask for another veterinary opinion or even referral to a specialist.

You might also like...
Share Your Story, Join the Discussion or Seek Advice..
Why not be the first to leave a comment for discussion, ask for advice or share your story...

If you'd like to ask a question one of our experts (workload permitting) or a helpful reader hopefully can help you... We also love comments and interesting stories

Title:
(never shown)
Firstname:
(never shown)
Surname:
(never shown)
Email:
(never shown)
Nickname:
(shown)
Comment:
Validate:
Enter word:
Topics
Latest Comments
  • Sprinkles
    Re: Dog Laws in the UK
    I live beside someone who has 3 dogs. This person doesn't work but disappears for over 10 hours or all night and doesn't come back until…
    14 June 2019
  • sherrie
    Re: The Dangers of Cat Fights
    our calico cat was in a fight last monday morning and we had to take her to the vet. We had to put her down because she had a deep…
    12 June 2019
  • Kiwi
    Re: The Dangers of Cat Fights
    We recently moved into an apartment that has lots of outdoor cats I don't know if these are ferel cats or pets my cat Kiki likes to go…
    26 May 2019
  • Rani
    Re: Dog Laws in the UK
    Hi I live with my in laws and they have recently bought a dog, hes a big alsatian. I have 4 kids 6,4,2 and 8 months. It's hot and they want to…
    23 May 2019
  • Jillybags
    Re: Keeping Mammals in an Aviary
    So it's ok to have 2 bunnies and ( say ) 4 budgies, lovebirds or cockatiels in the same outdoor aviary ? They'll have plenty of…
    21 May 2019
  • Soph
    Re: The Dangers of Cat Fights
    Just herd me cat (maui) and another tabby fighting opened the door and both cats scattered I do have a female tabby (tiger-lily) who…
    11 May 2019
  • Nightfall
    Re: Dog Laws in the UK
    Hi, I know it’s illegal to not have a ID tag but does the tag have to go onto a collar, can it go onto the dog harness we have instead?
    6 May 2019
  • Rae
    Re: Introducing a Kitten to Other Cats
    I had luck once by putting a little bit of butter on the new kittens back. Then the older cat naturally wanted to lick it…
    28 April 2019
  • Fin
    Re: The Dangers of Cat Fights
    With the antibiotic jab at the vets, Quin recovered really quickly. I think it's inbuilt resistance, especially with moggies…
    25 April 2019
  • Fin
    Re: The Dangers of Cat Fights
    I have been seriously mauled - on both hands - by a cat, that I was putting into a carrying box... My comment to the…
    25 April 2019