Do you need some tips on how to choose a veterinarian?
The good news is that most veterinarians are kind, compassionate and competent practitioners. Each veterinarian has a unique personality and style of practicing medicine. Here are some tips on how to choose a veterinarian to partner with to provide the best care for your animal companion. Keep in mind that this relationship will last the lifetime of your pet.
Schedule an interview with your first exam. Have some questions prepared:
- What made you choose this community to practice in?
- What do you like about your profession?
- What is your favorite area of interest in veterinary medicine?
- What is your schedule of availability?
- Who do you recommend for emergency services if you are not available?
Observe the veterinarian with your pet.
- Does your pet seem at ease?
- Does the veterinarian handle your pet with patience and compassion?
- What is their range of services?
- Are you allowed to accompany your pet to the back of the clinic?
- Do they make you feel comfortable asking questions?
2. Take a Tour
Ask for a tour of the hospital.
- Is it spotless?
- Does it smell good?
- Does the staff seem happy?
- Do the animals seem happy?
- Is the pace of the clinic efficient without being chaotic?
- Have they kept up with technology- do they have a good website?
- Is the equipment up to date? (All veterinary clinics should be equipped with a dental x-ray unit for practicing dentistry)
3. Talk to the Staff
Good veterinarians are supported by good staff members. Staffs stay with doctors out of loyalty and because they admire the quality of medicine they practice.
- How do they like working there?
- How long have they been there?
- What do they like best about their job?
- What do they like best about the veterinarian(s) they work with?
- Do they feel they have been well trained for their positions?
- Do they feel the clinic/hospital operates smoothly?
- Are they comfortable handling your pet?
4. Ask the Community
Ask the people in the community who they recommend and why. Get the feel at the local Starbucks or hardware store or restaurants in the area. Ask the local dentists, doctors and attorneys.
Some veterinarians have gone the extra mile to become qualified as a specialist in the small animal field. Veterinarians who are Board Certified in Small Animal Practice have ABVP (American Board of Veterinary Practitioners) after their names in addition to DVM (Doctor of Veterinary Medicine).
This designation requires a significant amount of additional study and practice and is a reflection of their dedication to their profession.
Check for AAHA (American Animal Hospital Association) status of the hospital. Veterinarians must undergo a rigorous set of guidelines to qualify for this status and it denotes a higher quality of practice.
Last but not least, trust your gut. The most important thing is that you and your pet enjoy visits with your veterinarian. What are your tips for selecting a veterinarian?