Finding A Veterinarian

Choosing The Right Veterinarian For Your Pets

Like all choices, choosing the right Veterinarian for your pet involves time and research.  All Veterinarians are not the same, they differ in their specialization, large versus small animals, and their billing practices usually differ as well. Some may include extra billing charges over and above the quoted costs for operations, inoculations and other services. Veterinarians’ “bed side manners” can also differ greatly.  Gentleness and consideration is not a given in any profession.  Honesty can also be a trait that is hard to find when the decision to extend a pet’s life or when to euthanize it.

So just where do you start?  You might want to start by asking family or friends about who they see.  Phone Veterinarian clinics and ask for not just prices but what does their fees include and what are their protocols when spaying/neutering, yearly immunization, deworming and performing emergencies for your pet.  The more questions you ask, the more information you will gather to better understand how your Veterinarian performs his/her services and what costs you will incur.  Ask if the Veterinarian performs the service or is it a service that a Vet Technician can perform and is there a difference in the price.  How many Veterinarians work at the clinic?  Should an emergency occur who would attend to your pet?

The distance to travel to the clinic from your home is also important.  Do you need to book appointments in advance, how many days ahead, and should there be an emergency can they fit you in quickly?  Can after hours emergencies be handled at the same clinic or does the clinic work together with other clinics during weekends and holidays.  Will the costs severely increase for emergencies?  Will you have to pay for parking as well?  Some Veterinarian clinics in big cities charge for parking now.

Take your three top clinic choices and call the clinics to arrange a visit with the Veterinarians and tour the clinics.  Bring a note book, review the questions you have written down, both for the staff as well as the Vet.  Write their answers down to refer back to when you return home. How long has the Vet been practicing medicine?  Has the clinic been practicing long in this area?  Note their response to you and your pet, are they welcoming, open to your questions or closed and restrictive both in their answers as well as to you viewing the clinic? Observe the customers in the waiting room, quietly visit with them as well. How long have they waited to see the Vet., and what has been their experience with this clinic?

It is important that both you and your dog feel secure when visiting a Vet. Clinic.  Allowing you to be present when your dog has its immunization shots will make your pet more secure.  Can you be present when your pet is given anesthesia and/or present when he/she wakes up?  Is it mandatory that your animal remain over night? What is the additional cost for this service?  It is a fact that healing time for surgeries are faster when the dog is in their own home and around familiar surroundings.

When asking for prices, request the total price, including sales tax.  Some clinics give a quick price over the phone while the actual price for the total service can be greatly increased.  For example spaying might cost $370.94 but with anesthesia, boarding over night, microchipping, pain killers, cone, pre and post medications, IV, antibiotics and tax the total price may amount to $980.34.  Many a pet owner might find this difficult to afford.

Finding a Veterinarian that is both affordable as well as proficient at his practice is very important.  Finding this person before you take your new dog home from your breeder is also important as you will need to visit the clinic within two days of purchasing your pet.  Before that emergency occurs, be prepared with a Veterinarian that you know will be available, capable and that will not surprise you with costs you can’t afford. This will allow both you and your pet positive experiences as you provide them ongoing health care.

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