Finding the Right VeterinarianPublished December 6, 2011
The art of veterinary medicine has grown by leaps and bounds over the years. Many modern diagnostic techniques and treatment options are now available which offers our pets a longer and healthier lifespan.
When my husband and I moved from New York to Florida, a huge challenge with which we were faced was finding an exceptional local veterinarian. With the abundance of hanging shingles in our neighborhood coupled with advertisements galore in local newspapers, how were we going to make the right choice in getting the best practioner for our cats? I was greatly concerned.
Of course, the first thing we did was to check with friends (asking for referrals), but after several visits to a few of these clinics, it became obvious that the scope of their practices was quite limited, and the need for canine care was in more demand. Most of the local veterinarians were not particularly sophisticated in the feline department. Having cats with chronic medical conditions necessitated our finding someone who could handle these concerns without resorting to send us off to specialists on a regular basis. While referrals are occasionally warranted, we preferred to work with someone who was more adept at feline care.
So what exactly were we looking for in a veterinarian? We were looking for someone who could perform yearly checkups and who was "up to date" about vaccine protocols. We wanted a practitioner who could provide both routine veterinary care as our cats matured as well as have the ability to handle medical conditions as they presented themselves. I was becoming frustrated until I located a "feline only" practitioner within reach.
As far as I am concerned, most of the time a practitioner who specializes in the feline species is more likely to be more current with technique and able to handle cats more easily. Additionally, if the practice does not provide separate waiting rooms, one doesn't have to put up with barking dogs in the waiting room, which can spook even the most docile kitty.
Based on my experience, let me share some basic requirements which I consider important when seeking the best veterinary practice.
*Is the clinic clean and organized? *Are the waiting rooms inviting? *Does the clinic provide separate waiting rooms for cats and dogs? Is the staff friendly and helpful? *Do the technicians answer your questions and show concern and interest for your pet? *Is the administrative staff friendly? The best veterinarian in the world cannot function well and counts greatly on support staff in order to provide the most appropriate care for your pet. *Since most cats dislike traveling, is there a house call veterinarian available in your area? *Does the clinic offer after-hours emergency services? If not, please locate emergency clinics ahead of time. Put phone numbers in easy to find locations. Make a test run to the facility in advance to familiarize you with both the location and the clinic staff.
Take time to do thorough research by visiting clinics and talking with the staff. This will give you first hand information about the kinds of services that are offered and if you are comfortable there. Since your veterinarian will be the second most important person in your pets' lives, making the right choice is critical.
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What kinds of experiences have you had in locating an exceptional veterinarian? Please share them with us by leaving a comment.
For more information on choosing a vet, check out article on How to Choose the Right Vet.