Congratulations! Welcome to the world of pet ownership. This might have happened to you over the holiday season. As responsible pet owners, it is important to keep your pet healthy and a good way to do that is to develop a relationship with a veterinarian. As with a person choosing their own physician, it is important to find a veterinarian that meets their needs, as well as getting the right sense of education, experience and personality.
Before you meet with a potential veterinarian, learn as much about the practice as you can by reading the clinic’s website, search the vet’s Facebook or Twitter page and see what their clients are saying. Maybe look for testimonials and note any red flags that may present. It may be helpful to schedule a meeting with the veterinarian-not for an exam, but to see what chemistry the veterinarian has with your pet. And then take the information gathered and decide if maybe they might be a good fit for you.
A pet owner must consider the health of their pet and tailor questions to address any needs or conditions that he or she has, especially if your pet may need specialized care in the future. The owner needs to consider the veterinary clinic’s policies and make sure that they meet the owner’s criteria. As in almost every situation, communication is important. It is important that you can get in touch with your veterinarian when you need to. Make sure the practice and your specific vet have open lines of communication, and know all the channels you can use to contact them.
With that in mind, here are some possible questions that you may want to ask a new veterinarian.
- How many veterinarians are in the practice? Will you see the same veterinarian every time or do the doctors switch or rotate without notice?
- How far in advance does the practice typically schedule appointments?
- If you need same-day care, will the practice see you or refer you to an emergency veterinarian?
- What are the qualifications of the technical staff? If your pet needs a simple procedure can you see a tech or do you need an appointment with the main vet?
- If your pet has a specific disease or ailment, does the veterinarian have experience treating that condition?
- Are the veterinarians open to alternative treatments like chiropractic care or acupuncture?
- Does the practice offer emergency or after-hours care? If not, where would the practice send you?
- In case referral work is needed, where does the veterinarian send them?
- What is the best way to contact the veterinarian during the business day and after hours?
- Is the veterinarian willing to answer questions via email?
There are many good veterinarians in practice out there, so finding an appropriate one may take some time and extra research. But in the long run, the task may be less challenging and lead to fewer problems by taking time to find one that meets your criteria.