Companion Connection

Articles of Interest

How to Select a Veterinarian:†


Next to you and your family, the most important person to your pet is the veterinarian (vet) that you choose, so it is worthwhile to spend a little time making that selection. There is no proven, exact method that you can follow to get the needed information, but the following basics should help.


Background Ė If you have friends with pets in the area, ask them about their experiences with area vets and/or clinics. Have they been happy with the services? Have they had problems?

Check customer feedback sites like Yelp or Angieís List for reviews on any of the vets or animal hospitals that you are considering.


Check out web sites for area vets. Do they list American Animal Hospital Association (AAHA), or other accreditation? Do they have a list of services offered? Do they list the vets and the staff, along with their education and training? Are their clinic hours compatible with your needs? Do they offer emergency services?


Clinic visit Ė Schedule an initial clinic visit with your pet to meet the staff and vet(s). Is the facility convenient? When you enter, are you greeted quickly by a smiling, happy staff? Is the waiting room clean and comfortable? How long do you have to wait for your appointment? Is the vet prompt to enter the exam room? Is the exam room clean and properly equipped?


Does he/she address your pet, as well as you? Does he/she take the time to make your pet comfortable to reduce his/her anxiety? Discuss factors that you consider critical in the care of your pet. Does the vet have any issues meeting those areas?


Does the vet respond to your questions pleasantly and with interest or act annoyed as if the discussion is an inconvenience?


Medical Equipment Ė A well-equipped veterinary clinic should have, or have reasonably quick access to x-ray, ultrasound, in-house lab tests, IV pumps, blood pressure, and eye pressure monitoring, as well as the ability to send out labs and refer to specialists.


Beyond the Exam Room Ė While visiting with the vet, request a tour of the facility. Is the emergency care area clean? Ask the vet to discuss the available equipment and supplies available to emergency vets.


Move to the animal holding area. Is it clean? Are the cages large enough for the animals housed? Do animals currently housed appear well kept and comfortable?


Does the vet have an adequate inventory of drugs to cover normal illnesses and injuries?



Maintaining the Relationship with your New Veterinarian


Frequency of visits Ė You should visit your vet at least once a year for your petís annual checkup. If your pet needs additional care, make additional appointments to ensure your petís health.


Attending the appointment Ė


Vets generally want to spend all the time with you and your pet that is needed, but they are generally busy people. You can save them time and ensure you get the best care possible for your pet, by doing the following:


Be on time. Being late for your appointment will ripple through the rest of the day for the vet, the staff and the customers that follow you.


Bring in only the pets for which you have made the appointment. Trying to squeeze in one or two extra pets to save your time has the same repercussions on the staff and other customers as being late. In addition to the inconvenience caused to others, the vet may feel the need to hurry through the exams to lessen the impact on other patrons. Each of your pets may suffer as a result of a missed condition or improper diagnosis.


Make sure the right person comes in with the animal. The vet will need to understand exactly what symptoms the pet has been displaying, as well as, your petís history. If you donít know or canít answer any of the vetís follow up questions, the vet may not be able to make a full, accurate diagnosis.


Make a list of questions that you want to ask the vet during the exam. A written list is best so nothing gets missed. Make notes on the responses. Also have the vet explain anything about the diagnosis that you donít understand. If you have to make a decision about the petís follow up care, make sure that you fully understand the diagnosis, options, possible outcomes, the costs, and the best practices for the condition that is to be corrected.


Above all, be polite, friendly and understanding. Your vet is human too and sometimes a little TLC goes a long way in building or maintaining the veterinary/client relationship.

Selecting a Veterinarian and Building an Effective Relationship

†††††††††† Tip of the Week by Jerry Vinyard

"The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated...

I hold that, the more helpless a creature, the more entitled it is to protection by man from the cruelty of man." -Mahatma Gandhi-

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