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CHOOSING A VETERINARIAN
Selecting a veterinarian for your pet is a personal choice, as is selecting your family physician or dentist. And, the criteria you use in choosing a physician or dentist is similar. What is important to you?
- Convenient hours of service
- Friendliness and service commitment of doctors and staff?
In selecting a veterinarian, your goals should be to find the doctor that best meets your needs and to establish a long-term relationship. The veterinarian will maintain a history of your pet, including health records that detail immunizations, reactions to medications, behavior traits, etc. So, its important to see your veterinarian for all your pet's health care needs. Your veterinarian will know the best preventative and critical care to provide with your pet's individual health care needs in
Where to look for a veterinarian...
- Ask a Friend
Animal-owning friends are a good source of information. Ask them what they like about their veterinarian. But remember, their ideal choice may not be yours.
- Breed Clubs
If you have a specific breed of dog, cat or bird, breed clubs can be a good source of information.
- Local Directories
The business pages of a phone book or yellow pages normally provide information on local veterinarians.
- When to look for a veterinarian...
It is a good idea to start thinking about selecting a veterinarian before a new pet becomes a member of your family. In fact, a veterinarian can assist you in selecting a pet that complements your personality, work schedule and home life.
- If you've just moved to a new area or state, you will want to locate a veterinarian soon. Don't wait until your pet becomes ill, you want to establish a relationship right away. Your veterinarian can give you information on special climate concerns for your pet. In addition, since traveling can be a stressful experience for a pet, an early check-up may be in order.
- Pay a visit
Schedule a visit to meet the veterinarians who have been recommended and to discuss your pet and your expectations. You may wish to visit several practices before you make a decision.
Here are a few tips to keep in mind when visiting a veterinary hospital:
- Office Hours
- What are regular office hours?
- Are they compatible with your schedule?
- The Practice
- Who covers the practice when the doctor is unavailable?
- Professional Staff
- How are routine telephone calls handled?
- Can you request an appointment with a specific veterinarian?
- Do you feel comfortable talking with the doctor?
- Fees and Payment
- What methods of payment are accepted?
- Is immediate payment expected on the day of visit or are credit cards accepted?
- What is the range of services that the veterinary hospital provides?
- Is the practice limited to certain species?
- Emergency Care
- How are emergency calls handled during regular office hours and after regular office hours?
- Is the practice clean and orderly?
- Are there any unpleasant odors?
- Professional Affiliations
- Are the doctors members of any professional veterinary associations?
- Understand the hospital's policies and procedures.
- As the pet owner...
- You must communicate your pet's health care needs to the veterinarian. Many signs of illness are subtle. Your veterinarian will rely on your awareness of small changes in your pet's behavior or habits.
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LAST UPDATED: 20 June 2006