When you bring a new pet into your home, it's important to find a great veterinarian so you know that your new dog or cat will receive the best care and treatment available. This is especially important when you care for a special-needs pet with a disability or chronic illness.
Knowing how to find a good veterinarian can save you time and money. Follow these tips to locate the best veterinarian for your pet:
1. Do your research: Don't just schedule an appointment without doing some background research ahead of time. Talk to your friends and family members about which veterinarians they use and why. Find out if they used to go to a different veterinarian and why they decided to leave. If you have specific questions about how your pet may receive treatment, call the veterinarian's office and find out. Does the office use general or local anesthesia during routine surgeries and treatments? Do they have experience working with large breeds? Does the office have any special financing to help you offset the cost of procedures?
2. Look for certifications: A great veterinarian will have a lot of education and experience. You can call a veterinarian's office to find out where she went to school, which degrees were earned, and if she has any additional certifications. For example, veterinarians who have other certifications — like the American Veterinary Medical Association certification — will have met higher educational and study requirements than a veterinarian without it.
3. Specializations: If you need a veterinarian who has a lot of experience with a specific type of surgery, consider looking for a specialist. Nothing compares to firsthand experience, especially when it comes to veterinarians. A general veterinarian can still perform surgeries, but doctors who specialize may have much more hands-on experience than one who only performs the procedures occasionally.
4. Top-notch facilities: Take a tour of the veterinarian's office so that you can get a firsthand look at the facilities. You want to make sure that your veterinarian's office is equipped with the latest devices and that it looks clean and sterile. For example, you can ask if the veterinarian uses lasers for some surgeries instead of scalpels, and whether they have ultrasound technology as well as X-rays. Do the floors, counter tops, and walls appear clean? Ask the staff how instruments are sterilized.
5. Listening skills: You want a veterinarian to listen to your concerns about your beloved pets, so it is important to find one who will take your thoughts into consideration. Does the vet seem to interrupt you when you speak, or does she really seem to want to hear what you have to say? When a veterinarian listens, it can make you feel like your feelings matter.
6. Consider your pet's personality: Make sure you pick a veterinarian who is the best fit for your pet's needs. Do you have a shy cat who really doesn't like dogs? Perhaps you should look for a cats-only clinic. Do you have a nervous dog who hates loud noises? Look for a clinic with a more tranquil waiting room and fewer clients.
Doing your homework before you choose a veterinarian will help you find the best fit for you and your pet. Don't be afraid to ask questions and make sure your pet is comfortable with his veterinarian. Both you and your pet will be happier — and healthier — in the end.