As pet owners, we all share one thing in common — we want our pet to be as well cared for (if not better) as we are when we visit our own doctor. One way to approach finding the right medical care for your pet is to think about what you would look for in your primary care physician. It may sound odd to think of it this way, but consider this: When we choose our own physician, we evaluate a variety of factors such as insurance acceptance, convenience, and bedside manner. So why not use the same thought process when choosing a “primary care physician” for your pet? Yes, that’s right — a veterinarian.
First and foremost, you will obviously want to make sure they are well-trained in their profession. Why would you choose one not educated in caring for pets? Second, get to know the support staff. There is no reason why you as the pet owner cannot go into the office and ask to speak to the staff as well as the veterinarian. In fact, you should.
When you visit the office for the first time, there are a few things you should look for and ask:
- What is the veterinarian’s background and training? Is he/she up to date on all that can be done in the treatment and care of your family pet?
- How diverse is his or her practice (i.e.do they care for more than simply cats and dogs)?
- How professional and friendly is the reception staff?
- How clean is the facility? Yes, cleanliness is important even when dealing with our furry friends. Ask for a tour of the facility. Make sure to visit the exam rooms, the kennel area, and yard, if one is available.
- What is the veterinarian’s philosophy on pet care? Each one is different and you need to make sure their philosophy suits and meets your needs.
- Are they a holistic practice? Do they think beyond conventional treatment options?
Arrive without your pet on this initial “evaluation” visit. This will allow you to get a feel for how the staff interacts with the other pets and their families without “fussing” over you and yours because you are new. It is important to see firsthand how they interact with the families and the pets. As much as we hate to think about it, you also need to find out about any urgent care policies or emergency services. Also, remember to ask about long-term care in relation to chronic illnesses or specialties that may be needed.
According to Veterinary Schools, there are several key qualities one should expect from a great veterinarian. Some of those are:
1. Excellent communication skills. They should be able to communicate effectively with you as the pet owner even when describing surgical procedures.
2. Compassion. They should show compassion to both the pets and the owners.
3. Dedication. They should possess a great sense of dedication to the profession as well as the training.
4. Passion for animals. Their passion for all things animals should come through loud and clear.
5. Thorough knowledge. A great veterinarian will have a full knowledge base, not only of the anatomy and ailments, but also the behaviors of the dozens of animals they treat.
We all want happy and healthy pets. One of the ways we are able to make this happen is by choosing the right veterinarian. An informed decision is the best decision.
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