Choosing A Veterinarian: Vet Interview, Questions And Standards

For the pet-lover, choosing the best doctor for a pet is a serious undertaking. Unless there is an emergency take time a lots of care to insure making the best decision.

For the pet-owner, choosing the best doctor to care for a pet is very serious. The same care and caution taken when choosing a personal physician should be used. Veterinarians are pet doctors who have been educated and certified in Veterinary Medicine. Before considering handing your pet over to anyone for treatment, be sure that they are properly qualified and knowledgeable in pet care. As in other areas, cheapest is not always best. Giving your pet the best care possible might not be inexpensive but it will be well worth the extra money to have a healthy and happy pet.

Personal recommendations may well be the best starting place. Seek out friends and coworkers who are pet lovers and ask questions about the veterinarians they use. Don't just ask for a name. Find out what kind of office or facility the doctor has. Is it a small office mainly offering pet shots and neutering/spaying services or is it a large facility with on-site clinic and kennel? How much are fees for general services? How willing is the doctor to answer pet care questions? For additional recommendations, check with your local Humane Society. This is a wonderful source for any information you may need concerning pet care.

After narrowing your list to one or two choices, try to arrange a tour of the pet facility. Check clinics for cleanliness and overcrowding. Unhealthy areas and dirty or emaciated animals should send up a warning flag. This shows that the facility is not adequately concerned with pet welfare. Check kennels and boarding quarters. These areas should be very clean and uncrowded. Sick animals should be housed separately.

Inquire about the veterinarian's credentials. Does the doctor have a degree in Veterinary Medicine and, if so, from where? Is the doctor and facility accredited by local humane societies or veterinary organizations? What are the qualifications of the staff members--are they just part-time college students on work-study or are they people involved in pet care as an occupation? Are they willing to discuss your pet and any concerns you may have? Do the doctor and staff seem to be genuinely interested in animals and their care or is the facility simply a "shot and neuter mill"?

Ask if the veterinarian offers all services onsite or if some procedures, such as surgery, are referred elsewhere. Also find out if your pet will be cared-for by the same doctor on subsequent visits or by any staff member available.

Ask specific questions about fees. Compare fees with those of other veterinarians to see if fees are reasonable. Also ask about pet insurance, if applicable. Others areas to consider are the availability of pet boarding and pet cemetary services, if you are considering a long-term relationship with the facility.

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