Taking the Guesswork Out of the Equation
In a phrase, not all veterinarians are created equal – that much you may already know. And just as is the case with many other professions, for every vet that
graduated at the top of their class, there is a vet who barely passed their boards.
When you’re in a pet healthcare emergency, you won’t have the time to be choosey, so it’s best to do your homework and establish who will be caring for your pets well in advance of them needing that care. Here’s a quick list of things to look for in a vet, so you can make sure your companion animals get the help they need and the quality of service you’re looking for.
1 – Clinic Accreditation
Most of our country’s good veterinarians work to get their clinic accredited by the American Animal Hospital Association, or AAHA. A quick search online can point you in the direction of your nearest accredited clinic.
2 – Veterinarian Certification
Likewise, most of our nation’s good veterinarians work to get and maintain certification in general veterinary care as well as any specialties they may have. The American Board of Veterinary Practitioners (ABVP) also has a searchable online database.
3 – Areas of Specialty for Veterinarians
Once you’ve narrowed the field down to veterinarians in your area who have the type of certification you’re looking for, it’s time to investigate their areas of special expertise. Do your pets currently have special needs? Are their breeds prone to developing certain conditions? Do the veterinarians you’re looking at have specialties like geriatrics or neurology?
4 – Testing Capabilities
Will the veterinary clinics you’re looking at be able to process tests and take x-rays or scans on sight? This may seem like it’s not a big deal now, but having to wait for test results or paying to have your pet transferred to another facility for testing can become a real problem in a challenging situation at some point down the line.
5 – Compounding and Other Pharmacy Services
Do the vets you’re looking at provide compounding pharmacy services or any pharmacy services on site? Waiting for mail-order medications or having to make a second trip to visit a pharmacy after your appointments can be a real challenge for some.
If you live in an area where the only veterinary options are good but don’t feature these services, you can always rely on Diamondback Drugs to fulfill your pet medication needs in a timely manner.
6 – Fee Structure
Are the veterinarians you’re investigating comparable to what other veterinarians are charging? A good way to evaluate this is to check on their general office visit fee to see how it stacks up against their local competition.
7 – Consistency of Veterinary Care
Will your pet be able to see the same veterinarian on a regular basis (barring emergencies)? Consistency can be very important in evaluating and regulating some health conditions, especially ones that will be with your companion animal throughout their lifespan.
8 – Cleanliness
Once you’ve done a little online research, it’s time to check out the facilities and staff at your finalists’ offices in person. When you visit, be sure to evaluate the clinic to see if it appears clean, comfortable and well organized.
9 – Communication
You’ll also want to evaluate the communication ability of the staff. Are they friendly? Do they seem calm, caring, and courteous? Do they communicate competently? In many cases, these are the people with whom you will have direct communication, and not necessarily your animal’s veterinarian, so make sure you appreciate the quality of service.
10 – Location
Lastly, you’ll want to take into consideration the location of the vet in relation to your home. You may have found the perfect clinic for you and your pets, but if they’re an hour away without traffic, you most likely won’t be visiting them much. Heading over to their facilities in the case of an emergency may be even more unlikely.
Making the Best Choice for Veterinary Care
All of the preceding tips and all the best intentions may not add up to you finding the perfect vet in the first go around. Take your time and be flexible in your judgments, and eventually, you will find the right vet for you and your companion animals.
Author: Giano Panzarella