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What do you look for in a vet?

post #1 of 16
Thread Starter 
I am currently looking for a vet and am not satisfied with the ones I have checked out. A friend of mine recommended a woman vet but she is about 40 minutes away and Rip does NOT like riding in the car. Do you have a list you go by or what???? Thanks!!!
post #2 of 16
one of my major things is i must be able to talk with vet due to raising kittens and having 2 cats with urinary issues i know a bit more about that then most ppl. also a emergency sick call should be somehow squezed in(i had been using a vet and the cat went into a early blockage and the receptionist was like i dont have anything open for two days). price is a factor but not that much(not rich by any means but around me most charge the same thing for the same procedures. I used to live 5 houses away from vet but after move im now 20 minute drive each way. but they know me and my cats issues. lucked out cause the clinic i go to for the spay/neuter is GREAT he knows i know my stuff and provide care for them post op that might not be given in other homes he serves. i dont like to cage but with this many other cats i find i must if surgery has been done(between them sitting in litter and getting chased by others in play runs) so my short list is 1-able to talk and be heard, 2-quality/appt flexability and 3-seeing the genuine connection of the vet and my cats(i used one vet who tried to hold a 6 week old kitten down with restraint gloves...yeahhhhhhhhh that did it never went back hope this help you some
post #3 of 16
Main thing I look for is cleanliness, good orgainisational skills and an obvious love for animals, it is amazing how cold some vets can be,.
I use my local vets4pets

post #4 of 16
I interviewed my last vet and some of her technicians before I took my cats there, even though she was recommended by a friend. The things I look for:

- hours of operation, both regular clinic hours and after hour emergencies
- her approach to handling chronic illness
- how she helps work thru decisions on terminally ill pets
- general demeanor towards animals
- philosophy on feeding, medicines, etc
- how long they have been in practice and on what types of animals (I find that the more animals they work with, the less precise they are with cats)
- how do they refresh their vetrinary knowledge - do they work with universities to keep up on the latest techniques
- What services are typically performed at the clinic versus when they need to refer to specialists
- price for services, and do they discount multi pet families (very important to my large household)
- do they work with feral cats

Many of these things may be specific to my situation, and some of the things are very personal in nature. For example, I don't believe in prelonging the suffering of a terminally ill animal with no hopes for recovery. I want to ensure that my vet will talk freely with me to educate me on what is happening, so that I can make the choice rather than the vet trying to make the choice for me.

Make a list of what is important to you and don't be afraid to call a potential vet and at least talk to their one of their techs. A tech often will speak more freely about things than a vet anyway. It's your babies life you are talking about and an interview is not out of the order. Just be prepared when you make that call.
post #5 of 16
First and foremost, the vet needs to be comfortable with the animal and be able to communicate in clear language to me what's going on. The vet I had prior to this one, although a cat specialist, seemed nervous around me and my cat and couldn't explain anything to me!! I'm now going to a general vet who's absolutely wonderful!

post #6 of 16
A few things I look for in a vet that might not have been mentioned:
-\tA vet and techs which are willing to do common procedures (blood draws, suture removal, euthanasia, etc) in my presence, as I am not comfortable having my pets taken into the back.
-\tActually being able to speak to the vet when dealing with a complicated or prolonged health issue.
-\t Is willing to discuss different treatment options and admit if they don’t know or aren’t an expert in something. Willing to research or refer me to someone that is knowledgeable in that area.
-\t Respectful of my choices and decisions in my animals’ treatments (ie. Concern over certain or frequency of vaccinations)
-\tTreats cats with the same level of care and respect as dogs.
post #7 of 16
Originally Posted by Dark_Waltz View Post
it is amazing how cold some vets can be,.
I couldn't agree more!! I went to a vet with Twinkie (who had FeLV at the time) and she told me she had no idea what was wrong. she said she could run some bloodwork but she's not sure if it would show anything. No recommendations, no follow-up, and dead silence in the office. I asked her what I should do and she said "i don't know" and silence again. I despised that vet!!!

Other vet thought he had a hairball and dismissed my concerns. Still on a hunt for a good vet. I'm thinking of going somewhere that just specializes in cats.

I am lucky to have a large vet teaching hospital near me and I go there lately.
post #8 of 16
1. They must have experience with several different health problems.
For me they are allergies (Jada and Annie have severe allergies),
Heart conditions,
Ear problems,
2. It must be very clean
3. The people who work their must be polite, well mannered, friendly and have to seem really interested in my pets
4. They need to be willing to honor my views on vaccinations
5. They have to be willing to give me a tour.
6. My pets must like them/feel comfortable with them.
7. Also they shouldnt try and push a certain kind of food down my throat well my pets.
8. Dont try and take them into another room when they do something to them. I want to be there when anything is done to my pets.
9. Be willing to answer tons of questions.
10. Be willing to look into different treatments.
11. Do they do early spay/neuter
Umm thats all I cann think of right now.
post #9 of 16
Originally Posted by buffyfan View Post
I couldn't agree more!! I went to a vet with Twinkie (who had FeLV at the time) and she told me she had no idea what was wrong. she said she could run some bloodwork but she's not sure if it would show anything. No recommendations, no follow-up, and dead silence in the office. I asked her what I should do and she said "i don't know" and silence again. I despised that vet!!!
I had something like that happen to me too...when Luna was having bloody diarrah, the vet I was recommended to go to by a friend (the vet was competitively priced), didn't know anything or where to start with Luna. She just placed her on antibiotics.

So I took her to the vet around the corner and this vet provided me with steps that we were going to take to determine what helps Luna. As I did with the other vet, I emphasized that I had been out of town, came back and found the bloody stool. We had Whitey for 2 months by then.

Luckily I only had the first step...put her on formula for sensitive stomachs...and I haven't seen blood in any stools since. So the second vet has my vote (plus she's only $2 more then the first vet).
post #10 of 16
After going through a few vets...

1. Hours of operation and flexibility; I had an emergency with Scully and our regular vet refused to see him as he was too busy, yet when a coworker called to get an appointment for his dog's shots he got an appointment the next day when I was told a few days to a week and we will call if we get a cancellation. My new vet, who had never seen him before, stayed open late to make sure he was seen right away and does house calls if needed, stays open until 7pm and is open Saturdays.

2. Someone that will accept that I am not going to put Bumper and Scully on 'diet' food as it doesn't help them and I will not feed Bumper wet in the hope that he will eventually get used to it, he throws it up and therefore does not get the nutrients he needs - I would rather he was a chubby cat than malnourished.

3. Again with food/diet, someone who has experience with very obese cats, when we got Scully he was around 33lbs and it has been a long few years getting him down to 20lbs, but there are still a few lingering health problems that have to be considered. One vet I spoke to told me 'there is no way that cat was that heavy he would have been dead'

4. Whether they push one type of food on to you. I will walk out of any vet who has a sales room for Hill's in the waiting room. My vet will happily go through different foods and will order prescription foods but does not advertise that fact in the waiting room.

5. The general atmosphere of the clinic and staff and how they treat animals. When I picked Scully up on the numerous times I have had to leave him, he was always cuddled up on a table/chair or sitting in the bay window when I got back, not stuffed in a cage or his carrier waiting, so basically the comfort level of the kitties and me.

6. Whether the vet will explain everything that has/will be done and why

7. The number of animals they deal with, since finding a cat only vet, I find she is much more knowledgeable and LOVES kitties and they love her, plus there are no dog scents lingering that will freak out Bumps or have Magnum swiping at every dog in the room.

8. Not that it has been an issue for me yet, but like someone said before, their approach to terminally ill pets, I refuse to keep an animal alive if it means they will have a poorer way of life. I know someone who kept their pet alive through numerous illnesses and old age and it was heartbreaking and I refuse to do it.

9. Their willingness to admit they don't know and call in a specialist rather than do a load of tests hoping they find out what is wrong and whether those specialist services are in house and how far I would have to travel with them if they were not.

Other stuff, as already mentioned by some people, how they keep up with new knowledge, discounts for multi-cat visits, their general philosophy towards animals and vetinary medicine, how the kitties like them (the vet tech greets Scully with an eskimo nose rub) and most importantly that they will honour my choice to refuse or demand certain tests or surgeries
post #11 of 16
1. Hours. My vet practice is open 7 days a week, ~7am-7pm. They also have weekend hours. This means I can go there any time, which is particularly important when Teddy is having food problems, since he uses prescription diets.

2. Number of vets. While each of my cats sees a different vet, there are a total of 6 at the practice. This means that even when my cats' vets aren't available, I know they will be seen by someone who has access to their regular vets, and also their records.

3. Drop off services with no charge. PJ gets her blood checked every few months. If they can't get to her right away, I can leave her for a few hours and she has a clean cage, is provided with food and water, and we aren't charged a thing - just for the blood work.

4. The vets must be willing to take questions - not just in person. Because of the medical management for both my cats, I always have questions. Every time we change Teddy's prednisolone, I talk to the vet, and she talks to me. When we don't connect, she'll always call back later or leave a message, and she doesn't mind that I can a ton of times - mostly out of paranoia.
post #12 of 16
I have a bit of a problem. My vet share's her practice with another vet, who we sometimes have to see instead. Our normal vet is wonderful and coddles our kittens- particularly archie, as she has a soft spot for abby-esque types.
The other vet is quite cold towards them, and told us they were too light for their age, not taking into account that they eat like horses, and aren't too thin at all, just little
We try to avoid that vet now.
So anyway, what I mean is that its worth checking if the practice is shared, and if you get on with all the vets who work there.
post #13 of 16
I think the most important thing for me is honesty. Don't tell me my cat is going to be OK, when I know I brought her in because she's in renal failure.

Tell me what I need to do to help my cat, show me if necessary.

I don't mean be cruel or cold, but don't coddle me. I need to know exactly what is wrong with my baby and what I need to do about it.
post #14 of 16
I looked for:

1. Convenient location. I do not drive and wanted a vet close by. Mine is about four blocks from the house. I carry Gizmo there.

2. Cleanliness of the office. I smelled disinfectant and old pee in the last vet's office. This one is immaculate.

3. Attitude toward the cat and toward me. I will not deal with a patronizing vet, or doctor. I also want them to care about Gizmo. They know her well and seem to like her (and she likes them.)

4. Where did the vet study medicine? Cornell is one of the best schools and that is where my vet got her degree.

5. I prefer cat-only vets.

6. This vet also has two cats who live in the office and that made me feel a lot better. Both animals were well cared for and calm.

7. Recommendations from friends helped.
post #15 of 16
1. Recommendations from other CAT owners
2. Since I am a breeder, a vet who is familiar with the different breeds of cats and their known and not so commonly known ailments of the breed
3. A vet who is willing to do house calls (and he does!)
4. A vet who is contactable, night or day for a quick consult
5. A vet who returns calls!
6. A vet who tells the truth and explains it clearly
7. A vet who researches puzzling ailments to get to the right answers!

My vet is 40 minutes away from me - depending on traffic, and he's worth every mile!
post #16 of 16
Make sure that the clinic has Licensed Vet Techs. They have to graduate from an AVMA accredited college and are appropriately trained in many areas. They are usually the ones who administer the anesthesia and monitor your pet while under anesthesia. There are hospitals out there that use assistants to do this, which is illegal in many states.

I wanted to throw this one out there because it is something that many people don't think of when looking for a veterinarian.
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